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12 August 2005 @ 04:13 pm
IN HERMIONE'S DEFENCE  

Maybe it's just me, but the way it seems, there is a rise in the amount of essays againt one third of the Trio, and i guess it falls to me to point out a few things. It's weird when people who rush to Dear Percy's defence and blame Arthur for his betrayal and when Hermione shows the same qualities (minus the betrayal, i might add), she is suddenly a vindictive, manipulative witch (pun intended), and the most popular being, a potential murderer. So let's start there.



Attempted Murder

But really, what choice did Hermione have? Umbridge was about to torture Harry, Hermione didn't have her wand, so it's a given she needed outside assistance to prevent Umbridge from torturing Harry. She couldn't very well take her to Gryffindor Common Room and expect someone to hex her, McGonnagall and Hagrid were not present and Snape had already proved he wasn't interested in saving Harry. So it was either the giant spiders or the centaurs. The fact that Hermione herself didn't know the first thing about centaurs proves that she didn't plan a murder, she just wanted Umbridge out of the way. And they NEEDED Umbridge out of the way, Harry had proof that Sirius was taken hostage. She did what needed to be done, but i doubt murdering Umbridge was on her mind when she led her to the Forrest.

 

Manipulative Hermione

Hermione is manipulative to some extend, but i wouldn't call that a bad thing, since she is rarely manipulative towards Ron and Harry. In PoA, she could have gone behind Harry's back and have his Firebolt confiscated without Harry or Ron knowing it was because of her, but she told them, straight to their faces, that it was her who informed Minerva about the new broomstick. She didn't manipulate Harry into starting DA, she straight out told him without any bullshit, and still didn't give up even after Harry threw one of his fits. Yes, she did manipulate DA members into signing the jinxed parchment, but i'll get to that in the next section.

 

Cruel Hermione

So she bitch-slapped Malfoy? So what? Ron tries to punch people all the time. So she kept Rita in a jar. Should she rather have shared her bed with her? And she attacked Ron in HBP. It's not that unexpected, she showed every sign that she fancied Ron, and made sure he kept his place in the team, but not only Ron attacked Lavender just to get to her, he (not on purpose, of course) dragged Lavender to the classroom she was sulking in. To Hermione, it must have felt like a slap on the face.

Now, about the jinxed parchment. We should keep in mind that majority of the evidence against Hermione, and Fred and George for that matter, is in OotP and HBP, which are accidentally the books in which Voldemort is back and joined with his Death Eaters. Hermione is a muggle-born, and the best friend of Voldemort's number one enemy. Not only that, but she is also the enemy of Draco, the son of a very important DE at the time. Also, because of her success in her classes, her name is very out there. The way i see it, in a time of war, it is only expected that she would get a bit more violent and seek punishment for traitors, which again, in a time of war, is the worst possible crime. Do I think it's okay to do such a thing? Definitely not. But it is expected, not only from Hermione, but from any person who could be in her position. While many people blame Hermione of being vindictive and cruel, and sometimes going as far as suggesting she could cast a very effective Cruciatus, i might remind you that Harry twice tried that particular spell. She wasn't pretending when she reacted to such a simple spell like levicorpus (HBP, pg: 226), Hermione despises the Dark Arts.

 

House Elves

Being raised in a democratic environment, enslavement of any kind would have attracted Hermione's attraction. While i agree that her approach was completelly wrong, what with trying to trick them into freedom, or not giving them the admiration they seek much more than freedom, i refuse to believe she was not genuine in her feelings towards the issue. She was impossibly sympathetic to Kreacher, and she was truly sorry for Winky. It's not the enslavement that's the issue here, but the way some people treat their elves and get away with it. Hermione is right in that regard. I believe, more than anything, Mr. Crouch's treatment of Winky pushed her to take such actions. While it's true that she got a bit carried away with the whole thing, it was not because of a flaw in her character, but because of an honest mistake on her part, which is failing to recognize the real problem.

