Harry Potter 1-7: The Emotional Labour of Hermione Granger (and why I cry at Quidditch matches)

So I only did a super fast search of Google Scholar, but I am stunned that no one has written a Master’s thesis on the emotional labour of Hermione Granger. It’s not that she’s constantly doing Harry and Ron’s homework, or cooking for them, or (often invisibly) smoothing their path by working fancy charms and spells to literally make their tasks easier – though of course she is doing all of those things), it’s that she is also and forever explaining Feelings to Harry and Ron. Throughout all seven books (and yes! I am done all seven!) Hermione is counted on to translate emotional reactions or to help Harry and Ron anticipate the way feelings will intersect with action because the two of them appear entirely incapable of navigating an emotional landscape more rugged than a freshly paved parking lot. 

So yes. I finished re-reading the Harry Potter series and I enjoyed some parts of it (quidditch matches) more than others (descriptions of Divination classes). I was reminded that as young adult fiction the series does not do much to mask its themes, nor the Christ-redemption for the greater good message of its series. Though to be honest I was newly struck by Just How Christian this book about wizards is, especially one regularly banned (as recently as September!) for its depiction of magic and “real” spells (let’s all just take a collective moment to pause on the decision to ban a book because it contains Real levitation spells). Anyway – if the folks banning this book are unable to see how focused the series is on sacrifice, consideration of the lowliest among us, acts of mercy and redemption, then who am I – committed atheist that I am – to argue. I would note that in this area academics have been much more prolific (with about 24 000 results on Google Scholar).

Anyway. I am glad to have revisited the series before leaping in and reading it to R. in a few years. Largely because I am going to need to master a wider range of voices than I remembered. And because I’m certain I’ll have forgotten (again) everything that happens by the time I’m ready to read the series to him in what, ten years? fifteen? (Clearly no child should be exposed to Death or Magic before teenage years.)

I will end by admitting that I cried a few times throughout the series. Certainly at some of the obvious places – [insert character death] – but also, strangely?, every time Harry wins a quidditch match. Like I could feel the tears swelling each and every time knowing he was about to win and feeling like What is Wrong With Me that I want to cry right now? (obvious answer – I’m pregnant and random crying is Part of the Package) but seriously, something to do with camaraderie and sport and I go to pieces. Oh well.

Thus concludes a month of Harry Potter. And now… what? I find myself in something of a pickle with nothing to read/listen to on my commute. So #crowdsource time: what audiobook should I listen to next? Go!

1 Comment

Filed under Fiction, Popular Posts, Young Adult Fiction

One response to “Harry Potter 1-7: The Emotional Labour of Hermione Granger (and why I cry at Quidditch matches)

  1. Genius as ever Erin – thank you! I read the HP books with my son from about the 4th one as they were published. He would have been just into his teens when we started. He is now 23 and HP in novel, audio or movie is still his go to for emotional support in times of anxiety!
    Can’t wait for your peer reviewed article on Hermione!

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