If I Went to J.K. Rowling’s North American Wizarding School I’d Be a Wampus

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Today we learned a great deal more about J.K. Rowling’s North American wizarding school Ilvermorny, and perhaps something about ourselves as well.

I wrote up a piece for HitFix earlier today on the big new reveal but seeing as how this is Harry Potter related, I have a lot more feelings.

You may recall the North American school is one of 11 internationally. We now know Irish woman Isolt Sayre founded the school after fleeing her homeland from her evil aunt, Gormlaith Gaunt. Yes. Gaunt. Part of the family tree that includes none other than Tom Marvolo Riddle, aka Lord Voldemort. And whoa, what about this bit?

Next, she uttered a single sibilant word in Parseltongue, the language of snakes. The wand that had served Isolt so faithfully for many years quivered once on the bedstand beside her as she slept, and became inactive. In all the years that she had lived with it, Isolt had never known that she held in her hand the wand of Salazar Slytherin, one of the founders of Hogwarts, and that it contained a fragment of a magical snake’s horn: in this case, a Basilisk. The wand had been taught by its creator to ‘sleep’ when so instructed, and this secret had been handed down through the centuries to each member of Slytherin’s family who possessed it.

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But holy cow. That whole new story from Rowling! Isolt wasn’t the sole founder of the school – she had help from her Muggle husband and the two wizard children they basically adopted. There are four Ilvermorny houses, just like Hogwarts, named after four magical creatures they encountered in North America:

• 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’
• Wampus – ‘a magical, panther-like creature that is fast, strong and almost impossible to kill’

I took the new sorting quiz, not sure exactly what to expect. First of all, it was gorgeous. It was a fun graphic design accompanied by beautiful new art. But the questions felt very different in nature, almost existentinal, compared to the Hogwarts sorting quiz. After some tense decisions I found myself in Wampus.

Named by Webster Boot after his favourite magical beast, the Wampus; a magical panther-like creature that was fast, strong and almost impossible to kill. Wampus house is sometimes considered to represent the body of a witch or wizard. It is also said that Wampus favours warriors.

Which is funny when you consider years ago I created my own fictional Hogwarts house called Felinapurr which had a black cat as its mascot.

Anyway, I’m loving the new additions to the overall history of the wizarding world, even if some of it is imperfect. I mean, look at that Wampus!

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And this bit about sorting in the school itself was pretty neat:

As might be expected of a school part-founded by a No-Maj, Ilvermorny has the reputation of being one of the most democratic, least elitist of all the great wizarding schools.

Marble statues of Isolt and James flank the front doors of Ilvermorny Castle. The doors open onto a circular room topped by a glass cupola. A wooden balcony runs around the room one floor above. Otherwise the space is empty except for four enormous wooden carvings representing the houses: the Horned Serpent, the panther Wampus, the Thunderbird and the Pukwudgie.

While the rest of the school watches from the circular balcony overhead, new students file into the round entrance hall. They stand around the walls and, one by one, are called to stand on the symbol of the Gordian Knot set into the middle of the stone floor. In silence the school then waits for the enchanted carvings to react. 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. Very rarely – perhaps once a decade – a student is offered a place in all four houses.

Have you checked out the new stuff yet? Been sorted? Let me know where you wound up!

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11 Responses to “If I Went to J.K. Rowling’s North American Wizarding School I’d Be a Wampus”

  1. wondercube says:

    I am a Hufflepuff and I was sorted into Thunderbird. So #Thunderpuff ftw!

    I’m a little uncomfortable with some of the lore she’s written, but I’ve decided to enjoy what I can while recognizing the problems. Life, I guess.

  2. the silver ravens says:

    i hear a lot of hufflepuffs are sorted into horned serpent

  3. Evelyn Starshine says:

    i am a hufflepuff but wont be doing the new school test

  4. marysueme says:

    Pukwudgie! The heart. :) (Hufflepuff at Hogwarts.)

  5. Jason Rye says:

    Gryffindor and Thunderbird for my houses for the two schools.

  6. Marie says:

    I’m a Hufflewudgie :)

  7. the silver ravens says:

    I got the Horned Serpent not sure what that means despite my name i am without a doubt a Hufflepuff though.

  8. Thunderbird! It’s interesting because I sorted into Ravenclaw House and my wand has a Phoenix core.

  9. Does Felinapurr excrete lightning?

  10. That Which Dreams says:

    I’m also a Wampus, so I’m a…warrior? What do the other houses mean?

    • According to the new story:

      It is sometimes said of the Ilvermorny houses that they represent the whole witch or wizard: the mind is represented by Horned Serpent; the body, Wampus; the heart, Pukwudgie and the soul, Thunderbird. Others say that Horned Serpent favours scholars, Wampus, warriors, Pukwudgie, healers and Thunderbird, adventurers.