If you spent years of your childhood and early adolescence hoping for that coveted acceptance letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I feel your pain. Students at the famed school may have had to deal with unusual and often scary problems — from cursed diaries to a troll wandering the halls — but I still wanted in on the action. The place was literally and figuratively magical. Yet special as it is, Hogwarts is far from the only wizarding school in the world. Harry Potter series author J.K. Rowling has revealed new information about rival institutions on Pottermore, introducing fans to three new ones and providing more information about the previously confirmed American school.
Rowling's Pottermore post about wizarding schools describes magical education around the globe. It turns out that major schools are rare, and just 11 are registered with the International Confederation of Wizards. Each is "long-established and prestigious," but home schooling is also common for young witches and wizards. Other alternatives include smaller, less-well regulated institutions that crop up (and are "difficult to keep track of") and even correspondence courses.
As we learned in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, wizarding schools take their secrecy seriously. Rowling expands on why on Pottermore, explaining that the schools have dealt with wizard wars, Muggle persecution, and problems from within and outside their communities. As such, you'll find many of these schools "situated in landlocked, mountainous areas" — places that Muggles can't get to easily and that can be better defended against any threats.
Fans did, however, get the chance to see a map of where the schools that have been revealed so far are located. Thanks to Rowling and Pottermore, we now know the rough locations of seven of the 11 schools: In addition to the ones we saw in the Harry Potter books (Hogwarts in the United Kingdom, Beauxbatons in France, and Durmstrang in Northern Europe), there are Castelobruxo in Brazil, Mahoutokoro in Japan, Uagado in Africa, and Ilvermorny in the United States.
Below is a rundown of the details revealed about the three newly introduced schools, plus additional information on the American school, now that we finally have a name.
Castelobruxo is the Brazilian school for magic, and it's suspected to be hidden in the rainforest. Muggles who stumble across it merely see a ruin. As another security precaution, the building and grounds are guarded by the Caipora, which are described as "small and furry spirit-beings who are extraordinarily mischievous and tricky." Apparently, they'd give Peeves the poltergeist a run for his money.
Students from all over South America are accepted to the school, and they wear bright green robes. They're especially skilled in Herbology and Magizoology, so European students sometimes go on exchange to Castelobruxo. Fun fact: Bill Weasley's penfriend (of the cursed hat that caused his ears to shrivel) attended the Brazilian school.
Mahoutokoro is an ancient Japanese school that is located on the highest point of the island of Minami Iwo Jima. The institution is known for its extraordinary academics and "grueling" Quidditch training. Interestingly, the school has some day students; witches and wizards start at 7 years old and are transported to and from school each day via a flock of giant storm petrels. They start as boarders at age 11, like at Hogwarts.
Attendees are given enchanted robes that grow with the wearer and even change color based on their learning. Instead of getting a gold star when they do well, Mahoutokoro students end up with gold robes, which is pretty awesome. If their robes turn white, however, it means they've broken Japanese wizard's code, which will get them expelled immediately.
Uagadou is the largest of all wizarding schools, drawing students from around the continent. With an address of "Mountains of the Moon," the institution is said to be carved out of a mountainside. Students excel in Astronomy, Alchemy, and Self-Transfiguration.
Even more interesting is the fact that they don't need wands. It turns out that the wand was invented in Europe, so although it has since spread to Africa, witches and wizards there have learned to cast spells using hand gestures and pointing a finger. Handy, right?
Ilvermorny is the name of the American school, some of whose alumni we previously learned will be characters in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Unfortunately, we don't know much about the place yet, but Pottermore promises that more is "Coming soon..."
With Rowling having revealed information about seven of the 11 schools, we're still curious about the remaining four. We did get a hint, however, on where one might be. The author responded to a fan on Twitter who wanted to know where Australian wizards go, saying that information is still to come. Perhaps there's another institution in the Land Down Under?
All that's left to do now is speculate, but at least we know that we'll find out at some point.
Images: Warner Bros.; Giphy