Why I’m Not So Sure How I Feel That Hermione is POC In Cursed Child

Hey guys! So the following post is probably going to get a bit of hate. I already know that. Some people have maybe already closed out after reading the headline but hear me out please and just read through to the end before discussing. Thanks.

Let’s start with a bit of backstory. So when I and the entire world heard about the Spiderman re-remake for Marvel, the idea of a POC character came up often even going so far where I, @LadyHawkins (author of the Hex Hall series and Rebel Belle series) and one random guy discussed the possibilities on Twitter in a somewhat long, argumentative form. Anyway, the point of this story is that this discussion happened and it was because of this idea to push POCs into entertainment. Now it’s not bad whatsoever to have POCs – in all honesty I would love some much more representation and diversity in entertainment – but there are times when I feel people would just insert POCs into entertainment for the sake of doing so, because it’s cool or it’s what will make people curious and gain more an audience/money. It sounds bad when I put it that way but I doubt I’m wrong. Also, I’m not saying we shouldn’t have POCs in entertainment because it could be fake but I’m saying that that is a reason and to watch out for that.

Another, more close to home story, is of Lavender Brown. We all know her as Ron’s girlfriend in his 6th year at Hogwarts who is represented as white skinned, with light brown hair and blue eyes but did you know she was POC in the previous films?
Before you make a big fuss as everyone did at the time, it was because Lavender hadn’t truly been described before she became a true, side character in the 6th book. The point of this story is to show a reason why a character’s race may change in films/books: it wasn’t truly described before.

HermionedhfaceBazBam_2015-Dec-20In this case, there has always been speculation about Hermione Granger’s race as I don’t believe JK Rowling ever said anything about it in the books. Side note: I’m looking at the Wiki page for Hermione and under skin colour it says “Light” but I’m not sure if that’s from the books or simply because Emma Watson who wonderfully played Hermione in the movies is light skinned. Either way, thought that should be inserted in. Anyway, so yesterday night the world found out that in The Cursed Child – a play that peeks into the lives of the Golden Trio 19 years later through one of Harry Potter’s sons Albus Severus Potter – Hermione would be played by a POC, Noma Dumezweni. This of course stirred the world a great deal and I’m not sure how I feel about this sudden difference. To be clear, I’m not annoyed that a POC is playing Hermione, I’m more annoyed about why they chose to do so, what the reason was to suddenly change a character’s race when it was “confirmed” in all 8 films and not really discussed in the books. This presents continuity errors and just, in general, confusion. I’m not totally sure I’m explaining my position and thoughts on this clearly but I’m not sure what else to say. It’s probably stupid to care about continuity errors but when it’s as big as a race change, I wonder what the reason was for it. To help a bit more, I suggest you look at this guy’s rant on it as I mostly agree with it and think it probs explains a bit more.

All in all, that’s my thoughts on it. I’m not sure where I am on the subject as I’m very happy that there’s a POC playing in entertainment (and that it’s Hermione!) but at the same time, I don’t get why they (meaning the big honchos behind the play) changed the race of Hermione. I’d love to hear your guys’ thoughts on this subject but please, I know this is a big, pretty heavy subject so I ask you to be mindful of others and be careful of what you say. Thanks you guys, have a great day/night and tata for now!

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6 thoughts on “Why I’m Not So Sure How I Feel That Hermione is POC In Cursed Child

  1. Pingback: 2015 End of Year Wrap Up and Survey | Avid Reader

  2. I’ve seen a few people talk about it on Twitter. One guy even found a passage where in the 3rd book Hermione’s white face is seen peeking from around a tree. Now, that could imply white skin but I also saw it as a way to say she was afraid and the color had drained from her skin. Although, I highly doubt people with dark skin go like bone white, but I’m saying that sentence isn’t as black and white as the tweeter made it out to be. Or it could be, I dunno.

