Everyone Wants to be Hermione


November 24, 2012 by Heidi

Hermione Granger from Harry Potter

Like many avid Goodreads users, I have a Challenge Question that I use when people are requesting my friendship.  This is how we weed out those people who are actually interested in talking books with us, and those that are just collecting people to spam their junk at.  Basically if you take a minute to answer my question, we can be friends.  If you don’t bother, I don’t usually accept.  My challenge question is this: If you could live the life of any fictional character, who would it be?

This is one of those things I’ve daydreamed about since I was a little girl.  Getting to live the lives of certain favorite characters is honestly kind of my idea of heaven–something I’d love to get a chance at.  It’s also something that takes a bit more thought than just picking your favorite character.  I mean, I could go on and on about how I love Sorcha from Juliet Marillier’s Daughter of the Forest, but I would not want to step into her shoes for anything because she has to go through so many trying and terrible experiences that I know would break me.

I probably posted this question about a year ago.  I really wish that I had thought to start keeping track of the responses I get (I still haven’t), because they are truly wonderful.  I will admit I was initially surprised that the majority of responses went something like this:

Oh! Oh! I know! Hermione Granger!

I would venture to guess that at least 90% of responses on Goodreads have stated that the character whose life they would most like to live is Hermione Granger from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

Maybe you’re not surprised, but I’ll admit, I’ve been taken aback at how nearly unanimous this choice has been.  After a year of 9/10 of answers state the same thing, it’s kind of started to feel like this:

I crave any response other than Hermione, but the fact of the matter is, would totally step into the life of Hermione as well!  I mean, let’s look at her:

She lives a completely normal (aka mundane) muggle life, completely devoid of magic until at the age of 11 she discovers this whole new world.  I think that all of us bookish people can see throwing ourselves enthusiastically into the wizarding world of Harry Potter.  I mean, come on, finding out that you are a witch is about 10x cooler than finding out you’re a princess.  I think that many of us can identify with Hermione who was a studious goody two shoes who is all too often pulled into breaking the rules by her two best friends.

Hermione gets to have adventures–a lot of them are hard, and scary, and incredibly painful.  There are few things more horrible than having to erase your existence from the mind of your own parents, but honestly?  She doesn’t have to go through anything completely unbearable.  I’d say of the three of them (Hermione, Ron, and Harry), Hermione really has it best.  In fact, she has it better than other friends like Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood as well.  Because Hermione grew up in the muggle world, her and her family weren’t touched by Voldemort’s first reign of terror, she doesn’t have that backlog of horror to feed off of.  She’s incredibly brave, loyal, intelligent, downright clever, and I’m not gonna lie–I’d love to bag a Weasley.

So what about you?  Would you want to be Hermione Granger, or would you rather be someone else?  Let me know here or on Goodreads–if we’re not friends there–we should be!  I love seeing all variety of answers to my question–even when I see Hermione Granger.

Recently, Margot Wood provided what may be my favorite response yet–Willie Wonka! Um…yes, please!


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  1. Oh, hell yeah, I would love to be Hermione. I just recently read Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale, though, and all I can think about is Dashti. She is this totally amazing, clever young woman. I wouldn’t mind being her, either. Have you read that one?

    • Heidi says:

      I have not read that one, but I think I could safely say that just about any of Shannon Hale’s MG heroines would be suitable choices! I will get to Book of a Thousand Days eventually, she’s one of those authors whose entire backlog I fully intend to conquer. 😀

  2. janicu says:

    Oh dang, we’re already friends on goodreads, so I don’t have to answer this question! 😛 I actually have NO IDEA who I would want to be, but I understand the pull of being a character that can do magic. Hmm. I also like the idea of being surrounded by candy, but replace that by books and I’d be cool. I would be ok with being a Clayr librarian from LIRAEL (not a main character, but I don’t need to be one).

