As we march towards spin-off movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the world of Harry Potter keeps growing. New magical communities, new slang – and now JK Rowling has unveiled the biggest addition yet in four new wizarding schools to rival Hogwarts in the sorcery league tables.
Sitting alongside the northern European Durmstrang and the French Beauxbatons (both introduced in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), the newly-announced foreign institutes include schools in Brazil, America, Japan and Africa, with four more apparently planned to be revealed in the future (the descriptions on website Pottermore frequently refer to eleven major magical schools).
So, what do we know about the four new centres of magical excellence?
The new Brazilian school is called Castelobruxo (pronounced Cass-tell-o-broo-shoo), and is hidden in the rainforest disguised as a ruined temple.
In actuality the school is an impressively huge square edifice of golden rock, watched over by mischievous furred spirits called Caipora.
The school specialises in Herbology and Magizoology, the student body wear green robes, and the institution runs a popular exchange programme for European students that Bill Weasley was apparently supposed to go on but couldn’t afford.
The Japanese school is called Mahoutokoro (pronounced Mah-hoot-o-koh-ro), and takes the fewest students of all eleven wizarding schools (though pupils are accepted from the younger age of seven). It can be found on the volcanic island of Minami Iwo Jima, and is styled as a magnificent palace made from “mutton-fat” jade.
Students at Mahoutokoro are given size and colour-changing robes that reflect their academic progress through the school; those who practice Dark Magic or break the International Statute of Secrecy find their robes turn white before being cast out of the school.
The school is also known as a training ground for the best Quidditch teams in the world, due to the turbulent seas they can practice over there.
African school Uagadou (pronounced Wag-a-doo) is the largest of all wizarding schools, and has been in operation for over a thousand years. Its exact location is unknown, though according to visitors the building is carved out of the mountainside and surrounded by mist to give the impression that it is floating. Its only known address is, appropriately, Mountains of the Moon.
According to its Pottermore article, Uagadou students benefit from Africa’s long association with magic (apparently most if not all of it originated there), with witches and wizards often eschewing wands to practice spells with mere hand gestures.
Uagadou pupils are also particularly skilled in Astronomy, Alchemy and Self-Transfiguration, often to the dismay of older and more experienced witches and wizards from other parts of the world.
Finally, the American school is called Ilvermorny (Ill-ver-morn-ee), and currently has no additional information. Presumably, we’ll be finding out plenty more about US magic in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them…