History of Magic in North America: 17th Century and Beyond

The second of the four deep dives into the History of Magic in North America has arrived on Pottermore.

The second of Rowling’s deep dives into the History of Magic in North America has arrived. You can read the entire thing here.

The good news: this second installment is far longer than the first one. With the arrival of euro-culture in North America, one can tell that Rowling is on less shaky ground than she was yesterday. Again, note the theme of persecution, which seems to be a common thread, yesterday among the Native peoples, and today among those who are fleeing Europe, to either hide themselves among the flood of white immigrants, or fleeing further west to the native tribes where supposedly, those wizards and witches among the native peoples were welcoming to their European counterparts.

We also get our first mention of Ilvermorny, which started out as “a rough shack containing two teachers and two students.” A far cry from Hogwarts, which was founded by twice as many witches, and became a destination school almost immediately in that already established part of the world.


The “Scourers” are also an interesting addition. Lawless wizards and witches who basically abuse their powers once they are on a continent where they cannot be held accountable. Not that the Puritans are going to be cast as good guys–far from it. Puritans are traditionally cast as the bad guys, from everything from in the famous play The Crucible to The Scarlet Letter. And considering these are stories whose sympathies of course lie with the wizarding community, they are the natural bad guys. (And their updated version for the 1920s are already the established bad guys for Fantastic Beasts.) But it bears considering that perhaps there were those on both sides that lead to this famous historical horror show, other than the idea that some of the Puritan judges were “scourers.”

I do like that the end result was to drive the magical community in America backwards. Those in the US are used to considering ourselves at the forefront of everything, and there has been a considerable push by American fans to know about the US wizarding community. I love that her answer is “Well, due to this terrible historical event, actually that community has been kept smaller than all the others.” Still, she does give the North American wizarding community the historical distinction of being the first to put together a magical governing body, even if their first act was to conduct their own Nuremberg type trails against “scourers,” cementing an anti-wizard community as part of the fabric of the country a century before the American revolution.

Personally? I want more writings from American magical historian Theophilus Abbot. Pronto.

See the first story here.