    • Heidi says:

      I actually LOVE thinking of non-main characters. My favorite fictional librarian (whose job I’d totally take) would be Lucien from Sandman, who is the librarian for all the books that were dreamed of but never written. Magic is definitely appealing, I love those who think of women like Elizabeth Bennet but then backstep because, honestly? It’d be pretty boring, Darcy or no. 😛

  3. Wow, how funny! Now I don’t remember what I said or even who friended who between the two of us. I’ve been listening to Harry Potter book five all day long though (just drove 9 hours) and I have to agree with the majority that being Hermione for a day would be awesome. I love how she routinely schools Ron and Harry in all things – girls, basic logic, Hogwarts: A History, studying techniques, common sense…she’s truly a powerful woman, even at 15 years old. I love that she has her faults though too – and it’s so cool to see her become more and more daring and less concerned with following the rules as the books go on. So yes, in conclusion: the people who friend you are obviously incredibly intelligent. 😉

    I would LOVE to be Anne Shirley for a day though, or Deryn Sharp, or September, or Ivy Tamwood, or Sophie Hatter. So there’s a few more options… 😀

    • Heidi says:

      Right? Hermione isn’t a character I would have said myself before I saw it so many times, and now I’m like–duh! That’s a great idea! :)

      Yes to Anne Shirley, Deryn Sharp, September, and Sophie Hatter…I don’t know who Ivy Tamwood is but clearly I must find out asap if she makes THAT list!

  4. Once upon a time (we’re talking ~10 years ago, at least), I read an article about or an interview with Philip Pullman in which he talked about the connections formed between readers and characters, and he said something interesting that I’ve thought about frequently ever since: with the best characters, we don’t so much want to BE them as we want to BE FRIENDS with them.

    And every time I think about it, I realize that it’s true. Are there characters who I will claim to want to be? Absolutely. But whenever I think about it more than superficially, I realize that I don’t so much want to be them as I want to be friends with them, help them, live their stories with them. (*ahem* Veronica Mars *ahem*)

    At the same time, maybe this is relevant to why so many people want to be Hermione—she’s not the protagonist, but is instead an outsider brought into Harry’s world to help him (almost to a fault) with her extraordinary talents. In that sense, she’s representative of who we would want to be were we thinking in terms of, “I want to be friends with Harry Potter.”

    Anyway, I would link to the article or interview or whatever it was, but as you’ve probably guessed, I can’t find it. Which is driving me crazy.

    • Heidi says:

      Hehe, that’s a really good point actually. It would be cool to be friends with Harry, but not be him. I’d like to be Hermione, but am not sure I’d want to be friends with her. 😛

      I would totally want to be friends with Philip Pullman’s Lyra though!! I’d be her sidekick any day. If you do find it sometime, drop it by, I’d beinterested in reading it.

  5. Margot says:

    So happy to provide you with your new favorite answer! :)

    • Heidi says:

      That you did! In my narrow mindedness I never even thought about my favorite male characters–of course he should be on the list!

  6. Oh, who wouldn’t want to bag a Weasley? We all love those gingers:) Great analysis of Hermione Granger. I think one of the things I find most intriguing about her is that J. Rowlings has always maintained that there is a lot of herself written into the character of Hemione. Always cool when an author (especially a very private author) publicly puts that out there.

    I don’t know that would choose Hermione though. It’s not an easy question. I don’t know that there is ONE single character whose life I would want to live. It changes all the time and with every book I read. Not an exciting answer but a true one.

    I just read Just One Day by Gayle Forman and I don’t think I would mind living her MC Allyson’s life (for a few days at least.) Just starting out in the world and traveling across Europe with one very cute Dutchman? It may not be spells and life or death situations but it’s no less appealing:)

    • Heidi says:

      Right?! Glad I’m not alone in the Weasley loving camp. 😛

      Hey, there are no wrong answers my friend! Characters who travel are fantastic! Also my own list is fairly long…if I had to choose just one, honestly? I’d go with Jo March, which isn’t life and death or spells either.

