I’ve tried a few simple spells just for practice and it’s all worked for me. Nobody in my family’s magic at all. . . . I’ve learned all our course books by heart, of course, I just hope it will be enough – I’m Hermione Granger, by the way, who are you?

Hermione’s introduction shows she is a perfectionist, deeply studious, and a little too eager to flaunt her skills. She gives Harry and Ron a lecture about spells before she even remembers to say her name. Hermione’s singlemindedness marks her character, and her focus and intensity become traits the boys eventually appreciate. At first, she does not know how to make friends at Hogwarts because she is too concerned with the rules, but the same traits which make her bossy and off-putting help her to save the Sorcerer’s Stone at the end.

I hope you’re pleased with yourselves. We could all have been killed – or worse, expelled. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to bed.

Halfway through the book, Hermione still has not learned how to make friends. She follows Harry and Ron to their duel with Draco because she wants to tell them off, not because she intends to participate. The potential for danger at Hogwarts has not completely set in for Hermione, and she genuinely sees being expelled as the worst-case scenario. Unlike Ron or even Harry, she does not have ties to a magical lineage to fall back on if she cannot continue at Hogwarts. School is her only way into the wizarding world and she will do anything she can to keep that tie.

Books! And cleverness! There are more important things – friendship and bravery.

At the end of the book, Hermione is taken aback that Harry thinks she is a better witch than him, despite the fact she’s been saying it all along. Hermione uses logic to solve Snape’s potion puzzle, but she knows Harry’s qualities of loyalty and bravery will help him defeat Voldemort. When Hermione faces down death, she realizes that the thing she prizes so much—her mind—can only take her so far. She learns to value the strengths of the people around her along with her own.