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Hermione Granger's Most Clever Moments In Harry Potter

Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger form the trinity at the center of the "Harry Potter" saga. Each of them has their own traits, which complement each other: Harry is the stalwart hero, Ron is fiercely loyal, and Hermione is immensely intelligent. Though every member of this trio is key to the story, without Hermione's brain, they'd probably never have gotten past their first year.

A muggle-born witch, Hermione doesn't have the kind of family history with magic that Ron does. Instead, she uses her intellect to absorb as much reading material on as many subjects as possible, until she is a walking encyclopedia of magic. This means she is often used as an exposition machine: If there's anything going on in the wizarding world that might confuse fans, Hermione can quickly spout off a bit of info that makes everything clear. Hermione also uses her keen powers of observation and sharp wits to help her friends in a number of ways. Sometimes, this means solving clues. Other times, it means putting her knowledge towards empathy and kindness. From spell-casting to potion-brewing, these are Hermione's most clever moments in "Harry Potter."

Fluffy's true purpose

In "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," Harry becomes the youngest Quidditch seeker in a century. He's concerned he'll screw up this opportunity, so Hermione steps up to ease his fears. She leads him and Ron to a trophy case containing a plaque with Harry's father's name on it, indicating his family's long legacy of sporting success. As they head back to their common room, commenting on how everyone knows more about Harry than he does, the staircase begins to move. While this is normal for Hogwarts, this particular switch-up leads them to the forbidden third floor.

Terrified that cantankerous caretaker Argus Filch will find them, Harry, Ron, and Hermione duck into a random room. To their shock, they come face-to-face with a massive, three-headed dog. The dog attacks, and the three kids burst out of the room and use all their might to close the door. While Harry and Ron can't believe someone would let a monster like that into the school, Hermione points out something more important: The dog (who is named Fluffy) was standing on a trapdoor. This means he isn't there by accident — Fluffy is being used to guard something. This observation sets the rest of the plot in motion, as the kids now know that there is something important hidden at Hogwarts.

Setting fires and saving Harry

During Harry's first Quidditch match, his broom starts going crazy. It's almost as though it's trying to buck the young wizard off and send him tumbling to his doom. That's not normally something a broom can do, which indicates to Hermione that someone must be tampering with it. Using a pair of binoculars, she scans the stands and notices that Professor Severus Snape has his eyes fixed on Harry, and is mumbling something.

She swiftly tells Ron that Snape is jinxing the broom. Panicked, he asks what they should do. "Leave it to me," Hermione replies, and springs into action. She makes her way to where Snape is sitting and very quietly casts the spell Lacarnum InflamariThis sets a small fire on Snape's robes. Distracted by the flames, Snape breaks eye contact. Harry's broom stops behaving abnormally, and he goes on to win the game for Gryffindor. 

Hermione does exactly the right thing ... to the wrong person. As is revealed later in the film, the real culprit behind Harry's murder attempt is Professor Quirrell. Luckily, he's sitting in the same area as Snape, and is also affected by the flames. Even though Hermione blames the wrong person, it's her quick response that saves Harry's life.

Hermione's knock-out cupcakes

Even someone as clever as Hermione makes mistakes. Consider her botched Polyjuice Potion in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets." While Ron and Harry are successfully transformed into Draco Malfoy's cronies Crabbe and Goyle, she is mistakenly turned into a cat. What doesn't fail, though, is her strategy for making sure the real Crabbe and Goyle don't barge into the Slytherin common room while Harry and Ron are there talking to Malfoy.

Knowing the two bullies are obsessed with sweets, Hermione bakes two "simple but powerful" magical cupcakes. Harry and Ron wait outside the Great Hall for Crabbe and Goyle to emerge. When they do, they find these enchanted cupcakes floating in midair. Their arms already filled with desserts, the two henchmen don't even question why cupcakes would be hovering in the hall like this. Instead, they grin and dive in. Within seconds, the pair are unconscious on the floor.

Turning back time

There's something strange going on with Hermione in "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban." She keeps appearing out of nowhere, and is somehow taking more than one class in the same period. This mystery gets resolved during the climax of the film, when it's revealed that Hermione has been granted a device called a Time-Turner, which allows her to travel through time, for the purpose of taking more classes.