  7. elena says:

    When I saw you tweet about this, I immediately thought “Hermione.” It’s because hi, what’s NOT to like about her life? (I mean, you know. Generally.) I think I would most like to be her because I would love to have a friendship like the Golden Trio’s. I am sure I also want many other fictional characters’ lives but I am blanking on them at the moment.

    • Heidi says:

      Hehe, yep! Hermione is a great choice! Like I said, I honestly hadn’t even thought of her when I first posed the question, but of course she’d be on my list! 😀

  8. Andrea says:

    I think, maybe, Millie from the Chrestomanci books. Powerful enchantress, lives in a mansion (admittedly with a government job), and I expect puncturing Christopher’s arrogance would be fun.

    • Heidi says:

      Oooh, I really need to read those! Perhaps they will be my next DWJ venture now that I’ve finished up all of the Howl books. I’m so sad that I just discovered DWJ this year, but of course also thrilled because that means I have tons of books to read. I love her flawed characters, Sophie Hatter would totally be on my list!

  9. […] Bunbury in the Stacks says Everyone Wants to Be Hermione […]

  10. Nafiza says:

    I think I’d be Bloody Jack from L. A. Meyers’s series. The adventures she has… (and some pretty boys too, haha).

    • Heidi says:

      Nafiza, I JUST checked out the first Bloody Jack book on audio last week! Haven’t started listening to it yet, but I’m sure I’m gonna love her already.

  11. I love this post! 😀 I don’t even remember who friended who amongst the two of us, but I miiiight have given Hermione as an answer. It’s definitely one of the easiest and most wonderful ideas that comes to mind! :) Truthfully though, I’d love to be Puck from The Scorpio Races because Thisby is so beautiful or Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice because…well…DARCY. ‘Nuff said. Or perhaps Anne Elliot so I’d get Captain Wentworth. *swoons* Like you, I wouldn’t pick Sorcha because her ordeal was painful and the losses she bore were great too, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love to live in the world Marillier created. Perhaps I’d be Caitrin from HB as I love that realm or I’d be Evie from The Diviners since The Roaring 20s is amazing or Lucy Pevensie because I’d kill to go to Narnia. Or I’d be Eowyn because she is SO awesome! I don’t know…there are so many people I’d love to be really. Eowyn is probably what I’d go with in the end though because I love Middle Earth with a burning passion. :)

    OH, also, I’d probably be Ginny if I had to go with a Harry Potter character. I’ve always been more of a fan of Harry than the Weasley’s to be honest. It’s just something about those green eyes and jet black hair that gets to me EVERY TIME.

    • Heidi says:

      Hehe, yes! But day to day life might be a bit tedious as Elizabeth Bennet or Anne Elliot, and Puck does have it pretty rough with her parents gone. I would totally rock Lucy Pevensie! Definitely her of the four kids. Eowyn is awesome, she’s one of the first fantasy women who really made me pump my fist.

      Ginny’s awesome! She’s also probably the most powerful out of all of them, so you’d be a badass. I approve (but I’d still rather be Hermione :P).

  12. I saw this days ago and I can’t stop thinking about it because I can’t pick who I would want to be…THERE ARE TOO MANY CHOICES!! I totally agree with Hermione for so many reasons and I def would love to bag a Weasley 😛

    To be honest though…after A LOT of thought I think I *would* actually enjoy being Liadan or Clodagh because I relate to them in a lot of ways (which is kind of sad, really) and also WOOOOOOOOOO those love interests!! Plus I want to live near a forest and love the “Other” inhabitants…

    …but even more than these characters I think my number 1 choice is Cimorene from The Enchanted Forest Chronicles. She is totally no nonsense, strong HER BEST FRIEND IS THE KING OF DRAGONS AND A WITCH WHO CAN TALK TO CATS and she eventually marries the king of the WHOLE FOREST!! MY FAVORITE!! I have always associated myself with her though, she was really my first heroine growing up (Dorothy was too childish for me.)