 

Conclusion

Is Hermione perfect? Of course not. IMO, her most obvious flaw is accepting what teachers say and books write as absolute truths, and refuse to believe otherwise. She is also at times tactless, and insecure and socially under-developed. And she does make mistakes, one of the most remarkable being not reporting Rita to Dumbledore. But vindictive, cruel, manipulative and ruthless are not her defining features. She is brave, loyal (which Ron failed once in that regard, no matter what his excuses were) and hard-working, and most importantly, she shows the strength to do what needs to be done, whether it be having Harry's broomstick confiscated or getting rid of Umbridge, and what others might think be damned.

 

PS: Some of my friends in IMDb might ask me, 'Wasn't it you who said you wouldn't want Hermione as a friend or blaming Arthur for the way Percy acted?'. Yes, that's true, and i have given my reasons for both. And i admit i was playing a bit of devil's advocate.



 
 
 
Anne-Elisa: power of the pen by apostrophetetrangere on August 12th, 2005 01:43 pm (UTC)
So she kept Rita in a jar. Should she rather have shared her bed with her?

You shouldn't throw plot bunnies like that so carelessly ^^

I like ruthless, manipulative, radical revolutionnary Hermione. There're flaws that make her a much more interesting character to me.
I don't think there's a need to defend those things in Hermione. No character in HP is flawless (apart possibly for Lily Evans)
kiki: mclaggen: flicking_icons made thisbeyond_pale on August 12th, 2005 01:51 pm (UTC)
yeay!

and that was the point of my essay: that we LIKE Hermione BEST when she's a little bit vicious. She's certainly more fun that way!

(I hope you don't mind me throwing up a link here, S; it seems as though we've constructed a two-parter).
kiki: mclaggen: flicking_icons made thisbeyond_pale on August 12th, 2005 01:44 pm (UTC)
is this a direct response to my Mugglenet essay? I think it is!

I'm very like Hermione (was far too brainy and readerly to have been well-liked by my peers as a child), and completely understand where she's coming from, and her journey, and I hope that wasn't lost in my essay, in which I tried to be fair to all viewpoints.

I honestly adore her just as much as the next reader; however, I do stand by my assertions (nearly a year after they were written), which were in response to the massive "Saint Hermione" movement, depicting her as this utterly flawless and brilliant and perfect character; in every instance where she is compared to other characters, they are found lacking, and lesser, and that's unfair all 'round. Readers do tend to be blinded by their favorites (Sirius is another character who recieves far more blind adulation than he deserves, in my opinion!). I was trying to really "balance" Hermione's good and bad tendencies in an honest way, not simply depict her as a horrible, vile person.

safakus on August 12th, 2005 02:05 pm (UTC)
1) i didn't intend this as a reply to yor essay, but it seems subconsciously i did. in all honesty, i wanted to play devil's advocate, like i said. but it turned out i agree with most of the things i said, LOL

2) i don't mind at all

3) if i have to name names, i had no_remorse's

Hermione is Umbridge

and

josanpq

's

Threatened essay on Hermione Granger

made me post this.
While i agree Hermione can be manipulative, ruthless and even cruel at times, i don't believe these are her defining features.
I do think your essay was quite fair, rather than painting her as evil or super good.
Flameo, Hotman!swatkat24 on August 12th, 2005 02:13 pm (UTC)
Saint Hermione? Bleagh. I say this as a *huge* Hermione fan.

Swatkat
Billpstscrpt on August 12th, 2005 02:07 pm (UTC)
It's weird when people who rush to Dear Percy's defence and blame Arthur for his betrayal and when Hermione shows the same qualities (minus the betrayal, i might add), she is suddenly a vindictive, manipulative witch

I expect those aren't the same people, for the most part.
arclevel on August 12th, 2005 02:18 pm (UTC)
I suppose I am. I wouldn't put my reasoning on either character in that way, but Percy is among my favorite characters, while Hermione is decidedly not (though she isn't my least favorite, either). They are both arrogant and they let their pride get the better of them, but I've never felt any sense of cruelty from Percy. Perhaps I need to sit down and compare the two some time.
Billpstscrpt on August 12th, 2005 03:06 pm (UTC)
So what you're saying is that you'll admit you might be wrong if that makes your brother wrong? :-)
arclevel on August 12th, 2005 03:43 pm (UTC)
Wrong? Me? Never. Actually, I think what I said means that, as I currently think about things, I get to be right *and* you get to be wrong! :-D

