7

Harry and Dumbledore's Patronuses really speak to their owner and exemplify them well.

Why do Hermione, Luna and Ron have their patronuses? (otter, hare, terrier)

He saw Ron’s silver terrier burst into the air, flicker feebly, and expire; he saw Hermione’s otter twist in midair and fade; and his own wand trembled in his hand, and he almost welcomed the oncoming oblivion, the promise of nothing, of no feeling. . . .And then a silver hare, a boar, and a fox soared past Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s heads: The dementors fell back before the creatures’ approach. Three more people had arrived out of the darkness to stand beside them, their wands outstretched, continuing to cast their Patronuses: Luna, Ernie, and Seamus.

1
  • 3
    FWIW there is a claim you'll often see online that Ron and Hermione's patronuses are meant to symbolize a terrier chasing an otter. AFAIK this has no basis in anything Rowling has ever said though.
    – ibid
    Commented May 19 at 4:11

1 Answer 1

12

According to Wizarding World, Hermione's patronus (the otter) represents her affinity for these animals, as well as elements of her character.

Hermione is bookish and the otter is an especially child-book-friendly animal.

Her Patronus, the otter, is a clever and dexterous animal; some have even been known to juggle small rocks. Otters have also featured in many classics of English literature such as Tarka the Otter, Ring of Bright Water and The Wind in the Willows. Trust Hermione’s Patronus to be in so many books.

But the otter also reflected an aspect of Hermione we weren’t used to seeing. According to the eighteenth-century Charms researcher Professor Catullus Spangle, the Patronus ‘represents that which is hidden, unknown but necessary within the personality’. To face something as evil as a Dementor, a person ‘must draw upon resources he or she may never have needed, and the Patronus is the awakened secret self that lies dormant until needed.’

Hermione’s carefree side was usually buried beneath endless stacks of homework, yet her Patronus animal frolicked around playfully without a care in the world.

Hermione’s Patronus, a shining silver otter, was gambolling around her. ‘They are sort of nice, aren’t they?’ she said, looking at it fondly.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

By comparison, Ron's patronus is more of a character trait alone.

Terriers are small dogs that seriously overestimate their own size and strength. Utterly fearless, they’ll bark furiously at anything they see as a threat, no matter if the odds are against them. Ron Weasley often showed this trait, by protecting Harry from an escaped convict while standing on a broken leg and defending Hermione’s honour with a broken wand, which resulted in an unfortunate bout of slug-vomiting.

Stubborn and wilful as the Jack Russell can be (remember Ron’s epic sulk during Goblet of Fire?), a dog Patronus is a surefire sign of a loyal friend. Take Sirius Black for example, a character most in tune with his canine side. Sirius was extremely loyal to his friends, his cause and to his godson Harry, whom he fought with until the end. Even if Ron went off in the odd huff, he always came back with a new-found ferocity. Man’s best friend indeed.

Luna's hare is evidently related to her madness and connection with the moon, something shared in Eastern philosophy with the moon rabbit

The phrases ‘mad as a March hare’ might well have described Luna Lovegood, who had an interesting relationship with her Patronus. The hare has a strong association with the moon, with the ‘moon gazing hare’ being a symbol in ancient pagan beliefs. How interesting that Luna’s name is of Latin origin, meaning moon.

Though some Patronuses reveal a hidden or repressed quality in the caster, Luna always seemed to be fully in tune with her emotions. Her nickname, ‘Loony’, comes from the word ‘lunatic’ or ‘lunacy’ – a condition once believed to be caused by the full moon. Her Patronus shows that she’s proud to be herself, no matter what anyone else says.

There's also the more mundane fact that her house is set alone on top of a hill in the English countryside. Rabbits would be found literally everywhere.

1
  • I would argue more the OP's premises - like, for example, Harry's patronus should be something along the lines of a badger, with honeybadger being my preference, if we go with canon explanation of the charm.. I kind of get why his is a stag (also more linked to traditional symbolism, than his personal connection), but I personally don't see it. And it bears repeating that shape of patronus can change... Or have no shape at all, too.
    – AcePL
    Commented May 20 at 6:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.