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It’s Official—Hermione Will Be Played by an Actress of Color in the Upcoming Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Olivier Award winner Noma Dumezweni will play one of literature’s most famous witches in the highly anticipated sequel to J.K. Rowling’s magical series.

Image via Twitter user hpplayldn

2016 is shaping up to be an important year for fans of J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world of Harry Potter. Not only will that fictional universe be expanded upon in the upcoming film prequel (of sorts) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but Harry Potter himself is set to take the stage—literally—and continue his magical adventures in the highly anticipated theatrical production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, scheduled to debut at London’s Palace Theatre in July.

Written in part by Rowling herself, and billed as “The eighth story. Nineteen years later,” Harry Potter and the Cursed Child set off waves of excitement when it was announced in 2013. This week that excitement reached a fever pitch as the public got its first look at the actors set to assume the iconic roles of the titular Potter and his best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, brought to life in the multipart film series by actors Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson, respectively. This time, the three wizards—now adults—will be played by Jamie Parker (as Harry), Paul Thornley (Ron), and Noma Dumezweni as Hermione. Dumezweni will be the first person of color to play a member of the trio in any major canonical productions drawn from the Potter-verse.

Despite having been depicted as white in the films and book illustrations, Granger is described by Rowling simply as having dark eyes and unruly hair, and has long been imagined as a person of color by some Potter readers and fan artists. The news of Dumezweni’s casting in the roll was received with overwhelming positivity by Potter fans, despite racist grumblings from close-minded Twitter users.

Said Rowling when the new cast was announced: “I’m so excited with the choice of casting for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I can’t wait to see Jamie, Noma and Paul bring the adult Harry, Hermione and Ron to life on stage next summer.” Later, when asked to respond to those upset over the prospect of a black actress playing Hermione, the author was unambiguous in her support for the decision, tweeting: “Canon: brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione”

An Olivier Award-winning actress for her work as Ruth Younger in the Young Vic production of A Raisin in the Sun, Dumezweni recently replaced actress Kim Cattrall as the lead in the Royal Court Theatre’s production of Linda, reports Deadline. When her role as Hermione was made public this week, the Swaziland-born actress tweeted simply:

Image via Twitter user MissDumezweni

According to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’s official synopsis:

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

Preview performances of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child are scheduled to begin at London’s Palace Theatre in May 2016.

[via huffington post]

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