It bothers me when Hermione calls Firenze a “horse”
By - midigo6
That line has always jumped out at me for exactly the reason you state. It's so out of character for Hermione to mis-call a Centaur a Horse, and to speak so dismissively. This may be misguided contempt on her part because she so dislikes Divination, the class being taught by Firenze.
I think JKR carefully included this often-overlooked passage to show that Hermione was not perfectly fair in her treatment of other sentient beings.
JKR included similar statements of unkindness or prejudice made by Dumbledore (about Aberforth) and Hagrid (about "foreigners").
Nearly every "good" character makes a statement like this.
I actually like that we're reminded that she's not perfect. She's more realistic that way.
I agree with you. JKR shows her imperfect in other ways, like Confunding McClaggen during Keeper tryouts, or stealing Potions ingredients from Snape's stores, but referring to Firenze as a Horse was different because it wasn't for a good reason.
Exactly. No one is above making an insensitive remark every now and then.
McClaggen wasn’t a good reason. It’s actually a pretty horrible thing to do.
McClaggen is a jerk and I want Ron to make the team aren’t good reasons
That’s an interesting analysis! I’ll listen to their comments a little more carefully this to around!
I think both these comments were made in *Goblet of Fire.*
Teenagers--aah--say dumb things.
Yes, even the smart ones.
Hermione is also one of those who called Luna silly names. I think sometimes, despite her attempts not to, she could be mean
She did not, at least not in the books. The ones who called Luna "Loony" were Ginny, Harry, and Ron. Hermione picked a fight with Luna over the creatures and the Quibbler, but that's it.
I do agree that she could be mean, but she didn't call Luna names.
Really? I can't remember well but I have a particular scene in mind where she gave the team an info about Luna and used one of the nicknames. That she doesn't call her out right but only at her back. (Not that 100℅ sure. I could be wrong.)
Nope. That's a movie thing - Hermione calls her Loony while she was talking about thestral. But that was a movie-only scene. It was so out of character that I looked it up in the books.
"Loony" comes out 6 times in OotP. The first by Ginny's introduction, the second in Harry's thoughts, the third when Harry was talking to Cho, another two more by Ron at the DoM, and the last one by Luna herself as she acknowledges that people indeed find her weird.
So no, Hermione never calls Luna "Loony" in the books.
Oh, okay. Thanks for checking!
It is quite insensitive, but she was only saying this to shut up Lavender's and Parvati's gushing and teasing.
Though it does prove Hermione isn't above it all.
She’s NEVER been a fan of horses. She’s saying that being brought up obvs she didn’t know about centaurs but she never liked horses. They are very alike. She’s not calling him a horse
It just goes to show that despite her preachiness, she is a bit of a hypocrite, like many other people
Eh, I think you're misjudging Hermione's character a bit. She isn't a champion for the underrepresented... It's in her nature to be dismissive & insensitive. She makes rude comments about Luna, she is (accidentally) insensitive towards the centaurs at the end of OotP, and she has very little sympathy for Grawp's situation. She makes rather cutting and insensitive comments about Fleur, Hagrid, Harry, Sirius, etc. For Hermione, logic > feelings.
She is passionate about the house elves because they are enslaved creatures needing liberation, i.e. a problem she wants to fix. She doesn't do it out of a sense of empathy for the house elves...look how insensitive she is towards them. She projects what she thinks is right onto them, without ever stopping to listen to what they want. She tries to trick them into freedom, because she knows what's best for them.
It seems right up her alley to insensitively call a centaur a horse when she's in a particularly bad mood.
I was thinking about when she’s upset to the point of tears when Umbridge is being so condescending and terrible to Hagrid because he is half giant and how much she defends Lupin, but those are different because they are personal to her. I think you’re right.
No, because it was pretty gross that Lavender and Parvati were lusting after another species.
I think she didn't say it to be mean to Firenze or demean Centaurs, but to call out Lav and Parv for being ridiculous.
It's a pretty funny line.
To me it seems more like a comment that Ron would make and then Hermione would chide him for. It just seems insensitive for Hermione to say
It *is* insensitive. At some point in the books, one of the Centaurs says something like "We are not pretty horses who carry humans on our backs and do their work for them, we are a proud and ancient tribe!"
I don't have the quote exactly right, but it shows that Centaurs themselves consider being called "Horse" a deep insult.
Hermione is pretty insensitive, though
Yes, it's quite an insensitive comment (considering Hermione's activism streak) but I never thought that Hermione was that much more tactful than Ron, so there's that.
