J.K. Rowling's Second "Magic In America" Installment Covers The Salem Witch Trials And A Magical Congress

Time to re-write those history books once again: the second new "Magic in America" story is on Pottermore now. This time, it tells the story of European immigrants (both magical and non-magical) settling in a harsh New World. At first ruled by a corrupt magical taskforce, the wizarding world eventually fought back and established a Magical Congress — a good century before the No-Maj version.

Because we've all watched the Fantastic Beasts trailer a thousand times already, and read everything there is to read on the subject, we all already know that wizards in the States are more oppressed by the No-Majs than in other continents. (In the U.K., wizards are pretty much in control — even if the Muggles don't know it.) This latest Pottermore story explains why, and introduces a new terrifying enemy: Scourers. The Scourers, under the guise of law enforcement, hunted down and tortured any wizard (or No-Maj) that might be worth gold. They were behind the tragedy of the Salem Witch Trials; that's the kind of evil we're dealing with here. They were eventually cast out of the wizarding community — but their descendants, who now have a deep-rooted hatred of magic, live on today. Get memorizing, because I have a feeling some of this history may just crop up in Fantastic Beasts...

One of the aspects of the Harry Potter series that so captured people's hearts from the beginning is the way J.K. Rowling hid the wizarding world in plain sight; rather than creating a new world from scratch, Rowling imagined up a world that could exist alongside ours. This can be rather wonderful (it allows us mere Muggles to believe we may really be living alongside the wizarding world), but it also needs to be treated very sensitively. When the first "Magic in America" story dropped, not everybody was happy with the way Rowling had treated the oft-misappropriated Native American culture. In this second installment, some may feel she has skimmed over the rather brutal treatment of Native Americans by European settlers.

I hope J.K. Rowling continues to tread carefully over the next few installments, because this magical history is fascinating so far...