We are getting ready for the January release of Lauren Morrill’s next book, Being Sloane Jacobs! It’s about two girls with the same name who meet at hockey camp and decide, all old-school Parent Trap style, that they’d prefer living the OTHER Sloane’s life. But of course, shenanigans ensue, and before long both girls realize that while it may be hard at times, being yourself is better than pretending to be someone you’re not.
When you’re a teenager, this is a hard pill to swallow. “BE MYSELF? First of all, I don’t know who that is yet, and second of all…I kind of don’t like her very much. I would very much rather be somebody, anybody else…take, for example, Hermione Granger. If I could swap lives with Hermione, that would be so much better than the life I have now.”
Except here are 7 very valid reasons why being Hermione Granger (though we’ve all probably thought about switching lives with her, or Harry, or countless other fictional characters) would actually kind of suck:
1. Being a Baby With Powers No One Could Explain
Hermione grows up to be “the brightest witch of her age” but can you imagine being a little kid with powers in a Muggle world? Hermione probably felt alone a lot of the time, and what’s more- she’s so powerful, she probably could have unintentionally hurt someone with her powers, just like Harry almost did with the snake in Sorcerer’s Stone! When she starts Hogwarts, Hermione feels like an outsider…maybe that had something to do with it.
2. Magic Is the New “Normal.”
When she turned 11 and chose to attend Hogwarts, Hermione was essentially abandoning her Muggle education. You never hear about wizards being taught Math, Science or English…because those things have very little bearing in the Wizarding World…but have you ever thought about what holidays and vacations must have been like for Hermione? Going home to a town where she couldn’t talk about school and probably didn’t understand the more advanced concepts her friends were learning…of course, she was more concerned about defeating Voldemort and saving Harry and Ron from getting into trouble all the time. Which brings me to…
3. Constantly Fighting Evil
From the first-year troll to being tortured by Bellatrix Lestrange in seventh year, Hermione’s had a pretty abnormal childhood. All those things you take for granted or want to escape as a teenager: lectures from parents, clearing your dishes from the table, doing homework, bullies or self-image issues- who has time for that when you’re BFF’s with the Boy Who Lived and constantly dodging Death Eaters? Sure, Hermione is a hero, but there is never a hero’s journey without a cost.
4. Parental Issues
Forgive me, but I think this is one thing the movies did well that the books simply couldn’t, by following Harry’s point-of-view: the scene in Deathly Hallows Part I where Hermione Obliviates her parents? Heartbreaking. She had to leave her family behind knowing she might die before she could return and restore their memories…in which case, who would remember her? It was a selfless act for sure, but losing her parents when she probably needed them most made me wonder how much she even told them about what was going on in the Wizarding World. Kids like to keep their lives separate (and secret) from their parents, but when you’re fighting evil, you probably could use a hug from mom and dad every once and a while.
5. Always Having to Save the Day
We all know it’s true: Harry may have been the Chosen One, but he never would have made it through without Ron and Hermione (the latter especially.) Hermione was always the brains behind the operation, which she never seemed to complain about, but think about your friends: wouldn’t it be totally annoying to have to save their butts all the time…and not always feel appreciated for it?
6. Do Wizards Have Fun?
I thought about this one a lot. Maybe it’s just because, oh I don’t know, there was a WAR going on while they were in school…but very rarely did we see Hermione able to let her hair down (pun intended) and relax. She was always worried about something! A test, an assignment, being able to fit ten classes into a five-class day with a time turner, that her best friend was going to be killed by a Dark Lord, that Ron would never grow up and notice her- the list goes on and on! Some of those are normal teenage concerns, but compound that with the extenuating circumstances of being a powerful witch…Hermione probably longed for nights where she could just sit and watch movies with friends eating too much popcorn, while we were reading Harry Potter wishing we could go on adventures!
7. Magic Isn’t All Fun and Games
Yes, magic made a lot of things easier for Hermione, and there are plenty of fun tricks the witch held up her sleeve…but there are enough bad things in the real, Muggle world- can you IMAGINE if WE had magic too? People “Avada Kedavra”-ing each other all over the place, Dark Wizards, and having to actually STUDY THE ENTIRE GOBLIN WAR HISTORY? I stayed in denial over not receiving my Hogwarts letter for YEARS after I turned eleven (I may or may not still be in denial) but when you think about it, while all the good things in the world would be increased by magic, very few bad things would actually be fixed.
Being Hermione Granger- or Being Sloane Jacobs, for that matter- would probably be fun for a day, or a week. As a witch, I’d get to have my laundry magically folded and never need to wash a dish again, I could cast spells to open jars that are sealed shut and mix potions to get an extra jolt of luck…but I actually love reading about those things more than I would probably enjoy doing them. Reading about Hermione now doesn’t make me want to swap lives with her, but it makes me want to take parts of her with me, after I close the book: the selfless daughter part; the intelligent part; the part who believes in her friends; and the part of Hermione who doesn’t care what other people think about her and is just herself…well, that’s why we all love her to begin with, isn’t it?
So make sure you check out Being Sloane Jacobs, a “funny, charming and heartwarming” story about learning to love yourself!