A few weeks ago JK Rowling confirmed a theory that’s been floating around the Harry Potter community for a while now:
That in Goblet of Fire, Hermione spends a paragraph instructing Viktor Krum how to pronounce ‘Hermione’ correctly to teach all of us who were pronouncing it wrong.
I have to confess: Despite studying and even performing as Hermione in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale later in life, my first exposure to the name was in Harry Potter and boy, was I pronouncing it wrong.
It wasn’t until my college years (senior in high school to Americans) that I played Hermione in The Winter’s Tale, so thankfully I didn’t make a complete arse of myself in my drama class that year.
Before that, and before Goblet of Fire, I was pronouncing Hermione wrong.
Common mispronunciations are Her-my-ninny, and Her-mi-own.
In the novel, Krum mispronounces it as ‘Hermy-own’
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.
The embarrassing thing is, I pronounced it different even to this:
Like ‘Her coin’ with an M in the place of the C. I mixed up the order of the I and the O.
Don’t ask me how that happened. I’m not dyslexic, although the name, at the time, was unfamiliar to me. I do have a history of mispronouncing words though, because I’m a reader, and that means I often read a word before I hear it pronounced verbally.