49

In Deathly Hallows:

“I think you’re right,” she told him. “It’s just a morality tale, it’s obvious which gift is best, which one you’d choose —” The three of them spoke at the same time; Hermione said, “the Cloak,” Ron said, “the wand,” and Harry said, “the stone.”

It's obvious why Harry picked the Stone: The whole theme of the story is his overcoming death. And it's obvious why Ron picked the Wand: His whole life he was the also-ran, the hanger-on, the weakest of the trio. The Wand would make him someone powerful.

But why did Hermione pick the cloak? Is it just because it's the last Hallow left? Or is there a deeper reason?

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    "You're supposed to say the Cloak," Ron told Hermione, "but you wouldn't need to be invisible if you had the wand. An unbeatable wand, Hermione, come on!" "We've already got an Invisibility Cloak," said Harry, "And it's helped us rather a lot, in case you hadn't noticed!" said Hermione. "Whereas the wand would be bound to attract troubleC" – Valorum Sep 16 at 16:07
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    Hermione hasn't got any dead relatives to mourn and she readily identifies the wand with simply attracting trouble. That leaves a choice of one – Valorum Sep 16 at 16:08
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    @MrSpudtastic - As analysis goes, I'm not sure it meets my personal criteria of "deeper meaning" since it's pretty superficial. If you think you can turn it into a decent answer though, knock yourself out. – Valorum Sep 16 at 16:47
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    While Ron does spell out some of his reasoning, I'd also like to think he wants the wand because it might be the first wand that works properly for him. – Ellesedil Sep 16 at 17:45
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    @Ellesedil After "Chamber of Secrets" - but before the start of "Prisoner of Azkaban" - Ron gets a new wand, purchased with some of the Weasley family's winnings, to replace the one broken at the start of "Chamber of Secrets" (and "Lockhearted" at the end). What indications do we have that this new wand did not work properly for him? – Chronocidal Sep 17 at 10:20
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Hermione has always been an objective individual

I think her preferred Hallow was a symbol of the type of person she is. In some sense, both Harry and Ron gravitated towards the Hallows that addressed some deep personal issues of their own (Ron's insecurities and Harry's great losses). In comparison, Hermione was someone who preferred to make her decision based upon pure facts rather than her emotions and personal loss.

She would have had to look no further than the outcomes of the 3 brothers to decide which Hallow she would have preferred.

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    I beg to differ. This is not the action of an objective individual. An objective individual would want the stone ... to call up Nicholas Flamel to gain the secret of the philosopher's stone ... and tear the secret out of it and add together all the knowledge of all the wizards that ever existed ... and make true the words "the last enemy that shall be defeated is death" – Joshua Sep 17 at 1:56
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    And it comes with the added bonus of being invisible to Tweedledee Potter and Tweedledum Weasley so she can sit down and read for a bit. – Misha R Sep 17 at 5:06
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    I would add, not just pure facts but practicality. Hermione is a pragmatist. That and the added bonus that the cloak is non-violent. – Dúthomhas Sep 17 at 8:34
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    @Joshua "Do I not destroy my enemy when I make him my friend?". Now, which of the 3 brothers does that best describe? (I also recall no evidence that the spirits summoned by the Resurrection Stone would be in any way obligated to answer questions asked of them... This would make it potentially useless for the purposes you suggest) – Chronocidal Sep 17 at 10:24
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    You misread that. Hermione is just like Harry and Ron. The cloak addresses her personal issues as well. It would have offered refuge or even protection from the fear she learned in the magical world. She has been discriminated against ever since day one b/c of her birth, as a muggle, b/c of her skill (Wingardium Leviosa, anyone?), b/c she was asked out by Victor Krum, to name the most prominent. With the cloak she can become invisible and avoid her hardship. She was answering out of the same motivations as the other two. – user1129682 Sep 17 at 14:22
95

Hermione is correct, it is obvious from the tale which gift is best.

  • The brother who got the wand was killed the night after he boasted of the powerful wand.
  • The brother who got the stone soon killed himself.
  • The brother who got the cloak lived a long life and died in peace.

    And then he (the younges brother) greeted Death as an old friend, and went with him gladly, and, equals, they departed this life.

The question is why the other two, knowing this, would choose the other items.

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    Ron points out that you're supposed to want the wimpy item but that any wizard worth his salt would want the powerful wand. – Valorum Sep 16 at 18:33
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    @Valorum She just said in the previous sentence "it's a morality tale", she tends to believe the books, so it fits her character that she applies the lesson from the book/tale. Many wizards may prefer the wand, but every user of the wand was killed. – QuestionAuthority Sep 16 at 18:59
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    I feel this is a better answer – Nigel Fds Sep 17 at 1:15
  • @Valorum: Which merely shows Hermione what Ron's morality compass at that point is pointing to... – user21820 Sep 17 at 12:04
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    @Valorum A wizard who was actually worth his salt wouldn't *need the Elder Wand. Think of Dumbledore inspecting the cave in HBP with wandless magic. Then again: we shouldn't judge those who feel they need some enhancement to perform - even if, as Voldemort found out, it sometimes misfires. – Chronocidal Sep 17 at 12:30
9

The reason why Hermione chose the cloak is pure logic and logic alone, and the story of the three brothers only reinforces that which can be figured out purely by logic.

