As fans of Harry Potter have doubtless heard, another film series set in that world is in the works. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them tells the story of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) , the magizoologist who wrote the titular book that is now considered a classic of its kind.
The first movie, which is expected to come out in November, tells of Scamander’s adventures in North America. It also introduces the wizarding community of New York City, where Scamander met people who had attended a school of magic called Ilvermorny.
Over the years, J.K. Rowling has written stories for the website Pottermore that help flesh out minor characters or relate events that happened before or after the books. Her latest contribution to Pottermore tells the story of Ilvermorny and its founder, an Irish woman named Isolt Sayre who was descended from the infamous Salzar Slytherin.
Isolt was raised by her aunt, Gormlaith Gaunt, who shared Slytherin’s hatred of muggles and vowed to ensure that her niece married only a pureblood wizard and never even encountered a muggle. Isolt wanted more from her life and ran away. She boarded the Mayflower and thus became one of the first people to settle in the United States. She eventually married and had children and founded a school, so she could educate them and any other magical children in the area.
Like Hogwarts, Ilvermorny has four houses, but they are named after magical creatures native to North America, rather than the founders. They are therefore called the Wampus, the Horned Serpent, the Thunderbird and the Pukwudgie.