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Ostensibly, cheating is a relatively significant infraction at Hogwarts, at the very least academically. In Philosopher's Stone it is revealed the quills and parchment used for exams are enchanted with anti-cheating spells. On a different note, while not involving academics, we learn in Goblet of Fire that surreptitious cheating during the Triwizard Tournament is considered par for the course.

Generally, Hermione is a prim character who appreciates rules and regulations, as well as extreme structure. She is portrayed as having a strong moral compass, as a person who would never voluntarily shirk the rules. So, did Hermione actually cheat in some of the following instances, where she helped Harry or Ron? For example:

Philosopher's Stone

The Quidditch Match

Reaching Snape, [Hermione] crouched down, pulled out her wand and whispered a few, well chosen words. Bright blue flames shot from her wand on to the hem of Snape’s robes.

It took perhaps thirty seconds for Snape to realise that he was on fire. A sudden yelp told her she had done her job. Scooping the fire off him into a little jar in her pocket [Hermione] scrambled back along the row – Snape would never know what had happened.

It was enough. Up in the air, Harry was suddenly able to clamber back on to his broom.

*Philosopher's Stone - Chapter eleven, Quidditch - page 140 - Bloomsbury

Prisoner of Azkaban

The Quidditch Match

‘I’ve got no chance with these on,’ Harry said exasperatedly, waving his glasses.

At that very moment, Hermione appeared at his shoulder; she was holding her cloak over her head and was, inexplicably, beaming.

‘I’ve had an idea, Harry! Give me your glasses, quick!’ He handed them to her and, as the team watched in amazement, Hermione tapped them with her wand and said, ‘Impervius!’

‘There!’ she said, handing them back to Harry. ‘They’ll repel water!’

Prisoner of Azkaban - Chapter nine, A Grim Defeat pages 132-133 - Bloomsbury

The Time-Turner

The events at the end of Prisoner of Azkaban not withstanding, was Hermione's use of the Time-Turner in general cheating?

OTHER

There are hundreds of examples in the Harry Potter books where Hermione helps Harry and/or Ron through surreptitious means -- does this mean she was cheating per se?

‘Are you feeling all right?’ Ron asked, staring at [Hermione] in disbelief.

‘Now you mention it,’ said Hermione happily, ‘d’you know ... I think I’m feeling a bit ... rebellious.’

Order of the Phoenix - Chapter 28, Snape's Worst Memory - Page 559 - Bloomsbury

Q: Did Hermione ever outright cheat¹, or did she merely facilitate² the trio's many adventures?

¹If you'd like a dictionary definition of "cheating" for reference to this question, please take a look at the following: To practice fraud or deceit; to violate rules or regulations; to take an examination or test in a dishonest way, as by improper access to answers.

²Facilitate: To make easier or less difficult; to help forward (an action, a process, etc.); to assist the progress of (a person).

Source: Dictionary.com

  • 33
    I wouldn't really call those examples cheating. The first was simply meant to stop someone who was cheating. The second was merely leveling the playing field, as the none-glasses wearing players didn't have that problem. The third wasn't cheating because the professors allowed it. – Rogue Jedi Oct 26 '15 at 1:31
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    It's not cheating though! @JasonBaker – CandiedMango Oct 26 '15 at 1:38
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    it's only against the rules if someone other than H/H/R do it. if they do it, it's an extra 100 points for gryffindor – phantom42 Oct 26 '15 at 1:40
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    The very broad definition “to violate rules or regulations” doesn’t seem to match most people’s understanding of cheating. – chirlu Oct 26 '15 at 4:14
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    Hermoine was pretty freeform with the tools available to her. She felt pretty strongly about a traditional academic work-your-ass-off approach to education, but I don't remember her having any strong feelings against creative solutions to real-life problems. – Misha R Oct 26 '15 at 6:01
58

Hermione did break lots of school rules and also assisted people in breaking school rules.

