Bushy-haired and bossy, Hermione Granger bursts into the railway compartment in Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone, demanding to know whether Harry and Ron have “seen a toad.” In that single moment, the reader is introduced to one of the best-drawn and most endearing characters in modern literature. In J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Ron Weasley plays the role of funny man and foil to the often serious and troubled Harry Potter. But Hermione Granger forges her own ground as a sharp-witted, determined and increasingly sensitive young woman.

Super Clever

Hermione Granger is a super big brainbox. She always comes top in tests, always finishes first in her end of year exams and frequently irritates her classmates as she invariably knows the answer. Hermione loves books. Her favourite haunt is the Hogwarts library — a place she often dashes off to in search of answers. She helps Ron and Harry with their homework and her complete bookworm braininess indicates that perhaps she would have been better placed in Ravenclaw, not Griffendor.

Emotionally Resilient

But Hermione is so much more than a plain old brain on legs. She has huge emotional reserves and a perceptive eye, often seeing things that the dim-witted Ron — he who has “the emotional depth of a teaspoon” — struggles to recognise. She is the one who comforts Harry when he discovers that “notorious mass-murderer” Sirius Black not only murdered his parents, but is his godfather.

Hermione’s Humour

Hermione is also the source of great humour. In the first book, she flaps around trying to think of a way of making a fire, until Harry shouts at her “are you not a witch?” In book six, Harry Potter and the Half-Blook Prince, Hermione joins Professor Slughorn’s Slugclub and at dinner, regales the bemused dinner guest with stories of her father’s dentist practice.

Caring and Strong-Willed

In everything she does, Hermione shows an incredibly strong sense of right and wrong. She punches Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, when he contrives the execution of the hippogriff Buckbeak. Later, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Hermione starts the radical organisation S.P.E.W in order to save house elves from drudgery.

Hermione and Ron

Why Hermione Granger ends up with a clod like Ron Weasley, remains a mystery. Her romance with Viktor Krum — another dimwit — in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, at least had the glamour of international quidditch to give it a rosy glow. Despite this one oddity, it’s broomsticks in the air for J.K. Rowling for creating the one and only smashing witch, Miss Hermione Granger!