In the magical world of Harry Potter, Hermione Granger stands out. Her parents are Muggles, but still, she is a witch. How? In this article, I’ll explain everything you need to know about Hermione’s heritage, her parents, and how exactly she is a witch (and who told her so).
How is Hermione a witch? Heritage in the Harry Potter universe explained
The question of heritage in the Harry Potter universe is very important, as the lack of tolerance towards certain groups has been central to some of the conflicts in the books. The division is made by the blood purity or blood status principle, a concept used to distinguish different families within the Wizarding World. There are three main groups according to this principle:
- Pure-blood – This group encompasses different witches and wizards with no known non-magical family members. This is the “cleanest” among the groups, as the magical ancestry is fully present in both the maternal and the paternal lineage. Magical parents are called Squibs if they give birth to a non-magical child.
- Half-blood – This group encompasses witches and wizards who have some Muggle heritage. This combination came into being when pure-bloods mixed with Muggles, but the magical skills have been passed onto the next of kin.
- Muggle-born – This group encompasses those witches and wizards with magical abilities but are born into a Muggle (non-magical) family. The magical abilities are usually passed on by having a distant (possibly even unknown) magical family member, but the child’s parents and other close relatives are Muggles.
Since Hermione Granger herself is a Muggle-born witch, we will analyze her story in the following paragraphs.
Did Hermione’s parents know she was a witch?
As for her heritage, it is known that her parents were Muggles and dentists by profession. Although they were a tad bemused by her strange powers, they were still very proud of her.
In a very sad moment in the series’ final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Hermione uses a false memory charm on her parents, making them think they are Wendell and Monica Wilkins, a childless married couple whose biggest ambition is to move to Australia.
Hermione basically cut all her family ties with this act, but she did it to ensure their safety amid the Second Wizarding War since Voldemort would have surely made them the targets of his revenge.
After the War, she married Ron Weasley, and the couple had two children together. She worked in the Ministry of Magic for years before ultimately becoming the Minister of Magic in 2019.
How did Hermione find out she was a witch?
Since Muggle-born witches and wizards don’t actually have relatives who could explain magic to them, they are unaware of their powers for most of their lives. They might be subjectively aware of something different, but they can hardly explain their powers or ask their parents to do so. The same happened to Hermione Granger, who was considered a bit odd by her parents, but they were still exceptionally proud of her.
So, how did she find out? Well, there is a procedure in such cases, so we can readily assume – since Rowling never revealed any exact details – that Hermione was also subject to that procedure.
Namely, due to the Muggles’ ignorance of magic, the school – in this case, Hogwarts – sends a staff member to the child’s home to talk to the parents and explain them the whole situation. This happens before a child turns 11 and is ready for Hogwarts.
Usually, the school sends an owl with the invitation, but in the case of Muggle-born (and not Half-blood, as witnessed in the case of Harry Potter himself) children, the staff members do that. This is because Muggles don’t react positively to such news before getting extra information, something they cannot get from a letter but can from a person standing next to them.
So, it is safe to assume that Hermione Granger was visited by a staff member from Hogwarts, who informed her parents of her abilities and offered all the help needed. How did Mr. and Mrs. Granger react?
That, we also do not know because Rowling never wrote that scene in the books (nor was it shown in the movies), but since Hermione said that they were proud of her and they are later seen with her in Hogsmeade, it is safe to assume they accepted the facts and moved on with their lives as if nothing strange had happened.