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Leading on from the question Did Harry Potter ever invent any spells? specifically Himarm's answer and the comment thread underneath it, I would like to ask:

Did Hermione invent the Four-Point Spell herself?

FYI the passage open to interpretation is:

He had soon mastered the Impediment Jinx, a spell to slow down and obstruct attackers, the Reductor curse, which would enable him to blast solid objects out of his way, and the Four-Point Spell, a useful discovery of Hermione's which would make his wand point due north, therefore enabling him to check whether he was going in the right direction within the maze.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - p.529 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 31, The Third Task

Some people have interpreted this to mean that Hermione invented the spell herself, whereas others have interpreted it to mean that she dug it up in a book, or something like that.

I thought it worth opening a new question on the topic.

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    Discovery, not invention. Therefore no. The answer is right there in the quote you give. – Rand al'Thor Dec 3 '15 at 0:36
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    @randal'thor well I completely agree with you, but as you can see, other people interpret it differently, I guess like scientific discovery. I was going to mention in my answer that that usually means observing something, or bringing some natural thing to general attention, rather than creating something anew, but I guess one could argue that all of magic is naturally occurring and that those who "invent" spells really merely discover the incantation, etc. that allows you to use it – Au101 Dec 3 '15 at 0:40
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    @randal'thor i think its also important to note, that if we assume all of these spell came from books, then Hermione discovered ALL of them since we all know Ron and Harry are worthless at this and leave all the book work to her. HOWEVER, only the 4 point spell is distinguished from the others, as SPECIFICALLY found by Hermione, which reads oddly, unless instead of finding it in a book, she came up with the spell herself! – Himarm Dec 3 '15 at 14:19
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    I don't see anything odd or distinguishable about the passage quoted above. As a native English speaker it's clear to me that Hermione learned of the spell's existence. If you want to infer more, you can infer that she discovered it most likely due to her tendency toward lots of research, compared to the more organic style of learning that Harry (or Ron) uses. – TylerH Dec 3 '15 at 15:20
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The use of the word "discovery" is used in another instance in the Harry Potter books:

ALBUS DUMBLEDORE

CURRENTLY HEADMASTER OF HOGWARTS

Considered by many the greatest wizard of modern times, Dumbledore is particularly famous for his defeat of the Dark wizard Grindelwald in 1945, for the discovery of the twelve uses of dragon’s blood, and his work on alchemy with his partner, Nicolas Flamel. Professor Dumbledore enjoys chamber music and ten-pin bowling.

Dumbledore is credited with discovering

Some old Quaffles have finger holes. With the discovery of Gripping Charms in 1875, however, straps and finger holes have become unnecessary, as the Chaser is able to keep a one-handed hold on the charmed leather without such aids.

One development in the wizarding community gave Remus hope: the discovery of the Wolfsbane Potion.

Both of these also use the same familiar world discovery and use its other definition

to obtain sight or knowledge of for the first time

This seems in line with Harry's usage here

"...the Four-Point Spell, a useful discovery of Hermione's which would make his wand point due north, therefore enabling him to check whether he was going in the right direction within the maze."

To top it off, this spell is never seen before or by anyone other then Harry and co, and it's one of a very few, possibly the only, spell whose incantation is in English

"Point Me"

thanks to @candiedmango for the quotes!

As an aside the use of the word Discovery is never used in the Harry Potter books as a direct relation to finding something out in a book, and with the large amount of time they spend searching texts in the library, looking for clues about this or that, it seems odd, that JKR would limit the use of the word discovery.

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    Well, that's one of the points of contention. With the twelve uses of dragon's blood, Dumbledore doesn't give dragon's blood any uses, he merely finds out what they are, he works out a secret that was always there for the working out. He removes the figurative cover and learns something. Now, the question is whether spells are similarly worked out, or whether they are truly created. But, all the same, I would argue that there's a difference between "discovering" penicillin and creating meticillin. Similarly I don't think observing the uses of something is the same as coming up with a new spell – Au101 Dec 3 '15 at 1:27
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    @Au101 imo, all magic is already out there, its just up the the wizard or witch to figure out how to use it. so in a sense no one created a spell, or invented a spell, they simply figured out how to do something that already could be done, like dumbledore with dragons blood. so in a sense yes hermione did not create new magic, but hermione imo did discover how to USE that magic. – Himarm Dec 3 '15 at 1:30
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    @Himarm - I'd argue you only don't know where she got it if you'd been paying no attention whatsoever to her behavior prior to this. – T.E.D. Dec 3 '15 at 16:48
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    If Hermione "invented" a new form of magic, the only way that Harry would be able to perform it would be for her to teach it to his wand. If she uncovered the combination of the wand movement and incantation, I would consider that to be along the lines of "discovering" the uses for Dragon's Blood: Unlocking the potential that had heretofore been unknown. Either way, she came up with it on her own. The only way she didn't "create" the new magic is to have found it in a book. That passage does not indicate that is what happened. – krillgar Dec 3 '15 at 16:55
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    I think the fact that Hermione, unlike many wizards, is well versed in the world of muggles, and that the spell makes Harry's wand behave like a muggle compass, also lends credence to the idea that Hermione could easily be the originator of the spell. – bwarner Dec 3 '15 at 23:09
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I don't think so.

