From Greylock to Godric’s: The Family Cycle
While it is the Sorting and Houses that have people talking the most when it comes to the latest information about Ilvermorny, there is so much more in the content that J.K. Rowling and Pottermore have released about the origins of the North American wizarding school. Rowling, being the genius that she is, has once again made countless connections between her work, making everything come full circle.
Families tend to operate within a certain pattern or cycle, with children copying what they’ve learned from their parents. J.K. Rowling has illustrated this tendency beautifully in the parallel stories of Gormlaith Gaunt and her descendent, Voldemort. In the story of Ilvermorny, Gormlaith arrives on Mount Greylock to murder her niece and Muggle husband and take their children in an effort to maintain blood purity in the Gaunt line. This whole scene is like déjà vu. Didn’t we see Voldemort, a descendent of the Gaunt line, commit a similar act centuries later? Voldemort also visits a house in the middle of the night with the intent to kill in order to maintain a certain purity to the wizarding race. His whole regime was about developing a superior race. Therefore, successfully murdering Harry would have ensured his survival and accomplished his goals.
The moment that was eerily similar to me, while reading the Ilvermorny story, came when Gormlaith gains entry into the bedroom “where James stood ready to die in front of the cribs of his daughters.” James. Lily. This is all sounding very familiar now. The ironically (if I know JKR, it’s not a coincidence) named James was ready to lay down his life for his two children, just as Lily would later do for Harry. Lily wasn’t the first to block her child’s crib against the rage of a Gaunt, and she also wasn’t the first to thwart evil with a deeper kind of magic.
In the heat of Gormlaith’s attack on the house, Isolt and James awoke only to the sound of their screaming daughters.
It was this that pierced the enchantment lying over Isolt and James. Rage and magic could not wake them, but the terrified screams of their daughters broke the curse Gormlaith had laid upon them, which, like Gormlaith herself, took no account of the power of love.
Just like Voldemort, it was the underestimation of the power of love that led to Gormlaith’s defeat.
We have all learned by now that nothing Jo does is by accident, so it is clear that she intentionally painted this parallel picture. It’s a beautiful connection between the wizarding world we grew up knowing and the one that has been newly introduced but because of these familiar details, feels like an old friend.