I’m reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to my daughter. We’re going to Harry Potter World, and I want her to fall into Harry’s magical world. You can’t walk down Diagon Alley and think, “Wow!” unless you’ve read at least one book.
But more importantly, I want her to discover and admire the incredible character of Hermione Granger. Hermione is a know-it-all, and she grates on our two heroes – and on readers – when they begin their Hogwarts education. But she quickly becomes their best pal, and she’s no damsel in distress.
Whenever the gang is cornered, she’s the witch with the answers. Emma Watson’s a beauty, but Hermione is described as offbeat, with her long frizzy hair and regular frown. She wears long wizard robes, not tight jeans and low-cut, body-clinging t-shirts. It’s refreshing. She’s the Superheroine I want my daughter to know. Notice the close spelling of Hermione and heroine. A coincidence? I don’t think so.
Of course, Superhero movies feature Superheroes, not Superheroines. The female leads in most comic book movies are a feminist mom’s nightmare. They have more courage and sass than the early films, but it’s always a sexual sass. Wink wink, I’m wearing a size-two dress, let’s hit the sack. (Okay, Lois Lane defies all.) But Pepper Potts from Ironman? Rachel from the Dark Knight? The over-the-top sexuality of Halle Berry’s Catwoman? Mary Jane from Spiderman?
Thank you, J.K. Rowling, for Hermione Granger.