In the upcoming play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, grown-up Hermione Granger is being portrayed by Noma Dumezweni, a black actress. And if you have a problem with that, Harry Potter author JK Rowling has a problem with you.
“With my experience of social media, I thought that idiots were going to idiot,” Rowling said in an interview with the Observer. (Bonus points to Jo for using the word ‘idiot’ as a verb!) “But what can you say? That’s the way the world is. Noma was chosen because she was the best actress for the job.”
The casting of Dumezweni as Hermione was originally revealed back on December 21, 2015, and a vocal minority took to Twitter to voice their disapproval. They argued that a throwaway line from one of the books revealed Hermione as a white character, and that casting a black actress was an act of forced diversification.
Rowling took to Twitter in response:
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
JK Rowling recently elaborated on her comments after publicity photos were recently released for the highly anticipated play.
“I had a bunch of racists telling me that because Hermione ‘turned white’ — that is, lost colour from her face after a shock — that she must be a white woman, which I have a great deal of difficulty with,” she told the Observer. “But I decided not to get too agitated about it and simply state quite firmly that Hermione can be a black woman with my absolute blessing and enthusiasm.”
The sold-out production, which broke records by selling 175,000 tickets in 24 hours, is currently beginning previews. Directed by John Tiffany and scripted by Rowling and playwright Jack Thorpe, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is scheduled to premiere on July 30, 2016 — the day before Harry Potter’s canon 34th birthday.