- Hermione is one of the main “Harry Potter” characters, but there’s more to her than her brains.
- Her last name almost wasn’t Granger, and she was supposed to have a sister.
- Hermione’s appearance in the movies doesn’t exactly match up to how she’s described in the books.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Throughout the “Harry Potter” series, Hermione Granger was often the voice of reason among her best friends, Harry and Ron. But there’s more to the bright witch than brains and wit.
Before using her platform to spread transphobic messages, the series’ controversial author, JK Rowling, was known to use Twitter, interviews, and the official Wizarding World website to expand the “Harry Potter” canon beyond the seven books.
With all that information and the original series in mind, here are some facts about Hermione that even the biggest “Harry Potter” fans might not know:
Her last name wasn’t always going to be Granger
Hermione comes from a family of Muggles (non-wizards), so it makes sense that her surname is a bit more traditional than some of her Hogwarts classmates.
But Granger wasn’t the author’s original choice.
According to a 2015 article on Wizarding World (formerly Pottermore) where Rowling revealed the first 40 character names she came up with for “Harry Potter,” Hermione’s last name was originally Puckle.
Hermione almost had a sister in the series
All we really know about Hermione’s home life is that she’s an only child and both her parents are dentists.
But the Grangers were apparently almost a family of four.
In a 2004 BBC interview, Rowling said, “I always planned that Hermione would have a younger sister but she’s never made an appearance and somehow it feels like it might be too late now.”
Her parents got her name from Shakespeare, but there’s also a connection to Greek mythology
According to a 1999 radio interview with Rowling, Hermione’s parents named her after Hermione, Queen of Sicily, from William Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale.”
Unlike other names in the series, there isn’t much of a correlation between the character in the play and Hermione.
Early readers weren’t sure how to pronounce her name
Many fans who read the first few books before the films were released weren’t sure how to pronounce Hermione.
“I get asked that so much because people a lot of times say Her-me-one which I think is really cute. I wish I had told people right in the beginning it was pronounced Her-me-one,” Rowling said in the same 1999 interview.
This led the author to include a scene in the fourth book where Hermione teaches Viktor Krum how to pronounce her name by sounding out “Her-my-oh-nee.”
Despite being the top of her class, Hermione wasn’t good at everything
Hermione is known for being a brilliant student who excels in almost everything she tries. She was even called an “insufferable know-it-all” by Professor Snape.
But there are a few things Hermione wasn’t good at.
In “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” we learn that Hermione isn’t particularly skilled at Wizard Chess. In “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” we also see that Divination isn’t her strongest subject. And throughout the series, the young witch never really got the hang of flying on a broomstick.
The Sorting Hat almost placed her in Ravenclaw
Most fans are well aware of the fact that Harry had some say in which house the Sorting Hat placed him at Hogwarts – he famously asked it not to sort him into Slytherin.
But in “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” Hermione shared that she was also aware of the magical hat’s decision-making process.
There’s a conversation with Terry Boot in the book that reads, “‘Well, the Sorting Hat did seriously consider putting me in Ravenclaw during my Sorting,’ said Hermione brightly, ‘but it decided on Gryffindor in the end.'”
Some of the spells she did were illegal
Hermione was a stickler for the rules throughout most of the series, but there were times when she felt the need to go against the law.
For example, in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” she used an undetectable extension charm on her bag in order to fit all the supplies the trio needed on their quest for the Horcruxes.
According to Wizarding World, these charms are illegal for private use and are only intended for the production of objects like school trunks and family tents.
In “Sorcerer’s Stone,” she also told Ron while they were riding the Hogwarts Express that she’d already tried out a few spells before starting school. But later on in the series, we learn that underage students aren’t allowed to practice magic outside of Hogwarts.
She detected a third scent from the love potion
When Professor Slughorn taught his lesson on Amortentia – the most powerful love potion in the Wizarding World – Hermione explained to the class that “it’s supposed to smell differently to each of us, according to what attracts us, and I can smell freshly mown grass and new parchment and -“
But she gets flustered and doesn’t name the third scent she detected.
Per the fan site The Leaky Cauldron, during a 2007 web chat with Bloomsbury.com, Rowling revealed that the third smell was Ron’s hair.
“Every individual has very distinctive-smelling hair, don’t you find?” the author added.
Hermione’s appearance was altered in the films for Emma Watson
Namely, Watson’s hair wasn’t as bushy and her teeth weren’t as big.
The filmmakers tried to remedy the latter with the use of fake teeth in the first movie, but it didn’t go according to plan.
“I realized that she’s never going to be able to perform with these huge fake teeth in her mouth for the rest of the movie,” Columbus said.
Her middle name changed over time
In earlier years, Rowling was quoted in multiple interviews saying that Hermione’s middle name was Jane.
Somewhere along the way, that must have changed, because in “Deathly Hallows” it’s listed as “Hermione Jean Granger” in Dumbledore’s will.
The author reportedly changed the character’s middle name after giving it to the villainous Dolores Jane Umbridge.
Hermione’s greatest fear is academic failure
In “Prisoner of Azkaban,” the students were introduced to Boggarts, a shape-shifting creature that takes the form of a witch or wizard’s deepest fear.
Hermione didn’t get to face off against the creature during Professor Lupin’s initial lesson on them. But later in the book – after her Defense Against the Dark Arts exam – she revealed what the Boggart transformed into for her.
The scene in the book reads, “‘P-P-Professor McGonagall!’ Hermione gasped, pointing into the trunk. ‘Sh-she said I’d failed everything!'”
It’s clear that failure, especially at school, is among Hermione’s biggest fears.
She was able to restore her parents’ memories after the Second Wizarding War
At the beginning of “Deathly Hallows,” Hermione uses the “obliviate” spell to wipe her parents’ memory of her and send them to Australia for protection during the climax of the Second Wizarding War.
In the same 2007 web chat transcribed on The Leaky Cauldron, Rowling revealed that Hermione was able to restore their memories and bring them back to England “straight away” after the war ended.
She stole books from Professor Dumbledore’s office after he died
In addition to her handful of illegal spells, Hermione was also willing to bend the rules when it came to books.
We learned this early on, in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” when she got Professor Lockhart to give her his autograph so she could get into the Restricted Section of the Hogwarts library.
But she takes this one step further after Dumbledore’s funeral when she steals library books about Horcruxes that the headmaster had hidden away in his office.
The passage where she admits this in “Deathly Hallows” reads, “‘Well … it was easy,’ said Hermione in a small voice. ‘I just did a Summoning Charm. You know – Accio. And – they zoomed out of Dumbledore’s study window right into the girls’ dormitory.'”
Her Patronus has a special meaning to the author
A Patronus is an advanced spell used to protect a witch or wizard, and it can only be conjured by thinking of a particularly happy memory.
Each character’s Patronus takes on the form of a different animal.
In “Order of the Phoenix,” we learn that Hermione’s takes the form of an otter, which Rowling later revealed to be her favorite animal in a 2015 tweet.
She eventually became Minister for Magic
In 2007, Rowling told “Today” that Hermione went on to a “pretty high up” position in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement at the Ministry of Magic.
Previously, in “Deathly Hallows,” Hermione expressed she didn’t want to pursue a career in this field. When asked by Minister Rufus Scrimgeour if she was interested in Magical Law, she said she wasn’t because “I’m hoping to do some good in the world.”
According to the “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” play, which joined the series’ canon in 2016, Hermione eventually went on to succeed Kingsley Shacklebolt as Minister for Magic.