When Sirius Black is captured and about to be taken back to Azkaban, Harry and Hermione travel back to earlier points of the story, in order to retrieve Buckbeak the hippogriff and fly Sirius to freedom. This entire sequence is basically a showcase of Hermione's cleverness: If she hadn't been paying attention to absolutely everything going on around them, they'd never make it through their rescue attempt without getting caught. 

For instance, Hermione remembers objects flying through Hagrid's window, breaking a jar, and hitting Harry in the back of the head, alerting them to the approaching Minister of Magic. When the moment arrives, she grabs the stones and throws them herself. Later, she recalls they were saved by the call of a wolf, which drew Lupin, fully transformed into a werewolf, away from them. She proceeds to howl like a wolf. If she weren't so observant and quick-thinking, this crazy scheme never would've succeeded.

The Cruciatus Curse

In "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," Alastor Moody becomes Hogwarts' latest Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. He's a tough, strange, almost cruel individual, who appears to have a drinking problem. Of course, we learn later that this man is actually the Death Eater Barty Crouch Jr., who swigs Polyjuice Potion to maintain his disguise.

One particular scene shows off just how disconnected this guy really is. "Moody" is teaching the students about the Unforgivable Curses, which are so terrible, they land the caster in Azkaban for life. His demonstration starts out somewhat funny, as he uses the Imperius Curse to make an arachnid do whatever he wants. Everyone laughs as it dances, but things turn serious when he shows that he can make it jump out the window or drown itself.

When the professor asks for examples of other curses, herbology enthusiast Neville Longbottom offers the Cruciatus Curse. Everyone watches as Moody tortures the poor creature with this brutal spell. Neville is particularly upset by this, and Hermione speaks up in her peer's defense, demanding Moody stop. She's the only one observant enough to see just how much pain this causes Neville. Later, we discover this curse was used on Neville's parents — the pain he experiences in that classroom is deeper than anyone could have known. Hermione's smarts save her friends in all kinds of ways.

The dawn of the Second Wizarding War

The students of Hogwarts have been put through the wringer by the end of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." Not only have they experienced the excitement of the Triwizard Tournament, they weathered the shock that an underage wizard like Harry Potter would be participating, and the death of star competitor Cedric Diggory. To cap it all off, Harry tells everyone that Voldemort is back. 

It's understandable that these students would be thrilled that the school year is over, then. They get to take some time off and not think about the events of the last few months for a while — or what's coming next. In the final moments of the film, students rush to say goodbye. Suddenly, Hermione stops, seemingly overcome by something.

When asked what's wrong, she says, "Everything's going to change now, isn't it?" While everyone else around her is desperate for relief, she realizes that everyone is getting older, and their lives are in very real danger. She's right to feel like nothing will ever be the same again — but for a while, she's almost alone in that knowledge.

Dumbledore's Army

In "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," the Ministry of Magic sends a sadistic witch named Dolores Umbridge to serve as Hogwarts' new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. There's something deeply sinister going on beneath this seemingly normal action. Umbridge has no intention of actually teaching her students how to defend themselves — and that's just what the Ministry wants.

In the aftermath of Cedric Diggory's death, rumors of Voldemort's return have spread. Fudge, the Minister of Magic, is working overtime to quash these whispers. He's also growing increasingly paranoid that Dumbledore is plotting to use his students to steal power. Dolores Umbridge is his spy and an agent of his will: She takes over the school, empowers the worst bullies, and paints Harry as a delusional liar.

In this learning vacuum, Hermione has a brilliant idea to form their own Defense Against the Dark Arts class. Voldemort is back, after all, and they're going to need to prepare themselves for battle. Harry is elected as their teacher and leader, as he's had the most experience fending off evil. This band of heroes becomes known as Dumbledore's Army. Given the Minister's mistrust of Dumbledore, this isn't the sneakiest name they could've chosen, but the idea behind forming the group is genius.

Dumbledore's secret weapon

Harry has a strange connection with Voldemort he doesn't fully understand until the end of the series. What he does know is that this connection allows him to see things the Dark Lord is fixated on. He learns that there is an area of the Ministry of Magic where prophecies are held, and that Voldemort needs to find a specific prophecy about Harry. Eventually, Harry, Ron, and Hermione decide to flee to the Ministry and find the prophecy themselves.

