For Real Friday: Hermione Granger

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I’ve seen a lot of people celebrating the casting of Hermione for the newest Harry Potter adventure.

I’ve also seen a lot of people getting upset.

I side with the author:

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Movie Hermione being white doesn’t mean anything, book cover Hermione being white doesn’t mean anything. Historically speaking, both book covers and movie adaptations are frequently wrong and authors rarely get a voice with either. Black characters and historical figures are often turned white on book covers and in their films. (Cleopatra anyone?) Like, a disturbing amount of time. On a lesser scale, hair colors and eye colors are changed all the time. Harry Potter’s eyes for instance, Elena Gilbert’s hair, eye color, and basic personality in the Vampire Diaries, Ella Enchanted’s age, Breakfast at Tiffanys changed a characters sexuality to make him a romantic lead, entirely new characters and subplots were added to the Hobbit, the list goes on forever.  A voracious reader learns to get over the covers vs. film vs. book description contradictions pretty early on. They may whine about it (I’ve complained about Ella Enchanted ad nauseam) but these types of changes provide a good opportunity for introspection. When do the changes from book to film upset you? Should they?

There’s a pretty disturbing trend of when people get upset over changes. Within the Harry Potter film universe, Lavendar Brown was played by a black girl until the sixth movie when she got dialogue and was cast as white. Comparably there was minimal outrage. When Orphan Annie was cast with a black girl instead of a spunky redhead the internet lost their collective minds. Ghostbusters was cast with three women, men pitched a fit.  Katniss Everdeen is canonically vague when it comes to race, however the casting call specified the access playing her MUST be white and while a few people called out the studio for that overt bit of racism, a much larger percentage of the population was pitching a fit about Rue being cast as black. For every example like Gods of Egypt, where enough people got upset about the white washing to draw attention to a major problem in hollywood, there are thousands of Rue’s. Literally, there are thousands. There was a study done showing that over the past seven years, 73.1% of actors in major films are white.  Given the number of these films that feature historical events or books that were praised for diversity THAT number means a large number of races were changed with barely a ripple.

 

S0 if you’re upset about the casting take a moment and examine your anger. Consider other instances of that happening. Did they upset you then? Were you as vocal about it?  Don’t get defensive, don’t get uncomfortable, get introspective. And if you are just upset because it’s a change from the movie,  pitch as big of a fit over the next  Lavender Brown.

 

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