I love this chapter because this is where Harry, Ron, and Hermione will have become the ultimate best-est of friends and the unstoppable trio that will define the entire series! Heck yeah!
And it only took a full-grown mountain troll.
Ahh, Hermione. Aside from this chapter establishing our trio’s friendship, it also offers a lot of insight into Hermione’s character.
I previously mentioned that she’s one of, if not my ultimate favorite character in the HP universe. Until this chapter, we are led to believe that Hermione is a stuck up, insufferable, know-it-all (whew, quite harsh words for an 11-year-old). Her overall demeanor is not endearing; she is not pleasant to be around with; thus for all of her time in Hogwarts up to this time, she has not made one single friend – as evident by the following exclamation from Ron:
It’s no wonder no one can stand her,” he [Ron] said to Harry as they pushed their way into the crowded corridor, “she’s a nightmare, honestly.”
We don’t really know anything about Hermione pre-Ron and Harry. But if I had to guess, I’d say she’s always been an outcast because of her smarts. I imagine she was ostracized from any social groups she tried to be a part of simply because she has always been smarter than everyone her age. As a young girl, it’s hard to understand why people won’t be friends with you simply because you are of above average intelligence. In light of this, Hermione developed a defense mechanism to help her deal with her social status: become what everyone assumed she was – a know-it-all.
Without any friends, all Hermione has are her books and her intelligence. Fear becomes a motivation for her; if she won’t measure up, she’s scared that she won’t succeed. Her rigorous studying, pompous attitude, and snobbish demeanor are all because she fears failure.
The troll incident allowed Harry, Ron, and Hermione to bond in a most unique way. When the professors catch them with an unconscious mountain troll in the girls’ bathroom, they all knew they are about to get into a world of trouble. But then, Hermione – the teacher’s pet, the stickler for rules, the one desperate for approvals and accolades – uses her smarts and lies to the teachers to get the three of them out of a jam.
But from that moment on, Hermione Granger became their friend. There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.