What's the stone good for? Nothing really. It can't really bring back the dead only their spirits who apparently grow tired of being summoned back to witness the living, and there is some real consideration about whether the ring truly summons the spirits of the dead to you, or whether they are an extension of your memory and desire to see them. (Similar to the mirror of Erised).

The wand, although an extraordinary tool to increase the power of your magic, has the unfortunate side affect of pitting you against any and all wizards that crave for more power. You will be forced to live the life of involuntary duels.

The cloak on the other hand is not coveted, its use is defensive in nature used for concealment, and to avoid or flee a fight. Chances are it's the one instrument of the three that will do the owner the most amount of good with the least amount of consequence or regret over that decision.

It makes the most sense logically that the cloak would be the most desirable hallow of the three, and Hermione being driven by logic rather than emotion or whim would not only chose the cloak but assume anyone else with one bit of logic or intelligence would also chose the cloak.

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    I would disagree slightly about the Wand: Neither Gregorovich (who wanted to study the wand, but not use it), nor Dumbledore (who wielded significant Political power, and was well known as a magical prodigy before he acquired it) were brought conflict by the owning the wand - however, neither of them had cause to advertise ownership of the Elder Wand (and, arguably, both had good reason to conceal the fact!), while most of the negative consequences that previous holders experienced seem to stem from their egos and boasting about how "unbeatable" they were (or their wand was). – Chronocidal Sep 18 at 13:15
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    Both of your examples cite already powerful wizards, and as you stated they concealed the fact they owned them very carefully. This is evidenced that it took years for Voldemort to discover gregorivic had it when in fact it had already passed hands since he had it oh so long ago. Concealing the fact you have it is evidence that it causes problems for the wielder. – Escoce Sep 18 at 13:20
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    Not really... Advertising that you have it causes problems, even if you don't have the wand. In general, people are more likely to think "that person is a powerful spellcaster" than they are "that person must have the Elder Wand". We see no evidence of Gregorovich or Dumbledore actually concealing that they owned the Elder Wand, just that they never went out of their way to mention it - very different. – Chronocidal Sep 18 at 13:37
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    Also worth noting... Neither Harry, who shuns fame, and Hermione, who values her solitude, would be at risk from owning the wand. Only Ron, with his desire to "step out of the shadow" of his family/friends would be in danger. Of course, the flip-side to that is Harry (with the family he has lost) and Hermione (with the promise of lost knowledge) are both at risk from the Resurrection Stone, while Ron (valuing his living friends/family, and not being prone to much in the way of introspection or deep thought) is largely immune to the dangers it presents. – Chronocidal Sep 18 at 13:39
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    That decision as outlined is not by pure logic. It's also by personal axioms. For instance, if you are a duellist anyway, a powerful wand that makes you more powerful and attracts more worthy opponents is a win-win! Far too many people confuse what comes logically to them based on their axiomatic preferences with "pure logic". Pure logic tells you nothing about what is a "better" choice. Because pure logic doesn't have any base axioms on what is "good" in the first place. – Frank Hopkins Sep 19 at 18:26
2

Because Hermione was always the one, who did not pursue power tools. She wanted to live peacefully, far away from all the danger.

The Invisibility Cloak, as the third brother, Ignotus Peverell, used it for, was to protect himself and his family and not a tool for power and violence.

  • 1
    "Because Hermione was always the one, who did not pursue power tools. She wanted to live peacefully, far away from all the danger." This is what I was looking for. If you have proof from the books that this is true, I will accept your answer. – TheAsh says Reinstate Monica Sep 18 at 11:23
  • @TheAsh - seems odd that she'd be selected for Gryffindor then, when her brain power is more suited to Ravenclaw. What's the distinction between the two houses? Gryffindor is for the bold and brave. If Hermione's true nature is to be as far away from danger as possible, then the hat was wrong – NKCampbell Sep 18 at 18:52
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    @NKCampbell The hat is never wrong. It is not really deciding but more discussing which house you go to. But yeah generally Hermione would be a better fit for Ravenclaw. She also liked to stand up for others rights which is brave making gryffindor a viable option. – Kami Kaze Sep 19 at 8:24
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    is there any actual evidence the cloak bestows immortality @Mazura? Yes, the tale says it does, but Dumbledore doesn't buy the tale as literal. – NKCampbell Sep 19 at 13:44
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    except even Moody's magical eye could apparently see through the cloak - so it's not even a perfect artifact :D @FrankHopkins – NKCampbell Sep 19 at 18:48
0

I think this is a case where Hermione's heart and head are in perfect alignment. I agree with @QuestionAuthority's answer and others that indicate that the Cloak is the logical choice when you look at the outcome of the brothers in the tale. I also agree with @whelsas that Hermione didn't crave power.

I disagree with @Escoce that emotion had absolutely no place in Hermione's choice. Hermione is ready to take risks when needed but when we see her at her most vulnerable, more than anything she wants to feel safe and secure. As a child, she is desperate for her teachers' approval and good grades, but she never seems to be aiming for any special school awards; she just wants to be sure she is secure at Hogwarts and in the Wizarding world. She (maybe in half-jest) calls being expelled a worse outcome than being killed, and her Boggart is failing her exams (and therefore having to leave the school and hence the magical world).

I think it's an emotional choice because the idea of being able to hide so well from her fears appeals to her more than having the power to take them on.

  • 1
    This answer would be even better if you could edit in some quotes and other evidence to support the points you are making. – TheLethalCarrot Sep 18 at 12:48

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