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Potterverse Worldbuilding
January 30, 2014 2:32 PM   Subscribe

The extended setting of the Harry Potter series is fertile soil for fans interested in worldbuilding, especially since the release of Pottermore (previously), a companion site to the books that includes back-story and adjunt information direct from J.K. Rowling. Some of these worldbuilding projects include explorations on wizarding fashion, magical education (including other magical schools), fantastic beasts (and perhaps where to find them), Muslims at Hogwarts, and the next generation of Hogwarts students.

Also previously: Lives and Lies of Wizards.
posted by divabat (116 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite

 
The lives and lies of wizards is always a welcome surprise on my dashboard.
posted by The Whelk at 2:36 PM on January 30 [2 favorites]


I always figured that Harry would eventually become the Professor of Defense Against The Dark Arts, but apparently Rowling had something else in mind.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:47 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]


Muslims at Hogwarts is one of my favourite Harry Potter headcanons. The intersection of the vast potential of the extended HP universe* and the increasing awareness about social justice and representation among all fandoms has been super interesting and exciting to watch.

*I have a pet theory that the richest fandoms spring up from worlds that are loosely sketched and imperfectly imagined. Fandom is all about what-ifs, what happens between the lines and in the negative space of the story, and it's no fun trying to tease out the handful of nuances in media and literature that have extensive lore and documentation. Rowling's world has proven itself a particularly fertile ground for fanwork in that there is a larger social and economic structure to play with and a very extended cast (and caste) of characters, but the youth and ignorance of our canonical protagonist means we see only a small portion of it through his eyes, so we are free to fill in the gaps ourselves. And the things that people come up with are a delight to see.
posted by Phire at 2:56 PM on January 30 [13 favorites]


I have a pet theory that the richest fandoms spring up from worlds that are loosely sketched and imperfectly imagined.

Oh I agree, I've often thought that - the more room there is to explain, fix or expand the world the more people will do that. potter dumps a bunch of tantalizing world building Legos and then just wanders away to make a cup of tea while you go play with them.
posted by The Whelk at 3:03 PM on January 30 [4 favorites]


Muslims at Hogwarts was great.

I always figured that Harry would eventually become the Professor of Defense Against The Dark Arts.

A position in which he would spend a year as a highly well-regarded instructor before tragically passing away after falling out of his boat on the Great Lake.
posted by Itaxpica at 3:04 PM on January 30 [3 favorites]


(what what Hufflepuffs in the house say hep hep but not too loud people are sleeping in the other room, let's not go crazy)
posted by The Whelk at 3:06 PM on January 30 [12 favorites]


Speaking of instructors, do professors in the Potterverse do any research at all? Does McGonagall spend hours on end waving her wand around and saying slight variations on the same Latin phrases, recording the results? When a new Potions professor discovers an amazing new potion, does she publish the results all at once or break it in to a bunch of smaller papers about the magical properties of each particular ingredient so it looks better when she goes up for tenure?
posted by Itaxpica at 3:07 PM on January 30 [14 favorites]


Itaxpica: The question then is what are the incentives for magical research? Do lecturers qualify for research funding programmes? Is Hogwarts subject to the REF?

I know little of the Potterverse, but it would be unusual for instructors at a secondary school to do pure research in a UK school, and there would typically be 6-7 years of research to be qualified to do research, never mind to access your own funding. Is magical research hundreds of years behind the sciences?
posted by biffa at 3:16 PM on January 30


There should be some kind of Magical Graduate Studies, maybe located at some anicent and noble city like York, there young adult wizards share a two bedroom flat and stress out over research and peer review.
posted by The Whelk at 3:19 PM on January 30 [3 favorites]


"Ron was never quite the same after his post-grad at Miskatonic..."
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:22 PM on January 30 [18 favorites]


I know little of the Potterverse, but it would be unusual for instructors at a secondary school to do pure research in a UK school

It is made clear that the absolute top witches and wizards teach at Hogwarts and that further study is sort of an on-the-job training type.
posted by jeather at 3:23 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]


Biffa: I hadn't thought of the "Hogwarts is a secondary school" bit. I'm coming from a US-centric view where the title "Professor" implies research duties in addition to teaching, as opposed to "Instructor" (though this isn't always the case, obviously).
posted by Itaxpica at 3:23 PM on January 30