Parvati's comment about Firenze though... woosh
It was a good way of showing that she really doesn't know what she's talking about when it comes to her ideas on activism and respect between magical creatures. Because I think we all know she would have never said that to his face.
It is, which is why it had more power. I think she had just had it with Lavender and Parvati by that time. They had been all upset about Trelawney being sacked and suddenly they were dolling themselves up for their first lesson with Firenze. Plus Lavender and Parvati were trying to rub in the fact Hermione had dropped Divination.
She was just being snarky, and it is one of my favorite moments of Hermione's.
Not a good comparison.
Calling a human gross for finding a centaur attractive is a slippery slope to banning werefolf marriages, was my point.
Hermione is a muggle-born who we know for a fact has quite a lot of cultural blind spots. This is one of them. She is essentially a foreigner who made faux pas because it likely did not occur to her that her remark was insensitive. It also serves as foreshadowing for her mistake with the centaurs later on in the book.
More closely however, it was a knee-jerk response to Parvati and Lavender being annoying. And she responded by needling them in kind. It was a petty teenager who let out a thoughtless remark in the heat of the moment, so I don't think it clashes too badly with her politics. Even allies can say dumb shit, and that's even more true when were talking about foreign teenagers who are still very much unassimilated to the culture.
I love Hermione but her close-mindedness is one of my least favorite things about her
I'm ok with it, because it really helps show that she is *not* flawless like the movies show, and many people think when they gloss over her imperfections.
She's not so much a champion for the under-represented either. The only case we really see is with the House Elves, wherein she saw slavery. That isn't the case with the goblins or centaurs. You also don't see her championing the goblins.
This also helps further show her close mindedness, which has always been the purpose of divination for her character development. Along with the fact that she loves arithmancy, for a bit of missed irony.
I'm ratheramused she isn't 'above it all' actually because she does make it seem that she is superior with all her knowledge. I will never believe she didn't know it was rude to call a centaur a horse. I bet in some book it does say how proud they are. And Hermione can be very insensitive. She kept trying to prove to everyone how Trelawney couldn't have predicted Lavander's rabit's death and didn't care Lavander was upset. In this situation I think she has a bit of 'I'm better than these two silly girls' attitude and does not hide it. The same way she told Harry that Luna's support does not mean much because she believes in stuff that can't be proven.And even with the house elves, she didn't try to listen to them and didn't realise just setting them freee against their will isn't the best solution so once she gets something into her head and believes it to be true, people's feelings or being considerate doesn't matter.I find this remark of hers unnecessarily petty and would have loved it if someone had mentioned something about how she defends the underdogs but has just insulted centaurs because now it seems more like she is supposed to be in the right in some sense because she called out those girls' silliness.
I think we all say things that, if we were to stop and think about them, would realize go against our core beliefs. It's good to be aware of, to try avoid the same sort of mistake in our life. It will happen still, but less often is better.
Especially as the founder of SPEW.
Well maybe his lower half made her uncomfortable for whatever reason.
Also from the creatures from the fountain of the Magical Brotherhood she only cares about House Elves because they are treated like shit. She says she isn't interested in supporting goblins' rights because they are fully capable standing up for themselves. I'm pretty sure she thinks the same about centaurs.
Has she ever met a centaur and talked with one? I think she might just be not realizing that it is insulting to them because she never met one. It's easier to say something insulting, if you never been involved with the one you are insulting. It's more acting on stereotypes or superficial characteristics. Not sure if that makes sense.
And like others said, maybe she actually was jealous that Firenze was teaching now, and used the insult to cover it up.
That's actually a very big problem with Hermione when it comes to her ideas about activating. She really doesn't know what she's talking about because she doesn't know any centaurs, goblins, house elves, or merpeople.
Yes, I think does not try to see things from their perspective or tries to understand their cultures and values and where they come from. A bit like with a lot of "colonist" that try to help the "natives" or even in the nearer past with many efforts to help third world countries.
With the house elves, she knew dobby. But dobby was more of an outlier than the norm.
For her defense, she tries to do the right thing. But it's like my mom, when she does something I don't like, because "it's best for me", lol!
Hagrid outright tried to tell her that there's always going to be a person whose opinions differ from their own group, but she didn't listen to him. It's almost like he was saying that all house elves are not a monolith. Imagine that!
However, her being one of the few who was willing to acknowledge that the problem exists is still a step in the right direction.
I agree. Hermione has her heart in the right place and is very compassionate.