On The Sanctity of Canon (or How I Stopped Being Racist and Embraced a Black Hermione Granger)

In case you hadn’t heard (which, admittedly, I hadn’t until today):

J.K. Rowling and company have written and are in the midst of putting together a Harry Potter play set almost 2 decades after the end of Deathly Hallows. It’s set to come out summer 2016.

However, this is the unfortunate way in which I learned about this:


This is why we can’t have nice things yet.

While I could rant about this – and Moose has had to endure a semi-incoherent rant already – I’ll keep it short. In fact, I’ll make this a list for both your and my sakes [aside: English is weird]:

  2. Stop pretending you’re not racist when you’re actually offended by the casting of an incidentally “black Hermione.”
  3. Does the color of Hermione’s skin determine how badass and clever she is? NO. READ #2.
  5. Reality is not directed solely by the glittery magic of your own dream land. [If it is, I suggest you seek medical attention sooner rather than later. ]
  6. Wait- wasn’t a major theme – maybe the major theme – of the Harry Potter series “love conquers all?” Love and acceptance = good. Hate and bigotry and f*cking eugenics = bad.

Oh, and I might have forgotten to mention:


[And yes, I do get the irony of me also getting up in arms about a fictional character.]

I get being a fanatic fan in your fandom(s) of choice. But part of the fun of these fandoms and of the worlds that people like J.K. Rowling create is being able to build anew from them. I love Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock. In my opinion, he’s not the most canonical – he’s a little too sociopathic; Jeremy Brett captured his humanity best – but I’d still stick that in my pipe and smoke it. (Whatever that means. Really though, Jeremy Brett all the way.) And as a Phantom of the Opera phan, I love so many of the interpretations different actors bring to the title character. Some are more tender, more fierce, more suave, more insane – it’s a wonderful cornucopia of a character brought to life through diversity. Instead of being a diet racist, embrace the new opportunity for depth in your beloved character.

So while I’m saddened at the rampant racism and lack of mental wiggle room people have for new and interesting things, I am glad to finally learn of this Harry Potter sequel. Good luck to Noma Dumezweni and the rest of the rocking cast! 

Read on:

What are your thoughts on the sanctity of fictional characters? How important is “canon?” When is changing the race of characters unacceptable? Does any of this even matter? I’d love to read your thoughts below!


Featured image header source: lightvale.tumblr.com

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