There's no canonical magical university system IIRC, but plenty of fans have decided that's ridiculous and either invented one, assumed there are institutes of higher magical learning in Europe or elsewhere, or assumed that Oxford and Cambridge have secret magic colleges. In canon, it seems like most magical careers that would require additional education just have apprenticeships or training programs (i.e. Healers, Aurors, etc.). Plus, it seems like most magical research is either done in the Ministry (like the Department of Mysteries), at Hogwarts as a professor, or on an independent basis.
posted by yasaman at 3:35 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]


My favorite HP headcanon is the idea that Magnitude on Community is a Hogwarts transfer student.
posted by Strange Interlude at 3:38 PM on January 30 [15 favorites]


It's the American for profit magical schools you gotta watch out for.
posted by The Whelk at 3:41 PM on January 30 [10 favorites]


It is made clear that the absolute top witches and wizards teach at Hogwarts and that further study is sort of an on-the-job training type.

Well, sure, if you believe the brochure...
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:41 PM on January 30 [2 favorites]


Well, sure, if you believe the brochure...

No brochures, it has secret letters sent to you via owl. And would an owl lie?
posted by jeather at 3:44 PM on January 30


According to Rowling--I am told--there are eleven magical schools. Of the ones she's let us know of, one is in Scotland, one is in France, one is in Scandinavia, one is in Japan, and one is in Brazil, and there's that Salem one, too.

That's three schools in Europe, one in east Asia, one in South America, and one in North America, leaving five schools left for the rest of everywhere else.

I am not sure if this is ridic or not.

I am just mentioning this because this has been seriously bothering me. I mean, on one hand, they're wizards, so transportation isn't really a problem, probably. On the other hand, it still feels ridic.
posted by KChasm at 3:47 PM on January 30


Not even a word about the struggling (but strong!) Vincent Clortho Academy?
posted by Navelgazer at 3:51 PM on January 30 [7 favorites]


there are eleven magical schools

Anything to do with Rowling and populations/demographics can't be taken very seriously or you'll burst a blood vessel. Start with the number of students at Hogwarts, which should be about 280 based on what we see (10 students per house per year x 4 houses x 7 years) but is also quoted somewhere else as being something like 1200.

Just assume her math is wrong and fill in your own headcanon. It's what everybody else does.

Plus, it seems like most magical research is either done in the Ministry (like the Department of Mysteries), at Hogwarts as a professor, or on an independent basis.

I've always personally imagined research as done by 17th century independent scholars who pass letters around, except technically we know there are magical journals for that kind of thing (Challenges in Charming and Transfiguration Today, frex). No word on whether they're peer-reviewed.
posted by immlass at 3:52 PM on January 30 [3 favorites]


My personal headcanon with magical schools is that they're modelled after the United World Colleges, which has 12 branches around the world following the same curriculum (International Baccalaureate). So not the only schools ever, but part of a network that follows similar curricular guidelines.
posted by divabat at 3:55 PM on January 30 [2 favorites]


I would personally like to review how the Romanian school was affected by the collapse of Communist rule.
posted by parmanparman at 4:08 PM on January 30 [4 favorites]


On that note, my brother always wondered what happened when the United States won independence from the United Kingdom.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:11 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]


The Salem institute survives out of sheer stubbornness despite the witch trials in the past, but lingering paranoia makes the US magical world more personal, less connected and insitutualized, more like home schooling than anywhere else.

On the other hand, this has allowed for the incorporation of many more magical schools and cultures into American magical teaching, particularly in the Midwest. Everyone knows the name of the great US weather-witch, Dorothea Gale after all.

/headcanon
posted by The Whelk at 4:15 PM on January 30 [13 favorites]


Isn't it implied (with Seamus Finnegan, etc.) that Irish kids are still going to Hogwarts? I think the Wizarding world could care less about the politics of the Muggle world in general, following more patrician and entho-geological borders which perhaps the Muggle world slowly effects over time.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:17 PM on January 30


Wizarding Schools of the US.

This version has Salem Witches Institute as a feminist school.
posted by divabat at 4:18 PM on January 30 [2 favorites]


That's three schools in Europe, one in east Asia, one in South America, and one in North America, leaving five schools left for the rest of everywhere else.

