Ilvermorny Origins and Houses Revealed by J.K. Rowling!

Since we first learned about Ilvermorny, the American wizarding school, we’ve all been longing to know more about the school, as well as learn the identity of the four Houses. Well, we’ve finally got our wish. Today, Pottermore has revealed the history of the school, as well as the names of the four Houses and the chance to be Sorted into your Ilvermorny House.

To learn more about the origins of the school, check out the video below.

Mores specifics about the school’s position and concealment were revealed at the beginning of the new history, which was posted on Pottermore.

The great North American school of magic was founded in the seventeenth century. It stands at the highest peak of Mount Greylock, where it is concealed from non-magic gaze by a variety of powerful enchantments, which sometimes manifest in a wreath of misty cloud.

Also revealed were details about how the school was founded by a young Irish witch.

Isolt Sayre was born around 1603 and spent her earliest childhood in the valley of Coomloughra, County Kerry, in Ireland. She was the offspring of two pure-blood wizarding families.

But just how did the young Isolt Sayre arrive in America?

Scared of Gormlaith’s retribution and her prodigious tracking powers, Isolt moved first to England, but before long Gormlaith was on her tail. Determined to hide in such a way that her adoptive mother would never find her, Isolt cut off her hair. Masquerading as a Muggle boy called Elias Story, she set sail for the New World on the Mayflower in 1620.

Isolt arrived in America among the earliest Muggle settlers (Muggles are known as ‘No-Majs’ in the American wizarding community, from ‘No Magic’). On arrival she vanished into the surrounding mountains, leaving her erstwhile shipmates to suppose that ‘Elias Story’ had died of the harsh winter, like so many others. Isolt left the new colony partly because she remained afraid that Gormlaith would track her, even to a new continent, but also because her journey aboard the Mayflower had led her to deduce that a witch was unlikely to find many friends among the Puritans.

You can read the full history of the school here, which follows Ilvermorny’s growth from its humble beginnings to the school that it is today. A full-size version of the Ilvermorny school crest, featuring the four beasts of the Houses, can be seen below.

full Size Ilvermorny Crest

The names of the four school Houses were also announced. The four Houses are named after four magical creatures, which play a part in the history of the school and are as follows.

Horned Serpent – a ‘great horned river serpent with a jewel set into its forehead’
Pukwudgie – ‘a short, grey-faced, large-eared creature’
Thunderbird – a creature that ‘can create storms as it flies’
Wampus – ‘a magical, panther-like creature that is fast, strong and almost impossible to kill’

What distinguishes the Houses and sets them apart was also explained further, as were the details behind the Ilvermorny Sorting Ceremony.

It is sometimes said of the Ilvermorny [H]ouses that they represent the whole witch or wizard: the mind is represented by Horned Serpent; the body, Wampus; the heart, Pukwudgie and the soul, Thunderbird. Others say that Horned Serpent favours scholars, Wampus, warriors, Pukwudgie, healers and Thunderbird, adventurers.

The Sorting Ceremony is not the only major difference between Hogwarts and Ilvermorny (though in so many ways the schools resemble each other). Once students have been allocated a House they are led into a large hall where they select (or are selected by) a wand. Until the 1965 repeal of Rappaport’s Law, which enforced very strict conformity with the Statute of Secrecy, no child was allowed a wand until they arrived at Ilvermorny. Moreover, wands had to be left at Ilvermorny during vacations, and only upon attaining seventeen years of age was the witch or wizard legally allowed to carry a wand outside school.

And what do Ilvermorny students wear?

The robes of Ilvermorny are blue and cranberry. The colours honour Isolt and James: blue because it was Isolt’s favourite colour and because she had wished to be in Ravenclaw house as a child; cranberry in honour of James’s love of cranberry pie. All Ilvermorny students’ robes are fastened by a gold Gordian Knot, in memory of the brooch Isolt found in the ruins of the original Ilvermorny cottage.

Which House are you in? Find out now on Pottermore in the brand new Sorting quiz!

What do you think of the new Ilvermorny history and the names of the four Houses? Have you been Sorted yet? Let us know in the comments!