In most classic children’s literature, a female protagonist, though the center of the story, does not exhibit agency; rather, power “arrives in the form of rescue” and is acted upon her by a male hero (Sweeney). Recent feminist children’s literature, such as The Princess and the Admiral and The Ordinary Princess, empowers the protagonist to be her own rescuer. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series may not fit the expected mold of feminist children’s literature, but one of the main characters, Hermione Granger, is certainly the books’ only girl feminist. Hermione separates herself from other models of girlhood, such as the silent, passive, melodramatic, and superficial girl stereotypes, to formulate her own authentic character. Rather than replicating these models, she makes her unique voice heard. These stereotypes reveal the extent to which the magical world of Rowling’s stories portrays the actual state of society: the wizarding community is not a utopia of gender equality but rather a reflection of our non-fictitious world. Unlike the female students around her, Hermione is an essential element in the books, especially in the battle against Voldemort. Through her manipulation of common narrative tropes and subversion of expectations of femininity, Hermione creates her own construction of girlhood. As a result, she emerges as the most self-actualized character in the Harry Potter series.
Limbach, Gwendolyn, "Conjuring Her Self: Hermione's Self-Determination in Harry Potter" (2007). Honors College Theses. Paper 64.