One in China, one in India, one in Africa, one in the Middle East or Central Asia, and one in Eastern Europe. Sounds about right.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:19 PM on January 30


I like the idea of a family of magical but ardent Irish Republicans who reject all the owls sent over and start thier own small school based on traditional teachings.
posted by The Whelk at 4:19 PM on January 30 [7 favorites]


( er meaning, Irish nationalists who support the republic not like US republicans who are Irish.)
posted by The Whelk at 4:19 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]


The Salem institute survives out of sheer stubbornness despite the witch trials in the past, but lingering paranoia makes the US magical world more personal, less connected and insitutualized, more like home schooling than anywhere else.

Given that we have two Harry Potter stores and three schools of witchcraft and/or wizardry here in Salem, my take out be the Salem school is the University of Phoenix of the wizarding world. "Get your degree by owl!" the ads say.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:19 PM on January 30 [7 favorites]


I would personally like to review how the Romanian school was affected by the collapse of Communist rule.
...
On that note, my brother always wondered what happened when the United States won independence from the United Kingdom.


You're assuming that those events affected the magical world instead of those events being caused by, say, wizards in America getting pissy about something UK wizards did.

In the potterverse, wasn't world war two sort of an accidental side-effect of the war between Dumbledore and Whatshisface the Evil Wizard Who Had Been His Friend?

I want to see the sequel where whoever the US equivalent of the Minister for Magic is reveals himself to Reagan or Dubya, who promptly go apeshit. Especially when they find out that sometimes the stupid wizards accidentally kill normal humans by the tens of millions. A war against wizards as menaces to humanity (pretty well deserved IMHO), a Manhattan Project taking them apart to find out how they do magic and weaponize it against them, etc etc. Sort of like Stross's Family Trade books but without all that happiness and sunshine.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:22 PM on January 30 [6 favorites]


An American wizard school based in Brooklyn that advertises on the wireless would be awesome.

Hey, youse wanna be a wizzid? Every spell ya learn goes inta ya mokeskin pouch and is youse to keep. We can't owl you, you gotta owl us.
posted by dr_dank at 4:24 PM on January 30 [5 favorites]


An American wizard school based in Brooklyn that advertises on the wireless would be awesome.

Hey, youse wanna be a wizzid? Every spell ya learn goes inta ya mokeskin pouch and is youse to keep. We can't owl you, you gotta owl us.


Just take the K Train from Atlantic Avenue...
posted by Navelgazer at 4:26 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]


I like the idea of a family of magical but ardent Irish Republicans who reject all the owls sent over and start thier own small school based on traditional teachings.

Headcanon accepted!
posted by immlass at 4:26 PM on January 30


There has to be more than one school in America. Not just because of geographic size, which presumably would be less of an issue for witches and wizards who can apparate, use floo powder, etc, but because there have got to be hugely different traditions of magic across the US. Salem probably covers the same stuff Hogwarts does. But there should be a school in New Orleans too that's like some combination of Beauxbatons and an African wizarding school. And there should be a wizarding school in San Francisco that's a blend of Chinese, European and Native American magical traditions. Oh and there should probably be a school in the Great Lakes area too.
posted by yasaman at 4:27 PM on January 30 [7 favorites]


Of course if you want a Harry Potter wizard school in the US you read The Magicians.
posted by The Whelk at 4:28 PM on January 30 [4 favorites]


yasaman, you'll want to check this comment.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:28 PM on January 30


Headcanons for wizarding worlds in South America, Malaysia, and the Caribbean.
posted by divabat at 4:31 PM on January 30


You're assuming that those events affected the magical world instead of those events being caused by, say, wizards in America getting pissy about something UK wizards did.

Obviously there is contact between both official "worlds" on a governmental level in London. If it's in the UK, it's officially royal land because underlying all property is consignment to government when required via compulsory purchase. Romania? I do not know. But I imagine that magical ability in children would have been something the Romanian secret police could be very adamant about. There are stories there.
posted by parmanparman at 4:31 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]


parmanparman: in one of the HP books we learn that the Minister for Magic and the Prime Minister are in contact.
posted by divabat at 4:32 PM on January 30


I know!
posted by parmanparman at 4:34 PM on January 30


oh, ha, I wasn't clear what you meant by your comment. Sorry.
posted by divabat at 4:36 PM on January 30


Field Notes from the Department of Mysteries
posted by divabat at 4:38 PM on January 30


Of course if you want a Harry Potter wizard school in the US you read The Magicians.

