In a New Harry Potter Production, Actor Noma Dumezweni Will Play Hermione

Actors Jamie Parker, Noma Dumezweni, and Paul Thornley, who will portray adult version of Harry, Hermione, and Ron. Photo by Simon Annand.

In a upcoming London play based on a new Harry Potter story, Hermione will be played by lauded London actor Noma Dumezweni.

The casting of Dumezweni as Hermione will resonate with a lot of people of color who “identified with Hermione while reading the books, only to not see themselves reflected in the endless stream of white Hermiones seen on Harry Potter merchandise and book covers,” writes Muggle Net

In the original Harry Potter books, Hermione's race was not made explicit. But the Emma Watson movie-version of Hermione cemented her as a white character in many viewers' minds, regardless of the vagueness about her race in the written series. That's not the way the character has to be, though. Over at the Guardian, writer Chitra Ramaswamy explains why Hermione works well as a Black character

It turns out that Hermione is an ideal candidate for racebending (changing the race or ethnicity of a character routinely portrayed as white) and has long been reconstructed as black, biracial or Asian online, particularly in fan art, which Rowling has also been tweeting in support. Why? Because in a series that is as much about the evils of racial supremacy as anything else, Hermione is in a Muggle-born minority and is often the target of racial abuse (Draco Malfoy calls her “filthy little mudblood”). She is also an activist who understands and will stand up for the oppressed, whether people, giants or Hippogriffs, and who campaigns for an end to the enslavement of elves.

In the absence of a Black Hermione onscreen, many fans and artists have imagined the character as various races.

The play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, is about Harry’s son Albus living with the legacy of his father. Written by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany, the story picks up 19 years after Harry, Ron, Hermione, and friends defeated Voldemort and focuses on the gang's lives now that they're in their thirties. It premieres this summer in London’s West End. 

by Sarah Mirk
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Sarah Mirk is the former host of Bitch Media’s podcast Popaganda. She’s interested in gender, history, comics, and talking to strangers. You can follow her on Twitter

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