J.K. Rowling has returned to the wizarding world over the past few months, sharing new original stories on Pottermore about the history of magic in North America. So far, we’ve gone beyond Hogwarts and learned a little bit about early magic in America and about Ilvermorny, the American school of witchcraft and wizardry.
Now, Rowling is back with a third and final installment, delving into the rich history of the Magical Congress of the United States of America, a.k.a. MACUSA.
With Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hitting theaters on Nov. 18, Rowling’s new Pottermore story provides key background information on MACUSA, which plays a pivotal role in the story of Newt Scamander. Not only does the new tale introduce us to MACUSA’s first president, Josiah Jackson, and his band of 12 inaugural Aurors, but it explores the origins of the organization and how magical representatives from across North America decided to tackle anti-wizarding sentiments after the Salem witch trials, uniting as one wizarding community.
Rowling also reveals that the American Revolution marked a major turning point for American wizards, who found themselves torn between “Country or Kind,” unsure whether to align themselves with their brand new nation or their wizarding brethren. Presided over by Elisabeth McGilliguddy, the 1777 “Country or Kind” debate forever shaped the future of the American wizarding community as they struggled to navigate their moral obligations to both sides.
Finally, Rowling gives us a little bit of background about the role of MACUSA in Newt’s time. When Newt (Eddie Redmayne), a former Hogwarts Hufflepuff and current magizoologist, travels to New York City in 1926, he brings with him a magical case filled with all sorts of otherworldly creatures. But several of his creatures escape, threatening to violate the International Statute of Secrecy, a global wizarding law that conceals witches and wizards from their nonmagical cohorts. Upholding the statute is a key tenet of MACUSA’s mission, and in Fantastic Beasts, we meet MACUSA workers like Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) and president Seraphina Picquery (Carmen Ejogo).
“Newt’s been across pretty much every continent, but magic developed very differently in America,” explains Rowling, who also wrote the screenplay for Fantastic Beasts. “Newt accidently walks right into the middle of MACUSA. He gets caught up into a society he doesn’t understand. After the Potter books, this was always where I was interested in going. If I ever did anything, this is what I wanted to do.”
Head to Pottermore to read the full story of “The Magical Congress of the United States of America” and meet all sorts of new historical wizarding figures, from Josiah Jackson and Charity Wilkinson to Able Fleming and Crups breeder Thornton Harkaway.