In case you haven’t heard amid all the buzz about the new trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Harry Potter is getting yet another adaptation—a stage play called Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The play is “the official eighth Potter story,” picking up where the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows epilogue leaves off.
This weekend, the play’s official Twitter account announced the lead cast: Jamie Parker will play Harry Potter, Paul Thornley will play Ron Weasley, and Noma Dumezweni will play Hermione Granger.
Noma Dumezweni is black. Which means that some fans are angry, and some fans are overjoyed.
Over the years, I’ve seen lots of black Hermione fanart on Tumblr, Pinterest and Twitter, and so much of it looks so cool. While she’s played by Emma Watson in the movies, Hermione’s race isn’t specified in the books, and if Hermione is black, that adds a whole new dimension to the prejudice she faces as a Muggle-born, or “Mudblood.” If you're still unconvinced, this thoughtful Buzzfeed post about race and Harry Potter's blood politics will change your mind.
JK Rowling, Twitter queen, had the perfect response to fans who are unhappy with the casting: “Canon: brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione,” she tweeted, and pinned it to the top of her profile for emphasis.
A few Harry Potter cast members shared their thoughts as well.
“And Neville Longbottom was blonde. I really don't care. Good luck to her,” wrote Matthew Lewis, who plays Neville in the films.
“Tbh new Hermione is black, Harry looks like Ron, when I was cast ppl complained about my HAIR & it is people's [heart emoji] NOT their looks that matter,” wrote Evanna Lynch, who plays Luna Lovegood in the films.
Noma Dumezweni is an experienced stage actress who won an Olivier award for A Raisin In The Sun, and she’s also appeared on TV and in the film Dirty Pretty Things. We’re sure that she’ll be an excellent Hermione — now, if only we can get tickets!
Images via Tumblr/dellbelle39, Twitter/Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Erika W. Smith is BUST's digital editorial director. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @erikawynn and email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.