J.K. Rowling Tries Her Best at American History in a New Pottermore Story Ahead of ‘Fantastic Beasts’
Much of the appeal of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter website Pottermore lies in the extra bits the site dishes out from time to time, often from Rowling herself, as she expands on the Wizarding World’s universe. To prepare us all for the imminent Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, she’s published a few short histories of magic in America, where the film takes place. Today, she came out with another about the formation of MACUSA, the governing body of magic in the U.S., and how it fits in with American history as we know it.
The story is titled “The Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA),” and apart from some real head-scratchers like “President Jackson’s immediate priority was to recruit and train Aurors,” it’s an interesting read. Apparently the formation of MACUSA took some time, as American wizards had to constantly move around to avoid detection by the No-Majs (Muggles). There’s always been a stark dichotomy in the Potter universe between those who possess magic and those who don’t, and it looks like this will come into play in a big way in Fantastic Beasts, more so than it has in any other Potter movie.
A large part of the story is taken up by explaining what happened with the wizards during the Revolutionary War. As it turns out, hardly any were involved on either side, as MACUSA and the British Ministry of Magic both agreed not to fight so as to not reveal their magic to Muggles. Also, Harry Potter himself is distantly related to one of America’s first Aurors.
The history only goes up to the 1920s, which is when Fantastic Beasts takes place. The law “segregating” (Rowling is no doubt aware how loaded that word is in our country) wizards from No-Majs is still in place, and the penalty for serious magical crimes, unlike in other nations, is death. Eddie Redmayne has better be careful.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens November 18.