Harry Potter author unveils details of schools for young magicians to rival Hogwarts – in Brazil, Japan, Uganda and the US
JK Rowling has revealed details about four magical schools to rival Hogwarts, from the Japanese Mahoutokoro, to which children travel “on the backs of a flock of giant storm petrels”, to the Brazilian Castelobruxo, hidden deep within the rainforest and protected by the Caipora, “small and furry spirit-beings who are extraordinarily mischievous and tricky”.
On her website Pottermore over the weekend, as part of a “celebration of Harry Potter” at the Universal Orlando resort, Rowling treated fans to an insight into school life at three international magical schools.
Uagadou in Uganda, for which “the only address ever given is ‘Mountains of the Moon’”, is “a stunning edifice carved out of the mountainside and shrouded in mist, so that it sometimes appears simply to float in mid-air”, revealed the Harry Potter author. Its students are particularly strong in astronomy, alchemy and self-transfiguration. “Much (some would say all) magic originated in Africa,” writes Rowling – and many cast their spells by pointing their fingers or with hand gestures, the wand being a European invention. “This gives Uagadou students a sturdy line of defence when accused of breaking the International Statute of Secrecy (‘I was only waving, I never meant his chin to fall off’).”
At Japan’s Mahoutokoro, which is “made of mutton-fat jade, and stands on the topmost point of the ‘uninhabited’ (or so Muggles think) volcanic island of Minami-Iwō-jima”, pupils receive enchanted robes when they first arrive, at the age of seven, wrote Rowling. The robes grow as their wearer does, and change colour as the wearer’s magical knowledge grows, starting out “a faint pink colour” and eventually turning gold, “if top grades are achieved”. But if the robes turn white, revealed the novelist, “this is an indication that the student has betrayed the Japanese wizard’s code and adopted illegal practices (which in Europe we call ‘Dark’ magic)”.
At Castelobruxo in Brazil, meanwhile, “an imposing square edifice of golden rock, often compared to a temple”, students “wear bright green robes and are especially advanced in both Herbology and Magizoology”.
There are 11 great wizarding schools in total, also providing the name of a fourth new location: North American magical school Ilvermorny. Rowling has already alluded to a school in the US on Twitter, mentioning that Newt Scamander, played by Eddie Redmayne in the forthcoming Harry Potter spinoff film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, was “going to meet people who were educated at” the school, that it was not in New York and that the school would have relevance to Native American Indian culture.
Set in New York 70 years before the Harry Potter stories, the screenplay for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is written by Rowling herself. Due out in November, the film will tell the story of the magizoologist Newt Scamander, author of the textbook studied by Harry and his friends at Hogwarts.
This article was written by Alison Flood, for theguardian.com on Monday 1st February 2016 12.06 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010