Some important (and some not so important) things we learned from JK Rowling’s new Harry Potter story

From the link between skin-walkers and Animagi to wandless magic, here's what we learned from our first magical history lesson

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Never you mind Christopher Columbs and Amerigo Vespucci – they were SO behind the times when it came to discovering the New World.

“Various modes of magical travel – brooms and Apparition among them – not to mention visions and premonitions, meant that even far-flung wizarding communities were in contact with each other from the Middle Ages onwards”, Rowling writes, revealing that the North American and European wizarding communities were aware of each other as far back as the Middle Ages.

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“The legend of the Native American ‘skin walker’ – an evil witch or wizard that can transform into an animal at will – has its basis in fact,” Rowling explains.

“A legend grew up around the Native American Animagi, that they had sacrificed close family members to gain their powers of transformation. In fact, the majority of Animagi assumed animal forms to escape persecution or to hunt for the tribe.”

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And of course, misguided Muggles – or “No-Maj” as the North Americans call them – were to blame. No good No-Maj medicine men were often faking it when it came to their magical powers, and started rumours to cover their tracks.

Rowling writes that the “Native American wizarding community was particularly gifted in animal and plant magic”.

And they were a million times better when it came to potions too, with their magical draughts “being of a sophistication beyond much that was known in Europe.”

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What would Severus Snape say, eh?

Their lack of wands was the “most glaring difference between magic practised by Native Americans and the wizards of Europe”, Rowling explains.

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So if you can do magic without a wand you’re generally thought to be one of the very greatest witches and wizards.

It had better be VERY high quality wandless magic, though.

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Who knew?

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Just ask Hermione Granger.

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But don’t just take our word for it – read the full piece on Pottermore.com

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Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them opens in UK cinemas on November 23rd