Why We Need to See Ilvermorny in “Fantastic Beasts”
As the month of August draws to a close and we are once again reminded of Harry’s Hogwarts journeys on September 1, my mind is not only drawn to the bespectacled boy we are familiar with but also his American counterparts. What are things like at Ilvermorny School? Others who watched the latest film may have been preoccupied with Grindelwald or even the various romances on screen, but I was personally hoping that we would finally get to see the great American magic institution. I remember reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire with my mother when I was a little girl. As she read aloud to me the section about Durmstrang and Beauxbatons, I was confused. How could wizards be anything but British? The memory is faded now, but I vaguely remember wondering if there were any American witches or wizards, like me.
Well, in 2016, J.K. Rowling gave me my answer. There were American wizards, and they were brilliant. They gave me a sense of representation that I never realized I craved. Throughout Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I found myself internally saying, “Ooh, look at that! That’s our Ministry of Magic!” “Oh, how cute! We don’t call them Muggles!” The list goes on and on. When J.K. Rowling published her story on Ilvermorny, I was immediately intrigued, certain that we needed to see Ilvermorny within the Fantastic Beasts franchise. We already know we’re going to Brazil in the next film, which leaves the door wide open for the Brazilian wizarding school, Castelobruxo. I mean, we already have a taste of Beauxbatons thanks to the fourth book, which is probably why they didn’t bother going over it in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, but why would Rowling let loose all of the ghost plots about schools if we weren’t going to explore them?
Hogwarts is the home of every main character in the franchise, the place where we see them all grow up. Tina and Queenie have become quintessential parts of the franchise, so it is only natural that we should see where they grew up as well. Who taught them? Which teachers had a major impact on them? How did it form who they are today?
Harry’s parents died, like the Goldstiens’ parents, making Hogwarts and Ilvermorny Harry’s and the sisters’ primary place of enrichment and growth. The parallels between him and the Goldstein sisters could definitely be drawn upon, and seeing Ilvermorny would be an excellent way to develop our new heroines while giving us a taste of American magic. I would love to see how the architecture differs from Hogwarts, how the classes are structured, and most of all, Newt’s precious face as he sees where the woman he loves grew up.
I would also love to see more information about the Ilvermorny Houses and how they relate to the students. We are not given very much information on Pottermore other than an almost careerist categorizing: adventurer, healer, warrior, scholar. Maybe the American school is less stringent with the House attributes, which would probably fit in with the American stereotype of freedom, but still, I would enjoy knowing more about all of the Houses and what makes each one unique. We already know that Ilvermorny students are chosen by the Houses (at times multiple), and if that happens, a student may choose. But what are the mottos and atmospheres of each House?
Speaking of how Tina and Queenie grew up, what about clothing? They would have grown up in the turn of the century. Would we see some of those influences? Pottermore describes Ilvermorny dress as such:
The robes of Ilvermorny are blue and cranberry… All Ilvermorny students’ robes are fastened by a gold Gordian Knot…
Think of all the merchandise that could be made with all of our American Houses. I made the Thunderbird shirt shown below using the House emblem and a T-shirt website, Custom Ink. If I can come up with something like this, I’m sure Warner Bros. can do so much better. I don’t know about anybody else, but I would want to wear a T-shirt that says “Thunderbird” or “Pukwudgie.” Plus, Celtic influence in the clothing, thanks to Isolt Sayre’s Irish heritage, would be brilliant.
I would also love to learn the differences between the American and British education programs, such as children leaving their wands at school. Do they have different classes? Do they have different laws regarding underage magic? Do they have their own Dark wizards, like Grindelwald or Tom Riddle? Do they have any ideologies like how some English wizards condone a pure-blood philosophy?
There is just so much about Ilvermorny to be discovered, and with the information about the other wizarding schools unveiled – as well as the fact that the next Fantastic Beasts film is going to take place in Brazil where Castelobruxo is – I’m hoping we get to see more of the wizarding world around the globe, including the schools of witchcraft and wizardry. Do you have questions you would like answered about wizarding schools? Let us know in the comments!