Earlier this week, J.K. Rowling dropped a couple major hints about a mysterious bit of wizarding world trivia: the location of Hogwarts' American cousin.
In the upcoming "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" movie, based on Rowling's Harry Potter spinoff novel of the same name, our main character Newt Scamander will meet witches and wizards educated at the American school of witchcraft and wizardry.
The school has been hinted at before, but never revealed in detail. Now we know that it's somehow related to "indigenous magic" in Native American culture, and its name has an "immigrant origin." Oh, and it's not in New York. Seeing as Native Americans have lived throughout enormous swaths of this country, as have immigrant populations, that leaves us with a lot of possibilities.
So now we have to wonder: where is American Hogwarts? Here are some guesses.
Graphic by Priscilla Frank
You think Indiana doesn't have much going for it, but you'd be wrong. Its complete dullness makes it a fairly undesirable home for muggles, and thus a potentially desirable place to stick a wizarding school. But against its tormentingly bland landscape speckled with -- Who knows? Barns? Stray cattle? -- an American Hogwarts would stick out like a sore Hippogriff. With that in mind, here's our guess: an underground school for little American witches and wizards. Flashes of escaped magic would be easily written off as belonging to just another meth lab.
Besides the fact that New England is where some of the first immigrants settled in the United States, it seems closest geographically and culturally to the U.K. In that uptight, sweater-weather kind of way, you know? It seems young witches and wizards would be fairly comfortable calling New England home for seven years. Also, the Daily Prophet published Boston's weather -- suggesting there was a reason for its readers to be invested in the temperature of that U.S. city. The Salem witch trials would probably have been an extra stressful time to study magic at a New England Hogwarts equivalent, though.
Is magic real? Ask Penn and Teller. Ask Siegfried and Roy. Wizarding folk would barely have to conceal themselves in Vegas! Imagine how freeing that'd be for young kids just getting the hang of their wands. They're not magic tricks, you see, they're illusions. Speaking of, how easy would it be to just plant a giant castle in the middle of the desert? Oh, you see that big thing over there? Nah, can't be real. Just the direct sunlight and a post-all-night-blackjack stupor playing tricks on your eyes. Silly muggles.
Deep in the bayou is the kind of delightfully creepy place where we can totally see an American Hogwarts taking root. It's already got a mythical history of dark magic in the shape of voodoo dolls and palm reading -- Professor Trelawney would be so at home here. But most importantly, think of the Great Hall filling up with spicy gumbos, fried seafoods and never-ending plates of beignets. Freshman 15 would be the real deal at Bayou Hogwarts. Worth. It.
Olympic National Park
How lovely would a castle be in the lush forests of the Pacific Northwest? We could easily see an American wizarding school crop up in the romantic land of sparkly vampires and hot-tempered werewolves. American Hogwarts is a much cooler piece of fantasy to associate with Olympic National Park than that "and so the lion fell in love with the lamb" spiel.
Remember know how actual Hogwarts has all those enchantments that makes it practically invisible to muggles? They get too close walking through the forest and suddenly feel very strongly compelled to turn around. Or somehow, muggles are "quite unconscious" of the Leaky Cauldron's existence, with Diagon Alley hiding in plain sight. Such could be the case of American Hogwarts, if it were actually just a Miami resort hotel that no muggles ever felt compelled to check into. Muggles can be shockingly unobservant.
It's almost too perfect, the idea that Area 51 is actually just a school for American wizards to hone their magical abilities. No aliens, just wingardium leviosa. But maybe.
After all this theorizing, all we can think is: sadly, it's still too late for most of us to get our letters.
Correction: This article has been amended so as not to suggest that New England was the very, very first place European immigrants settled.
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