J. K. Rowling has finally shed the first light on the Wizarding World of North America with 'Fourteenth Century – Seventeenth Century' (read the full story on Pottermore). This is the first of four written installments providing magical background on the USA in preparation for the film Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, which will be released in November.
Here's what we've learned so far:
1. The American Word For Muggle Is "No-Maj"
Here's the quote from Rowling herself:
(Note: while every nationality has its own term for ‘Muggle,’ the American community uses the slang term No-Maj, short for ‘No Magic.’)
Interesting... "No-Maj" isn't quite as whimsical as "Muggle," but it's definitely more to the point. And in the plural form: No-Majs.
2. Wizards Knew About The New World Before No-Majs
Apparently, wizards and witches had been Apparating and flying across the Atlantic on brooms way before 1492. Rowling says:
Various modes of magical travel – brooms and Apparition among them – not to mention visions and premonitions, meant that even far-flung wizarding communities were in contact with each other from the Middle Ages onwards.
3. Skin Walkers Were Really Just Animagi
Haven't heard the spooky legends of the Skin Walkers? Read them here. Rowling sets the story straight, clarifying that these suspicious creatures were really just Native American Animagi (wizards or witches that can transform into animals).
The legend of the Native American ‘skin walker’ – an evil witch or wizard that can transform into an animal at will – has its basis in fact. A legend grew up around the Native American Animagi, that they had sacrificed close family members to gain their powers of transformation. In fact, the majority of Animagi assumed animal forms to escape persecution or to hunt for the tribe. Such derogatory rumours often originated with No-Maj medicine men, who were sometimes faking magical powers themselves, and fearful of exposure.
4. Native American Witches And Wizards Excelled In Potions And Herbology
Rowling tells us:
The Native American wizarding community was particularly gifted in animal and plant magic, its potions in particular being of a sophistication beyond much that was known in Europe.
5. The Wand Was Just A European Thing
Rowling explains that, unlike the magical community in Europe, Native Americans didn't rely on wands.
The magic wand originated in Europe. Wands channel magic so as to make its effects both more precise and more powerful, although it is generally held to be a mark of the very greatest witches and wizards that they have also been able to produce wandless magic of a very high quality.
The next installment, 'Seventeenth Century And Beyond,' will be posted on Pottermore tomorrow at 2pm GMT. Don't miss it!
And in the mean time, here's the trailer for Fantastic Beasts:
What was your favorite fact about magic in North America from Fourteenth Century — Seventeenth Century?