I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt. 1 the other day which was very good--very tense! I kept finding myself unclenching when there was a moment of comic relief, not knowing that I had been clenched for long periods of time. It was like an isometric workout!
I understand why they are the Harry Potter books. But let's be clear, here: there's no way Harry survives without Hermione. None. Since they came to Hogwarts, Harry needs Hermione to get through each year: academically, emotionally, and physically. Ron, bless his little heart, knows this full well, saying to Harry early on in this movie that he won't be able to make it alone--and specifically that he needs Hermione.
I've been trying to think what the--let's call them the Hogwarts books--would look like if they were written from Hermione's perspective rather than Harry's. I mean, it is quite a journey from this:
[photos courtesy of the Harry Potter wiki]
Befriending Harry Potter was the making of Hermione, too, of course. She could very easily have stayed simply a star pupil, obedient to authority, successful within the system. Kind of like Percy Weasley. Instead, she became a morally complex character who walks away from school for what she perceives is a larger purpose despite the very high costs to herself. (I am reminded of Sophie Scholl and the White Rose movement in Nazi Germany.)
Seeing the story from Hermione's perspective, Harry is not so much heroic when he wishes to go it alone as broken, an abused child from a neglectful family where the best you can hope for is not being noticed and the only person you can count on is yourself. Ron gives Harry a family, but Ron himself is not completely reliable. Hermione, however, is steady as a rock and consistent throughout. She holds these characters together, and she holds the series together.
I say it again: if there's no Hermione Granger, there's no Harry Potter. Or at least he doesn't get very far.
In other people's blogs, Kurt Weisner does a very helpful side-by-side of the book and the new movie--full of spoilers, so don't read it if you haven't seen the film yet.
And Jan Edmiston has a great entry on how the movie is like Advent called Discernment looks boring. I highly recommend it.