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Why The Role Of Lavender Brown Was Recast In Harry Potter

If there's one thing that the "Harry Potter" movies did exceptionally well, it was casting the right actors for the series' many substantial roles. Despite the intimidating number of memorable characters featured throughout the original "Potter" books, the films always consistently managed to cast talented actors who were ultimately well-suited to their roles. That wasn't just the case with the series' older figures either, many of whom were played by legendary British stage and screen actors, but also with its younger characters. Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Daniel Radcliffe, for instance, were all cast at young ages to play the franchise's central trio (Hermione, Ron, and Harry), and the three actors grew into talented screen performers over the course of the series' eight film installments. Each of the three have gone on to have successful acting careers outside of the "Potter" franchise as well, just in case there was any question of the level of foresight that the "Potter" film producers had when originally casting them for the "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" film.

However, the "Harry Potter" franchise ended up having to recast a handful of roles across its eight different installments. In fact, fans may be surprised to learn that, in the case of Lavender Brown, the memorable character ended up being played by a total of three different actors.

Lavender Brown was played by three actors in the Harry Potter films

Though she's not credited, actor Kathleen Cauley originally played Lavender Brown in 2002's "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets." Two years later, in 2004's "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," the character was played by Jennifer Smith, who had no lines but appeared in the background a handful of times throughout the film. When Lavender became a major character in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," though, she was played by actor Jessie Cave, who went on to reprise the role two more times in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1" and in its 2011 follow-up, "Deathly Hallows Part 2." Many have often wondered why the role was played by three different actors in the "Potter" films, but the folks at Fandom think the explanation is pretty clear.

As they tell it, the "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" novel, which makes Lavender a major character for the first time, was released in July 2005 after both the "Chamber of Secrets" and "Prisoner of Azkaban" films were made. That means that, at the time of their release, the teams behind those two films didn't know that Lavender would be a major character in the future. Therefore, they likely just assigned the character name to Cauley and Smith in the "Chamber of Secrets" and "Azkaban" films in order to help better organize those films' various background players.

ScreenRant says "The answer is simple." Since Lavender's profile rose in the sixth installment, the producers went with a more established actor in Cave. These explanations haven't stopped fans from raising concerns about the recasting.

Was the Lavender Brown character whitewashed for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince?

"Harry Potter" film fans know that the Lavender Brown character grew in her impact on the overall storyline in the sixth movie when she became a love interest for Ron Weasley following his triumphant first match as the Gryffindor quidditch keeper. As chants of "Weasley" echo in the Gryffindor common room and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) takes Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) to task for seemingly affecting the outcome of the game with the use of Felix Felicis — also known as Liquid Luck — Jessie Cave's Lavender Brown rushes in and starts making out with Ron. What those who've not read the books may not realize is that the subsequent snogging was described as it being "impossible to tell whose hands were whose." That might sound like a bit much for a young adult franchise, but some have taken it literally as an indication that Lavender and Ron have the same skin color, though it's entirely possible the passage was meant figuratively to simply describe how intense the cuddle session was.

Regardless of how one interprets that particular line, it's indisputable that Lavender was first played by two Black actors (Cauley and Smith) when the character had no lines and was recast with a white actor (Cave) when the character took on a larger role in "Half-Blood Prince." Off Colour said it "could possibly be one of the most tone-deaf recasts in the history of modern cinema." The non-profit — which seeks to "empower BIPoC to change the world we live in" — also tweeted that it wasn't seeking to take away from Cave's performance as Lavender, but that "the tone-deafness of recasting a role that had been played by two Black actresses with a white actress as soon as the character is given a line" is worth pointing out. Off Colour concluded that the recasting was "especially bad since Harry Potter doesn't accurately represent Britain's great diversity."