Actually, I didn't mean I'd be likely to change my opinions as to which character I like and who I feel for more. Just that I really haven't thought much about the two in relation to each other. It's entirely possible that the same qualities I like in Percy are similar to those I don't like in Hermione, which begs the question of what's *different* about the two.
Billpstscrpt on August 12th, 2005 05:13 pm (UTC)
It may demand the question, bring the question to mind, and beg for the question, but it does not "beg the question".
arclevel on August 12th, 2005 11:07 pm (UTC)
:-P
arclevel on August 12th, 2005 02:13 pm (UTC)
This is an interesting and well-written essay, but I'm afraid I disagree with large sections of it. While I think you cover the attempted murder and house elf issues reasonably well (though I disagree with certain points within those), I don't really see where you've shown that Hermione is *not* manipulative, cruel, and vindictive. Rather, you seem to be arguing that it's okay that she is those things. I have to disagree. Strongly.

To say that someone manipulating people isn't bad because she's not manipulating her two closest friends seems to be damning her with faint praise, indeed. While I don't really hold her slapping Malfoy against her, due to her stress levels and the fact that it was done in the heat of the moment, she certainly could have handled other things better. Rita, for instance, *should* have been turned over to the authorities, not imprisoned. The fact that Hermione later increases the terms of their deal (the Quibbler article) shows that this is blackmail, not just trying to alter someone else's actions. The alleged purpose of the parchment was to keep people from talking about the DA (which it didn't do at all; it was purely luck that Marietta saw a mirror before telling the full story). There was absolutely no benefit to using a jinx that was still in place (and humiliatingly so) several months later. I don't see how the fact that it would be used on a traitor really changes that.

All that said, I would say that Hermione's biggest flaw are not creulty or vindicitiveness, though I think she has those things in spades. It's arrogance (and with it, pride). This was most certainly an important flaw in leading Umbridge to the forest, and one that nearly gets all three of them killed. These are the defining feature of most of her dealings with house elves, though I agree that her intentions began good, and on some level remained so. She saw that something needed to be done -- which was good -- but when what she started to do wasn't the right course, she utterly refused to change, no matter how increasingly obvious it became that she was wrong about it.
safakus on August 12th, 2005 02:30 pm (UTC)
While i still believe she did the best she could with Umbridge situation, i have to admit you have a point with the jinxed parchment issue. I might be mistaken here because my i don't have OotP here with me right now, but i remember she made them sign the parchment in Hog's Head, right? Which at the time they weren't doing anything illegal. So the jinx was for punishment, more than preventing a leak, otherwise, Hermione would tell them the parchment was jinxed. Which proves your point further, but again, doesn't this show her loyalty? That she would think of such a punishment for a traitor?
I don't deny Hermione can be cruel at times, but like i said, this is not a defining feature.
Also, while her approach was misguided regarding the house elves, she might have seen as Dobby as an example, and decided that once they were free, they would realise it was a good thing. Just a thought...
thomasofdelain on August 12th, 2005 06:55 pm (UTC)
Which proves your point further, but again, doesn't this show her loyalty? That she would think of such a punishment for a traitor?