Because Harry Potter didn't have enough regressive gender-based stereotyping.
posted by jeather at 4:40 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]


(oh, in my link about wizard cultures in Caribbean, Malaya, south America - the south America blurb is actually more international)
posted by divabat at 4:42 PM on January 30


An American wizard school based in Brooklyn that advertises on the wireless would be awesome.

This is literally exactly what I hope that Newt Scamander movie will be. It MUST.
posted by sonmi at 4:44 PM on January 30 [2 favorites]


I'd just like to register that A: I really didn't like The Magicians and B: We Australians definitely need a school based on Dreamtime work.
posted by solarion at 4:47 PM on January 30 [2 favorites]


The American Magical community was devastated by the Civil War. Dev. Ast. Ated. Not only the use of wizards by both respective governments (there was much less secrecy and hiding from the muggle world in the early US, indeed many wizards held that was the POINT of the war.) but also by the inter-school fighting that prompted the muggle Civil War to begin with - the dominance of the mind-controlling masters in the Noble Houses of the South and the more weather-based, spirtual houses of the North and West. They hated each other so much and so deeply, and so pervasive was the use of polyjuice, mind control, and illusion that even when it was over it was hard ot tell who won. Sure the Southern Houses had "lost" but they kept all their titles and homes, simply forbidden from practicing the mental domination spells they had invented and championed. The Salem Academy in the north and The Ecole' Du Radiant Crown in New Orleans both turned inward, hiding themselves away from the world leaving the emergent magical communities in the West totally alone.

American magic is not English magic, not European and not studied, controllable, predictable, subject to easy to understand formulas. A Midwestern wind-witch or southwestern skinwalker would laugh at the idea that something as stupid as pronunciation keeps a spell from working. American magic as it is practiced is solitary, family-based, folkloric, and done with great risk to the caster.

Because it is only with great risk that great gains are made.

What will happen when these families start to talk to each other again?
posted by The Whelk at 4:48 PM on January 30 [28 favorites]


(I liked the magicians when it kept the "Magic School AS Ivy League as 1% social climbing vibe and less when it did everything else)
posted by The Whelk at 4:49 PM on January 30 [2 favorites]


The University of G'harne is so ancient and well established it pretty much ignores the upstarts and newcomers of other continents and they ignore it.
posted by Artw at 4:53 PM on January 30


The wizards of Ur and Sumer haven't been seen for over two thousand years but they still formally, politely decline any invitation sent to them.
posted by The Whelk at 4:56 PM on January 30 [4 favorites]


The Kenilworth Chantry in NYC sits in the middle of Central Park (at roughly 72nd St., naturally) and is protected by the same sort of SEP Field magic that hides The Leaky Cauldron and 12 Grimmauld Place. But that's some old money shit right there. In Brooklyn, the Jane Jacobs Academy operates out of the Towers at Cadman Plaza, recovering a piece of the city that the dark wizard Moses stole away generations ago, while promoting a progressive view of magic that includes an inevitable integration with the needs of the Muggle Society.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:57 PM on January 30 [3 favorites]


Counting Invisible Colleges is a pain because you keep losing track of them and have to start again.
posted by Artw at 4:59 PM on January 30


Dibs on the offshore floating school of magic - classes are taught on the forgotten oil tanker, the dean's office is on the Russian sub, and the quidditch pitch is a floating trash pile.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:04 PM on January 30


Man, can't the muggles be responsible for anything?

It's a thing that shows up in books and TV shows and such, where the wizards or the aliens or the spirits or whatever turn out to be responsible for every great war and every great advancement mankind's ever gone through. Every triumph, every tragedy, it's all thanks to the wizards or whoever and all the stupid unsuspecting muggles are just strung along for the ride like puppets on the end of a tangle of strings. In Doctor Who it's implied that we only ever landed on the moon because of effing alien hypnosis.

Can't we have anything? Or maybe Edison was a nobody from beyond the stars, giving us barbarians the worst of his futuristic alien technology and laughing when we fell over it. And the Wright Brothers only figured out their airplane because some secret vampire cabal implanted the idea in their heads because they needed to get from point A to point B faster. And penicillin only caught on because it's the secret tool of the ultradimensional superbeings experimenting on the human race to guide us down the right evolutionary pathway. And the internet came about because the guys at ARPA were possessed by fairy spirits who needed them to develop a new kind of network of ley lines.

