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Hermione Granger Claps Back

a poem

By Dane BHPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 months ago 2 min read
Runner-Up in Epistolary Challenge
Hermione Granger Claps Back
Photo by Frida Bredesen on Unsplash

Dear Joanne,

In the early days,

they lauded you

for the way you sacrificed my beauty

for intelligence – so brave, that –

a bushy-haired, bucktoothed girl

who did her homework and saved the day

so the boys could come home safe.


Not exactly a hero,

but close enough, right?

Close enough to see the limelight

if not to feel its warmth.


You’d learned from your forebears

that girls don’t sell out at midnight.

Girls don’t get movie deals,

Girls don’t get to be legends, unless, of course

they tie their destiny to some boy

who thinks trauma history and charisma

mean he’s earned his place among the constellations.

Right? Who could blame you

for playing the game

well enough to win?


Joanne. Joanne.

We are underestimated women. Lies do not become us.


This isn’t a girl power tea party.

I know something of how it feels

to grow up thinking your Creator must hate you -

must want you lonely enough

to make you a Cassandra in your own story,

to write you at the intersection of principled and brave

only to be branded bossy – a boy’s pithy disgust that sticks.


To echo your critics – the one who called you lazy, formulaic, broad –

would be too easy. No, this is a wonderful little bit of spellcraft.


First, you gather a bouquet of everything you’ve ever hated

about another woman, or about being one.


Give the worry seven children and red hair.

Give the ambition a fussy hat and a taste for fascism.

Give curiosity a pair of glasses and lock her up forever. Make us laugh about it.

Give fatness a sadistic streak, but make it a punchline.

Make one really good at sports. Call it a personality.

Give grief a whole book to cry, but make us hate her for it.

Make loyalty an alcoholic.

Give the unapologetic sexuality her own species; make her devious and untouchable.

Give the coded queer a death sentence.

Strip the natural leader of her charisma and make sure no one listens.


Make intuition and perceptiveness a blond, so it’s easier buy her as the ditzy one.

Make intuition and perceptiveness a joke, and pit your women against her.

Make intuition and perceptiveness unstable, and punish them with pity and disgust.

(Do not acknowledge that intuition and perception have always been called witchery.)


Kill the perfect one before the story starts. Make her a mother.


Press them all

between enough pages

to stop a bullet.

They’ll last for generations,

colorful as they day you wrote them,

thin and brittle.

Lifeless, but yours, Joanne,

all yours.


(What familiar old songs these are.

No wonder men love your books.)


None of us were surprised

that you woke up on the wrong side of history.


No woman you ever wrote

survived without a price.


sincerely. yours.


book reviews

About the Creator

Dane BH

By day, I'm a cog in the nonprofit machine, and poet. By night, I'm a creature of the internet. My soul is a grumpy cat who'd rather be sleeping.


Check out my Vocal Spotlight and my Vocal Podcast!

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  3. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  1. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

  4. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

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Comments (20)

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  • Real Poetic6 days ago

    A real winner… I’m lost for words. 👏🏼

  • Nice Article

  • Lisa Herdman11 days ago

    Just incredible!

  • Inkweaver13 days ago


  • Doc Sherwood13 days ago

    Loved this! It's clear enough my Potter credentials don't compare to yours, Dane, but hopefully without making too much of a fool of myself I'd like to say your extended ruminations on Luna (stanza nine) are first-rate, especially the thought on which you close. It's not often JK herself engages with such questions, and her tirvializing comic aside on the Salem trials is perhaps her most painful moment among many. Stanza eight is superb too - over on the male side of things, I always felt that Renfield surrogate Barty Crouch Junior is another coded queer who, of course, receives the same sentence. What you rightly assert in stanza thirteen was indeed possible to see coming for some time, although that said, the merchandising's going strong to this day. Food for thought, pre-breakfast, so thanks, Dane!

  • Pete Gustavson13 days ago

    ouch. . . this is lovely. well done, you.

  • good article

  • I enjoined this introspection of how an author portrays certain characters or dynamics. Congratulations on placing!

  • Congratulations 🎊💯❤️‼️

  • Em Starr14 days ago


  • Dana Crandell14 days ago

    Congratulations on the Top Story and the challenge placement.

  • Julie Shetler14 days ago

    This poem is akin to a blind person criticizing Picasso. The fact that Vocal chose this indicates the political biases of their platform.

  • Gal Mux14 days ago

    Wow! I am ready for the march! This is an anthem!

  • Nessy Writer14 days ago

    Very cleverly and powerfully presented!

  • Phil Flannery14 days ago

    I must apologise, I know JK has been called out for her stupidity, but I don't really follow much of what's happening, but I think your poem tells me everything I need to know. It is so well crafted. Well done.

  • A. Lenae15 days ago

    Also congratulations!! Well-earned for sure!

  • A. Lenae15 days ago

    Woof, this hit me hard. What a powerful, mesmerizing, electric response to J.K. Rowling. So much of her perspective as of late has caused such pain, but it makes sense to revisit all of the harmful stereotypes she had already been supporting, how we should have all seen the misogyny and bigotry that was there. This is so well done. You did Hermione justice, I believe.

  • Beth Sarah15 days ago

    I think this should have placed first or second from what I’ve seen so far. Stunning. 💕

  • Donna Renee15 days ago

    Oh nicely done!!! 👏👏👏

  • Wow! Amazing, absolutely amazing. Congratulations on the runner-up spot in the challenge. I wrote one for J.K. Rowling as well (called “To J.K. Rowling”, if you want to check it out), but it doesn’t hold a candle to yours. Again, congratulations.

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