J.K. Rowling never specifies Hermione Granger's race in the Harry Potter books. However, this fact didn't stop some fans from criticizing the decision to cast black actress Noma Dumezweni in the part of grown-up Hermione for the upcoming West End stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
The issue was brought up once again in recent weeks with the release of official cast photos from the production, including the one below of Dumezweni in character as Hermione.
In a recent interview with The Observer, Rowling did not hold back in expressing exactly what she thinks of Dumezweni's detractors, saying the following:
"With my experience of social media, I thought that idiots were going to idiot. But what can you say? That's the way the world is. Noma was chosen because she was the best actress for the job."
Rowling went on to address the attempts by some to prove Hermione's canonical whiteness. She didn't beat around the bush, calling out the backlash for what it is — racism.
"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."
This isn't the first time Rowling has expressed her approval of the Olivier Award-winning actress embodying the beloved character. When the casting was first announced last December, Rowling tweeted her excitement, along with a reminder that the color of Hermione's skin was never explicitly stated in the books.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which was written by Jack Thorne and based on a story by Rowling, is set to be huge. According to The Observer, it sold 175,000 tickets in 24 hours. So it's safe to say that most people are very happy to see Dumezweni wield Hermione's wand.
Cover image via Shutterstock.