Universal Orlando’s annual A Celebration of Harry Potter weekend event kicked off last night with a bang. But before cast members Rupert Grint, Evanna Lynch, Matthew Lewis, Bonnie Wright, and Katie Leung led fans in a Lumos Maxima spell to set off a dazzling fireworks display, Lynch took the stage to preview new writings from J.K. Rowling about wizarding schools around the world, including the name of the school in America.
The writings went live on Pottermore with even more details at the end of the Opening Night Event. Rowling revealed that there are 11 schools, including Hogwarts, that are registered with the International Confederation of Wizards. Think of them like Ivy League universities. Other wizarding schools exist but they aren’t recognized to hold the same time-tested standards. Home schooling is also a very widespread trend among magical families, along with correspondence courses in remote countries where this is more cost effective. For protection and secrecy reasons, wizarding schools tend to be in landlocked, mountainous locations.
Information on two other known schools, Beauxbatons Academy of Magic and Durmstrang Institute, was revealed, as well as names and details about three additional schools in Brazil, Africa, and Japan. The name of the North American school was also unveiled.
Let’s breakdown the highlights for each of the schools.
Not much was revealed about the American wizarding school – yet – but at least we have a name! Ilvermorny is pronounced [ill - ver - morn - ee]. More information is promised soon, likely in conjunction with the Fantastic Beasts film. It’s in the northeast but it’s tough to tell where exactly due to the style of the art.
Here it is on the map, courtesy of Pottermore on Twitter.
— Pottermore (@pottermore) January 30, 2016
Pronounced [cass - tell - o - broo - shoo], the South American wizarding school is located in Brazil. The castle which appears as ruins to muggles, is guarded by Caipora. The nocturnal creatures are described as ”small and furry spirit-beings who are extraordinarily mischievous and tricky.” Students don bright green robes and are adept at Herbology and Magizoology. There’s even an exchange program with magical students in Europe who want to study South American plants and animals.
The jade palace of Japan’s wizarding school is at the top of Minami Iwo Jima, a (presumed by muggles to be) dormant volcanic island. Though it has the smallest student body of the 11 schools, Mahoutokoro, pronounced [mah - hoot - o - koh - ro], welcomes children at age 7. Until they begin to board there at age 11, they are flown to and from school by a flock of giant storm petrels. Students wear enchanted robes that grow with them through their schooling and change color as they learn. The robes begin as light pink and ideally end up as gold if a student earns top marks in all subjects. Robes that turn white indicate a student has broken International Statute of Secrecy or Japanese magic codes (likely by exploring the Dark Arts).
Magical children from across Africa attend Uagadou, pronounced [wag - a - doo]. The largest of the 11 ICoW registered wizarding schools is carved into a mountain and surrounded by mist. The student selection process is done by Dream Messengers, who visit children in their sleep and leave a token in their hand, to be found upon waking. Students excel at Astronomy, Alchemy, and Self-Transfiguration. That means many Uagadou students are Animagi, and there is at least one documented case of a synchronized public transfiguration into various safari animals. Many African wizards and witches cast spells using hand gestures since, while they are used in Africa to an extent, wands are primarily a European magical invention.
Beauxbatons Academy of Magic
Likely located in the Pyrenees, Beauxbatons’ castle and gardens may have been partially funded by the alchemist gold of alumni Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel. Students are mostly French, though the school accepts children of nearby origins, including Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, and Belgian. The school enjoys a friendly relationship with Hogwarts that occasionally turns to rivalry in magical competitions. The most recent Triwizard Tournament has set Hogwarts ahead 63 to 62.
The most secretive about location – visitors must agree to memory charms to forget their journeys to/from the grounds – the school is thought to be in northern Europe. Students tell that the looming, dark ship that moors beside the school is great for diving from in the summer. Much of Rowling’s new text is about the few dark periods in Durmstrang’s past, under headmasters Harfang Munter, who began the dueling and martial magic traditions that live on, ex-Death Eater Igor Karkaroff, and former student Gellert Grindelwald. Of course, it has also produced many great wizards, including Quidditch star Viktor Krum. Fans attending Universal’s Celebration of Harry Potter were encouraged to download and use the Blippar app to interact with the map of wizarding schools at the event’s expo. We tried using the app on the maps posted by the Pottermore Twitter account and it also seems to be recognizing the locations, so try it out! Here’s the full map.
— Pottermore (@pottermore) January 30, 2016
Which was your favorite new school to learn about? Where do you think are the locations of the rest of the 11? Fans have already begun to speculate about Ilvermornys’s exact location and details, so we can’t wait until J.K. Rowling reveals more.