17

In the chapter introducing Amortentia it's pointed out that each individual smells something different depending on what they're attracted by.

"And the steam rising in characteristic spirals," said Hermione enthusiastically, "and it's supposed to smell differently to each of us, according to what attracts us, and I can smell freshly mown grass and new parchment and -"
(Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 9, The Half-Blood Prince)

We know from JKR that Hermione smelt Ron's hair in the potion, though she wasn't prepared to admit it openly at the time.

Jess Mac: What was the third smell that Hermione smelt in the Amortentia potion in Half-Blood Prince (i.e. the particular essence of Ron)?
J.K. Rowling: I think it was his hair. Every individual has very distinctive-smelling hair, don't you find?

It makes sense in the scheme of things that she is attracted to something of Ron's. I also understand why parchment would attract her since she's a huge bookworm. But why the grass? Is there any indication about why freshly mown grass would inflame her passions?

  • 7
    Maybe it means “what attracts us” in the broader sense of “what we like”, rather than inflamed passions. – Paul D. Waite Jun 5 '16 at 11:20
  • 6
    Cat GirlsCat Grass – Valorum Jun 5 '16 at 11:22
  • 5
    I suspect it was a reference to home 'n' hearth. Her family house almost certainly had a lawn and her father almost certainly cut the lawn on a Sunday when she was growing up. – Valorum Jun 5 '16 at 11:24
  • 4
    "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens / bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens" Must be one of those things. – SQB Jun 5 '16 at 12:41
  • 8
    Many people associate the smell of freshly mown grass with the joys of summertime. – RedCaio Jun 5 '16 at 23:16
14

We don't know.

There doesn't seem to be any other canonical indication of a special connection between Hermione and grass; it's not something explored elsewhere in the books or expanded on by JKR in interviews.

I did find this fanfic which gives some plausible (but of course not canonical) explanations of why grass means so much to her: the grass of Hogwarts grounds associated with happy memories, and also the grass of her parents' lawn at home reminding her of her childhood.

Note that, as others have pointed out in comments, the fact that she smelled grass in the Amortentia potion doesn't necessarily mean it "would inflame her passions", just that it's a smell she loves and which perhaps has some special (not necessarily romantic) meaning to her.

5

It's not about grass, it's about freshly mown grass.

Hermione loves all things neat and tidy and perfect. She meticulously organises, plans, sorts and colour-codes things - that is who she is.

Compare the two things on her list.

"and it's supposed to smell differently to each of us, according to what attracts us, and I can smell freshly mown grass and new parchment and -"

As you can see, both things on her list have a qualifier that indicate peak efficiency and neatness - grass is neatest when freshly cut, parchment is at it's most crisp and clean when new. Both have generally pleasant associations of course - as others have mentioned, cut grass is linked to summer (especially in the UK) and parchment is linked to books and studying - but that is incidental to the running theme.

The key takeaway - it isn't the items themselves, it's the neat and clean associations that come with them that are important.

2

Oh, I do think it has to do with Ron and the Burrow:

On page 63 of Goblet of Fire, it reads, "the warm air was perfumed with the smells of grass and honeysuckle" when describing the dinner Harry, Hermione, and the Weasleys eat together.

  • How does the smell of the food relate to the smell of the Amortentia besides that they both smell of grass? – Edlothiad Nov 11 '18 at 8:19
2

The "freshly mown grass" is probably a reference to The Burrow, where in Chapter Seven of Deathly Hallows the yard is described as containing "freshly mown lawn"

Once he reached the seclusion of the freshly mown lawn, Ron rounded on Harry.

As you mentioned in the question, it would make sense that she smells this because that is something that would make sense for her to associate with Ron.

  • 1
    I assume this is the only reference to a freshly mown lawn in the entire series? – Thunderforge Apr 12 '19 at 1:43
  • 1
    @Thunderforge I think so. That is, besides for the reference to the "freshly mown grass" that Hermione smelled in the potion – Alex Apr 12 '19 at 1:44
  • 1
    I like this answer, but surely Hermione has smelled freshly grown grass prior to visiting the Burrow. I think the accepted answer is the best one, but upvote for good idea – NKCampbell Apr 12 '19 at 14:17
  • @NKCampbell Yes she probably had smelled mown grass prior to visiting The Burrow. But this Potions class occurred immediately after she had just spent more than a month living there. – Alex Apr 12 '19 at 14:27
1

Old wood-based paper smells a little like vanilla and grass.

Reference: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/that-old-book-smell-is-a-mix-of-grass-and-vanilla-710038/

0

Ron and the rest of the Weasleys live at the Burrow which is surrounded by grassy areas. So she could've smelt that.

  • 5
    Plausible but only speculation. You might just as easily imagine that it was because they were outside when he ("Eat Slugs!") defended her honour – Valorum Mar 3 '18 at 11:29
  • 4
    I can't think of any mention of the grass at The Burrow being mown. – Blackwood Mar 3 '18 at 13:22
  • @Blackwood No, it's left to grow by Mr Weasley, who has a soft spot for the gnomes who live in it. – The Dark Lord Mar 3 '18 at 19:48

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