London, December 26, 2015: There’s some exciting news in the making for Potterheads and fans of Hermione Granger! The main cast of the much-hyped play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has been confirmed. Jamie Parker, Noma Dumezweni and Paul Thornley have been signed on to play Harry, Hermione and Ron. The play has a thrilling take on the smartest wizard among the deadly trio – She’s of color! Though we have all known and loved Emma Watson as a Caucasian Hermione, Swazi actress Dumezweni’s portrayal of Hermione will be an amusing departure from the prevailing image of the character.
— Baz Bamigboye (@BazBam) December 20, 2015
Naturally, the entire web went berserk over this disclosure. And then, the lovely Mrs. Rowling dropped a bigger bomb by pointing out that she had never specified Hermione’s skin color in the books.
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
Additional textual evidence supports the idea that Hermione may have been of color all along! Take, for instance, this excerpt from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the third installment of the series -“They were there, both of them, sitting outside Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour — Ron looking incredibly freckly, Hermione very brown, both waving frantically at him.”
We’ll let that sink in.
This is one of the many times Rowling has dropped truth bombs on the Potter universe (Dumbledore being gay was one of the shockers) that the fandom had not deciphered already after multiple readings of the books.
Hermione Granger as a ‘Colored Witch’
Casting a colored actress for a role that was otherwise believed to be reserved for a Caucasian female of British origin is still purported to be a rather liberal move within the theater/television/movies realm, which is notorious for all-white-star casts. Like Viola Davis famously said-
“The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”
Good luck, Noma! We can’t wait for you to go on stage.