The other day I was reminded of the fact that potter fans were celebrating twenty years of publishing Harry Potter series. When I started reading the books, I was a mere teenager.
I still had no concept of male/female differences but I knew girls were not usually looked upon as bright creatures but rather things to be looked at for their beauty. Been an only child I have never faced discrimination of any kind for my gender nor have I allowed it to subconsciously effect me to an extent.
Of course, I have seen my cousins, friends all go through them. It is always subtle, but sometimes very obvious. In school we are always told to wear our pinafore as low as possible. The Shawl has to cover all the right places. Talking to boys is a strict no-no or looked down upon even though it is a Co-ed institution.
It is always surprising to see how kids can be seen as a sexual being at an age where we are just discovering our own understanding of it. It was in those days that one of my best friends at the time recommended this book to me.
I have always loved reading. I loved escaping into another make believe world and grew up watching Dungeons and Dragons cartoons. The world of magic was always a special place. Despite having no clue what the book was about, I began reading it.
Once I began reading, there was no stopping it. I had to finish the book – know what this young wizard was going through till the end. No other book had captivated me so much as the potter series had till then.
I have always seen myself in Harry. Yes. Unsure of himself, lost, humble, always between two best friends and many such similarities. It wasn’t until Prisoner of Azkaban that I realised what a great character Hermione Granger is.
To be honest, I have never found myself in Hermione. She was snooty, nerdy, miss goody- two shoes and always right! I found her to be a spoilsport in the beginning. And even though she is still all that, the refreshing part about her character was that she was unapologetic about who she is.
She never made excuses for herself and at such an young age knew what she wanted while all I knew at that age was how to quickly finish my homework and watch something on TV.
Imagine the kind of inspiration she is for women who even in their twenties need to be sorry for being true to themselves. She constantly kept pushing her selves and putting her opinions out there without any fear of judgement. She was who she was – take it or leave it.
Between the two boys – Harry and Ron, she was the only sensible character. Harry had his own demons to fight and Ron, well he was the perfect class clown. They both depended on her.
Her constant fight for the elves Rights was endearing. She was passionate about everything she fought for. She was that friend who would do anything to help you – without fear or favour.
For young Indian girls, she was heaven sent. Her loyalty, independence, unapologetically witty sense of humour, never shying away from who she is and always putting herself out there with confidence. She was the ultimate wonder woman of her age.
It would be wrong to not mention other female characters in the Potterverse. Namely, Ginny Weasley and Luna Lovegood. They both had their individuality thanks to Rowling who etched their characters to such details. While one was fiercely independent, the other was slightly leaning on the odd side – but both of them had no qualms to show their true selves and neither did they let others judgement change themselves.
Today, twenty years later they are still an inspiration. Particularly Emma Watson who played the character in the potter movies grew up to be an ideal version of Hermione Granger herself. A strong headed woman who is helping the cause of feminism move forward.
She has opened up a dialogue for todays women to engage in and is an ideal role model for young girls, something I never had at that age. It is amazing how books can give you confidence and strength and Joanne Rowling gifted the world, particularly the girls the perfect role model in Hermione Granger.
What about you? How has Hermione Granger effected you? Share your experience here!