Isolt Sayre: The Wizarding World’s Favorite Irish American
Irish-American Heritage Month is currently underway, and the Irish Quidditch team’s leprechaun mascots are dancing in celebration. History shows that countless Americans have Irish ancestors and heritage, and what’s to say that that doesn’t also apply to some of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them characters? In perfect wizarding style, we’ve spent the month celebrating by donning our Slytherin-green robes and enjoying some of Hagrid’s festively made SHAMrock cakes. At the heart of the month, though, we should take a few moments to appreciate a witch who blended her past and present heritages in creating Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry: Isolt Sayre. So here are a few reasons why Ms. Sayre is our favorite Irish American…
1. She was a perfect blend of all four Hogwarts Houses.
Considering Isolt unfortunately never got to attend Hogwarts due to her aunt Gormlaith’s unyielding wrath, she still became quite the Hatstall. As we see in her journey to founding Ilvermorny, Isolt Sayre possesses qualities of all four Hogwarts Houses. We see the Gryffindor bravery running throughout her childhood and of course in her brave fleeing of Ireland on the Mayflower. Her Slytherin shows in both her cunning to take on the fake name of Elias Story while on the Mayflower and her ambition to establish the new wizarding school. Her Hufflepuff qualities glow gold beyond all others in moments of kindness, such as caring for and later adopting Chadwick and Webster Boot, suggesting loyalty to those she values. And of course, we know from the Ilvermorny story that Isolt desired to be Sorted into Ravenclaw, with such wisdom showing in how she was the founder of Horned Serpent House – the Ilvermorny House favoring scholars.
2. She challenged wizarding convention.
Isolt entered a harsh world in which she couldn’t express her magical talent while under the thumb of Gormlaith, but she escaped to an equally difficult world upon arriving in the United States. The British, and presumably Irish, wizarding systems seem more forgiving and accepting than perhaps that of America. This was particularly notable in MACUSA’s regulations and laws in Fantastic Beasts on wizarding behavior. From her first years in America, Isolt challenged American wizarding convention by marrying James Steward – a No-Maj. By doing this, she actively rebelled against MACUSA’s laws and the status quo by following her heart above anything else.
3. She brought peace to Slytherin.
The founder of Slytherin certainly stirred controversy in his own time during the founders’ era. However, we can hope that Isolt somewhat brought peace to Salazar Slytherin in her innate goodness while using his severe, forceful wand. In many respects, the wand does gain peace and end its destructive line in the Gaunts when Isolt plants it in the grounds of Ilvermorny. The wand eventually grew into a long-standing tree at the school, further symbolizing peace. Not only is Isolt ending the power of a notoriously evil wand, but in bringing peace to the wand, she is also establishing a strong sense of House unity that appears to be still in existence today.
4. She founded Ilvermorny.
Though it may be obvious, we cannot create a list explaining why Isolt is our favorite Irish American without highlighting her claim to fame. Of course, Hogwarts always has a dear place in our hearts, but Isolt founded our second favorite wizarding school! (I’m British and am therefore obligated to say that Hogwarts is the best. It’s in the Ministry of Magic’s contract.) Without Ilvermorny, we wouldn’t have had the incredible Sorting quiz that helped add another magical layer to our personalities in the form of either Horned Serpent, Thunderbird, Wampus, or Pukwudgie. Without Ilvermorny, Fantastic Beasts characters such as Queenie and Tina Goldstein wouldn’t have become the amazing witches we’ve grown to love since November. And last but not least, without Ilvermorny, we wouldn’t have had the privilege of learning a wonderful new story…
With a list of achievements like this, and such an incredible life, how could Isolt not be the best Irish American in the wizarding world?