After Harry learns what the third task will consist of (getting through a maze) and then runs into Barty Crouch Sr and all that jazz, the trio get in training.

For the next few days he spent all his free time either in the library with Hermione and Ron, looking up hexes, or else in empty classrooms, which they sneaked into to practise. Harry was concentrating on the Stunning spell, which he had never used before.

...

'Well, I think Harry's got it now, anyway,' said Hermione hastily. 'And we don't have to worry about Disarming, because he's been able to do that for ages ... I think we ought to start some of these hexes this evening.'

She looked down the list they had made in the library.

'I like the look of this one,' she said, 'this Impediment Jinx. Should slow down anything that's trying to attack you, Harry. Let's start with that one.'

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - pp.498-9 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 29, The Dream

So, much like with the second task, they've been trawling through library books, compiling a list of useful-looking spells and then practising them.

Harry then has his dream where he sees Wormtail getting tortured and goes to tell Dumbledore. He then takes a trip down memory lane through Dumbledore's Pensieve.

After this, they set to it again, and that's where we get the quote I mentioned above. Note that the Impediment Jinx (one of the spells on their list) is explicitly mentioned. What follows this quote is a bit about Harry's troubles with the Shield Charm and then:

'You're still doing really well, though,' Hermione said encouragingly, looking down her list, and crossing off those spells they had already learnt. 'Some of these are bound to come in handy.'

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - p.529 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 31, The Third Task

In this context, it really sounds to me like Hermione "discovered" the spell in a book, that is:

  1. Find unexpectedly or during a search:

'firemen discovered a body in the debris'

OED

I would argue she dug it up and added it to their list, rather than that she invented it.

In addition to this, I consider Hermione someone who takes a very by-the-book approach to her magical education, e.g. (one example of very, very many):

'Mandrake, or Madragora, is a powerful restorative,' said Hermione, sounding as usual as though she had swallowed the textbook.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - p.72 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 6, Gilderoy Lockhart

I don't really think she's the sort of person to experiment with her magic, and at this desparate time, when the Third Task is imminent, I can't really see her messing about with her own creations.

Also, as I mentioned under the linked question, she seems - at the very least - cautious about non-approved spells:

'So you just decided to try out an unknown, handwritten incantation and see what would happen?'

'Why does it matter if it's handwritten?' said Harry, preferring not to answer the rest of the question.

'Because it's probably not Ministry of Magic-approved,' said Hermione. 'And also,' she added, as Harry and Ron rolled their eyes, 'because I'm starting to think this Prince character was a bit dodgy.'

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - p.226 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 12, Silver and Opals

There is a much larger dimension to this - her mistrust of the Half-Blood Prince and her mistrust of other people's incantations, scribbled down in a book, which could be anything. Of course this mistrust may not apply to her own spells, but, still, I can't personally see her inventing spells, to be honest.

Anyway, that point is arguable, but I would also say surely, surely, if 15-year-old Hermione had invented the spell herself, Jo Rowling would not have left it so unclear, nor remarked upon it so tangentially. From an out-of-universe perspective, I think JKR would have made a much bigger deal out of it, if she'd intended to say that it was Hermione's own creation. For me, the very ambiguity is reason enough to believe "discovery" here means something she found, in the books that they'd been searching through in the library, which was, of course, the well-established context of this remark.

Finally, I would point to the fact that it has a name - the Four-Point Spell - that is different to its incantation (Point Me). This is, surely, not proof positive, but where did the official-sounding name come from? For sure, Hermione could have invented it and named it, but to me, it really sounds like "the Four-Point Spell" is the name the spell appears under in a textbook, with its associated incantation given underneath.

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    The article on the spell in the Harry Potter wikia offers an argument that she invented it: "The Four-Point Spell's incantation, Point Me, is one of the few known incantations to be in modern English, rather than Latin or another ancient language. Given that the incantation is English, combined with the fact that none of the other champions used it and there is no recorded use of the spell other than Harry's, it is likely Hermione did invent this spell." – Hypnosifl Dec 3 '15 at 0:37
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    ...of course, it's equally possible the stupefy spell was invented sometime after the origin of the word in the English language. But if we do assume that the word use reflects the language of the first one to come up with a spell, then the four-point spell being in English makes it more likely that Hermione created it, since there are relatively few English spells. – Hypnosifl Dec 3 '15 at 1:55
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    Not Vulgar Latin - Medieval Latin – Au101 Dec 3 '15 at 2:16
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    I fully agree with this answer, +1. The fact that they were trawling through books at the time combined with the fact that Hermione, like you say, is not the most experimental person, are both excellent points in my book - I think "discovery" here is referred to discovery in a book. @algiogia I believed they're referred to as a "speciality" of hers, but not an invention. – Luna Dec 3 '15 at 10:09
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    If anything, the fact that point me is English rather than pseudo-Latin indicates that Hermione didn’t invent it. As this answer points out, Hermione is a traditionalist who goes by the book (and, I'm guessing, probably knows a good deal more Latin than any other student in the school). If she had invented a spell, she would surely have made sure that it fit the standard mould and made it pseudo-Latin. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 30 '15 at 20:14

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