Harry Potter: 10 Times Hermione Should Have Died And Only Survived Because Of Plot Armor

With the first novel in the series celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, there's never been a better time to revisit (or begin for the first time) the Harry Potter books and movies. After all this time, it's still thrilling to join Harry, Ron, and Hermione on their perilous journey to defeat Lord Voldemort.

The closer fans look, however, the more obvious it becomes that many of the situations the heroes enter shouldn't have been so easily survivable. There were plenty of scenarios, for example, in which Hermione Granger should probably have perished, but as part of the Golden Trio, her survival was all but guaranteed.


Troll In The Bathroom

Troll with Harry, Ron and Hermione in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

Early in The Sorcerer's Stone, Hermione finds herself at the mercy of a fearsome troll who's wandering the castle. The troll enters the girls' bathroom, in which Hermione is alone and vulnerable - until she's rescued by Harry, Ron, and a Levitation Charm.

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As the incident that leads to Harry, Ron, and Hermione becoming inseparable friends, it would have been unthinkable to kill Hermione off during her encounter with the troll. That said, it's not terribly realistic for a trio of 11-year-olds to battle a 12-foot mountain troll and survive. The characters have no combat skills at this point, and the only subject in which Hermione underperforms is Defense Against the Dark Arts, so this scene requires immense suspension of disbelief.

Mirrors Around Corners

The basilisk inside the Chamber of Secrets in Harry Potter.

During their second year at Hogwarts, Harry, Ron, and Hermione investigate the mystery of the Chamber of Secrets. Clever as always, Hermione discovers the monster who's attacking Muggle-born students, but the Basilisk gets to her before she can explain it to her friends.

The Basilisk's gaze is fatal to anyone it encounters; it's only through several strokes of luck that the Basilisk doesn't ring up a high death toll while roaming the castle. None of the victims make direct eye contact, so they experience petrification instead of death. Hermione's excellent timing in discovering the truth inspires her to look around corners with a mirror. She's conveniently removed from the story's climax, as her intelligence would render Harry and Ron redundant, but she survives to fight another day.

Battling Dementors

A Dementor about to give the Dementor's kiss to someone in Harry Potter.

Though Hermione is the best witch in her year, there's one subject in which she's not at the top: Defense Against the Dark Arts. Where Harry excels in advanced defensive magic, like conjuring a Patronus, Hermione struggles to keep up.

When Harry and Hermione endeavor to save Sirius and Buckbeak, they fall under the influence of the threatening Dementors. Harry performs the Patronus Charm and manages to create meager protection against the Dementor's Kiss (a Wizarding World fate worse than death), but Hermione is unable to perform the spell. Fortunately, the Dementors don't succeed in sucking out her soul (she only loses consciousness), but the odds of her survival are incredibly low, and the whole group only survives due to some tricky time travel mechanics.

The Forbidden Forest Gambit

Dolores Umbridge threatening Hermione and Harry Potter in the Order of the Phoenix

Dolores Umbridge's reign of terror at Hogwarts is enough to make Hermione (whose D&D moral alignment is lawful good) relish breaking every Hogwarts rule. By the climax, Hermione is so determined to get Umbridge out of the way that she cooks up a dangerous scheme involving the giant Grawp and the Forbidden Forest.

Naturally, things get out of hand when Hermione, attempting to lure Umbridge into Grawp's clutches, runs afoul of a herd of centaurs. Hermione and Harry barely escape the centaur's wrath, and Umbridge is carried off. Given all the dangers of the forest and variables in Hermione's plan, it's a miracle that she - or Umbridge for that matter - survived the incident.

The Department Of Mysteries

Dumbledore's Army at the Department of Mysteries in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

The trio's fifth year at Hogwarts culminates in their infiltration, along with members of Dumbledore's Army, of the Ministry of Magic. The mission to rescue Sirius turns out to be, unsurprisingly, a trap, and the heroes are ambushed by Death Eaters in the Department of Mysteries. In the book, Hermione is attacked by Dolohov and spends much of the battle unconscious.

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After she's cursed by a Death Eater, even Harry thinks Hermione is dead - and her fate is left to the reader's imagination for some time. With the amount of dark magic the Death Eaters threw, it's hard to believe Hermione survives this encounter. Even Sirius, a more experienced fighter, does not come out alive. While the movies streamline this sequence, removing many of the unusual magical obstacles in the Department of Mysteries, it still features untested kids in combat with experienced, brutal dark wizards.

