The Ace as the Jack of Trades – Is Hermione Really the Brightest Witch of Her Age?

 

The Hermione we all know and love. Sassy and always happy to school someone.

Hermione Granger, our favourite little studious witch who always knows what to do in a situation. Intelligent, resourceful, caring, nurturing, sarcastic wit, powerful as fuck, easy on the eyes,… Grab your Pokéballs guys, because you won’t find one like this that easily. But… Maybe don’t use your Master Ball. After all, as powerful as she is, as often as she’s considered the best student in Hogwarts for her generation, she doesn’t quite compare to the previous aces. But hold on to your hats and postpone those hateful comments, let me first explain why this isn’t a bad thing and why it actually fits her personality.

Let’s first discuss what some of her most powerful feats of magic are, that she gratuitously uses throughout the book series. The sort of magic that makes students stare at her, makes teachers fawn over her and most importantly, makes McGonagall smile in the first class. Here are they listed. Gaze upon them and they shall gaze back upon you:

  • Creating the Dumbledore’s Army badges that contain a powerful “SNEAK” curse that government officials (magical savants as they are…) can’t remove
  • Look at this little bag. LOOK AT IT! It contains their camping equipment, their cooking pots, their clothes, the invisible cloak,… Hermione’d make a fortune if she’d start selling these bags in bulk.

    Bewitching her bag and practically turning it into another dimension for her shit. You’d think this kind of item would sell like hot cakes if she marketed it right

  • Using non-verbal magic very early on in Year 6 DADA classes
  • Human transfiguration: she was capable of changing our very lovable and very distinctive Ron into someone else when infiltrating Gringotts Bank
  • The Patronus Charm

Gather up the Wizards

While these are very powerful displays of magic and therefore I would suggest capturing her at level 5 before she becomes too powerful and you waste 381 Ultra Balls, it is still rather poor when you compare it to the aces of the previous generations. These people would be Dumbledore (duh), McGonagall, Voldemort, Snape and James Potter (plus his Marauder thugs). Of course, since Dumbledore is basically the gay Jesus of this story and did so much in his long life it would be rather unfair to compare old Dumbley-dun with the young Hermione. So because of that the comparison will be made for what these lovely, and not so lovely, people did during their school years:

  • Both Dumbledore and McGonagall are noted to have published magical studies while attending Hogwarts. Dumbledore is stated to have done this in book 7, when we finally learn some shit about his life, while McGonagall is stated to have done this in her background story on Pottermore.
  • Voldemort wearing his first horcrux: Marvolo Gaunt’s Ring. He turned this ring into a horcrux by killing his father and grandparents with the very advanced Avada Kedavra curse. He was still going to Hogwarts at this time, as evidenced by the memory provided by Slughorn.

    Voldy-chan studied many areas of the Dark Arts (ooooooh) and was already capable of creating at least one horcrux during his years on Hogwarts. He was capable of using non-verbal and wandless magic at the ripe age of 11 (which holy shit that is powerful…) and he casually casted the killing curse at least once, which is noted to be incredibly difficult. Fake Moody states in the fourth book that Harry’s class wouldn’t even give him a nosebleed if they cast that spell at him. This guy did it casually. A monster and a psychopath from a young age, but as Olivander so creepily says in movie one: “Terrible! Yes… But great.”

  • Nosey Snape modified the official recipes of his Potions handbook, improving said recipes to the point that Harry of all people became better at Potions than Hermione ever was. Imagine that. Young Snape was a better teacher than old Snape ever became… It’s interesting to note that Potions was only his second best class. His best was Defence Against the Dark Arts and Sirius stated in book 4 that “Snape knew more curses when he arrived at school than half the kids in seventh year.” And that statement has merit, as we know of him creating at least two curses of his own: Levicorpus and Sectumsempra.
  • James Potter (and the thugs!) were capable of creating the Marauder’s Map, which is noted in book 3 to be an incredibly advanced map capable of tracking every student and every teacher. James was also noted to be very good in Transfiguration (remember that Olivander says his wand was pliable and therefore good for that branch of magic) and we all know James, Sirius and even Peter became animagi in their fifth year.

