SparkNotes Blog

POTTERMORE UPDATE: J.K. Rowling Tells Us Why American Wizards Don’t Play Nice with Muggles

Catch up on the last two updates right here!

Today, J.K. Rowling’s third piece in her “History of Magic in North America” series gave us the meat and potatoes of what we’re going to be dealing with in Fantastic Beasts, and it involves lots of anti-magic sentiment in the U.S.


The Mah-cooz-ah hated the No-Maj. MACUSA (the Magical Congress of the Untied States of America, established in 1693 because wizards invented the U.S. and didn’t tell the Founding Fathers) became increasingly wary of non-magic folk.

This was because the daughter of the wizarding equivalent of the Secretary of the Treasury had a thing with a Scourer descendent. You’ll remember that Scourers were like wizarding bounty hunters who became traitors to their brethren and starting turning over wizards to the No-Maj authorities for some sweet, sweet cash. They were also big on torture. Eventually they were punished and disbanded, but they managed to instill in their No-Maj descendants a hardcore belief in (and hatred of) magic. You know how Mr. Crocker hated fairies in Fairly Oddparents but could never prove their existence? I imagine it was more or less EXACTLY LIKE THAT.

Anyway. Dorcus Twelvetrees, who sounds like a character out of The Hobbit, basically word-vomited all the secrets of the wizarding world at her Scourer boyfriend, Bartholomew Barebone. And Bartholomew ran with it. He stole her wand, made pamphlets, and eventually got himself arrested by the No-Maj authorities for acting like a complete maniac.

The MACUSA had to make sure everyone who got wind of the scandal had their memory Obliviated. Which sounds like a lot of work, and I’m tired just thinking about it.

Thus the president at the time, Emily Rappaport, forbade wizards and Muggles (I can’t do No-Maj, I just can’t) from interacting. In the Potterverse we’re familiar with, both groups kind of tolerated each other as much as they had to. (The Dursleys, the other Minister, etc.) In America, you couldn’t marry or befriend a Muggle. How does this work, considering yesterday we learned that America is the land of the (sort of) free and home of the Muggleborns? What’s even the equivalent of an American Muggleborn? No-Majborn? I think I hate that.

One last note: the “Dragot” is the name for the American wizarding currency. We were one letter away from using dragons as currency. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m disappointed.

Tomorrow is the last day we’ll be getting info on wizards in America, and it’s going to involve wandmakers in the 1920s. Was Ollivander alive during the Jazz Age? He’s super old, right? Did he pop on over? I hope so. I hope he was in New York City saying things like “The wand chooses the wizard, old sport” and “This dragon heartstring one is the cat’s meow.” We can only hope.

UGH, we could have had dragon dollars?! FAIL, JK ROWLING. HUGE FAIL. Are you loving all this new info about wizarding worlds/culture?