The Founding of Ilvermorny

Jun 28, 2016

Posted by: Justin Hart

Fantastic Beasts, J.K. Rowling, Pottermore

Today on Pottermore, Rowling released an essay giving more details about the North American School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Ilvermorny. This new information adds to the North American magical history as previously released by Rowling and reported here on Leaky.  Pottermore released this teaser video for Rowling’s essay.

Ilvermorny was founded by a descendant of Salazar Slytherin. In Rowling’s essay “Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry” she tells of the witch Isolt Sayre born in Ireland to lovely helpful parents of pureblood decent. However, her parents were attacked and she went to live with her aunt Gormlaith Gaunt. Gormlaith refused to let her niece attend Hogwarts.

“Gormlaith refused to allow Isolt to take up her place at Hogwarts when the letter arrived, on the basis that Isolt would learn more at home than at a dangerously egalitarian establishment full of Mudbloods. However, Gormlaith herself had attended Hogwarts, and told Isolt a great deal about the school. In the main, she did this to denigrate the place, lamenting that Salazar Slytherin’s plans for the purity of wizardkind had not been fulfilled. To her niece, isolated and mistreated by an aunt she believed to be at least half insane, Hogwarts sounded like a kind of paradise and she spent much of her teens fantasising about it.”

Isolt finally fled to the New World. There she encountered magical creatures in particular a Hidebehind and Pukwudgie. Isolt saved the life of the Pukwudgie and the two became an unlikely pair. As time goes by Isolt and Pukwudgie encounter the Hidebehind again this time torturing a family. Isolt and William, the Pukwudgie, were able to save two young boys, Webster and Chadwick Boot. Isolt nursed the boys back to health and finally went to bury their parents. There she encountered James Seward.

“As Isolt watched, James finished marking the graves he had dug by hand, then picked up the two broken wands that had lain beside the Boot parents. Frowning he examined the sparking core of dragon heartstring that protruded from Mr Boot’s, then gave it a casual wave. As invariably happens when a No-Maj waves a wand, it rebelled. James was sent flying backwards across the clearing, hit a tree and was knocked out cold.”

Isolt told her family of Hogwarts and as Ilvermorny took shape the boys and Isolt’s muggle husband James decided the school should have four houses like Hogwarts. The houses were named after magical creatures and began to represent the personalities of the family.

“Thus were the four houses of Ilvermorny created, and while the four originators did not yet know it, much of their own characters leaked into the houses they had so light-heartedly named.”

The four houses of Ilvermorny, much like the houses of Hogwarts, identify particular personality traits that the founders valued.

“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.”

You can read all of Rowling’s essay on Pottermore. There is also a link on Pottermore where you can be sorted into one of the houses of Ilvermorny.


The essay is full of details that only Rowling could provide. Rowling has expanded her magical world and bridged Hogwarts to Illvermorny. It is exciting to see the Wizarding World expand and develop!

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