As you can see all of these specific aces added something new to the magical world while they were still in Hogwarts. Whether they found new lore or created new items, Hogwarts was left a little magically richer, and naughtier, when these staunch magic practicers left the school and entered the work force of the Wizarding World. By which I mean the government mostly. Are there really any other jobs besides that and everything related to Hogwarts?

Specialised in Generalising the Specialisations, Man…

Our beloved Trelawny passively aggressively telling Hermione she’s got a soul as dry as the pages of the books she so clings to.

Compared to that, what exactly does Hermione invent? Create? Improve? Nothing really. She is incredibly good at memorising information, learning new spells at an absurdly fast pace and she can recite everything at a moment’s notice. A veritable walking, talking text book this one, but she constantly copies things and is noticeably not creative. This definitely gets brought up during the story, most notably by Trelawney in book 3 just before Hermione rage quit that class. But this doesn’t really make sense. Hermione is incredibly intelligent and is shown over and over again to have time for other pursuits. Remember her S.H.I.T antics in book 4? You’d think that such an academic-minded student would’ve at least thought up one spell. Or is that what the Sneak curse is supposed to be?

So how is she considered an ace? Well, she’s a Jack of Trades, in a similar, but weaker, vein to Albus “Fabulous” Dumbledore. Other aces like Snape and James are specifically noted to be specialised aces: Snape in DADA and Potions, James in Transfiguration. Again, notice how all of James’s accomplishments require changing the things around. Even McGonagall, while no slouch in dueling, is noted to be a master in Transfiguration. Contrast to that we are shown over and over again that Hermione excels at every class: Herbiology, Transfiguration, DADA, Charms, History of Magic,… Consistently this little minx gets 11’s on tests that have maximum scores of 10.

“I Checked This Out Weeks Ago For a Bit of Light Reading!”

While admittedly boring, this is actually very powerful and makes sense for Hermione’s personality. What makes her powerful is her logical thinking, the cold hard logic that she uses to learn stuff at a ridiculously quick rate. As far back as in book 1, During Snape’s Potion Riddle, Hermione notes that “a lot of the greatest wizards haven’t got an ounce of logic, they’d be stuck in here for ever.” Hermione, on the other hand, has enough ounces of logic to share around with her class. Why? She’s a muggleborn. Those silly little muggles are portrayed as rather more serious than their wizard counterparts throughout the series. Hermione also feels insecure for being muggleborn and has a healthy ambition to prove she’s just as capable as those stinking purebloods. So her power being a Jack of Trades, while boring, is an element of that activist nature the character grows into during the series. It’s her way of protesting against the conventions of the Wizarding World and leaving her own mark on it.

Crikey! Here we got a wild Hermione in her favourite habitat. Get those Safari Balls, lads.

And this trait of hers adds a lot to the story. Because she’s a walking library she can recite lots of information other wizards can’t even think of and therefore can’t use to deal with the circumstances. Ironically, by copying everything, she can solve problems in a creative way. Like the aforementioned SNEAK curse, like staying warm on magical blue flames during Christmas break in book 1. Like knowing of every spell Harry needs to learn during book 4. Oh yes, I’m definitely making the argument that Hermione was a big factor as to why Harry became the powerful duelist he is later on in the series. Go women!

All jokes aside, Hermione becoming a Jack of Trades makes perfect sense for her personality and character arc. It allows her to distinguish herself from all of those nasty specialised wizards without an ounch of logic and it benefits the story tremendously. And hey, at the end of the day she does become Minister for Magic. Although granted, that’s a low bar as Fudge also had that office. And Rowling definitely wrote that for more… ideological reasons. Either way, EMPOWERMENT!!!

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Copyright: The images used in this article are screenshots taken from the Harry Potter movies. We are allowed to use them under section 107 of the US Copyright Act of 1976. The Harry Potter movie series belong to J.K. Rowling and Warner Brothers Studios.

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