It’s almost as if the Harry Potter series were written by a man, eh?
Listen. Harry was some sort of chosen-one/prophet/magical messiah. You can’t expect him to do something as mundane as homework, can you? That’s girl stuff!
No Child Left Behind.
Seriously, I never read the books so I’m surprised Harry was that degree of doofus.
Harry is off having an adventure, so it makes sense that the women in his life stay home to keep up appearances.
I don’t know. I know there are people who use Harry Potter as an illustration about the patriarchy, but I think Harry Potter is delightfully subversive even while following Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey. Harry is the main subject, but only because he had a brush with destiny (dear God, he’s a Skywalker). Ron’s an idiot. And Hermione…well, OK, a quote from the Deathly Hallows movie
**Harry:**You’re a genius, Hermione! Really!
Hermione: Actually I’m highly logical, which allows me to look past extraneous detail and perceive clearly that which others overlook!
She’s the genius, one of the best witches in ages, who will nonetheless be overlooked by the Death Eaters because her parents are Muggles.
Which, being a Trekkie, I suppose I could compare Hermione to Spock: Kirk isn’t the brightest. I’m not just talking about the last two movies where he’s the impulsive drunkard step-son of an abusive drunk; even on TOS. And who almost always saves the day? Spock. Who gets insulted with racist comments at the end of almost every episode? Spock. Kirk gets the accolades for nearly destroying the Enterprise and his flying kicks and two-armed chops to the shoulder.
And much like Star Trek, the smart character is popular. The kids know who the real hero is.
And I think the comparison is apt: both Spock and Hermione Granger are going to do it because they both know it’s the right thing to do, for the greater good. As fun as it would be to see Hermione just say, “No, it’s your homework, you do it,” she knows about the legend and knows what’s at stake.
And as far as J. K. Rowling goes, I think she probably pushed it pretty hard, and tbh I don’t expect perfection from someone whose first book was a freaking Harry Potter book, which she wrote as a single mother on welfare.
My favorite part is in Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows when Hermione says to Harry, “I don’t mind helping you out as long as we’re fighting He Who Must Not Be Named, but have you ever thought about what you’re going to do after this? If you still want to be an auror, Harry, you’re going to have to learn to do a lot of this stuff yourself.”
I love the Harry Potter books. I especially love the way J.K. captures the school environment. We all know the Hermione Grangers who get great grades and save the asses of the kids who are smart but not willing to put in the work. We all know kids who have charm and get others to do their work for them. I had a friend in college who was in a ton of my classes; I remember we had one 50 minute class that he repeatedly showed up 30 minutes late to! And of course I told him what the homework assignments were anyway. I think her characters ring true.
Did it suffer from the same limitations lots of books and stories do, where the women were supporting characters to the men? Sure. Absolutely. I’d love to see J.K. Rowling write a story with a central female character. However, Harry Potter is just so good. I’d rather enjoy the book she did write than speculate about the one she could have written.
Maybe, maybe not.
Highly logical Non emotion-driven people can sometimes have an impossible time trying to make a decision, as reported by Antonio Damasio. This was parodied in an episode of (the increasingly not witty any more) BBT, The Indecision Amalgamation.
Star Trek’s Spock, you’ll recall, often felt that the logical choice was to give up, given his very precise odds. Kirk felt that ‘often any action is better than no action’. Would Spock have said "It was… fun. Oh, my… "?
This is a major part of the premise of Ancillary Justice, that an AI with no emotional capacity will take forever to make decisions because it will just be comparing endless lists of minutiae to find the “optimal” course. So spaceships love their crews, stations love their residents (although they also like some people more than others).
Truth be told, Star Trek VI is my favorite Trek movie mostly because it’s a Spock movie. Granted, it’s after he’s embraced that he’s half-human, but it’s still logic that wins in the end.
Paul Atreides did his homework, and he was the effing Kwisatz Haderach. I’m pretty sure Neo never did any homework, though.
Arguably, that’s because Dune was (substantially) about a society where the Butlerian Jihad and general feudalism had made the production of ultraspecialized humans through training and conditioning processes that ranged from ‘intense’ to ‘srlslyWTF?’ a normal feature; while The Matrix had man/machine interfaces that could write complex skills directly into humans in a matter of seconds(how the neurons even rearrange themselves that fast is unclear).
That’s actually one of the really creepy aspects of Dune. Mentats, Suk Doctors, various other flavors of humans more or less wholly molded for specific functions and often stripped of agency across certain domains.
To say nothing of chairdogs.
I was always bothered by the lack of a computer catalog or card catalog system in the Hogwarts library. It would have saved Hermione so much time.
I would imagine such a thing would just be extra slag to smelt out of the already-unwieldy plot. They can’t have computers (it’s muggle tech and these guys can’t even handle driving a car), and any magical card catalog or computer-alike would just need to be conveniently misenchanted/actively hostile as needed for the plot.
Better to have nothing at all and let nearly all the research happen offstage.
For that matter, applying some basic hypertext and cut and paste concepts to the amalgamated Daily Prophet archives could have made the vast majority of Order of the Phoenix superfluous.
There was also some level of government restriction. Recall that Ron’s dad’s job with the Ministry of Magic involved controlling enchanted objects that might end up in and be usable by muggle hands, and that his flying car that his kids borrowed was somewhat subversive.
I always felt like there was room in Harry Potter canon for some enterprising, muggle-born wizard to blend magic with the centuries of advancement that the wizards more or less ignored. It could go in a positive direction, like magic knowledge suddenly much more widely shared via something Internet like, or a darker one, with a wizard handing out enchanted rifles to muggle partisans.
Really, the world-building of Harry Potter doesn’t hold up to a light breeze, so this is all moot.
Wizard-Muggle collaboration at the highest levels of government, but no Cold War weaponization/intelligence programs? No time-turners for the Delta Force?
And other than working for the Ministry or the dozen or so people running shops in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, what does the wizard economy look like?
And are there American wizards?