Remember the creatures who have protected the young wizards in the Harry Potter series? They called them Patronuses. Why did they call them that? Patronus in Latin means “protector”. You can summon your Patronus by using the Patronus Charm, saying the words: Expecto Patronum, which literally means “waiting for the protector” (also in Latin, of course). Only a powerful wizard can perform this spell without harming himself or the others.
Hermione Granger’s Patronus is an otter.
If you stay with us, you will learn a little more about these cute little animals, why the otter is Hermione’s protector, and we will remember together how the Patronus Charm works.
A cute little animal called otter
This mobile, tireless and playful animal with a lithe body is said to be the best swimmer of all land beasts. It is an extremely timid and restrained animal that lives a solitary life out of a need for a large living space. But when in a familiar environment, otters can learn to trust humans and even play with them.
Due to its body structure, it is very agile under the water with an exceptional ability to swim and dive. She can endure in the water for a very long time and swim in all directions so that the fish she has chosen for her prey can only escape with the utmost effort.
It’s not a coincidence that this little animal was destined to be Hermione Granger’s Patronus, some similarities are visible, right? But that’s not the only reason why it’s an otter and not some other animal but we are going to tell you about that later.
Hermione Granger is a smart and intelligent witch. Not everything she has to offer comes from all those books she loves to read. She remains cool in terrifying situations and knows how to improvise. Even when she is not sure about something or cannot do it on her own, she knows exactly who to call and how to organize whatever is needed. Whether it is her political views that made her that way or just her survival instinct paired with knowledge, she always seems to know what to do. Even if she does not share her plan until it is executed.
“Expecto Patronum” vs. Dementors
Expecto Patronum is an extremely demanding spell that requires the wizard to have a very high concentration and composure in, particularly dangerous situations. The basic and only effect of this spell is a defense against Dementors.
It is performed in such a way that the wizard must point his wand at the Dementor and correctly pronounce the incantation of Expecto Patronum. At that moment, it would be good to concentrate on something beautiful, an event or a loved one, to curb all emotions, especially fear and a sense of helplessness.
When an experienced wizard summons the Patronus, it takes the form of an animal or a being that is in some way important to the individual who cast the spell. The Patronus of less experienced wizards has no defined shape but looks like some kind of nebula, which will confuse Dementor, at least for a moment. Often Patronus is inherited from a wizard father or a witch mother, due to the similarity of character (as in Harry Potter and his father James).
As we have already said, Expecto Patronum is a special charm that is used as a defense against Dementor, which means that it is not a combat spell and is not used in duels.
Dementors are beings of darkness who feed on the worst human feelings, most often fears. Until Lord Voldemort won them over to his side, the Dementors were the guardians of Azkaban, the famous prison from the Harry Potter series.
The shape of the Dementor is similar to a human – they are about 3 meters high and covered with dark cloaks with a hood. They have no eyes, and they use human emotions to navigate the space. In the place where their mouth should be, they have a big hole which they use to suck the souls of their victims which is called a “dementor’s kiss”.
To show the opposite of the dark side of the Dementor, the Patronus is extremely bright and radiant. The Patronus attacks the Dementor by lifting it into the air, whilst the Dementor slowly fades, climbing toward the sky until it is completely gone.
The very presence of Dementors creates a cold atmosphere, people who are exposed to them can lose their minds and even be deprived of their powers. In the end, the victim is left with no ability to think or recover.
Dementors first appeared in the third book from the series – “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”, when Sirius Black escaped from Azkaban. On that occasion, Harry learned to summon a Patronus who took the form of a deer, or stag (which was the animagus of his father James Potter).
In the fifth book of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry encounters the dementors again, in Privet Drive, where two dementors attack him and his cousin, Dudley Dursley.
Why is Hermione’s Patronus an otter?
The answer to this question lies in the fact that the sea otter is a favorite animal of the writer of the Harry Potter series, J. K. Rowling. As Ms. Rowling revealed on Twitter, she sees much of herself in the young wizard, including shared “insecurity and a great fear of failure.”
Hermione Granger has exactly these qualities: that is why she always learns more than others so that she does not miss something, and the books she carries with her everywhere are her faithful companions and best friends.
What can Hermione’s Patronus say about her?
Hermione’s talent with a wand was clear from her earliest lessons – swish and flick, it’s all in the wrist (remember Wingardium Leviosa?). Hermione’s Patronus – the otter – reflects an aspect of her, according to the eighteenth-century Charms researcher Professor Catullus Spangle.
The Professor says that the Patronus “represents that which is hidden, unknown but necessary within the personality so a person must draw upon resources he or she may never have needed, and the Patronus is the awakened secret self that lies dormant until needed.”
As the real otter, Hermione is an extremely timid and restrained person, always in search of more. The otters are family-oriented animals, raising their young, and supporting each other. Hermione is a huge supporter of Harry and Ron, her best friends for better or worse.
Hermione is a wealth of knowledge and information, mastering the small spells quickly but the Patronus Charm requires much more. It is less of a technical skill spell and more of a raw energy one. She is the person who likes to be prepared for every occasion but no one can prepare for something not yet experienced when you have to react all by your instincts.
When it comes to learning, she is logical, organized, and perceptive but because of her internal rigidity, she struggles a bit more with spells and charms that involve emotions. This is why Harry Potter is much better in this passionate spell, approaching it emotionally, not intellectually.
Despite Hermione has her happy memories, she does not have the required contrast between her generally not-unhappy life and her happiest memories that Harry has. Harry had a lot of motivation to develop such a powerful charm, to protect himself and defending those he cared about.
If you have stayed with us so far, it means that we have been interesting to you and that you have learned something new. As Harry Potter fans (we know that you are, otherwise, you wouldn’t be here), we invite you to visit the Pottermore (1) website where you can have great fun and find out which animal is your Patronus.
You will even get a short explanation of what that creature represents and what your qualities are. Who knows – maybe you even get one of the rarest creatures as a Patronus, perhaps a Hippogriff? Give it a try and find out more about how Patronuses work!