Preview productions of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child opened at the West End’s Palace Theater in London last month, and the reviews have been almost universally positive, particularly in relation to the cast themselves – which no doubt sticks in the craw of the vocal minority who protested the casting of Noma Dumezweni in the role of Hermione Granger, for no other reason than the fact that she wasn’t white.
Potter series author J.K. Rowling was quick to respond to the racist rhetoric that permeated social media in the wake of the casting announcements, pointing out that in the books, Hermione was described as having “brown eyes, frizzy hair” and being “very clever.” At no point had Rowling herself ever specified the character was meant to be white, and she summed it up nicely with this exchange:
We found the best actress and she’s black. Bye bye, now. https://t.co/1fGmP5znHP
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 10, 2016
Another vocal supporter of Dumezweni has been the original Hermione herself, Emma Watson, who finally had an opportunity to see the show for herself this week. She took to Facebook the following day to share some thoughts on her experiences, as well as a handful of adorable photos of herself and her West End counterpart:
“Yesterday I went to see the Cursed Child. I came in with no idea what to expect and it was AMAZING. Some things about the play were, I think, possibly even more beautiful than the films. Having seen it I felt more connected to Hermione and the stories than I have since Deathly Hallows came out, which was such a gift. Meeting Noma and seeing her on stage was like meeting my older self and have her tell me everything was going to be alright, which as you can imagine was immensely comforting (and emotional)! The cast and crew welcomed me like I was family and Noma was everything I could ever hope she would be. She’s wonderful. “
Seriously, isn’t this just about the most precious thing you’ve ever seen? Granted, as an award-winning actress in her own right, it’s not as if Dumezweni needed the endorsement, but it’s still an incredibly sweet sentiment.
Unfortunately, most of us won’t be lucky enough to see the show onstage in the West End, but the good news is that both parts of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child‘s stage script will be published at the end of this month – so while we may not get to experience Dumezweni’s performance, we’ll still get to continue the adventures of Harry, Ron and Hermione.
And although Rowling herself has denied rumors that a film adaptation of Cursed Child is in the works, moviegoers can still return to the Wizarding World later this year with the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. the first in a planned trilogy of films that will expand the universe created in the original series.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will be published on July 31 – one day after the production officially opens in London.
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