What every “Harry Potter” fan needs to know about J.K. Rowling’s new story

For some magical reason, J.K. Rowling has chosen this week, the second week of March, to start dropping all sorts of nuggets about wizards in North America. And, we’re complaining one bit — it just makes the wait for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them that much harder!


Today’s history lesson, via Pottermore,  takes us all the way back to pre-Christopher Columbus times in this New World, or as Rowling points out, “European explorers called it ‘the New World’ when they first reached the continent, [but] wizards had known about America long before Muggles.” Because of course they did, via travel by brooms, Apparition, visions, and premonitions. The New World might have been new for Muggles — sorry, NoMajs — but not for the Wizarding community.

The biggest difference between these Native American Wizards and the rest of the Wizarding World lies with the wand. Wands are an Eurpoean thing, not used by early Native American Wizards. But, wandless magic is “generally held to be a mark of the very greatest witches… [when] they have been able to produce wandless magic of a very high quality.” Fun fact, wands are used to channel precise magic, so the ability to do magic without one is something to brag about.

And just like we learned throughout the story of Harry Potter, not all wizards are necessarily “good.” Both wizards and nomaj alike feared something, or someone, called a “skin-walker.” According to wizard legend, a skin-walker is “an evil witch or wizard that can transform into an animal at will.” But like, that’s just an Animagi, right? Yes, and no. Rowling explains that Animagi often did transfigure “to escape persecution or to hunt for the tribe.”

Now that these skin-walkers have been brought up, defined, and discussed, it makes it seem like this legend is going to come back in a BIG way when Newt Scamander arrives in New York City. Is it November yet?

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