The problem is, there's no way out of the school, and the only chimney not being monitored is Dolores Umbridge's. As they try to escape, an unhinged Umbridge finds them. She sits Harry down and demands he tell her everything, even threatening to use an Unforgivable Curse to make him talk. Hermione, watching this all unfold, yells at Harry to tell her, or she will.

Tell her what? A lie, of course. In a moment of flat-out fear, Hermione comes up with a plan. She tells Umbridge that Dumbledore has a secret weapon hidden in the woods. The kids take her out there, where she meets Hagrid's giant half-brother. As he picks up the nasty little lady, the centaurs arrive and start unleashing their arrows. Wanting no part of this, the giant lets go of Umbridge. She is carried away into the woods by the centaurs, who have little love for her.

Matters of the heart

By the time "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" rolls around, Ron and Hermione are clearly interested in each other, but unwilling to state it out in the open. This tense situation comes crashing down when Lavender Brown becomes obsessed with Ron, who can't help but enjoy the attention. She's always around, fawning over him and calling him her "Won-Won." At one point, Hermione can't take it anymore — she has to run off at the sight of their snogging.

Harry, ever the good friend, follows her. Through her tears, Hermione asks Harry what it feels like to see Ginny kissing Dean. Until now, Harry hadn't told anyone about his crush on Ron's younger sister. He can't hide anything from Hermione, though: She points out that Harry is her best friend, and she's seen the way he looks at Ginny. Not even the secrets of the human heart are hidden from someone as clever as Hermione ... even if she doesn't quite know how to deal with her own.

Protecting her parents

Hermione has a lot of clever moments in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1," but one instance stands out as especially tragic. It occurs during the opening few minutes of the film, and has to do with protecting her parents from the coming storm.

By this point, Voldemort's forces have grown, leading to numerous attacks on the Muggle world. He has to be stopped for good, and the only way to do that is to track down and destroy his remaining horcruxes. With no intention of completing their education at Hogwarts, Harry, Ron, and Hermione agree to find these pieces of Voldemort's soul themselves.

This is a very dangerous task that could easily fail. To make sure her parents know nothing about it, Hermione makes a horrible sacrifice: She erases all knowledge of her from their minds. Although we know very little about the Grangers, it's made abundantly clear that Hermione's mother and father could not be more proud and supportive of their daughter. As such, it is truly devastating when she has no choice but to strip them of her entirely. Only someone with a full grasp of the dangers ahead could have the strength to make such a difficult choice.

Breaking into Bellatrix Lestrange's vault

As part of their quest to destroy Voldemort's horcuxes, the trio have to infiltrate Gringotts. They believe that one of the horcuxes, Helga Hufflepuff's cup, is locked in the Lestrange vault. It's established in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" that Gringotts is the best place to keep something safe, other than Hogwarts. As such, the task of breaking into any of the legendary bank's vaults is virtually impossible.

It's up to Hermione to save the day. She uses her experience brewing Polyjuice Potion to disguise herself as the demented Death Eater Bellatrix Lestrange. Although Hermione is clearly uncomfortable in her role as the murderous witch, she manages to keep herself together long enough to convince the bank that she truly is Bellatrix. Sure, Harry has a hand in helping to make sure they don't ask to see her wand, but few people — or goblins — actually question her identity in the first place. That's all down to Hermione's talent and insight.

Putting brawn before brains

Draco Malfoy proves early on that he's a selfish, spoiled brat who likes to run his mouth. In "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," he reaches a new low when he sees to it that the innocent hippogriff Buckbeak is sentenced to death. What's worse is the fact that he does this because of his own carelessness. When Hagrid introduces his students to the creature, he is very careful to explain how to appropriately approach a hippogriff. Malfoy, of course, ignores this. After being scared and insulted, Buckbeak scratches Malfoy's arm. The brat runs and tells his father, who gets the Ministry of Magic involved. On the day that the sentencing is to be carried out, Malfoy and his friends observe and laugh. 

Infuriated by this entire putrid process, Hermione calls him all sorts of names and holds her wand up to his chin, ready to blast him with a curse. At the last moment, she masters herself and turns to walk away. Malfoy proceeds to chuckle behind her back. With a furious whirl, Hermione swings around and slugs him. Under normal circumstances, resorting to physical violence can hardly be seen as "clever." However, when you've been dealing with someone's rude, offensive, and just plain mean mouth for that long, sometimes the only way to get them to shut up is a punch to the face.