Potterheads, pay attention because we finally have a name for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry’s counterpart in America!
The name of the North American school was revealed to be Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. J.K. Rowling unveiled the name and some information about Ilvermorny on Pottermore, an interactive website regarding the magical world of Harry Potter.
Without further ado, let’s delve into the things we’ve learnt about the school:
1. Ilvermorny started off as a family school
The great Ilvermorny was established in the 17th century, by Isolt Sayre and James Steward. It was named after Sayre’s childhood home. The school was originally a family school, with Sayre and Steward acting as the teachers to their 2 adopted boys, Chadwick and Webster Boot, in a small and rough shack. However, the school’s reputation spread, as parents sought after a place to educate their children in the school-less country.
As James Steward was a no-maj (muggle in American slang), Ilvermorny turned out to be the least elitist and most open amongst all wizarding schools.
2. There are 4 houses in Ilvermorny
Similiar to Hogwarts, Ilvermorny has 4 houses named after magical creatures, namely: Horned Serpent, “a great horned river serpent with a jewel set into its forehead”; Pukwudgie, “a short, grey-faced, large-eared creature”; Thunderbird, “a creature that can create storms as it flies”; and Wampus, “a magical, panther-like creature that is fast, strong, and almost impossible to kill”.
It has also been said that the Horned Serpent favours scholars, the Pukwudgie healers, Thunderbird adventurers, and Wampus warriors.
3. Students are sorted at the beginning of the school year
Students in Ilvermorny have to undergo a sorting session, with the enormous wooden carvings of the 4 magical creatures in the school reacting whenever they approve of a student.
In Rowling’s own words, “If the Horned Serpent wants the student, the crystal set into its forehead will light up. If the Wampus wants the student, it roars. The Thunderbird signifies its approval by beating its wings, and the Pukwudgie will raise its arrow into the air. Should more than one carving signify its wish to include the student in its house, the choice rests with the student.”
4. Their robes are blue and cranberry-coloured
While Hogwarts students are required to wear a plain black work robe and a pointy hat, Ilvermorny students don robes that are blue and cranberry-coloured. Blue as it is the favourite colour of Sayre, and also because she wanted to be in the Ravenclaw house as a child; while cranberry is to honour Steward’s love for cranberry pies.
A Gordian Knot, a family heirloom of Sayre, is also fastened to the robes of students as a sign of respect and in remembrance of the founder.
5. Pukwudgies are the equivalence of house elves in Ilvermorny
Hogwarts have their house elves, but Ilvermorny is not without their helpers. Pukwudgies (also the name of a house, as previously mentioned) are a distant relatives of Goblins and the 1st one who helped out at the school was named William. Sayre saved William from being disemboweled by a Hidebehind, another magical creature, and since then, the Pukwudgie has been indebted to her.
The Pukwudgies used to be dangerous to humans, and took it upon themselves to attack any humankind – magical or not – when they’re sighted. However, history was changed as William brought his family along with him when he started serving in Ilvermorny. The short and stout creatures are also good with bows and arrows, and also sometimes serve as guards of the school.
6. Ilvermorny’s students are chosen by wands after the sorting session
Despite all its similarities, one major difference between Ilvermorny and Hogwarts is that the former’s students are not allowed to hold wands until they are sorted into houses. After the sorting, they will be led into a large hall where they are selected, or rather, selected by a wand. Wands also have to be left at the school during holidays, and the students will only be allowed to claim full ownership of the wand when they are of age, at 17.
This is because of a Wizarding Law enacted at the end of the 19th century which requires each magician to hold a “wand permit”, in a bid to regulate and keep tabs on all magical activities.
7. The founder of Ilvermorny is a descendant of a Hogwarts founder
Ilvermorny is also somewhat related to Hogwarts, as Sayre was born in Ireland and is a direct descendant of Salazar Slytherin, one of the founders of the European school. That means she’s also related to Tom Riddle Jr. aka Voldemort. The school was also inspired and influenced by Hogwarts, as Sayre heard many stories about the prestigious school during her childhood.
As a child, Sayre had a strong desire to attend Hogwarts and was offered a place, but was disallowed by her aunt, Gormlaith Gaunt. Gaunt believed that the pure-bloods shouldn’t mix with no-majs, and as a result, murdered and kidnapped Sayre from her peace-loving parents.
Rowling and Pottermore seem to go full force in promoting “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”, as just earlier this week, the name and details of the Brazilian, Ugandan, and Japanese schools of witchcraft and wizardry were disclosed in several pieces of never-before-seen writing.
Many pieces about the North American school of Ilvermorny were released as the movie takes place in the continent. Apart from the stories and history, a video regarding the history of Ilvermorny School was also released on YouTube yesterday (Tuesday, 29th June).
Watch it here:
It is unsure if the school will appear in the upcoming “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” movie, but we sure hope so! We honestly can’t wait for a physical representation of the school ;)
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is slated for a worldwide release on 18th November 2016.
Learn more about the school at Pottermore.