We have our first glimpse into the culture of Ilvermorny–but not one that Pottermore was ready for us to see yet.
American Harry Potter fans have longed for nearly two decades now to learn about what the wizarding world is like for us on this side of the pond. While the UK fans have Hogwarts up in Scotland, and the European fans have long known about the schools of Beauxbatons and Durmstrang, Americans have had to make do with imagining our own school, probably up somewhere around Salem. Even though Rowling has seen fit to reveal the locations of schools in Uganda, Brazil and Japan this year, when it comes to the American wizarding school, we still only have a name–Ilvermorny.
But overnight that changed, though perhaps a little earlier than Rowling’s official website of all things Potter related, Pottermore was ready. As revealed on Reddit, those who wanted spoilers now have hacked their way into the code of the Pottermore website and found a entire new section that’s under construction. (If you want a detailed explanation, see the article here.) It looks like the choice to bring back sorting this past January was not just a for the fans who missed having their Houses and Wands, but was preparing us for a brand new sorting ceremony coming later this year: one that will sort us into the Ilvermorny houses.
This is huge news, not just because we are learning the names of the four houses in Ilvermorny. It’s big news because for the first time we have evidence that there *are* four houses in Ilvermorny to be sorted into. One question all fans have had everywhere is if the four “house” system that we know and love at Hogwarts is particular to that institution, or if all wizarding schools follow this model. (Rowling has suggested before that the American wizarding school would have houses, but not how many or how they worked.) Now it looks as if we know that the American school does have four houses and that they have a similar style sorting ceremony.
“Where do you belong? Horned Serpent, Wampus, Thunderbird or Pukwudgie…”
According to the Harry Potter wiki:
- Horned Serpent: “Horned Serpents are a creature that figures in the folklore of many indigenous peoples of North America. They are typically described as dragon-like serpents with horns and long teeth. They are often associated with or said to control the weather, particularly rain, lightning, and thunder. Magical abilities ascribed to them include shape-shifting, invisibility, and hypnotic powers.”
- Wampus: “The Wampus cat is a creature that features in the folklore of various indigenous peoples of the southeastern United States, variously described as some kind of fearsome variation of a cougar.”
- Thunderbird: “The thunderbird is a legendary creature which features in the mythology of certain indigenous peoples of North America. It is especially prominent within the cultures of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest, and is frequently featured in their art, songs, and stories. However, versions of the thunderbird are also found in the traditions of peoples of the American Southwest, Great Lakes, and Great Plains regions of the continent. Accounts of the thunderbird and its characteristics vary, but it is often described as a very large bird, capable of generating storms and thunder as it flies.”
- Pukwudgie: “The Pukwudgie is a creature that appears in the folklore of various indigenous peoples of North America, notably the Wampanoag. It is typically described as two-to-three-feet tall and human-shaped, but with a larger nose, ears, and fingers and smooth, grey skin that sometimes glows. Its magical abilities include disappearing and reappearing, partial or complete transformation into a porcupine or cougar, and creating fire.”
As for if it was a trait brought over by UK wizarding settlers during the 17th and 18th century and added to the school as it was “modernized” (or perhaps more accurately “europeanized”) is still a mystery. But for now, we will have to content ourselves with knowing there are four new houses that will be revealed and that we have a new sorting ceremony to anticipate being revealed on Pottermore in the coming months.
Until then, let us speculate–which house do you think you would wind up in? Sound off in the comments below!