She Lied

“Er — Professor Lockhart?” Hermione stammered. “I wanted to — to get this book out of the library. Just for background reading.” She held out the piece of paper, her hand shaking slightly. “But the thing is, it’s in the Restricted Section of the library, so I need a teacher to sign for it — I’m sure it would help me understand what you say in Gadding with Ghouls about slow-acting venoms.”

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 10, The Rogue Bludger

She Stole

1. Potion Ingredients:

Through the confusion, Harry saw Hermione slip quietly into Snape’s office.

Harry saw Hermione slide back into the dungeon, the front of her robes bulging.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 11, The Dueling Club

2. Clothes:

“Good. And I sneaked these spare robes out of the laundry,” Hermione said, holding up a small sack. “You’ll need bigger sizes once you’re Crabbe and Goyle.”

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 12, The Polyjuice Potion

She Cheated

None of the first five applicants saved more than two goals apiece. To Harry’s great disappointment, Cormac McLaggen saved four penalties out of five. On the last one, however, he shot off in completely the wrong direction; the crowd laughed and booed and McLaggen returned to the ground grinding his teeth.

“If you ask me,” said Harry quietly, “McLaggen looks like he was Confunded this morning. And he was standing right in front of where you were sitting.”

Hermione blushed.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 11, Hermione’s Helping Hand

She helped Neville against Snape's instruction (facilitate)

Please, sir,” said Hermione, “please, I could help Neville put it right —”

“I don’t remember asking you to show off, Miss Granger,” said Snape coldly, and Hermione went as pink as Neville. “Longbottom, at the end of this lesson we will feed a few drops of this potion to your toad and see what happens. Perhaps that will encourage you to do it properly.”

The Gryffindors burst into applause. Snape, looking sour, pulled a small bottle from the pocket of his robe, poured a few drops on top of Trevor, and he reappeared suddenly, fully grown.

“Five points from Gryffindor,” said Snape, which wiped the smiles from every face. “I told you not to help him, Miss Granger. Class dismissed.”

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 7, The Boggart in the Wardrobe

She attacked a Teacher

“Expelliarmus!” he yelled — except that his wasn’t the only voice that shouted. There was a blast that made the door rattle on its hinges; Snape was lifted off his feet and slammed into the wall, then slid down it to the floor, a trickle of blood oozing from under his hair. He had been knocked out.

“We attacked a teacher... We attacked a teacher...” Hermione whimpered, staring at the lifeless Snape with frightened eyes. “Oh, we’re going to be in so much trouble —”

*Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 19, The Servant of Lord Voldemort

She drugged fellow students

“I’ve got it all worked out,” she went on smoothly, ignoring Harry’s and Ron’s stupefied faces. She held up two plump chocolate cakes. “I’ve filled these with a simple Sleeping Draught. All you have to do is make sure Crabbe and Goyle find them. You know how greedy they are, they’re bound to eat them. Once they’re asleep, pull out a few of their hairs and hide them in a broom closet.”

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 12, The Polyjuice Potion

She convinced others to break rules

“What’s the matter?” said Harry.

“Can’t go in there,” said Ron gruffly. “That’s a girls’ toilet.”

“Oh, Ron, there won’t be anyone in there,” said Hermione standing up and coming over. “That’s Moaning Myrtle’s place. Come on, let’s have a look.”

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 9, The Writing on the Wall

She assaulted a fellow student

Harry and Ron both made furious moves toward Malfoy, but Hermione got there first — SMACK!

She had slapped Malfoy across the face with all the strength she could muster. Malfoy staggered. Harry, Ron, Crabbe, and Goyle stood flabbergasted as Hermione raised her hand again.

“Don’t you dare call Hagrid pathetic, you foul — you evil —”

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 15, The Quidditch Final

There should be more cases but I can't remember them. I will try to add more, if I can remember more.

