Wizard’s Council: On The New International Wizarding Schools


Our Wizard’s Council convenes this week to consider the question of the hour: Is Rowling holding back on Ilvermorny because of Fantastic Beasts?

More from Culturess

Welcome to the Wizard’s Council. Back in olden days, before the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy in 1692, the Wizarding world was governed by the Wizard’s Council. This was the longest serving ruling body over the Wizarding World in history, and though it was disbanded in 1707 with the founding of the Ministry of Magic, it was still considering one of the wisest and august bodies to ever rule the UK and Irish Wizarding Worlds. (Sadly, the same cannot be said for the Ministry, which seems to only be as good as it’s current Minister.) Here at Wizards and Whatnot, we come together once again as this august body to think deeply on the issues of our time.

Philosophical Question of the Hour: Do we think the reason Rowling holding back Ilvermorny is due to it being directly Fantastic Beasts related? What did we like most about the schools that were revealed? And where do we think the four that haven’t been revealed yet are?

ANI: I am obsessed with knowing more about Ilvermorny. I check Pottermore weekly to see if the story’s turned up yet, which is basically ridiculous. The entire internet will tell me when it is revealed.

The question is when? Is it tied to Fantastic Beasts? If so, we could be waiting all the way until September or October when the promotional period of the movie kicks in to high gear. (Mid-September would make sense, since that’s also when the one year anniversary of Pottermore’s relaunch will be.) Could it be earlier? At one point I thought it might be a July 31st drop for Harry’s birthday, but since that’s now the release date for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, it’s doubtful the marketing people would allow that to be stepped on. No, I think we’ll be waiting a while, unless Rowling is kind, and has a May early promotional period for Beasts, the same way that Disney did last year for Star Wars.

As to where the other four schools are, I’ve theorized on that before, and I still think my answers make the most sense. The Japanese School is very small, and very Japanese-centric, leaving the need for other Asian countries to have another school. China is simply the most logical answer, and that it probably takes students from Korea, Mongolia and the Steppes. India would be the other Asian continent based school, probably on the other side of the Himalayas, and servicing Nepal and other south Asians areas like Cambodia and Viet Name.

That leaves the other two. With North America, South America and the African continents covered each by a single school, and Europe and Asia each having two, it only makes sense that Oceania would have their own. It’s doubtful they would have more than one though, and the habit of putting schools in Mountainous regions suggests that New Zealand may be the best option. Still, the Aussie outback would be the most central spot for one. That leaves the final location a question. Thinking magically, the only culture that has a deep mystical and magical tradition that hasn’t been tapped into is that of the Arabian peninsula. The Middle East, in Saudi Arabia, perhaps, or maybe a more westernized country like Jordan. (Would Israeli students be accepted there? Let’s not get into that quagmire.)

Still, though I am thoroughly curious about these other schools, it’s hard for me to imagine wanting to go there. At the end of the day, Ilvermorny maybe be nearer, but in our hearts, Hogwarts is out home.

MARNIFER: Where is Ilvermorny, Ms. Rowling, where?! I really respect Rowling’s ability to draw out a good suspense, but I’m not sure why we’re still in the dark. Meanwhile the photo series by BuildingALibrary has given us something to obsess over until the official reveal. It is so dang adorable! Quite convincing, too.

As to the other schools revealed so far, the Dream Messengers of Uagadou is my favorite detail! It feels like ancient magic — to be visited in your dreams and wake up in real life with an item you were given in that dream. It’s a little bit biblical, a little Freddy Krueger, and a whole lot entertaining.

The four unrevealed schools: I agree with Ani Bundel that at least one is in China, and she’s probably right about India too. One of the final four is definitely in Australia. I’m having this sudden crossover fantasy that students would have to access the school’s remote location via road trip with fabulous drag queens on a bus named Priscilla. For the fourth school, I’m going on a limb and guessing Iran, because of its rich Persian good vs. evil mythology and their legendary Huma bird, which sometimes self-immolates like a phoenix and is reborn from the ashes. The Huma spends its life in continuous flight high above the earth, never able to land. Sounds like the perfect guardian for a secret school of magic, especially if their school is in the sky like Castelobruxo.

DAN: Of course Rowling is holding back on the location of Ilvermorny because it’s involved with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. She’s creating some buzz, and she’s doing a good job.

Personally, I think locating Ilvermorny in Detroit is a terrific idea. Think of the tourism dollars that could generate for the city! It’s rather amazing, really; with one article, Rowling could pump money into the area. Her power is terrifying.

And the photos are pretty convincing.

