A new short story from author J.K. Rowling has once again expanded the Harry Potter universe.
Rowling's latest Harry Potter tale, which arrived on Pottermore yesterday, shines light on the history of the "American Hogwarts," the Ilvermorny school of witchcraft and wizardry, founded in the 17th century. The new story serves as both an introduction and promotion for the upcoming release of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film.
Of course, with a new Harry Potter school comes new houses into which students can be sorted. Ilvermorny's houses differ from their British counterparts, though there are a number of similarities between them. Each house — Thunderbird, Pukwudgie, Wampus and Horned Serpent — were favorite fantastic North American creatures of the school's four founders.
Though the four founders based their new school heavily off Hogwarts, the sort process is a bit different at Ilvermorny. Rather than a magical hat declaring what house a student belongs to, four magical statues, each representing one of the four houses, will give a sign of approval as new students stand in the center of the school's courtyard one by one. In rare instances, a student may be selected by multiple houses, upon which the student can choose to which house they wish to belong. Each house animal is said to represent a specific part of a whole witch or wizard.
With all that out of the way, let's dive into each house's history and what that house represents.
Native to North America, the Pukwudgie is a mischievous short gray animal that is said to be hostile toward non-magical creatures. It's a distant relative to European Goblins, the same Goblins that run Gringotts in Diagon Alley, and is said to use poisonous darts to hunt. Founder James Steward named the house, and it's said those who are sorted into Pukwudgie share many traits with the house's namesake creature: namely, a sharp mind and fiercely-independent spirit. A number of Pukwudgies work at Ilvermorny. Pukwudgie represents the heart of a witch or wizard.
This mythical and massive bird from Native American folk tales was a favorite of founder Chadwick Boot. The bird supposedly creates a storm whenever it takes flight (hence the name Thunderbird). It's said those sorted into House Thunderbird are adventurous and courageous. In many ways, Thunderbird is the American equivalent of Gryffindor, and even shares the same red and gold colors of the iconic Hogwarts house. The Thunderbird represents the soul of a witch or wizard.
Ilvermorny's Slytherin equivalent, those who are sorted into Horned Serpent, are said to be scholarly and intelligent, but also look out for one another. The house was created by founder Isolt Sayre, who, like Harry Potter, is a parselmouth. The creature is, in many ways, an ordinary-looking snake, though it features a prominent jewel in the middle of its forehead, as well as horns. It is said the Horned Serpent represents the mind of a witch or wizard.
The cat-like Wampus is both fast and strong, and is said to be nearly impossible to kill. Warriors are said to be home in house Wampus. The Wampus is the house of founder William Boot, who had a soft spot for the creature and its impressive abilities. The Wampus represents the body of a witch or wizard.
That's the quick version of the new houses and what they represent, but you can read the entire short story over on Pottermore. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them releases Nov. 18.