    YAAYY what a fun post!

    • Heidi says:

      Hehe, there’s an insane list of great choices, and Hermione’s definitely one of them. Being Liadan would not be a bad choice at all by me, again, she goes through some rough stuff, but nothing unbearable–and she gets Bran out of the deal. I mean…who among us wouldn’t want to grow up in Sevenwaters? I seriously need to get on The Enchanted Forest Chronicles already…2013 goal to make Alyssa happy? 😛

  13. Sandra says:

    That’s a hard one.

    I’d like to think I could be practical minded enough for Susan StoHelit from the Discworld series… She’s clever and fearless and doesn’t fit in but doesn’t let it bother her, much. Besides, who wouldn’t want the power to walk inbetween time and beat up the monters under the bed!

    (I do like the above vote for Cimorene though!)

    A large part of me is indeed inclined towards Hermione. She’s certainly one of the first to come to mind. I think it’s easier to imagine being her because it’s so close to the daydreams of plenty of bookish folk, to fall into another world rather than to be born into it. In some ways as a character I like the very similar Annabeth from the Percy Jackson books better as a character, but she gets put through a lot more pain and from a young age!

    Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors, and I adore his characters, but besides briefly thinking of Lucien (all the dreams of the authors-but working for Dream and running the Dreaming could be a seriously high cost) I think his characters go through too much pain to be really jealous of!

    • Heidi says:

      Um…I’d want the power to walk inbetween time and beat up monsters under the bed! *Marks off another on Discworld list of must reads.*

      I totally feel ya on Gaiman characters! I did mention that I wouldn’t mind being Lucien myself, but most of the bigger characters do have to put up with lots of crap/are too far from human. Though…I don’t think I’d mind being Yvaine from Stardust. :)

      • Sandra says:

        Oh, good point. I forgot about Yvaine! Though being immortal while your love isn’t… I guess it depends how easy his is to replace 😉

        • Heidi says:

          Didn’t he somehow end up having as long of a life as she though? At least that’s what happens in the movie–it’s been a lot longer since I read the book!

  14. I’m sure I answered Hermione to your question haha – for all the reasons you listed and then some. She is not only a great role model, but a strong and brave character that those of us who care about school and work can use almost as validation, confirmation that we’re not losers or just odd for having these values. And I’m sure those who do friend request you all have many similar personality traits just by being part of goodreads and possibly the book blogging community. But I do think that Ginny would be the other Harry Potter character I wouldn’t mind being – especially because I prefer Harry to Ron personally.

    • Heidi says:

      Yes! I love how you put that, Amanda. Hermione is total validation for those of us who are studious rule-followers that we’re still cool–and I think this is a great thing for kids out there to have to read! I agree with you that Ginny would be the other good choice. I’d actually choose Tonks because I absolutely adore her (and Lupin), but only if there could be a few REWRITES.

  15. Aw, I’d love to be Hermione. She knows everything, gets to hook up with Ron, is kickass at spells, and if you go with the movies as well, looks like Emma Watson! :) There are a lot of characters I’d love to be: Thursday Next, Tevra (from Taming the Forest King), and Valentine Wiggin are a few that come to mind.

    • Heidi says:

      Um yeah…who would say no to looking like Emma Watson? She never even had to deal with Hermione’s massive front teeth!

      I haven’t read Tevre! Clearly I ought to.

      I only made it to the third Ender’s Game book and it’s been like 15 years so I don’t really remember Valentine at all…still approve. 😛

  16. VeganYANerds says:

    I guess HP is one of those series that so many people read? But I don’t think I would have picked Hermione.. in fact I’m wondering what I said or maybe you requested me because I can’t remember!

    Willy Wonka wins!

    • Heidi says:

      Yeah, Willy Wonka totally wins! I don’t remember what you said either, or if I requested you. I definitely think the Hermione thing has to do with how hugely popular that series is.

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