“Seventeenth Century and Beyond” by J.K. Rowling Released on Pottermore!

It’s the second day of J.K. Rowling’s exclusive material reveal on Pottermore about the “History of Magic in North America,” and after yesterday’s piece, called “Fourteenth–Seventeenth Century,” we’re excited to learn more in today’s piece, “Seventeenth Century and Beyond. The seventeenth century was an important period in American wizarding history, containing the arrival of European witches and wizards in America, the Salem Witch Trials, and the eventual creation of MACUSA.

Jo begins by writing about the influx of European witches and wizards to the New World.

Like their No-Maj counterparts, they had a variety of reasons for leaving their countries of origin. Some were driven by a sense of adventure, but most were running away: sometimes from persecution by No-Majs, sometimes from a fellow witch or wizard, but also from the wizarding authorities. The latter sought to blend in among the increasing tide of No-Majs or hide among the Native American wizarding population, who were generally welcoming and protective of their European brethren.

Life wasn’t easy for these newcomers, though – and we also get a glimpse at the early days of Ilvermorny…

Back home, they had only to visit the local Apothecary to find the necessities for potions: here, they had to forage among unfamiliar magical plants. There were no established wandmakers, and Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which would one day rank among the greatest magical establishments in the world, was at that time no more than a rough shack containing two teachers and two students.

And just who were the Scourers? With no law enforcement established, the Scourers banded together to hunt down criminals.

As time went on, the Scourers became increasingly corrupt. Far away from the jurisdiction of their native magical governments, many indulged a love of authority and cruelty unjustified by their mission. Such Scourers enjoyed bloodshed and torture and even went so far as trafficking their fellow wizards. The numbers of Scourers multiplied across America in the late seventeenth century, and there is evidence that they were not above passing off innocent No-Majs as wizards to collect rewards from gullible non-magic members of the community.

And of course, there were the Salem Witch Trials.

Salem was significant within the magical community for reasons far beyond the tragic loss of life. Its immediate effect was to cause many witches and wizards to flee America and many more to decide against locating there. This led to interesting variations in the magical population of North America, compared to the populations of Europe, Asia and Africa. Up until the early decades of the twentieth century, there were fewer witches and wizards in the general American population than on the other four continents.

There was another important repercussion of the Salem Witch Trials – the creation of the Magical Congress of the United States of America, or MACUSA. Created in 1693,

MACUSA’s first task was to put on trial the Scourers who had betrayed their own kind. Those convicted of murder, […] wizard-trafficking, torture and all other manners of cruelty were executed for their crimes.

You can read the full “Seventeenth Century and Beyond” piece on Pottermore, where you’ll learn more about Scourers, what happened to those who escaped the MACUSA trails, the Salem Witch Trials, and MACUSA.

More of the “History of Magic in North America” will be revealed tomorrow at 2 p.m. GMT! Make sure to check back on MuggleNet tomorrow for more updates.

What was your highlight from today’s update? What are you still hoping that we might learn this week? Let us know in the comments!

  • Yet again, there are things that make no sense that she’s not addressing. “Wizard trafficking”… to whom?!? Who exactly is in the market for wizard slaves? Not any muggles in North America, presuming the wizards in question are Europeans.

    Certainly any muggle trying to keep a wizard slave would not hold onto them for long, and keeping a wizard in captivity could be challenging even for fellow wizards. But what wizards are in the market for fellow wizard slaves?

    Even by Pottermore’s VERY low standards, the writing thus far this week has been sloppy.

    • Anon

      Other scourers or evil wizards would’ve wanted slave wizards.

    • zoreta

      I took it to be trafficking wizards for the sake of turning them over to no-majs for trial as witches, in exchange for bounties.

      • Isn’t “trafficking” a rather odd word choice then? In everything I’ve read, trafficking connotes slavery, not bounty hunting. Hmm…

        • Declan

          I’m 99% sure she used to to imply all of the associations that come with trafficking:

          Forced labor and Slavery
          Sex
          Even making sport of free torture and murder.

          It’s already established that they turned each other over to Puritan witch hunters for gold before she makes multiple references to “wizard-trafficking.” Trafficking is defined as an illegal trade in something.

          • Declan

            *She used the term to imply

  • ILoveLunaLoveGood

    the other point is when she suggest the scourers on the run from the congress married into muggles and “winnowed” out the wizards which seems awfully cruel (esp since magic doesnt manifest til later on so would surely raise some questions) but begs the question of how likely half blood marriages result in “squibs” versus wizards…

  • Bob

    It’s very interesting to see that Jo has leeched out the pureblood mania from North American wizarding community’s culture. And she replaced it with an entirely new and interesting conflict born out of significant events in American Wizarding community’s history. It’s a dark history. The Scourers and their descendants who strongly believe in magic, many descendants actually are wizards or witches, and they hate magic with a passion (like a dark family secret).

    Regarding “trafficking”, I think Jo made it clear. The corrupted Scourers betrayed their own kind by selling wizards and witches to the Muggles for burning (not for slavery). Also, since many Scourers alluded MACUSA and blended in with the Muggle community of America, they must be powerful wizards or witches.

    • Declan

      That wouldn’t necessarily be considered trafficking, then.

      It’s defined as “wizard-trafficking”, leading one to suspect that witches and wizards were trafficked amongst the Scourers for other nefarious reasons relating to slavery and forced labor, possibly sex, even just for free torture and murder. She makes sure to make a point outside of “trafficking” that they already sold No-Maj’s and fellow witches and wizards to Puritan witch hunters for gold.

  • No dobby W

    Witchcraft is witchcraft. Evil. Rowling will milk and eat this poison forever. Writers fantasy is one thing, but, she should consider seeking counseling on her obsession with witchcraft. Write something else. Oh, where did she get the word, ‘muggle’? 😉