Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore website has uploaded a treasure trove of new information about the North American Wizarding School which will likely be seen in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Rowling wrote about the school’s history here, and the new sorting quiz is available for Pottermore members here.
The school is called Ilvermorny (pronounced “ill-ver-morn-ee”), and it also has four houses like Hogwarts does, with some differences. The North American school is less elitist and stuffy than English boarding schools are. Ilvermorny students can choose their own house, and the categories are a bit different than those from Harry Potter.
As predicted by some leaked source code, the four North American houses are named Wampus, Horned Serpent, Thunderbird, and Pukwudgie, which are all references to First Nations folklore. Our guesses as to which Hogwarts houses these would align with were only half right. Here’s our summary of how the houses really break down:
- Wampus — Represents the body. Favors warriors. The Wampus is “a magical, panther-like creature that is fast, strong and almost impossible to kill.”
- Horned Serpent — Represents the mind. Favors scholars. The Horned Serpent is a “river serpent with a jewel set into its forehead.”
- Thunderbird — Represents the soul. Favors adventurers. The Thunderbird “can create storms as it flies.”
- Pukwudgie — Represents the heart. Favors healers. The Pukwudgie is “a short, grey-faced, large-eared creature.” The founder of the school saved a Pukwudgie’s life, and she named him William. Now there’s always a Pukwudgie named William at the school who leaves flowers at her tomb.
Those sound like Slytherin, Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, and Hufflepuff to us, respectively. Although many people are not getting sorted into the Ilvermorny house that would seemingly correspond with their Hogwarts one, like this Ravenclaw writer. (Thunderbirds… HO!)
We also learned quite a bit about the history of the school, particularly its founder, Isolt Sayre. She fled Ireland to get away from her evil aunt Gormlaith Gaunt, a descendant of Salazar Slytherin and an ancestor of Voldemort who hated muggles and mudbloods. Of course, Isolt fell in love with an American muggle, and they adopted two magical orphans. There’s also an interesting story about Isolt finding out her wand once belonged to Salazar Slytherin, so she buried it and later found that an unknown species of tree with surprisingly benevolent healing properties had grown in its place. That’s likely the unique tree spotted in the iconography on the school’s window as seen in this promo video released Tuesday: