J.K. Rowling has released a new short story about the origins Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the American version of Hogwarts except with less Dumbledore and more drama.
Ilvermorny was founded by Isolt Sayre, an Irish witch (and descendant of Salazar Slytherin) who fled to America disguised as a Muggle boy upon the Mayflower in 1620, to escape the clutches of her captor Gormlaith, the aunt who had murdered her parents.
Once she arrived in America she fled into the surrounding mountains, accidentally befriending a Pukwudgie (“a short, grey-faced, large-eared creature distantly related to the European goblin”) whom she saved from the clutches of a Hidebehind (“a nocturnal, forest-dwelling spectre that preys on humanoid creatures”).
Despite Pukwudgies’ regular nature of shunning and/or preying on humans, these two formed a kind-of-friendship, and the Pukwudgie – whom Isolt named William, since he wouldn’t tell her his real name – introduced Isolt to a number of magical creatures, including the great horned river serpent. Oh yeah, and Isolt is a Parsteltongue. Are you getting the vibe that this is part of the marketing mix for a certain film about fantastic beasts out later this year, yet?
But yes, Ilvermorny, the school this tale is for. Basically, Isolt rescues two young wizards from the clutches of the same Hidebehind (who had just previously disemboweled their parents), and soon after meets a Muggle – or rather, No-Maj – named James. Long story short: Isolt and James fall in love, raise the two boys as their own, and out of fear that Gormlaith will hear of them should they return to the UK and attend Hogwarts, teach them magic themselves.
Well, Isolt teaches them magic; James builds things.
The tale is all all very sweet – save for a second reckoning by Gormlaith – and leads to the birth of Ilvermorny. Like Hogwarts, there are four houses, but they are named after magical creatures chosen by each family member, and in modern times have come t
- the Horned Serpent, chosen by Isolt (she’s a Parseltongue, remember?), said to favour scholars.
- the panther Wampus, chosen by the younger son Webster, said to favour warriors.
- the Thunderbird, chosen by the elder son Chadwick, said to favour adventurers.
- the Pukwudgie, chosen by James, said to favour healers.
If you are in any way a Harry Potter fan (and if not, why are you reading this?) the short story is 100% worth a read, but if you want the abridged version of what’s the dealio with Ilvermorny, the key elements are:
THE SORTING CEREMONY: new students stand on a symbol carved into the stone floor, surrounded by four wooden carvings of the four creatures. Whichever one reacts has chosen you to be in their house, and if more than one react, the choice is yours.
SCHOOL COLOURS: Blue and cranberry. Blue for Isolt’s favourite colour, cranberry for James’ favourite kind of pie. Goddamn No-Majs.
NO WANDS OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL: Until 1965, students only received a wand after being sorted, and had to leave it at school during the holidays. Then a law was repealed, because that is a thing that happens.
WILLIAM LIVES..?: Oh yeah, William the Pukwudgie disappeared and then came back to save the day, bringing his fam of Pukwudgies and becoming the caretaker of Ilervmorny. Pukwudgies continue to work at the school to this day. You thought Hogwarts was bad for sending kids into the Forbidden Forest? Ilvermorny keeps them in check with literal creatures that want to murder them.
And if you were wondering what house Rowling is in:
Donate it to your favourite charity. I’m a Thunderbird. https://t.co/MKXrHFcPQM
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 28, 2016
Go ahead and read the full story over on Pottermore, but first – there is a trailer for this short story, I shit you not.
Ready to discover #Ilvermorny for the first time? Delve into the rich history of the North American school…https://t.co/UBFdY5RMVD
— Pottermore (@pottermore) June 28, 2016
Source / Photo: Pottermore.