I had a piece at Reuters last week, about J.K. Rowling’s new Harry Potter story, and about how, for me, Hermione has always been the real heroine of the series:
For many young women, Hermione was (and still is) a role model: a smart, determined young woman who wasn’t afraid of working hard or of taking a principled political stand. Like Ron, she stood in the shadow of The Boy Who Lived, but he wouldn’t have lived through all seven books without her. And, despite Rowling’s regrets at writing them as “just” friends, reading about a teenage boy’s fierce respect for a teenage girl’s intellect and scholastic drive contributed to my belief that men and women can be close, fiercely loyal friends without sex or romance.
Hermione is a role model for readers, and she’s also a trailblazer for our current literary and popular culture heroines. You can draw the line from Hermione Granger to The Hunger Games’ Katniss Everdeen and to Divergent’s Tris Prior, all of whom are thinkers, fighters and political activists whose stories have romantic subplots that are important but are not what define the female characters. Just as Hermione repeatedly saves her friends, these characters repeatedly save the day to create political and social revolution. You can imagine Tris, Katniss, and Hermione — all these smart, brave, politically astute young women for whom dating is really not a top priority — meeting each other for the first time and recognizing each other as kindred spirits.
It’s unclear whether this new story signals Rowling’s return to writing about the lives of Harry, Ron and Hermione. Certainly, she will be returning to the Potter universe as she writes three new screenplays about “magizoologist” Newt Scamander, which are set well before Potter’s birth.
Like so many other fans, I’m hoping for more. I want to see the young woman who helped define a generation grow up and shape the world. I want to know what kind of Minister for Magic she’d be. I want to watch her friendships deepen and mature.
You can read the whole thing here.