First off, I’d like to talk about Quidditch itself. It’s quite astonishing that J.K. Rowling was able to build and create an entirely new sport within the HP universe. What’s even more remarkable was how she turned the fictional textbook “Quidditch Through the Ages” into a real encyclopedia-type book with facts about Quidditch. That’s quite neat.
In this chapter, someone is jinxing Harry’s broom during a Quidditch match, and it appears as if Severus Snape is the culprit.
Hermione is quick to think of a solution and doesn’t hesitate setting Snape’s robes on fire to save Harry. Setting someone’s clothing on fire, that’s quite, erm, an action – especially coming from an 11-year-old, an action that definitely would have gotten Hermione into a boatload of trouble. This is more character development for Hermione; it shows how much she values her friends, how far she’s willing to go, and what she’s willing to risk in order to protect the people that matter to her – even if it involves breaking rules (or being an arsonist *nervous laughter*) – which she usually is dead set against.
Furthermore, Hermione’s actions in this chapter manifests exactly why she’s in Gryffindor and not Ravenclaw. She doesn’t weigh the pros and cons of her plan in a logical, methodical manner, she just leaps and go for it. More instances of that will reveal themselves throughout the series. This chapter illustrates that her bravery and willingness to help her friends is a far stronger character trait than being brilliant and clever.
Although she has softened to breaking the rules since becoming pals with Ron and Harry, she still has the inclination to be a know-it-all and think she’s right all the time. Hagrid argues that Snape, a professor, would never jinx Harry nor put him in danger – to which Hermione responds, rather proudly: “I know a jinx when I see one. I’ve read all about them!”
Hate to break it to you sister, but you’re wrong.
If all you’ve ever done is read about a jinx, then no, you may not know one when you see one, especially since your only telltale sign is not blinking. Hermione’s declaration that it’s right because she learned (or read it in a book) speaks to her naivety. While it’s true that reading something in a book makes you know about it, book learning is not everything. I could read a dentistry or anatomy book from cover to cover, but I would never perform a surgery on anyone.
Also, in this chapter, Ron, Harry, and Hermione learn that Hagrid is quite easily tricked into revealing information they shouldn’t know. This is something that the three will use to their advantage throughout the series.
In the next chapter, we will finally see a most wondrous object, the Mirror of Erised. I’m excited.