Now that all the Harry Potter films have been released, I’ve decided to bring up something that has bothered me since the first film came out. (Well, one of the things that bothers me, at any rate. There are so many to choose from, even for someone who thought the last three books were a ridiculous travesty.)
Emma Watson is a lovely young woman and a good actress. She does a believable job portraying J.K. Rowling’s smart, driven muggleborn witch. The problem is that, despite this, she’s just too pretty to be Hermione Granger. And, with the exception of the first film, her hair is nothing like our favorite bookworm’s.
So where to find Hermione Granger? After giving it some thought, I nixed looking at actresses and started looking at art, specifically nineteenth century to begin with. Eventually I compiled a list of likely candidates. Few are perfect, but most could — with some tweaks — be the bushy-haired bookworm.
The first two are by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the 19th century painter, poet and founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The first is La Pia de Tolomei, above, which depicts a young woman sitting in a garden with a sundial and a Bible or catechism book (as opposed to any other book, since there’s a rosary on top of it). The model was Jane Burden Morris, wife of fellow Pre-Raphaelite William Morris; her hair is too red and her eyes green, but otherwise she is very much Hermione – with strong features and “bushy” hair.
The second is Monna Vanna. The model was Alexa Wilding; again, the hair color isn’t quite right, but this could otherwise be adult Hermione.
John William Waterhouse’s 1908 Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May could very easily be Hermione. The model’s hair, while pulled back in two section on either side, is clearly of the curly/bushy variety and it’s the right color. She is also not too pretty, but there is something striking about her. Perhaps it’s the roses she’s offering or the admonition of poet Robert Herrick in “To the Virgins, To Make Much of Time,” from which the painting’s title is taken.
Most of Waterhouse’s models remain unknown, but given the date of this piece she could be Aline Henderson or possibly Gwendoline Gunn.
The final image is by Peruvian painter Albert Lynch. A Young Beauty with Flowers in her Hair epitomizes Hermione as she may have looked at the Yule Ball, with bushy hair tamed by Sleekeazy’s Hair Potion.
These are just a few possibilities; I’ll post more later. Meanwhile, have you found Hermione in art?
Images courtesy of Art Renewal Center