The latest Harry Potter instalment has cast Hermione a black woman.

In the eighth instalment of the Harry Potter series, Hermione Granger will be played by Noma Dumezweni, Ron Weasley by Paul Thornley, and Harry by Jamie Parker.

London’s highly anticipated West End play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’s cast was revealed Sunday with three adults playing the lead trio.

In the two-part play of J.K. Rowling’s famous series, Hermione Granger is a black woman played by 45-year-old Noma Dumezweni.

Jamie Parker, currently starring in the West End show Guys and Dolls, will star as an adult Harry in the production, set 19 years after JK Rowling’s books.

London Road star 40-year-old Paul Thornley completes the trio as Ron Weasley.

Dumezweni is a Laurence Olivier Award-winning actor born in Swaziland, who has appeared in more than a dozen London theatre productions. She moved with her South African parents to England when she was a child.

Parker, 39, was in Alan Bennett’s original cast for The History Boys in 2004. More recently, he appeared in the historical thriller Valkyrie and multiple productions at Shakespeare’s Globe.
Thornley was in the 2012 Les Misérables film and has had roles in several movies and British television series, such as London Road and Doc Martin.

In the films, Harry was played by Daniel Radcliffe, Hermione by Emma Watson, and Ron by Rupert Grint. BuzzFeed pointed out in January that Rowling never made Hermione’s race clear in the books.

Rowling reiterated that point — and expressed her approval for Dumezweni.

It comes as several of the franchise’s original cast have spoken up on social media to defend the new casting, particularly against issues of ‘continuity.’

The new play, which Rowling has called the eighth installment of the series, is set to premiere in London’s Palace Theatre in the summer of 2016.

In the play, Potter is all grown up, working at the Ministry of Magic and married with three kids, according to Rowling’s website Pottermore. The play focuses on his youngest son, Albus Severus Potter, who is struggling with the burden of his family legacy.

The play is written by Jack Thorne based on a story by Rowling and directed by John Tiffany. It will have two parts and a large cast of over 30 actors, who are still to be announced.

This brief glimpse of the storyline is available from the play’s website:

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted.

As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child officially opens at the Palace Theatre London in July 2016, with preview performances from late May 2016. More info can be found on their site at harrypottertheplay.com.

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