J.K. Rowling Loves “Black Hermione” – Take That, Twitter Critics
It’s an interesting time to be in geek fandom these days. We’ve barely had time to process the new “Star Wars” movie having a female main character and a black Stormtrooper, and now the new “Harry Potter” sequel has a black actress playing Hermione Granger – and before borderline-racist critics could even pick up steam, J.K. Rowling herself endorsed it on Twitter.
Earlier we mentioned that a “Harry Potter” sequel is coming to the theater in London. “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” will pick up where the epilogue left off, 19 years after the end of the war with Voldemort, as Harry’s son Albus heads off to Hogwarts for the first time – and the play’s producers have made a pretty daring casting choice:
Harry will be played by 36-year-old Jamie Parker, an original member of Alan Bennett’s History Boys cast at the National Theatre, while Paul Thornley has been cast as Ron Weasley.
Ron, his hair now receding, is married to Hermione – a part won by Noma Dumezweni, 45, who was born in Swaziland to South African parents fleeing apartheid. She moved with her mother and sister to Suffolk when she was seven.
The idea of a black Hermione has been a fan favorite in Tumblr communities advocating for greater diversity. People have been drawing fan art of the character for years. As a girl from a working-class family, determined to prove herself in a posh upper-class school while being called “mudblood” by bigots like Draco Malfoy, Hermione has a lot of appeal for minorities in the “Harry Potter” fandom.
J.K. Rowling has been aware of this discussion for a while, so when it started trending online, she didn’t hesitate to give her blessing:
She also retweeted this article from New Statesman writer Stephen Bush, who always assumed Hermione looked like him.
Of course some people are taking offense (often while pretending they’re not offended and everyone else is). My favorite is this guy, who insists that Hermione has to be white because English dentists can’t be black:
But this has only left them wide open to the point that if white actors can play everything from Egyptian pharaohs to Jesus, why is this situation any different? They just had to go with the best actress, guys!