  • 23
    Breaking school rules is not remotely the same thing as cheating. Confunding McLaggen is questionable since there weren't any rules other than "Whoever saves the most goals becomes Keeper." – Anthony Grist Oct 26 '15 at 9:22
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    Also, smacking Malfoy counts as a public service. – Shadur Oct 26 '15 at 14:13
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    Most of these are not "cheating" though - for example Quidditch tryouts are not a competitive environment in the same way as a Quidditch game. Assault and breaking rules are equally not the same as academic cheating: cheating is only when the activity is in an academic test. I don't believe we're ever actually told if Wizards have "coursework" or whether their work is homework and the exam is the only academic test of the year. – Jon Story Oct 26 '15 at 14:35
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    @Vishvesh Again: breaking school rules is not the same as cheating. Go through any single book in the series and you'll be able to find far more examples of Hermione breaking a school rule than you've listed in your answer, but none of them are cheating (which, again, is not the same thing). – Anthony Grist Oct 26 '15 at 15:12
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    I like the list of rule-breaking - but I had hoped this answer ended in explaining that the OP's examples were not really "cheating", but rather just rule-breaking and generally she wasn't against breaking rules when the rule broken resulted in a more fair or just outcome (from her view), which means she wouldn't "cheat" just for the sake of winning. – DoubleDouble Oct 26 '15 at 16:19
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I'll go ahead and explain my reasoning behind each answer individually to the points you provided.

In Philosopher's Stone I would say this is a definite no. We see her trying to disrupt what she believes to be a curse, this curse would not only maim or seriously injure Harry it would in fact alter the outcome of the match unfairly. By disrupting the curse she is restoring the balance to the match at hand.

In Prisoner of Azkaban the answer is a little more ambiguous. You can argue that it is again restoring balance as unfairly Harry is the only one requiring glasses IIRC and so he has the biggest disadvantage from the rain. Restoring his vision puts him at an equal level to everyone else. Using magic to alter the outcome of Qudditch is cheating, so personally this would rest on your moral compass. I would deem it as not cheating as i personally feel it's akin to wearing gloves for better grip in the rain. Also as someone who plays sports that often take place in the rain (thanks England) I am sympathetic to the cause and would love this spell.

With The Time Turner I would only deem it cheating if it was used to do so, this would mean gaining an unfair advantage in terms of time for studying. As far as we know however she was only using it to attend classes and give herself a fair amount of time for all homework. We know Hermione though and she is likely to get her homework done at an acceptable pace with a good grade. I'm going to give this one a no we see her working a lot but it's normally on a variety of homeworks for equal if not less time than Ron and Harry.

Other Instances

There are a variety of instances where Hermione helps the boys with their homework allowing them to effectively copy and paste her work. This when it is not a means for studying and is a graded piece of work is most certainly cheating. At least allowing others to cheat.

She also repeatedly tries to help Harry with his many problems throughout the Tri-Wizard Tournament, she does fail in doing so but she still attempts it which is undoubtedly against the rules. This can however be deemed, like the others, as leveling the playing field. Everyone else is receiving help and she just wants it to be fair.

  • I will look through my books later when i have them to hand for some instances :). – CandiedMango Oct 26 '15 at 1:45
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    That last point seems like the Lance Armstrong definition of fair. – Rogue Jedi Oct 26 '15 at 2:19
  • I seem to remember another instance of people using that water repelling charm in later quiditch matches so i dont think its illegal to do. – user36770 Oct 26 '15 at 4:17
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    I don't agree with your assessment of the Time Turner. Wouldn't it be reasonable to believe that there are other students who would want to take more classes(and have the time to dedicate to them) if they could? If I recall correctly, this wasn't a privilege offered to anyone else. Though it's technically not "cheating" in the sense that she was allowed to do it, it's an advantage that's unfair in just about every way I look at it. Fortunately it was some crappy deus ex machina that didn't make its way out of the third book. Though it begs a ton of questions further down the road. – user10800 Oct 26 '15 at 18:21
  • Other answer doesn't address Hermione helping Harry and Ron with their homework, which seems to me to be the most important factor here. +1 – Shaymin Gratitude Dec 29 '16 at 17:17

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