JK Rowling’s Pottermore revealed this morning that Noma Dumezweni, an actress of South African heritage, will play Hermione in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child alongside Jamie Parker and Paul Thornley as Harry and Ron.
Dumezweni steps into the role previously played by Emma Watson – but author JK Rowling dropped a bombshell about the character while defending the casting choice.
Dumezweni’s career is full of accolades, including the 2006 Olivier Award for Best Performer In A Supporting Role for her portrayal of Ruth Younger in a production of Raisin in the Sun.
The play’s director, John Tiffany, told the Mail it was simply about getting the best available actors for the role.
As for Hermione’s ethnicity, the writer revealed that her original novels deliberately don’t mention Hermione’s ethnicity – and while the films chose to portray her as white, there’s plenty in the texts to suggest otherwise.
The discussion is not a new one to the Harry Potter fandom, with many long having argued that Hermione could be black. Rowling shared some of the existing ‘black Hermione’ fanart.
Some of my favourite Hermione fanarts next to our new Hermione! pic.twitter.com/80bIkcLBMJ
— alice (@alwaysdragxns) December 20, 2015
It’s not the first revelation about her characters Rowling has made since concluding her novels.
The author revealed that Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore was gay after the publication of the final Harry Potter book in 2007.
It has certainly never been news to me that a brave and brilliant man could love other men… He is my character. He is what he is and I have the right to say what I say about him.”
The flipping of the race of characters has been something of a trend lately as creators of pop culture try to craft stories that more closely resemble the diversity in the real world.
Previews for the play begin at London’s Palace Theatre on June 7 2016.