Last week, we were so excited to get a glimpse of the older versions of our fave Harry Potter characters as they will appear in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a play soon to be appearing on the London stage. However, the not-so-great aspect of the casting is the controversy surrounding Noma Dumezweni, the actress of color who was cast to play adult Hermione Granger. However, in a recent roundtable discussion with the New York Times, Noma explained that the bogus backlash she’s received is far outweighed by the good.
Some Harry Potter fans have claimed that “making Hermione black” isn’t staying true to the books — despite the fact that J.K. Rowling herself noted that she didn’t specify the character’s race. In fact, J.K. has been clear that her only physical descriptions of Hermione included “brown eyes” and “frizzy hair.”
However, the pressure is still very real for Noma. “The weight of expectation is huge,” she said of playing the part of Hermione. “But for me that pressure has been outweighed by getting text messages from mums I know saying how huge it is for their mixed-race daughters that I am playing Hermione. Ultimately it’s a theater piece, I’m a theater actor and doing a job as best I can.”
J.K. Rowling has repeatedly voiced her support for Noma, telling Pottermore that the actress was her first choice. “I saw Noma workshop the part and when [director] John Tiffany told me he’d cast her, I was overjoyed,” she said. “She gets Hermione inside out.”
According to The Guardian, J.K. Rowling told the Observer over the weekend that she expected the backlash. “With my experience of social media, I thought that idiots were going to idiot,” she said. “But what can you say? That’s the way the world is. Noma was chosen because she was the best actress for the job.”
It’s clear that Noma is an excellent actress, and we can’t wait to see what she brings to the Harry Potter universe. All that matters is that she does Hermione Granger justice — and we have a feeling she’ll do just that.