I find myself conflicted about the message of today’s chapter. Not everyone can be a hero, and not simply in the “because they don’t have the ability” sense. Even if every single person had the potential to be an actual hero, logistically most people cannot be heroes. Heroes are dependent upon others to grow their food, produce their clothing, and build their shelter. Luke Skywalker needed the factory worker who bolted together his X-Wing. Without a vast support crew, he’s just a kid swinging around a lightsaber on his uncle’s farm. If everyone was a hero, society would collapse. Heroes are great because they direct all of our effort, which we have focused into them.
I realize self-actualization doesn’t necessarily mean becoming a hero. It can just mean “be the best damn sidekick or factory worker or accountant you can be!” It is a worthy goal, and it makes life sweet, and everyone should strive for it. But so much focus is put on “being the hero” in all the media we consume that it probably pushes far more people into attempted heroing than it should.
But looking over the whole of the Self-Actualization arc, I don’t think the message is “everyone must be a hero, or they are a failure”. Hermione, ultimately, remains a support character. She simply becomes a much better Hermione. Maybe the message really is “be the best you can at what you are”, and her focus of not being trapped in Harry’s shadow constrained my view of the situation. I tend to over-empathize with fictional characters.