Hermione Granger. You know her, you love her, you struggled with her name a little bit. As you know, because you know everything about Harry Potter by this point, J.K. Rowling actually included a Hermione Granger Pronunciation Moment in Goblet of Fire, because we were all struggling so hard with it (“Her-my-oh-nee” she sounds out for Viktor Krum). While you obviously know this, you fine HP Scholar, did you know she was actually almost named something completely different?
The name Hermione comes from Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale, but according to Rowling, “[her] Hermione bears very little relation to that Hermione.” Rowling was simply looking for an unusual name that “a pair of professional dentists, who liked to prove how clever they were” would use. Rowling was also looking for an uncommon, unusual name, because she “didn’t want to give her a common name, you know, just in case somewhere out there, there was a Jane with big front teeth who was really swotty and annoying.” Good thinking, Jo. Hermione she became.
Surname Granger came second, and it wasn’t always going to be Granger. At one point in time Hermione’s last name was actually going to be “Puckle.” Hermione Puckle, Prefect. Hermione Puckle, straight-A student. Hermione Puckle, Mudblood. None of these have any sort of awesome ring to it, and Rowling thought so, too. The name “did not suit her at all” and our spitfire know-it-all instead was christened Granger. That rolls off the tongue so much easier.