Let’s talk about Hermione. By that, of course, I mean let’s really overanalyze her character and make theoretical presumptions about her mindset without having read the books. What, you don’t want to talk about Hermione? You just want a review of the movie?
No. We’re talking about Hermione.
I love this character. Hey – I see that smug smile on your face, and no, I don’t mean it that way! I mean I care about this character because I empathize with her. I like her approach to life … unless of course what I really like is my assumption of what her approach to life is. Let’s think about this – she’s muggle-born, and that means she’s doomed to be mocked, scorned, and called a – cover your ears, kids – mudblood. Ouch. So, putting myself in her shoes, I think about what the best way to handle the insecurity that comes with such a burden would be.
Here’s the cool thing about wizardry: it’s established by Hagrid early on in the franchise that pretty much any wizard can cast the same spells with about the same effect as any other wizard, after enough practice. There isn’t much in the Harry Potter world, or at least not the cinematic world, to suggest that the purebred wizards always do better wizarding than those with human blood mixed in. So, it would seem that being a great witch or wizard is not determined solely by nature, but is in fact largely just know-how. Essentially, in a world in which everyone has access to the same spells, and with practice can use them to about the same effect, whoever has the most knowledge has the most power.
Let’s bring it all back to Hermione. She could have handled her insecurity about being muggle-born in a number of negative ways. However, Hermione, in her awesomeness, was wise enough to instead take on a pursuit of knowledge, which would naturally give her power over most other witches and wizards regardless of bloodline. This is where the genius of Hermione lies; it’s not in her book smarts, but in her passion for learning. She doesn’t need to be a chosen one, a prodigy, or a legend in order to have power. She has her brain. So, when I sat down to watch the final film in the franchise, I was waiting to see how good ol’ Hermione ends up.
I’ll come back to that in a moment, but first let’s get the real review-ish part of this review out of the way. The film looks as good as its last two predecessors, with a score that’s about the same, although maybe slightly vamped up. The story is by and large very fascinating because it keeps the audience asking new questions while simultaneously answering old questions. I was mostly sucked in, although it’s hard for me to care about what happens to Harry as much as I care about what happens to Little Miss You-Know-Who. I could have used more focus on the relationships in this than on the Horcruxes, but it’s still cool all in all. I love the Snape twist. I was actually very thankful for the epilogue scene because the series didn’t feel like it had enough closer without it, and it made it a little easier to say goodbye to these guys.
But Hermione. What was her reward for her brilliance? Surely J.K. would reward being wise more than being chosen by fate, right? After all, to do otherwise would essentially value superstition and luck over reason and thinking. Guess what! In this movie, Hermione has more bad ideas than good ones, feels like a side character, marries Ronald, and is upstaged by the outstanding development of … wait, I have to go look up his name again … oh, right, his name’s Neville Longbottom. I forgot. I’m not making it up; I really did.
I’d have jumped up and cheered had the wand Harry was using, upon flying into the air, flew through the sky over to Hermione, but noooooo . . . it makes far more sense for it to go to Longbottom. Look, Longbottom is allowed to really grow as a character, and he’s allowed to avenge his parents, but it’s just not right for him to be given more glory than Hermione. Heck, when I was a little boy, I’d get to suck on a red Dum Dum lollipop if I was reasonably well-behaved at the doctor’s office. That’s a decent prize for a small feat, but since Hermione has just been flippin’ brilliant throughout the whole franchise, she deserves a lot more than getting to suck on a redhead dum-dum for the rest of her life. Does it show that I don’t particularly care for Ronald? I really don’t. His only role in the franchise seems to be showing up, eating, panicking, swearing, and leaving, and I had no interest in seeing him together with Hermione, who honestly seemed to have more chemistry than Harry anyway.
I digress. Wait, no I don’t. I’m still not totally okay with this. I care about Hermione, and I don’t even know if she ever gets to reunite with her parents. The movie could have focused on her a lot more than it did, but on the whole, it was a good, fun film that seemed to give the series the completion it deserved. It just didn’t give Hermione what she deserved. Ten points from Gryffindor.