Racebending in Harry Potter

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This article or section needs expansion.

More examples of early discussions, meta, communities, archives and fanworks are needed. Particularly for poc!potter but also other POC interpreted Harry Potter characters

Related terms: Racebending, Chromatic Recasting
See also: Genderswap, Bodyswap, Alternative Universe
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Racebending in Harry Potter is the act of portraying characters who are canonically considered to be one race/ethnicity as a different race/ethnicity in various types of fanworks, such as fanfiction, fanart, fanvids, or other fan-created works.

The exact origin of popular tropes, like Black!Hermione Granger or biracial!Harry are unknown. They may have arisen due to the ambiguity of the characters' descriptions in the books.

The fanon interpretation of a character's race may predate the Harry Potter movies and thus may be an interpretation of the original source material rather than an example of racebending. Interpretations after the films were made could be considered chromatic recasting, although the race/ethnicity of the actors are not always considered canon for the characters. The mostly-white production of the film version and the frequent changes in the race/ethnicity of characters like Lavender Brown led many fans to embrace the activity no longer as pure interpretation, but as an act of protest and greater representation of themselves and others in fandom. A way to make the Harry Potter universe more identical to the real world.

Black Hermione Granger


Hermione Granger is often imagined as a black female character. The origin of this fan interpretation lies in descriptions of Hermione in the novels; a young woman with "bushy brown hair" and brown eyes. According to Finite-whitewashing, by 2012, Hermione was already one of the most popular PoC interpreted characters.[1]

So when I first started reading the HP books, even though I was half-grown at the time and should not have been so fanciful, I imagined Hermione to be brown with bushy hair like me. Because it said so in the books, and all. And then the movies came out and she looked like Emma Watson. And I mean, Emma is lovely. But, y'know[2]

In December 2015, it was announced that a black actress, Noma Dumezweni, had been cast as Hermione Granger in the premiere London run of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.[3] This resulted in controversy and wank within fandom (see Hermionewank). J.K. Rowling weighed in on Twitter, pointing out that she never explicitly specified Hermione's skin colour in the books, and stating that she "loves black Hermione."[4] However, this event also popularized and raised fannish support for Black!Hermione, leading to an increase in fanart and fanfiction focused on a black Hermione Granger in the following years. Media stories sometimes positively highlight the Black!Hermione phenomenon.[5][6] Fanartists have faced harassment for creating Black!Hermione fanworks.[7][8]

Example Fanworks


  • black by potterworm, Hermione's life has been a combination of racism, prejudice, and fighting the two. A series of short drabbles in honor of the casting of a black woman as Hermione in "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child." (2015)



Art Gallery

PoC Harry Potter

Harry Potter is often headcanoned as biracial. The most common alternate heritage is British Indian/Pakistani. This interpretation is sometimes known as Hari Potter. Within fandom, James Potter is often portrayed as British Asian, with Lily widely agreed to be white. Another variation of the Biracial!Harry trope is when Harry is portrayed as black on his father's side. Such conjectures are made by fans based on descriptions, small sketches and other information about the characteristics of James Potter and later the great similarity between Harry and his father.

Example Fanworks



Art Gallery

Other Characters Interpreted as POC

Other commonly racebent characters, or characters that are often interpreted as people of colour, include:

Meta & Further Reading

Archives & Links


  1. ^ PoC characters in the Harry Potter books/films/games, May 2012. Reblogged by thetrolliestcritic, 10 May 2013.
  2. ^ Comment by heathershaped, on chromatic casting: the hp remix by such_heights, 2010-01-26
  3. ^ Monica Tan, "Noma Dumezweni cast as Hermione in new Harry Potter stage play", The Guardian, 21 December 2015
  4. ^ Tweet by J.K. Rowling, December 21, 2015
  5. ^ Daniel Wren, "Gallery: The best fan art of black Hermione Granger", Vada Magazine, July 29, 2016
  6. ^ Patrice Peck, "This Artist Perfectly Reimagined Hermione From Harry Potter And People Are Saying It's The Best Depiction Yet", BuzzFeed, August 14, 2018
  7. ^ Louise McCreesh, "Harry Potter artist draws Hermione as black and faces horrific racist backlash", Digital Spy, September 20, 2017
  8. ^ Lee Moran, "Racists Flip Out Over Artist's 'Harry Potter' Picture With Black Hermione", HuffPost, September 20, 2017