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Animation based on JK Rowling’s ‘Fantastic Beasts’ explores ‘American Hogwarts’

With the theatrical release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them creeping closer, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has been busy introducing fans to new parts of the wizarding world. Making good on her promise to delve further into North America’s magical history, Rowling has penned new writing on Hogwarts’ American equivalent, the Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It was published Tuesday on Pottermore, along with a beautiful animated short that introduces the work.

The story of Ilvermorny is worth a series itself, but for now, we’ll take the nearly 2-minute video and 5,330-word piece. Through both, we learn about the American school and its founder, an Irish woman named Isolt Sayre. The writing unveils a lot more specifics, but the video will certainly capture your attention if you loved the Harry Potter books.

Like Rowling’s original hero, Isolt is an orphan, and her story features a pureblood-loving villain, a unique connection to snakes, and a special wand. Love, loyalty, and revenge are also key to the tale, adding still more familiar elements. A huge difference, though, is the time period and setting; Isolt was born in Ireland around 1603 and ended up taking the Mayflower to the New World in 1620.

With Fantastic Beasts set in the 1920s, we don’t expect to see Isolt herself in the film. However, American witches and wizards educated at Ilvermorny will be, so learning about the enchanted institution now is helpful. Like Hogwarts, it is hidden from the non-magical community (whose members are called No-Majs in the U.S. instead of Muggles). The video describes Ilvermorny as “one of the greatest secrets of the magical world,” and highlights that “its enchanted stone walls have stood strong through the ages, surviving fearsome battles and weathering powerful storms.”

As usual, J.K. Rowling has piqued our curiosity, making the Fantastic Beasts release date seem even further away. We’ll have to wait till November 18 to see how Ilvermorny ties in with protagonist Newt Scamander’s New York adventures.

Pre-order the original screenplay on Amazon