“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!