JK Rowling Doesn’t Give A Single Damn If You Think Hermione Can’t Be Black
Geez, people need to calm down.
Back in June the news that the Harry Potter universe was getting a reboot via a two-part stage play, The Cursed Child, had fans eager for more news. Since then, we’ve learned the basics of the plot — which centres around a middle-aged Harry Potter and his youngest son, Albus — and yesterday the production’s official Twitter account revealed the trio of actors slated to play the three most important roles.
— Harry Potter Play (@HPPlayLDN) December 21, 2015
Besides understandable and righteous anger at the fact that noted ginger Ron Weasley has been stripped of his red hair, a lot of people took exception to the part of Hermione being played by Noma Dumezweni, an English actress who also happens to be a person of colour.
Emma Watson’s portrayal of Hermione in the film remakes of the series helped cement an assumption among many fans that the character is white, but Hermione’s skin colour is never explicitly discussed in the books. Plenty of people have reacted with anger or confusion at a black actor being cast as The Cursed Child‘s Hermione, with others pointing out that the character’s whiteness is merely assumed, not actually supported by the text.
— Hopeless wanderer (@itsrouchus) December 21, 2015
With arguments being hurled back and forth on Twitter, people reached out to original series author JK Rowling to get her take. Eventually Rowling weighed in, coming down pretty decisively on the side of people who don’t freak out when a character in a children’s book doesn’t reflect every last one of their unfounded assumptions that they’re the yardstick for normality.
Canon: brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione 😘 https://t.co/5fKX4InjTH
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) December 21, 2015
Good outcome! Now let’s never whinge about a fictional character being portrayed by a non-white person ever, ever again.
Feature image via Harry Potter Play/Twitter