While she may be best known as being Harry Potter’s bookish best friend, Hermione Granger is also loved by fans for being fiercely feisty.
Who can forget when she squarely punches Hogwarts bully Draco Malfoy squarely in the face after calling her a “mud-blood” in Prisoner of Azkaban, or when she faced Death Eaters in the later novels?
It’s a trait that actor Noma Dumezweni, who plays Hermione in the West End play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, has learned to embrace – not only on stage, but in real life.
“Hermione’s anger is a beautiful thing,” she said in an interview with the BBC 100 Women, a list released by the BBC examining powerful and influential women around the world. “She displays it most through her loyalty and love, especially when she’s in love and trying to understand that. She’s asking those she loves to do better. She holds them up to a high standard because she has faith they can reach that. Fiercely. And she’ll be there when they do.”
“Like most women of my age, I was brought up not to be angry. I didn’t want to be seen as the one taking up space – I was brought up to make others feel comfortable before having my say.”
“Happily, as I get older, I feel a greater sense of clarity about where my anger is rooted,” she continued. “I’m also allowing myself to feel it.”
Dumezweni, 49, was cast as Hermione in 2015 after Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was announced.
Despite being an established stage performer, having previously won an Olivier Award for her role in A Raisin in the Sun, her casting sparked fervent discussion.
Author of the franchise, JK Rowling, then responded that she never specified that Hermione was white.
Explaining the furore around her casting, Dumezweni said, “some people had a problem with it. And there seemed to be an expectation that I’d be angry about the backlash.”
“But because my sense of self wasn’t in jeopardy, and the fact I was supported by those working with me, I could step back and not engage with other people’s prejudice.”
“I could save my anger to use as a powerful and positive force.”