Reader Confessions: I was wrong… for YEARS

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.

Did you mispronounce Hermione’s name when you first read it? Are there other names or words you’e mispronounced wrong because you read them before hearing them? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.


About Nemo

A lover of kittens and all things sparkly, Nemo has a degree in English Literature and specialises in reviewing contemporary, paranormal, mystery/thriller, historical, sci-fi and fantasy Young Adult fiction. She is especially drawn to novels about princesses, strong female friendships, magical powers, and assassins.

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4 thoughts on “Reader Confessions: I was wrong… for YEARS

  1. Eilonwy

    I’m laughing at this post! 🙂

    My friends and I all said “HER-mee-own” for the first three books because we thought the name was French. Then someone else archly informed us that it was Greek and told us the proper pronunciation.

    It took me ages to start thinking of Hermione with the proper pronunciation, though!

    And to this day, I still say “HAY-grid” in my head even though I know it’s supposed to be “HAG-rid.”

    1. Nemo

      A someone who pronounce Persephone ‘purr-seff-oan’ until my high school teacher laughed at me, I totally understand where you’re coming from.

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