Well, sure, but it shows Umbridge's loyalty to Fudge that she'd think of Crucioing Harry. Loyalty isn't always a good thing. (Besides, who ever doubted Hermione's loyalty to the DA?)
Dances With Vampires: Ravenclawyahtzee63 on August 12th, 2005 02:19 pm (UTC)
As long as HP fandom exists, there will be people who are convinced that Hermione/Remus Lupin/Molly Weasley are EEEEEEEVIL! And that they shudder and shake to think that such people could exist in the world! Arguing with such people is to pay them the compliment of rational opposition, which they do not deserve. Hysteria of this ubiquitous, tiring nature is best answered with silence.
arclevel on August 12th, 2005 02:29 pm (UTC)
While there are a few people who think that one or more of those people may be actually evil, they're rare. There are quite a lot of us, however, who disagree strongly with the ethics of one or more of those characters, and don't believe that Rowling's inclusion of them as "good guys" excuses actions that we think are unethical or morally wrong. That doesn't make us crackpots, and the vast majority of us aren't hysterical.
safakus on August 12th, 2005 02:39 pm (UTC)
I don't know if this was directed to me, but let me say i don't think that way at all. While i admit it was no_remorse's and josanpq's essays that made me write this, i also have to say they were very well written and made all kinds of sense. I especially follow no_remorse religiously, but i feel she was a bit harsh on Hermione with that one.
I respect everyone's opinions, and feel free to flame me.
Dances With Vampires: Ravenclawyahtzee63 on August 12th, 2005 02:46 pm (UTC)
They're not that rare. Arguing further would be granting the question of "blackmail, vindictiveness, cruelty and Hermione Granger" a seriousness it does not deserve, plus runs the risk of making me snarf Coke from my nose.
thomasofdelain on August 12th, 2005 06:53 pm (UTC)
Yup. And as long as the HP fandom exists, there will be people convinced that Hermione/Remus Lupin/Molly Weasley are Saints, and shudder at the idea they could be flawed except in 'nice' ways such as caring too much or being too determined to do good.
Pharnabazuspharnabazus on August 12th, 2005 05:12 pm (UTC)
Yes, a lot of people have been very unfair to Hermione.

Having said that, I think you've fallen into exactly the same trap as she did, with what you were saying about the way that Mr Crouch treated Winky. It's important to remember that virtually everything that Winky told Hermione (at the Quidditch world cup) was a barefaced lie, which Hermione (for understandable reasons) took at face value. Sitting in the top box (apparently alone) was Winky's idea, not Mr Crouch's, as was the whole plan to give young Barty a treat.

In fact, nearly everything that made Hermione come to the conclusion that Crouch was treating Winky badly was actually a misapprehension - including Winky's apparently crazy zig-zags among the trees, after the Death Eaters appeared, which Hermione (and Harry) interpreted as a conflict between Crouch's orders and her own wishes, but were actually a simple struggle to restrain an invisible opponent. And in the final confrontation, where Crouch decided to give Winky clothes, there was a "lot" more going on behind the scenes, and a large element of theatre in the confrontation, since Crouch's chief immediate aim was to make sure that Winky never got questioned. We don't actually know how it would have ended between Crouch and Winky, though, because on the "very next day" Crouch was placed under Imperius.
safakus on August 12th, 2005 06:46 pm (UTC)
I do know about your ideas on Crouch-Winky business, and they sure make a lot of sense, but it has little to do with my essay. It could have been anybody and his elf in that situation, had Hermione seen Lucius beating Dobby, she could have started her campaign much earlier. Like Dobby says, "Dobby is still treated like vermin, Harry Potter, sir."

I also have to add that all of us essay writers make the same mistake at one time o another; we forget to consider the times and the environment when judging a character. A week example is while Napoleon was a hero in his time for conquering other nations, Bush is considered exactly the opposite for doing the same. That being said, in a world where a teacher terrorizes his students without any fear of being fired, or a minister or a media bullying a 15 year-old without shame, both Hermione and the twins could be considered as little angels.
Em: bran - copperbadgeemiweebee on August 13th, 2005 01:00 am (UTC)
from the D_S
Almost everyone I've seen ranting against Hermione does so to counter the sainted version of her presented by some Harry/Hermione fans. Your essay is good, as it helps explain both sides: Hermione is faulted, but not evil. She is neither perfect nor wholly wrong.
Cressidacressida0201 on August 13th, 2005 05:17 pm (UTC)
I don't believe the jinxed parchment was primarily about punishment. I think it was about making sure the DA knew when someone betrayed them. It had to be something obvious, and something that the traitor couldn't magic away easily or quickly--hence the fact that the acne was so persistent as to cause scars.

IMO, the fact that the broadcast of treachery took the form of most teenagers' worst nightmare was just the frosting on the cake, not the cake itself.
Nathalie M.: won-wonsevenorora on August 13th, 2005 06:18 pm (UTC)
Here via daily_snitch

Amen to that!
Good essay, great arguments!
Let's hope people realize that Hermione isn't perfect, but isn't evil eather.