J.K. Rowling hinted at an American wizarding school in the Harry Potter series, but the author didn’t explain anything about it at all. Fans have clamored for more information about the American equivalent of Hogwarts for years, and now Rowling has finally provided some details about the school, called Ilvermorny.
In a new short story on the official Harry Potter website meant to tease the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film, Rowling explored in depth the origins of Ilvermorny. The school is located on top of Mount Greylock, the highest point in Massachusetts. Like Hogwarts, it has four Houses, named after magical creatures: Pukwudgie, Horned Serpent, Wampus, and Thunderbird. You can watch the short story’s introduction video below.
Ilvermorny was founded by a witch named Isolt who escaped Europe on the Mayflower. She discovered other witches and wizards among the Native American tribes on the East Coast, and eventually decided to found a wizarding school there.
Unlike Hogwarts, which sorts students into Houses using a talking hat, Ilvermorny sorts them by students standing in the middle of a room surrounded by carvings of the four magical creatures. One or more carvings will then signal their desire for the student to join its House. According to the story, the Houses are thought to represent different parts of a person: “The mind is represented by Horned Serpent; the body, Wampus; the heart, Pukwudgie; and the soul, Thunderbird.” In other words, “Horned Serpent favours scholars, Wampus, warriors, Pukwudgie, healers, and Thunderbird, adventurers.” Rowling recently said on Twitter that she’s a Thunderbird.
There are a bunch more interesting details in the story, and I’d highly recommend reading it if you’re a big Harry Potter fan. You can check it out here.
This fall, the Harry Potter universe is getting a spinoff film, called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which will be released on November 18. Rowling is also working on a play, called Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which opens on July 30 in London. It’ll be released in book form the day after that, and it’s meant to be the eighth installment in the main Harry Potter series.