Harry Potter fans are buzzing about this week’s “reveal” of J.K. Rowling’s American wizarding school’s houses. But what do we know about them and what do they mean?
The code said the following:
storyTitle:"Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry", quizTitle:"The Ilvermorny Sorting Ceremony", quizIntroText:"Where do you belong? Horned Serpent, Wampus, Thunderbird or Pukwudgie..."
What do you think of these names?
Reactions from fans have been varied. Some are excited about the names while others feel like they lack the charm of the original Hogwarts houses.
The discovery comes months after J.K. Rowling’s ‘Magic in North America’, a series of articles on Pottermore that details the history of wizards in the New World. Fans learned a lot of interesting information, including the names of several wizarding schools across the world. However, details surrounding Ilvermorny have been kept in the shadows. Ilvermorny is expected to play a role in Rowling’s upcoming ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ movie.
Rowling’s history of magic in America heavily features Native Americans. This has caused criticism toward her world building. The discovery of Ilvermorny’s wizarding houses has renewed the debate over her representation of Native Americans in her stories.
Horned Serpent, Wampus, Thunderbird and Pukwudgie are all linked to Native American culture in some way. According to Wikipedia, the Horned Serpent is associated with water, rain, lightning and thunder. The Thunderbird is featured heavily in Native American history and is symbolic of power and strength. The Wampus is a cat said to resemble a cougar and the Pukwudgie is a humanoid creature that comes from Wampanoag folklore.
Of course, none of these houses are confirmed. Some are speculating that these could be the mascots of the houses rather than the actual house names themselves. Pottermore and Rowling have yet to comment on their authenticity, but it seems almost certain that these are the names of the Ilvermorny houses considering the information found in the source code.
It’s yet to be seen how these houses (and even Ilvermorny) will be used in ‘Fantastic Beasts’. However, based off this tweet from last July, we imagine that a large part of the cast will identify with these houses, just as the characters in Harry Potter identified with their own:
Newt's a Hufflepuff, but the other heroes went to the American school of wizardry (and yes, I know their houses). https://t.co/2mnVEo0LHo
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) July 17, 2015
We’ll have to wait and see!