There is so much of myself I see in her, and maybe you do, too
Maybe Hermione Jean Granger’s parents were a little less like Ron’s parents and a little more like mine. That drive to succeed at all costs, the breakdowns, feeling like she couldn’t talk to anyone – I see myself in her, and my fiancée, and the experiences of so many others who couldn’t prove abuse, but were implicitly told that “living up to their potential” was their only purpose in life. So –
Give me a Hermione Granger whose parents suggested to her, ever-so-gently, that to remain in magical school it was best that she came top in her year. “To dispel prejudices against, um, what was it that professor said? Muggle-borns,” they told her, but she knew why.
Give me a Hermione whose parents succeeded in a career that was very difficult to enter, and expect the same of her.
Give me a Hermione who came second, or third, or fourth or even plain old middling in a subject she just hated in primary school, and was lectured until she cried. (Hence her mania to do well in History of Magic.)
Give me a Hermione who thinks she can’t trust teachers, especially since Minerva McGonagall doesn’t suspect anything about her parents’ request to send home a progress report every few weeks. This is, after all, not a skinny and defiant Harry Potter, but a girl who just loves to succeed – and what’s wrong with that, after all?
Give me a Hermione whose fanatic organizational system is a result of being grounded if she forgot a homework assignment.
(This is the brightest witch of her age, still – I must say it here. Don’t get me wrong. But school is not everything, and brightness can shine in unexpected places. There are simply other reasons for why she is how she is, in addition to brains.)
Give me a Hermione who is weak-kneed with relief that the Sorting Hat at least offered her Ravenclaw, because she can tell her parents so.
Give me a Hermione who is frightened whenever classwork or homework seems too easy, because what’s coming next? She studies far ahead to compensate.
Give me a Hermione who wishes she had an excuse to stay at Hogwarts over holidays, because her parents sit her down and “discuss” anything in her progress reports they don’t like until she breaks down in tears.
Give me a Hermione who in second year screamed “No!” when exams were canceled, because it was the only way to prove to her parents that she was still doing well even after she was “irresponsible” enough to get herself Petrified.
Give me a Hermione who lets Harry and Ron copy off her despite her annoyance, because although they seem happy, she has no idea what they might have to deal with at home should they fail. No matter how many times Harry exasperatedly explains that the Dursleys don’t care (when she asks in veiled terms, of course, because she can’t tell), she still wants to help. The same, of course, goes for Neville and his potions.
Give me a Hermione who wishes with all her heart that she can drop at least one of her subjects third year, even though she enjoys most of them (except for Divination, of course).
Give me a Hermione who forced herself to envision McGonagall instead of Mum and Dad when the boggart came up to her during third-year exams, because there was absolutely no way she was letting Lupin know.
Give me a Hermione whose parents insisted that she go through years of jaw pain and expense and ridicule to fix something that was genuinely giving her problems, just as they had, despite a magical solution – and who was so relieved when Snape gave her an excuse to do just the opposite.
Give me a Hermione who likes Viktor for his eagerness to talk with her about how interesting the contents of her books are, rather than how many there are.
Give me a Hermione who, in a tiny, guilty part of her heart, knows that she Obliviated her parents both for their safety and her own. They wouldn’t hesitate to hurt her in every verbal way they knew how if they heard she was dropping out of school.
Give me a Hermione who finds happiness in whatever career she chooses. Whatever person. Ron with his easy intelligence and love of logic and kindness. Viktor with his curiosity and willingness to teach her how to fly. Anyone and everyone, anything and everything, as long as it makes her happy and content. Give her free time and hobbies and smiles.
Give me a Hermione whose parents, years later, deny that they ever did any such things to her – “Your marks were fantastic!” – and give her the courage to tell them the truth.
Give me Hermione.