    I have to say, I don’t think you’re wrong in wondering. Not sure why they decided to do to the change. I mean, other than the actress is good and they thought she nailed the part. Either way, this won’t stop me from wanting to see The Cursed Child. I love Harry Potter and am curious to see what this actress brings to the roll.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. They weren’t going to pick Emma Watson to play her again, so there’s no reason why the actress they chose should be white. ‘Continuity’ is already gone. This is a separate and different medium, and the source material is technically the books, not the movie, where Hermione’s race was never stated.
    This actress was obviously the best person for the part. Plus, you’re asking why they had to ‘change the race’ (which implies that the race was explicitly stated in the source material- it wasn’t), maybe just stop for a second and think- ‘why not?’
    There’s a good articles about why black Hermione is awesome. http://www.hypable.com/black-hermione-granger-harry-potter-cursed-child/
    White people are usually cast in explicitly white roles, ethnically ambiguous roles and even explicitly POC roles all of the time (it’s called whitewashing, and it’s terrible). This is a step forward, and will hopefully open up more opportunities for other actors of colour;.
    I hope that this made you think a little bit 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hmmm….I get what you’re saying, and I believe you presented it quite well. I think it’s awesome that they decided to cast a POC Hermione, but I get what you’re saying about how it contradicts all eight movies. Although this is now practically impossible, I wish they’d just started out with Hermione being a POC in the movies, as they never really give a description of her skin in the books other than an offhanded comment of it being “dark” (however, this is after she gets back from a vacation in France or something, so it’s more implied that she got a tan). So yay for POC Hermione because yay diversity in HP but also, like you said, inconsistency (though I’m not so sure that’s a problem because I think at this point everybody and their mother knows who Hermione is) and what was their reasoning behind it? An actually amazing actress or just here, let’s cast a POC for better views? I kinda doubt the latter, but UGH. It is kind of confusing to judge.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve never read the books or seen the films but I really don’t know why, or if it matters. A good actor(ess) will make a character believable and if so their ethnicity will be entirely irrelevant.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This brings to mind the recent controversy concerning the casting of the Mindy Park character in the film “The Martian.” In the book the character was described as being of Korean decent, but in the movie she was played by Canadian actress Mackenzie Davis, who was of European decent. Given that there were plenty of races/ethnicities represented in prominent roles in the film, I hardly think the producers of the movie could be accused of being racist. I think this was simply a case of auditioning people for the part and Mackenzie Davis just happening to work out best.

    I would like to think the same applies for “The Cursed Child”, and that the casting directors were colour blind when it came to choosing who would be best to play the role of Hermione — because surely the only thing that should be important is the acting, and *NOT* the colour of the actor’s skin. It’s certainly not uncommon, these days, to see classic plays (like those of Shakespeare) cast with actors of races and ethnicities that were definitely not the intent of the author at the time when the works were first conceived. I think it safe to say that when Shakespeare wrote his plays he did so with the notion that the roles would be played by white, Christian actors. But like any great work of art, his plays embody universal themes that know no borders and reach across time and the full spectrum of humanity; they are open to interpretation in the broadest sense of the word — and that includes the casting of the roles. Therefore, there should be no problem with people of other races, religions, or ethnicities playing such parts as Henry V, Macbeth, Ceasar, Romeo, or Juliette. Certainly not in the world as it is today, where one would hope that we have become far more tolerant than in the past (although to listen to Donald Trump and his many followers, one despairs that perhaps we have not).

    I understand your argument about continuity, but in this case we’re talking about an entity that is wholly separate from the original books and the films. It’s its own beast, so-to-speak, and thus can set its own precedent. And personally, I love to see this sort of thing, because it gives me optimism and hope for the world as a whole, suggesting that we are breaking free of the sort of intolerance of the past that would have prevented people of other races/ethnicities from playing roles like this. In Hollywood (and by this I’m essentially meaning the movie/TV/theatre industry in places like the US, UK, Europe, Canada, etc.) there are few enough opportunities for actors who don’t happen to be white, so any effort to break down the barriers should be applauded.

    Fans should not see this as some sort of betrayal of the character, but rather as an affirmation of the strength of J.K.Rowling’s creation — that regardless of who plays the part, the character remains richly and wonderfully luminous, replete with traits that are to be aspired to, regardless of race or gender. (It should be noted that when the Harry Potter books were translated, names and such of the characters were often altered to suit the nature of the country for which they had been translated — presumably so that readers could better identify with the characters. So it’s possible that for many who have read the books, Hermione may have a completely different name and be Hindu or Muslim or a Buddhist, just as she may be of a different race or ethnicity. But none of this should matter so long as the essence of the character is retained and the message she embodies is not diluted.)

    When all is said and done, we are all human beings. And while we should celebrate our differences — and certainly never be ashamed of them — we should never let them serve as a justification for injustice or inequities. It should be just as okay for a woman of colour to play Hermione Granger as it is for a woman of colour to be a pilot or a police officer or Prime Minister (or any number of other things). If we should argue otherwise, then are we not tacitly conceding that sometimes it’s okay to discriminate? From my perspective, that is just never ever acceptable.

    Liked by 3 people

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