Tuesday morning, J.K. Rowling published her latest short story about the history of magic in North America. Unlike the previous series, however, which took a broad view of how magic developed differently there than in Europe, this new story focuses exclusively on the history of the American wizarding school, Ilvermorny.
Like at Hogwarts, Ilvermorny students are sorted into four houses, and as with Hogwarts, fans can take a quiz on Pottermore to determine which Ilvermony house they belong to. The choices on this side of the pond are named after magical creatures rather than school founders: Thunderbird, Horned Serpent, Pukwudgie, and Wampus. The first two are exactly what they sound like, the third is “a short, grey-faced, large-eared creature distantly related to the European goblin” (one of whom helped the school’s founding family in their time of need), and the fourth is a kind of panther.
But what do they mean?
We all know the rough characteristics of each Hogwarts house: Ravenclaw is smart, Gryffindor is friendly and brave, Slytherin is ambitious and perhaps a little unscrupulous, and Hufflepuff is open and accepting of everyone. But how about these new Ilvermorny houses? What do they say about you? Here’s what we know.
Description: Each of the four Ilvermorny houses is said to represent a different part of the ideal wizard. Thunderbird is the “soul” and “favors adventurers,” according to the Pottermore description.
Initial reaction: The creature (whose name has been adopted by not one but two different X-Men) has the power to bring storms, so it’s no wonder the house is associated with the soul. Searching one’s soul and getting in touch with the deeper aspects of one’s being can often be a stormy process. And bonus, J.K. Rowling is a Thunderbird.
Description: The Horned Serpent is said to represent the mind of a wizard, and favors scholars. Because of that whole aura, it’s easy to imagine Horned Serpent students remaining a little aloof from their brethren.
Initial reaction: The jewel in its head, the enigmatic riddles to Ilvermony founder Isolt Sayre, and the use of its horn in creating the first Ilvermony wands – all cool stuff.
Description: The Pukwudgie, true to their namesake creature’s role in protecting Isolt Sayre from her deadly aunt, represents the heart of a wizard, and favors healers.
Initial reaction: William the Pukwudgie is easily the best character in the story of Ilvermorny’s founding. For all their caring nature –William still lays mayflowers on Isolt’s tomb, centuries after her death — Pukwudgie students maycarry their own version of the creature’s trademark poisoned arrows. Don’t mess with them.
Description: Wampus represents the body of a wizard and favors warriors.
Initial reaction: Wampus is one of the most difficult houses to read at this point. Unlike the Pukwudgie and Horned Serpent, the creature, a kind of panther-cat hybrid capable of standing on all fours, does not factor into the story of Ilvermony’s founding. An interesting insight can be found in Cherokee myths, however. They tell the story of a woman named Running Deer who shapeshifted into a Wampus using a magical mask in order to defeat a terrifying creature that had driven her strong, brave husband insane. Don’t write off Wampus as one-dimensional and strong; warriors come in all shapes and sizes.