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Harry Potter's Invitation to the World

by Vickie Ewell


Chapter 22 – Harry Meets Hermione Granger
(HP Chapter 6)

The rat continued to sleep on Ron’s lap. The only effect he had on Ron was irritation. Ron had tried to turn him yellow the day before, to make him more interesting, but the spell hadn’t worked. Yellow is akin to gold, and the kids are still a toad.

Ron pulled out his battered and chipped wand to show Harry. The tip was glinting with something white. Even the core of white unicorn hair was nearly poking out of the end. Unicorn hair tells us something about Percy as well as Ron. Both have the potential to become the White Stone.

Yet, from the wand’s battered appearance, we also learn that Ron’s hand-me-downs were thrashed. Percy’s power (his pride) has only been destructive, but Ron’s desire for new things wasn’t because he was materialistic. He really did need a new wand. However, the tip was glinting white, which means that for Ron, the Point (or divine essence within) had been found.

When Ron raised the wand, Neville walked in again, but this time he had a girl with him. She was already dressed in her robes. In a bossy tone, she asked if they had seen Neville’s toad, then didn’t bother to listen to Ron’s reply. Instead, she stared at Ron’s wand. The inference here is that she represents our pushy, mental faculties. “Oh, are you doing magic?” she challenged him. “Let’s see it, then.” Without being invited to stay, she sat down to watch the show.

Ron felt intimidated, but cleared his throat and attempted to cast the spell he used the day before. As expected, nothing happened. Scabbers remained gray and fast asleep. However, I have always wondered if the problem was because Pettigrew was not really a rat. Ron did put emotion behind the spell. He desired to make the rat more interesting, so he meant it, but he chose the color yellow, an alchemical color that Pettigrew certainly didn’t deserve.

Through the help of her mental reasoning, the girl tried to figure out why the spell didn’t work. First, she inquired if the spell was a real spell. Then she boldly told Ron that even if it was, it wasn’t a very good one. She’s acting like our inner critic. Her justification was that the spells she had personally experimented with have all worked for her. Like many of us, she had difficulty understanding things that lay outside of her own experience.

The girl was from a Muggle family, so she was surprised at her invitation, but she felt pleased because Hogwarts was the best school there was for teaching Witchcraft. Granted, she probably didn’t realize she was insulting Ron, but if she did, she didn’t care. She blasted the boys with her forceful personality in the same way that Draco blasted Harry in the robe shop. She talked very fast and almost non-stop. She had learned all of her schoolbooks by heart already – and hoped that would be enough. “I’m Hermione Granger, by the way, who are you?”

Although Hermione gave us a quick peek into her insecurities and possible reason for her insensitive attitude, Harry quickly glanced over at Ron. For a moment, he felt a little bit of fear. He wondered if he was supposed to have memorized his schoolbooks. He felt relieved, however, at Ron’s stunned look. So Harry introduced himself to Hermione.

“Are you really?” Hermione said. “I know all about you, of course.” Her word choice painted her to be a bit conceited, as well as too straightforward for the boys’ comfort. We can see that she was addicted to studying and placed her faith in books. Harry was surprised to learn that he was in a couple of Wizarding books. However, Hermione was not impressed with Harry’s lack of knowledge. “I’d have found out everything I could if it was me,” she said. She had no tolerance for those who made different choices from those she would have made. Apparently, she’s the type of person who believes she’s always right.

The conversation suddenly turned to the Hogwarts’ houses. Hermione was sort of like a whirlwind. The boys could hardly get a word in edge wise. “Do either of you two know what house you’ll be in?” She was hoping for Griffindore, but supposed Ravenclaw would be okay.

But before either of the boys could answer, she announced that she and Neville needed to get back to finding his toad. Before they left, she told Harry and Ron that they better change into their robes because they would be arriving at Hogwarts soon. Since she has a strong mothering urge, she made me wonder what her own mother was like.

It’s no wonder that Ron’s first impression of Hermione was that she was a complete nightmare. “Whatever house I’m in,” he said after she left, “I hope she’s not in it.” Then he tossed his wand back into his trunk.

Whatever he was feeling when he wanted to show Harry the inadequacy of that spell, it was gone. The spell came from one of his twin brothers, and he was now sure it was some type of joke. They probably knew the spell was a dud when they gave it to him. We see firsthand, the type of experiences that Ron has had with his brothers and have a clearer understanding of why he felt insecure. He was a pure blood little brother that couldn’t even turn his pet rat yellow.

All of the Weasleys have been placed in Griffindore, including Ron’s parents, but the sorting involved more than just bloodlines. Ron didn’t think Ravenclaw would be so bad. “But imagine if they put me in Slytherin.” Notice that, like Hermione, he didn’t say “us,” he said ME. Imagine if they put ME in Slytherin. This was the second time Harry had been confronted with the idea that being sorted into Slytherin was bad.

Harry was concerned about Ron’s change in mood and steered the conversation to Ron’s brothers in a more positive way.