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Black actress cast as Hermione; J.K. Rowling enthusiastically approves

Black actress cast as Hermione; J.K. Rowling enthusiastically approves
J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, enthusiastically approves of the casting of a black actress as Hermione in the play "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child." (Dan Hallman / Invision / AP)

"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" doesn't open on the London stage until July of 2016, but that hasn't stopped fans of J.K. Rowling's boy wizard from snapping up presale tickets to the play.

Now they have another reason to be excited. The play has confirmed three principal cast members, including a black actress who will play the adult Hermione Granger.

Noma Dumezweni, an English actress who was born in Swaziland, has been cast as Hermione, with Jamie Parker playing Harry and Paul Thornley as Ron Weasley. The play takes place 19 years after the end of the books, with Harry as a father of three children and an employee of the Ministry of Magic.

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Rowling voiced her approval of the cast on the Pottermore website, saying, "I’m so excited with the choice of casting for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I can’t wait to see Jamie, Noma and Paul bring the adult Harry, Hermione and Ron to life on stage next summer."

The author also took to Twitter to voice her enthusiastic support of casting Dumezweni as Hermione.

Although Hermione was played by white actress Emma Watson in the "Harry Potter" movies, some Harry Potter fans have imagined her to be black, creating fan art that depicts the young magic student with dark skin and hair. In a February essay for BuzzFeed, writer Alanna Bennett, who is biracial, discussed the fan art, saying she was "seeing parts of myself actually spelled out in this character I’d always related to."

"All of this makes painting Hermione as a woman of color an act of reclaiming her allegory at its roots," Bennett wrote. "Hermione Granger will always be an icon, no matter what color her skin. ... The least we could do is provide her with more room to be that icon. Maybe along the way more people will be able to see themselves reflected back at them."

"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" is scheduled to open July 30 at the Palace Theatre in London.

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