When I was a kid, part of the Harry Potter generation who had to wait for each book to be released, my life felt like a constant cycle of read new book, wait two years for next book, read new book, wait two years… We probably hit peak Potter in the mid-2000s, as both new books and new movies were coming out, to cheers and midnight parties. The world was lit by J.K. Rowling’s vision, and yet it was the same story over only two mediums. Now, almost a decade later, there’s even more Potter suffusing our world, with the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them later this year, plus Harry Potter and the Cursed Child coming to the London stage—and, of course, Rowling’s many updates on Pottermore. The latter is in the news, as Rowling shared with fans details about four new wizarding schools!
As you can see from the map above, these schools have roots all over the globe: Castelobruxo in Brazil, Uagadou somewhere in Uganda, Mahoutokoro in Japan, and Ilvermorny in the United States of America. There are 11 established wizarding schools, which means that in addition to these new ones and Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang, there are four more schools to be announced. As Rowling explains, “The number of countries that have their own magical school is minuscule compared to those that do not,” as many families opt for home-schooling or “correspondence classes.” (Does that mean there’s a such thing as wizard night school?) The locations of each wizarding school is closely guarded, though they are more likely than not to be in landlocked, mountainous areas that are easier to defend.
There are short pieces about each school on Pottermore, but here are some of the most fascinating details:
- Pronounced Cass-tell-o-broo-shoo.
- It’s hidden deep within the rainforests of Brazil, but takes students from all over South America.
- Castelobruxo shares a trick with Hogwarts: The school appears as a run-down ruin to Muggle eyes.
- If that doesn’t do the trick, the furry spirit-beings called Caipora help protect the place. Hogwarts’ former headmaster turned down an offer to have some of the mischievous Caipora sent into the Forbidden Forest.
- Castelobruxo students are especially adept at Herbology and Magizoology.
- Among its alumni, the school boasts João Coelho, Captain of the world-renowned Quidditch team the Tarapoto Tree- Skimmers.
- Pronounced Wag-a-doo.
- It’s argued that most (if not all) magic originated in Africa, so it’s no surprise that Uagadou has its own ways of doing certain things. Instead of owls, Dream Messengers leave tokens with chosen pupils; African witches and wizards practice wandless magic, opting instead for using fingers and hand gestures; and students have performed synchronized transformations into elephants and cheetahs, panicking other Animagi.
- The only address given for Uagadou is “Mountains of the Moon”; as the school is carved into a mountainside and shrouded by mist, it appears to float in the air. Rowling has clarified that the school is somewhere in Uganda.
- Uagadou students are especially well-versed in Astronomy, Alchemy, and Self-Transfiguration.
- Pronounced Mah-hoot-o-koh-ro.
- The palace (made of mutton-fat jade) stands on the uppermost point of the supposedly uninhabited volcanic island of Minami Iwo Jima.
- Mahoutokoro takes students as young as seven, though they don’t start boarding at the school until the age of eleven. Those day students are flown back and forth on the backs of “giant storm pestrels.”
- Students are given enchanted robes that not only grow with them, but change colors according to how much they’ve learned. Gold signifies top marks, while to “turn white” means you have dabbled in Dark magic.
- Mahoutokoro also boasts an impressive Quidditch team, thanks to some ancient cultural exchange: “…which, legend has it, was introduced to Japan centuries ago by a band of foolhardy Hogwarts students who were blown off course during an attempt to circumnavigate the globe on wholly inadequate broomsticks.”
- Now, we already knew about the existence of a North American school thanks to bits of news concerning Fantastic Beasts, but now we have the name.
- While Ilvermorny represents the entire continent of North America, it’s most likely somewhere in the USA. Rowling said it’s not in New York City, though she hinted that the name was “immigrant in origin.” She also alluded to indigenous tribes’ magic as being crucial to the establishment of Ilvermorny. So, considering most of these schools are in the mountains, could the Appalachians be a safe bet?
- While Newt Scamander’s travels in Fantastic Beasts won’t actually take him to Ilvermorny, he will encounter a number of its alumni, including the Goldstein sisters. This latest featurette introduces viewers to the quartet that makes up the heart of the film:
Although we learned the summary for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child some months ago, with the golden trio cast recently, it would seem that this is the project we now know the least about. Fingers crossed for more tidbits as we approach opening curtain in June…