All Of The Reasons Emma Watson Is Just Like Hermione Granger

Like many actors who took part in the beloved Harry Potter movie franchise, Emma Watson has long been compared to — and even equated with — the character she played, Hermione Granger. Luckily, Watson has not exactly been typecast in Hollywood. Since her Harry Potter days, she has played characters ranging from a Disney princess to a privileged Los Angeles celebrity-closet-robber. Beyond her carefully chosen acting roles, she has directed her time and energy toward education and social justice. Still, no matter how much success she sees in Hollywood and beyond, Watson will always be celebrated for her role as Hermione Granger, one of the most iconic characters in the history of young adult literature.

"At first I was really trying to say, 'I'm not like Hermione. I'm into fashion, and I'm much cooler than she is,'" Watson said in conversation with Bell Hooks for Paper in 2016, "and then I came to a place of acceptance. Actually, we do have a lot in common. There are obviously differences, but there are a lot of ways that I'm very similar. And I stopped fighting that!" But how are Watson and her fictional alter ego similar?

Emma Watson and Hermione Granger are both eager to learn

In the Harry Potter books and movies, Hermione Granger starts off as, in the words of Professor Snape, "an insufferable know-it-all." She is often the first to raise her hand when the teacher asks a question. As it turns out, Watson related to Granger's eagerness when she read her first Harry Potter book.

"I started reading Harry Potter when I was 8, [and] I just really identified with her," Watson said in a 2016 interview for Paper. "I was the girl in school whose hand shot up to answer the questions. I was really eager to learn in an uncool way. In a super uncool way, actually. And then the character of Hermione gave me permission to be who I was."

In 2009, Watson made headlines for choosing to take a hiatus from acting in order to attend Brown University (per CNN). Why would a successful actor — who had surely made enough money through Harry Potter to last a lifetime — choose to spend four years on lectures, homework, and exams at a challenging Ivy League university? Based on Watson's self-proclaimed eagerness to learn, it would seem that she sought a college education simply for the love of knowledge.

Like Hermione Granger, Emma Watson is a total bookworm

Hermione Granger is quick to offer her peers factoids gleaned from her many reads of Hogwarts: A History, and to seek answers to complex real-life problems on the shelves of the Hogwarts library. Emma Watson carries a similar love for reading; in fact, she majored in English Literature at Brown University.

Watson previously moderated a feminist book club on GoodReads called "Our Shared Shelf," which included titles such as Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, Toni Morrison's Beloved, and Gloria Steinem's My Life on the Road. In the days surrounding the United States presidential election in 2016, Watson drew attention for hiding copies of Maya Angelou's Mom and Me and Mom on the platforms for the London Underground and the New York City Subway. Then, in 2017, Watson and global "book fairies" dropped off works of feminist literature in "unexpected places" in honor of International Women's Day.

Watson considered extending her studies to the graduate level, but she shifted her focus toward self-education instead. "I almost thought about going and doing a year of gender studies," she said in a 2016 Paper interview, "[but] then I realized that I was learning so much by being on the ground and just speaking with people and doing my reading. That I was learning so much on my own. I actually wanted to keep on the path that I'm on. I'm reading a lot this year, and I want to do a lot of listening."

Both Emma Watson and Hermione Granger have translated their book smarts to street smarts

In the Harry Potter books, Hermione Granger gets distracted from her studies when faced with broader, real-wizarding-world issues. After witnessing the mistreatment of house elves at the 1994 Quidditch World Cup in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, she commits to fighting for elf equality and starts an organization called Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare to promote her cause.

Emma Watson is also fierce in her commitments to the causes she cares about, particularly feminism and women's rights. She received major attention in 2014 when she introduced the HeForShe campaign — which aims to invite men into the feminist conversation and the fight for gender equality — while giving a speech about women's rights at the United Nations (per Business Insider). She has engaged in humanitarian work dedicated to educating girls in underserved parts of the world as a United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador, and engaged in conversations about feminism with prominent figures, such as Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and feminist activist Gloria Steinem.

Because she played Hermione Granger in her most formative years, it's a distinct possibility that Watson's interest in and commitment to feminism was at least partly influenced by the character. Granger has been canonized as a feminist icon and, in her work beyond Harry Potter, Watson has earned a similar status.