Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hermione Grangers of the world, unite!
Harry’s the greatest, but Hermione, well, she’s the most remarkable witch of her time.
She’s smart, powerful, not afraid of anything and throws a mean punch.
If Nancy Drew was your hero a few years ago ó we won’t say how many ó you have to cheer for Hermione. They’re cut from the same cloth. It’s that independence, the clear thinking, the fact that, for them, it’s cool to be a geek.
And it’s OK to be a grownup Harry fan. We cry at all the sad parts, cheer at the victories. We suffered when Harry does, feeling his teenage angst, isolation and fear. We love Dumbledore and hate Umbridge (disgusting, sadistic so-and-so). We don’t trust Snape, either. We look forward to Lord Voldemort’s demise.I had a hard time getting used to Emma Watson’s Hermione, pretty and cute. The Hermione in my head is rounder, with messier hair and frumpy clothes. At least the movies kept her spunk.
Thank goodness. As the books have progressed, Hermione has matured beautifully. Like Harry and Ron, she’s suffered her fair share of teenager woes. She’s loved and lost. And she has to put up with that dreadful Malfoy. Hermione, unlike many of us, faces her fears. She learns about them. She reads about them and she makes a plan of action. That’s a heroine you can stand behind.
She’s a great role model for girls. She grows from a bossy little girl afraid to break a rule, to a lovely, powerful young woman who will stand behind her friends and fight for what’s right. As “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” ended, she swore her allegiance to Harry in the ultimate battle that will be contained in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”
Will she die? I hope not. I don’t think she will, because I have faith that Rowling will leave some of her characters to carry the story on, even if it is only in our imaginations.
Will Ron die? Unlikely. The comic relief rarely does. On the other hand, sometimes the sidekick dies for the hero.
Will Harry die? Oh, that’s tougher. My theory is that he must in order for Voldemort to die. My theory is the final horcrux is in Harry. And he understands that love is one thing that Voldemort cannot tolerate. He loves his friends, his world at Hogwarts enough to sacrifice himself for their greater good.
Who will die? Hagrid? Again, he seems like someone who needs to carry on. Ginny Weasley? That’s tough, too.
I’ll get my book next week and I’ll savor every moment. Harry Potter has been my friend, and he’s taught us all about the triumph of goodness and love. Good luck on your journey, Harry.