The Seven Potters

The seven Potters at Privet Drive in the Deathly Hallows

The plan to smuggle Harry out of Privet Drive before his 17th birthday involves Polyjuice Potion decoys and a great deal of personal risk. Hermione and others disguise themselves as Harry and take to the skies accompanied by a tested companion. She's paired with Auror Kingsley Shacklebolt, and they're pursued by Voldemort himself.

Given that Mad-Eye Moody, the most seasoned Auror and one of the most powerful Harry Potter characters, meets his death at Voldemort's hand on the same night, it's surprising that Hermione escapes the villain unharmed. The timing was perfect, as Voldemort was tipped off to the real Harry's whereabouts before he could do any damage to Hermione and Kingsley.

Godric's Hollow

Harry and Hermione standing together in Godric's Hollow in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.

With Ron out of the picture, Hermione finally acquiesces to Harry's desire to return to his childhood home. Hoping to retrieve the Sword of Gryffindor, or uncover knowledge of how to defeat Voldemort, they visit magical historian Bathilda Bagshot. The visit goes horribly awry, though, with a quick and violent skirmish and the destruction of Harry's wand.

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Voldemort arrives just as Harry and Hermione Disapparate, pulling off another narrow escape from the clutches of death. It's fortunate that Hermione survives, even though she's a split second behind Harry in the recognition of the danger at Bathilda's house; without her, Harry would be entirely alone at this point, and he relies on Hermione for both companionship and her knowledge of protective enchantments.

Malfoy Manor

Bellatrix tortures Hermione in HP and the Deadly Hallows Part 1

The hunt for Horcruxes in The Deathly Hallows is full of treacherous side quests, from the stealth infiltration of the Ministry of Magic to the robbery of Gringotts Bank. After being abducted by snatchers and threatened by the bloodthirsty Fenrir Greyback, Hermione's closest call occurs in the halls of Malfoy Manor, where she's viciously tortured by powerful Potterverse villain Bellatrix Lestrange.

Subjected repeatedly to the Cruciatus Curse and physical mutilation while Harry and Ron are imprisoned, Hermione's fate seems sealed. Her salvation comes in the form of a Deus Ex Dobby. The house elf arrives and diverts Bellatrix's attention as she's about to cut Hermione's throat. Once again, Hermione escapes death due to an unlikely and well-timed intervention.

Breaking Into Gringotts

Hermione, Ron, and Harry holding on to the dragon in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.

In a painstakingly conceived (but ultimately calamitous) break-in to Gringotts Wizarding Bank in search of a Horcrux, Hermione uses Polyjuice Potion to disguise herself as Death Eater Bellatrix Lestrange. She's already in possession of Bellatrix's wand, which she thinks is an advantage to pulling off the disguise; in fact, it's the very thing that tips off the authorities to her being an impostor.

Because of her courage to impersonate Bellatrix, Hermione brings about extra scrutiny and security measures, putting the trio and Griphook in mortal danger. She narrowly evades suspicion from Death Eater Travers and arrest by the Gringotts goblins, and Harry must perform the Unforgivable Imperius Curse to avoid detection. All three only just escape being buried under burning hot treasure in Bellatrix's vault. Despite the mishaps, Hermione is rewarded for her bravery and survives - if only because Ron and Harry can't possibly complete their adventure without her.


The Room Of Requirement gets engulfed by fire in The Deathly Hallows

During the Battle of Hogwarts, the trio goes looking for Ravenclaw's diadem, a suspected Horcrux, when they're ambushed by Draco Malfoy and his hulking cronies Crabbe and Goyle. Hermione barely dodges a Killing Curse thrown by Crabbe, who shortly thereafter conjures an enchanted, uncontrollable flame known as Fiendfyre.

Crabbe got his comeuppance, as the Fiendfyre ended up killing him, but it's miraculous that anyone else escaped the junk-filled, highly flammable Room of Requirement. Hermione suffers two near-misses in this scene, including the dodged Killing Curse. This close call, in the midst of many important character deaths during the Battle of Hogwarts, proves once more that Hermione is too essential to the plot to kill off.

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