When cornered in The Philosopher's Stone Hermione performs Alohomora to help them escape. But she does so using Harry's wand.

Ducking under Peeves they ran for their lives, right to the end of the corridor, where they slammed into a door - and it was locked.
"This is it!" Ron moaned, as they pushed helplessly at the door. "We're done for! This is the end!"
They could hear footsteps, Filch running as fast as he could towards Peeves's shouts.
"Oh, move over," Hermione snarled. She grabbed Harry's wand, tapped the lock and whispered, "Alohomora!"
The lock clicked and the door swung open...
(Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 9, The Midnight Duel).

Why wouldn't Hermione use her own wand in this instance?

It's possible that she did not have it with her. If so, that seems remarkably reckless.

After all, this weapon is your life. Being wandless in Harry Potter is akin to being completely alone and powerless.

"As I was saying," continued Voldemort, looking again at the tense faces of his followers, "I understand better now. I shall need, for instance, to borrow a wand from one of you before I go to kill Potter."
The faces around him displayed nothing but shock; he might have announced that he wanted to borrow one of their arms.
"No volunteers?" said Voldemort.
(Deathly Hallows, Chapter 1, The Dark Lord Ascending).

Why did Hermione not perform the spell with her own wand? If she didn't have it on her at the time, why did she not have it?

  • 58
    This question is not a euphemism. Aug 4, 2017 at 8:21
  • 3
    The old game of replacing wand with wang strikes again. (Edit: And also works for the first line of the top answer)
    – Joe
    Aug 4, 2017 at 12:12
  • 1
    @Joe Why bother replacing? "Wand" already sounds like a euphemism. Aug 4, 2017 at 14:01
  • 5
    Clickbait much? ;)
    – Burgi
    Aug 4, 2017 at 14:08
  • 2
    I read @TheDarkLord's comment in the CinemaSins narrator's voice.
    – tonysdg
    Aug 4, 2017 at 16:23

1 Answer 1


She did not have her wand at the time

Harry and Ron were planning on sneaking out to the Trophy room to have a wizard's duel with Draco. Hermione overhears this and warns them about being about at night (they could lose points!). The boys take no heed of her protests and decide to duel anyway.

“I couldn't help overhearing what you and Malfoy were saying —”

“Bet you could,” Ron muttered.

“— and you mustn't go wandering around the school at night, think of the points you'll lose Gryffindor if you're caught, and you're bound to be. It's really very selfish of you.”
(Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 9, The Midnight Duel).

Later that night, half an hour before the duel is supposed to begin -

“Half-past eleven,” Ron muttered at last, “we'd better go.”

They pulled on their bathrobes, picked up their wands, and crept across the tower room, down the spiral staircase, and into the Gryffindor common room. A few embers were still glowing in the fireplace, turning all the armchairs into hunched black shadows. They had almost reached the portrait hole when a voice spoke from the chair nearest them, “I can't believe you're going to do this, Harry.”

A lamp flickered on. It was Hermione Granger, wearing a pink bathrobe and a frown.
(Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 9, The Midnight Duel).

Hermione waits up to catch the boys in the act, and to try and persuade them to stay in their beds. She then follows the duo out past the portrait of the Fat Lady

“All right, but I warned you, you just remember what I said when you're on the train home tomorrow, you're so —”

But what they were, they didn't find out. Hermione had turned to the portrait of the Fat Lady to get back inside and found herself facing an empty painting. The Fat Lady had gone on a nighttime visit and Hermione was locked out of Gryffindor Tower.

“Now what am I going to do?” she asked shrilly.
(Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 9, The Midnight Duel).

With the Fat Lady gone they can no longer get back into the common room, even with a password -

It wasn't Mrs. Norris. It was Neville. He was curled up on the floor, fast asleep, but jerked suddenly awake as they crept nearer.

“Thank goodness you found me! I've been out here for hours, I couldn't remember the new password to get in to bed.”

“Keep your voice down, Neville. The password's ‘Pig snout' but it won't help you now, the Fat Lady's gone off somewhere.”
(Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 9, The Midnight Duel).

Now she is stuck outside of the Gryffindor common room, in a pink bathrobe, with (most likely) no suitable place to store a wand (and without a way to get her wand even if she wanted to). Keep in mind she wasn't planning on doing anything involving magic, only trying to stop Harry and Ron from going out and getting into trouble, so she didn't think a wand would have been necessary. She's not exactly dressed to go off adventuring and is more prepared to sleep than to use magic.

  • I agree with this answer. A minor nitpick -- I don't think a wand is required for passing through the Fat Lady portrait; I think it just requires a password. I realize you didn't explicitly say this, but it seemed slightly implied, so I thought I'd mention it. Aug 4, 2017 at 8:55
  • 1
    @Slytherincess, I added a quote that hopefully removes the implication. No wand is needed, but the Fat Lady does need to be there to let people enter
    – fez
    Aug 4, 2017 at 9:04
  • 1
    Your edit helps a lot and brings your answer around to be fully cohesive. Really nice answer! :) Aug 4, 2017 at 22:43

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