clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

J.K. Rowling responds to racist critics over casting in Cursed Child play

'Idiots were going to be idiots'

J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series and the upcoming canonical play, The Cursed Child, had a few choice words for racist critics upset that they had cast a black woman in the role of Hermione Granger.

Rowling, who said she knew the "idiots were going to be idiots" told The Guardian that she was expecting some backlash over the decision. She added that after shutting down a few of them on Twitter, the best decision she could make was not allowing herself to get too agitated over it and focus on the larger portion of fans who were ecstatic with the casting.

"I decided not to get too agitated about it and simply state quite firmly that Hermione can be a black woman with my absolute blessing and enthusiasm," Rowling said.

The controversy first started when Rowling and the team at Pottermore, the author's website dedicated to the continuation of the Harry Potter universe, announced that Nona Dumezweni, a veteran theater actor in England, would play Hermione.

The character's race is never specified in the books, but after being famously played by Emma Watson in the film franchise, many assumed the character was written as white, despite a longtime theory that Hermione was black.

Rowling's co-creator on The Cursed Child, John Tiffany, said that he was shocked over the backlash they had received following Dumezweni's casting. He said that he hadn't "encountered Twitter's dark side," adding that the experience was awful and disappointing. He added that he stopped reading the comments after a while, acknowledging that "anonymity breeds horrors."

"But what shocked me was the way people couldn't visualise a non-white person as the hero of a story," Tiffany said. "It's therefore brilliant that this has happened."

Rowling said she couldn't be prouder and happier to have Dumezweni on board. She said she's been a fan of the actress for years and recalled an earlier workshop she had seen Dumezweni in which cemented their decision to cast her in the crucial role.

The Cursed Child, which follows an adult Harry Potter and his youngest son, Albus Severus, as they take on a new evil threatening the wizarding universe, will debut in London's West End later this month. A novelized version of the play will be made available on July 31.

The next level of puzzles.

Take a break from your day by playing a puzzle or two! We’ve got SpellTower, Typeshift, crosswords, and more.