Last week was pretty magical over at Pottermore, with J.K. Rowling offering five short essays on various aspects of North American (okay, it was really just US-focused) magical history. Ultimately, Rowling launched the series to give Potterheads info about the magical world outside of Europe to help prepare us for the upcoming release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. While the history lessons spanned a huge amount of time in American magical history, here are ten things to remember from your Magic in North America crash course:
Scourers Were Bad News for Witches and Wizards
Scourers were a very real threat to American wizards. Think of them as sort of like reverse Death Eaters. Instead of trying to wipe out all muggle-borns and muggles, Scourers wanted to rid the world of anything magical. In fact, a few of the judges at the Salem Witch Trials were known Scourers.
The Salem Witch Trials Ruined Magical Tourism
Once word got out to the European wizarding communities that No-Majs (American slang term equivalent to Muggle) were ordering the execution of witches and wizards, the magical families often stopped any plans to move to America. Because of this decrease of immigration, most witches and wizards were born to No-Maj parents, which meant the pure-blood ideologies that plagued Europe never caught hold Stateside.
American Wizarding World Run by the MACUSA
In 1693, the American wizarding community formed the Magical Congress of the United States of America, or MACUSA for short, almost a century before the United States of America was officially a thing. That’s either the result of impressive divination skills, or an unimpressive amount of knowledge of American history. You decide.
The 15th MACUSA president, Emily Rappaport, barred any non-essential interaction between the magical community and N0-Majs. The strict law came after a witch named Dorcus fell in love with a No-Maj Scourer and ignorantly revealed the locations of MACUSA and Ilvermorny as well as other important and secret information about the wizarding community at large. A witchhunt ensued, but ended after the Scourer shot at a number of No-Majs he mistakenly suspected to be wizards. Unfortunatley, the information Dorcus had divulged had been published and disseminated throughout the newly formed United States of America, and repercussions were felt years after.
American Magical Currency
Though it’s likely that we haven’t heard about the other denominations of American magical money, so far it seems WAY easier than what European wizards have to deal with. Unlike the Galleon, Sickle, and Knut, we only know about one form of American magical currency at this point, and it’s called a Dragot. #TheMoreYouKnow
Wizards in WWI
Unbeknownst to their No-Maj brothers in arms–because Rappaport’s Law still held firm in the midst of war–wizards fought in World War I. Of course, their battles focused largely on targeting enemy wizarding factions. Though they didn’t have any banner wins during the war, the American wizard soldiers did manage to seriously help the war effort and stop a great loss of life.
Hagrid Totally Couldn’t of Lived in the US
Since Rappaport’s Law held keeping No-Majes in the dark with such importance, magical creatures were highly regulated and hidden. Understandably, seeing a giant trundle through your yard could definitely start you asking questions (sorry, Hagrid). Of course, this didn’t always go over well with the magical creatures, as there was something called the Great Sasquatch Rebellion in 1892.
The Right To Bear Wands
In an attempt to keep tabs on wizards and witches, and to create a system where evil wizards could be tracked easily, the MACUSA required everyone in the magical community to register their wands. You could carry a wand with you wherever you went, provided you had a permit.
No Ollivander Monopoly in the US
Unlike Europe, American wizards had a handful of reputable wand-makers from which to buy their wands. Four, to be precise. You had the option of buying a wand from Shikoba Wolfe, Johannes Jonker, Thiago Quintana, or Violetta Beauvais. Each specialized in different types of wands, but each wand-maker was considered to be the best in the field.
Gigglewater was a Non-Negotiable
While most of the US was suffering under the weight of prohibition, the American wizarding community didn’t have to worry about such restrictions. Not only did they not follow US’s lead in restricting alcohol, but President Rappaport said alcohol was a non-negotiable, especially since being a wizard in the US was hard enough to do without something to take the edge off.
And with that, Rowling has given us a crash course up to the twenties to get ready for Fantastic Beasts. Ultimately, Rowling’s lessons were brief, but I’m sure as we get closer to the film’s release, we’ll learn more and more about magic in America.
What were your favorite parts of Magic in North America? What didn’t you like? What questions do you have? Let’s talk about it in the comments!
Image credit: Pottermore