The casting of Harry Potter and The Cursed Child has divided the internet - and some still can't accept the casting of Hermione Granger, months after the cast has been officially announced.
The casting of Noma Dumezweni as Hermione was met with criticisms for the sole reason that she's a person of color. Such was the case that a lot of unimaginative people have questioned and expressed their dislike harshly to J.K. and the producers, on Twitter, Facebook, and just about anywhere. Rowling has responded to these types of tweets in the past, and again, just recently:
It was because she was the best actress for the role! And, in case anyone's missed it, she's also an Olivier Award winner - the highest recognition of excellence in theater!
It's getting rather tedious seeing people spew negative remarks regarding the casting of this new play. All these semantics about how Hermione apparently can't be black (or brown, whatever) are just proofs that as a society, we still haven't moved past racial discrimination no matter how far we think we've come in terms of social equality. This is what prompted me to write about why the hate over this casting is childish and petty.
Aside from the obvious reason that Noma Dumezweni is the best actress for the role, here are a few reasons why this casting shouldn't anger anyone.
Cursed Child Is A Continuation Of The Books - NOT The Movies
The story of The Cursed Child is set 19 years after 'All was well.' Rowling mentioned in the past that theater is the best approach for this new story and not a movie. So, don't expect for the original film actors to be back for a feature-length adaptation. Besides, the script of the play won't be released until after the play has opened.
Emma Watson Backs Noma Dumezweni
Potter alums have expressed their excitement and well-wishes for the new Cursed Child actors. Emma Watson in particular, the titular movie Hermione whom we've known and love since she was 11, has expressed her excitement over the casting.
All that, and still I don’t understand why a lot of people are still ranting endlessly why it’s ‘wrong’ that a black actress will portray the bushy haired bookworm, simply because she’s black. Of course, I understand that we grew up with Emma’s version of Hermione and she was perfect. But we must accept that not everyone looks like Emma, and not all great actors are white.
I guess all that I'm saying is that, if we really should go by the book (read: Hermione's ethnicity not explicitly detailed) Emma Watson didn’t even have buckteeth!
Imagination Is The Limit
Defending the casting of Cursed Child, J.K. Rowling spoke to The Observer,
"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. 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.”
Initially, I have to admit that I too, was shocked that none of the original actors will appear in the new Harry Potter story. And then I remembered that it was a play, and perhaps none of them could appear even in cameos due to other commitments. It would be a lie to say that I didn’t have mixed reactions when I first read Cursed Child news online. Harry looks fine, but the actor playing Ron isn’t ginger, and Hermione isn’t white. There were descriptions in the book that might have lead us to imagine that Hermione is white, and official drawings definitely concurred with that. Still, it’s all in how the reader or the artist interpreted it. We are limited by how far we can imagine the physical attributes of these beloved characters. If I hadn’t seen the movie first before reading the book, I definitely would think that Hermione looks like someone like me – and the Weasleys having Crayola red hair.
The Initial Reactions Were Positive!
If you’re like me, you will most likely not see the play for the sole reason that I’m not from London and it will cost me an arm and a leg to get there. However, the lucky ones who’ve seen the preview of the play had nothing but praises! Let the tweets of these lucky ones to overwhelm you with positivity, a little envy, and so much excitement.
Don’t adapt a Voldemort-esque way of thinking. Along with Voldemort’s quest for immortality, he was a blood purist – denying his muggle heritage and has nothing but pure hatred for muggles and muggleborns – despite being half-blood himself.
His pettiness caused much magical blood to be spilt. However, magical or not – all blood colors are the same (unless you’re a unicorn or another magical creature). We are all made of flesh and blood despite our skin colors – so why does it matter that such a popular character is portrayed by someone other than a white actor? Who plays our beloved characters aren't important, what's important is how they play them and that their portrayal is true to the essence of the character.
Lest we forget the core values the Harry Potter series taught us, why judge an actress before you see her take on the mantle of the brightest witch of her age, our favorite bookworm ‘Mione?