The Harry Potter universe has enthralled fans of the series since the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, was released in 1997. Six more books, eight movies, and 21 years later, fans are still coming up with new theories surrounding the beloved characters and their stories.
From time to time, author J.K. Rowling will put her hand up and confirm some of these fan theories on her Twitter account. Some that have been confirmed include the fact that Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore is gay. Dumbledore is the personification of Death in the Tale of the Three Brothers, and the fact that Ron and Hermione probably should not have ended up together.
One of the more recent theories is that Hermione Granger, one of Harry’s best friends throughout the books, explained the pronunciation of her name to Durmstrang student Viktor Krum in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in order to help fans of the books who had been pronouncing it incorrectly.
As reported by TIME, Rowling confirmed this theory yesterday via Twitter after a fan posed the theory. The original text in the book reads as follows.
“Hermione was now teaching Krum to say her name properly; he kept calling her ‘Hermy-own.’
‘Her – my – oh – nee,’ she said, slowly and clearly.
‘Herm – own – ninny.’
‘Close enough,’ she said, catching Harry’s eye and grinning.”
Theory correct. https://t.co/Q46h56ljuU
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) September 18, 2018
For those who started with the books instead of the movies, that would have been three-and-a-half books’ worth of incorrect pronunciation of Hermione’s name before the teenage witch was forced to explain the pronunciation to Krum. Of course, if the how-to guide provided by Hermione herself in the book still didn’t clear it up, the first film was released a year later in 2001, which should have left fans in no doubt as to how her name is pronounced.
Following Rowling’s confirmation tweet, fans have flocked to comment on the post, sharing their own variations of pronunciations they had come up with when first reading the books.
My 7 year old brain read it as Her-Me-Own!! It wasn’t until I watched a Oprah interview that I understood I was saying it wrong all along.
— Nicole Dodson (@NKDsoooCoolyaya) September 18, 2018
I called her Hermy-one until I was 8 and saw the first movie ????????????
— El Osman (@RandomOnDisplay) September 18, 2018
Hermione would be proud pic.twitter.com/Y2xe5fKSFr
— Abby (@ADaydreamAway47) September 18, 2018
I had been reading it "Her-Moyne"
— Ezra ❌ (@thatfameboy) September 18, 2018
The most prominent memory I have of my parents reading Harry Potter to me before bed is my dad going ‘Well that’s a stupid name, from now own I’m going to call her… Jane’ and then me getting annoyed (obviously) because it’s Hermione, not ‘Jane’! ????
— ???????????????????????????????????? (@KloCharlotte) September 18, 2018
To be fair, it’s rather a tricky name to pronounce if there’s nothing but the spelling to go on, and Rowling clearly realized that problem when she decided to clarify with the lesson to Krum. Up until then, no one had a reference point as to the pronunciation of the unusual name.
Of course, now the name is popular among young parents, with Baby Center noting a spike upwards of 60 million in 2016 (right around the time the Potter generation would have grown up and started having children).