Of the newly revealed Wizarding schools, I have to agree with Marnifer that Uagadou sounds the most interesting. I particularly like the bit about how, for many years, wands weren’t even in use at the place, and that wizards were taught to cast spells with their hands. There are probably elderly Uagadou alumni who think all that all these new-fangled magic sticks are hogwash. It adds interesting shades the mechanics of magic, as well. I think a lot of Harry Potter readers just assume that wands are necessary to do magic well, but what it they’re a crutch?

As for where the remaining four schools are: one has to be in Australia. Gotta show the continent some love. It also makes sense to put schools in both China and India, given their populations, although I’d also love another one to be in North America; why does Europe get three and North America get one? Maybe there could be one in Toronto.

One final option: a school in Antarctica. Where better for wizards to hide? It’s an inhospitable continent, but I’m betting that magic could make it a lot more livable.

KELLY: Unfortunately, Rowling is definitely holding back details of Ilvernmorny because of Fantastic Beasts and I am sure there will be some big PR campaign before the film is released to create hype. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they didn’t release any details until after the film has been released to make people want to see it even more (not that I need another reason). I’m originally from New York and my family still lives there, so I’m am really hoping the school is there as well. My guess is probably in the mountains somewhere. Maybe, just maybe, they’re currently creating a new Wizarding World theme park in upstate New York somewhere and will unveil this with the information! One can only dream…

In regards to the other schools, I am loving every small detail! I just feel like there are so many amazing potential stories, just waiting to be written. The dream messengers of Uagadou definitely caught my attention as well as the address of the school, “Mountains of the Moon.” I’m just picturing a floating wizarding school on a giant cloud. I also love the idea of the Japanese school being located on an “uninhabited” volcanic island and the Brazilian school deep in the rainforest. Where do I think the other schools are located? I think definitely China, Australia, and India. As for the last one, I hope it is somewhere hidden in the middle of the ocean, like in the Bermuda Triangle or near Hawaii. Maybe even UNDER the ocean!

I would love for the Fantastic Beasts sequels to follow Newt all over the world to these different wizarding schools and communities and then they could make countless spin-offs based on characters we encounter. In the meantime, I’ll just have to wait for some fan fiction to appear.

TARA: Yeah, I was definitely hoping for information on the US school, but it doesn’t surprise me that Rowling is holding back on that. All I can say is please, please reveal something in or via Fantastic Beasts!

As for the other schools, while I believe Rowling originally writing that Uagadou was in “Africa” was an honest mistake, it’s still one that I wish she hadn’t made. Yes, she clarified that it’s in Uganda, but only after she got called out. Like, a lot. And I’m sorry, but saying that the school “takes students from all over Africa” doesn’t really make it any less of a mistake. Does the Brazilian school take students from all over South America? Yes. Yet it was specified as being in Brazil from the beginning. But hey, at least Uagadou floats? That’s cool I guess.

Anyway, that’s just a quick point I wanted to make. I love that these schools are all so different from the ones we already know about. The Japanese school taking students in when they’re just 7 is explained away as it being the smallest of the 11 academies, but that also seems like it could be a cultural thing as well. I’m definitely interested to hear how they start such young children’s education in the wizarding world!

As for Castelobruxo, at the moment I’m reserving any thoughts on this one because it sounds kind of a lot like Hogwarts…but bring on the rest of the magical school information, please!

KATIE: Well, I guess I’m in the minority in that I’m not all that invested in other Wizarding schools. It’s not that it isn’t interesting—and it would be almost irrational to claim it as such—but it doesn’t spark much intrigue in me. While I appreciate the expansion of Rowling’s magical universe, I prefer to stick to character studies than geographical ones, and I’ve got a major one-track mind. That, combined with the fact that I’ve never been any great shakes at geography of any kind, assures that international Wizarding schools aren’t really my cup of tea.

That being said, there’s some major upsides to the rest of these magical institutions. Mahoutokoro’s uniform policy is far more fiscally responsible than Hogwarts’, and I’m here for that; Uagadou’s wandless magic system is more sensible, especially when we remember Ron’s, Neville’s, and Harry’s broken wands; and the Caipora certainly have my attention, considering their behavior is akin to the fairies of Irish lore (although that’s most assuredly a coincidence, it draws me to this creature nonetheless).

As for Ilvernmorny, I am in agreement that it will play some part in Fantastic Beasts, otherwise all this pomp and circumstance would be for naught and we’d all be disappointed (even me—hey, personally intriguing or no, I’m as susceptible to hype as the next person). I’ll be interested to see how exactly the school would play into the film’s content, but it’s something I don’t have any trouble waiting for.

Next: Harry Potter and the Order of Archetypes: Rubeus Hagrid the Caretaker

Our Wizard’s Council meets every other week, unless there is an emergency session. Check out our other entries here.