Harry Potter fans have a lot of feelings about the upcoming play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which will follow Harry’s son Albus as he navigates living with the legacy of his father. The play, which premieres this summer on London’s West End and will be told in two consecutive installments, caused mayhem when tickets went on sale in October, with many fans waiting hours in long online queues only to ultimately face sold-out shows. Many feel that the limited availability of the play – only fans in the UK or wealthy enough to travel there will be able to see it when it premieres – is a detriment, but that hasn’t stopped the show from selling a TON of tickets.
There is one very cool thing that Cursed Child gets right, though – the casting for our main trio has just been announced, and Hermione Granger will be a woman of color. Cast in the role of adult Hermione is Noma Dumezweni, a London-based actress who is a recipient of the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award.
As many fans are aware, the topic of diversity in Harry Potter has long been a hot-button issue. There were many who desperately hoped before the casting of Eddie Redmayne that Newt Scamander would be a POC character. Earlier this year, J.K. Rowling herself took to Twitter to address a concerned fan who had noticed that all major cast members that had been announced were white, assuring her that there would be POC representation in the film, and producer David Heyman added his thoughts on diversity and Fantastic Beasts in an Entertainment Weekly interview a few months later.
When the first trailer for Fantastic Beasts was released last week, we got a first glimpse into what Rowling and Heyman were referencing in their interviews: the president of MACUSA is a woman of color, set to be played by Carmen Ejogo. While we know little about the president at this juncture besides her name – Seraphina – this news has given fans hope that the world of Fantastic Beasts will be a diverse one.
The casting of Dumezweni as Hermione may resonate even more strongly with fans of color than the revelation of the MACUSA president, as many identified with Hermione while reading the books, only to not see themselves reflected in the endless stream of white Hermiones seen on Harry Potter merchandise and book covers, or, of course, in actress Emma Watson. To see an adult Hermione as a woman of color in Cursed Child is a welcome departure from that, and we here at MuggleNet can hardly wait to see what Dumezweni will make of the role.
Even with this fantastic news, it’s still important to remember that the play will be inaccessible to many of the fans who have been most desperate to see themselves reflected in Rowling’s Wizarding World – let’s hope that those in charge find some way to share the play with the millions of fans unable to make the journey to London.
The fan art used in the cover image is the work of mariannewithsteadyhands.tumblr.com.