Just a few minutes ago, the identity of the actors that will play the Golden Trio in the West End Play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has been announced. And there is a little detail that will be the center of the comments and reactions about the news: the actress portraying Hermione Granger is black.
There are little, close to zero, passages in the book where J.K. Rowling talks about Hermione Granger’s skin color. The only part is from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 4:
They were there, both of them, sitting outside Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor — Ron looking incredibly freckly, Hermione very brown, both waving frantically at him.
J.K. Rowling is describing the effects of a sunny summer in Ron and Hermione’s skin, to which we can suppose Hermione is tanned. Other passages of the seven-part novel talks about Hermione’s cheeks going pink – which could lead again to a white skin. But as the text does not leave it clear for everyone, we kept digging into this.
And we found what could be the final answer:
This illustration made by J.K. Rowling depicts an early draft of The Midnight Duel chapter, where we see Neville, Ron, Harry, Hermione and Gary – this last one was later renamed to Dean Thomas (Pottermore). As we can see in the drawing, Gary/Dean is darker-skinned than the rest – specially Hermione, who seems to have white skin.
This answers what J.K. Rowling had in her head when she created the characters – and although the fandom is still discussing if Harry’s best friend is white or black, there is no evidence to suggest that Jo changed her mind and Hermione is, in fact, white.
We are of course not against any ethnicity, and we think that there should be more black characters in the Harry Potter World. Although Hermione is white in the novels, movies and drawing, we support the idea of casting an actor who was not in anyone’s mind for the theatrical version. It has been done in many other stage plays, such as Hamlet, and it does not change the essence of the play because bottom line – they are all talented actors, no matter the color of their skin. In fact, we believe Laurence Olivier Award winning actress Noma Dumezweni was the best performer who auditioned for the part.
Just to let it clear: This article lists all the little hints about Hermione’s skin colour that we have had so far. Now we are getting a person of color to potrays her, and that’s fine too! We do not care! We want to hear your thoughts about it, so leave them in the comments section below!