...Whoa, I really went off, there, didn't I? Sorry about that.
posted by KChasm at 5:07 PM on January 30 [10 favorites]


Of course the most dangerous Wizarding school in the US is Ennis Academy just outside L.A. Not because of its size ( never more than ten students at a time) or because of fame ( they keep a low profile, muggles see only an abandoned gas station in the desert, not the Frank Llyod Wright designed stone fortress it is.) but because of the full intergration with muggle technology and deep ties to the movie industry. So many graduates of Ennis hide in plain sight as Hollywood eccentrics, quietly working on thier blood rites and astral projections, working on those forbidden southern magics from long ago.
posted by The Whelk at 5:08 PM on January 30 [7 favorites]


Thanks to my degree from Jack Parsons' University, I got a job as a personal assistant to a giant floating magic head! Babalon is working for me!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:11 PM on January 30 [2 favorites]


I got a pigeon from Night Vale Community College.
posted by moonmilk at 5:12 PM on January 30 [12 favorites]


KChasm, the way I understand the Doctor Who thing is that The Silence made humanity want to go to the moon because they needed the innovation that only we could apply to the task. It's a little different.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:16 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]


Navelgazer: Just take the K Train from Atlantic Avenue...

Free housebreaking weewee pad with every purchase of a hippogriff.
posted by dr_dank at 5:17 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]


My favorite "Wizarding World America" headcanon comes as a minor side-story in the fan novel Transfigurations. A disparate group of US magic practitioners coming together to start the first comprehensive wizardry school in the US since the Salem trials. Of course they're going to open it in the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Fla.

I like the idea of vast swaths of the world where magic education is firmly local, and the magical children of muggles would be largely self-taught. Imagine the story of a wizard orphan who doesn't discover other magicians till she's nearly 18...
posted by muddgirl at 5:18 PM on January 30 [3 favorites]


Navelgazer: So in other words, a superior alien race planted the idea of us wanting to go to the moon, so that they could use the resulting accomplishment as a step in their secret plan while the rest of us normal humans went on with no idea we were getting played.

That...doesn't actually make it better. At all.
posted by KChasm at 5:25 PM on January 30 [2 favorites]


Achieve The SUCCESS You Deserve with a Degree from Tripol College of Magics
Think What You Could Do... With a Degree In...
•Quidditch Officiating
•Potion
•Configuration
•Owls
•Paralegal
•Design Your Own Program!
posted by Wolfdog at 5:25 PM on January 30 [5 favorites]


The International Alchemical Correspondence School of Ames, Iowa was never really international but provided vital, if indosyncratic magical education by mail for many a Wizarding family in rural America.
posted by The Whelk at 5:28 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]


muddgirl - that's about how I'd imagine it'd have to go. Hogwarts has had over a millennium to get its act together and collect the British wizard kids in one place, and it still needs to send them to a train station in the middle of London in order to make it work logistically. We never really meet any of the Scottish kids with grouchy parents wondering why they've got to get the kids to King's Cross just to have them hauled back up to the highlands.

So yeah, logistically it's just not going to work as well in the U.S. Even in a city like Houston, there's just not going to be the infrastructure set up for it for various reasons. First off, because outside of New Orleans there just aren't any Wizard communities in that swath of the country, so it's only going to be the Muggle-born kids popping up in these places, and nobody has the same prerogative as Hogwarts to be keeping tabs on that here. So in this supposedly less aristocratic society we have a system whereby only "pure-blood" witches and wizards have any real shot of honing their craft at all.

This is, in part, what that Jacobs Academy was founded to combat, but it can only do so much, and that within the metro NYC area, really.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:29 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]


The "Marissa and the Wizards" link gave me a heartstopping "Ratliff? Is Crossing Over? Into Harry Potter?" moment.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:30 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]


Navelgazer: according to Pottermore getting the railway system was a feat in and of itself, mostly because the wizarding world was super reluctant to employ anything that resembled Muggle technology. So its seemingly backwards approach to science and tech was likely lingering anti-Muggle sentiment post Statute of Secrecy, though that was a relatively recent invention.

Personally I never understood why in the books flying brooms were common but flying carpets were illegal. commentary on colonization perhaps?
posted by divabat at 5:34 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]


This reminds me that I need to finish reading Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.
posted by hellphish at 5:34 PM on January 30


"Are you tired of trying to get into one of the so-called 'elite' schools of magic? Do you try and try but find their obstacles to entrance just too doggone difficult? I know I did. Hi, I'm Wilbur Whateley for Kingsport Community College."
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:35 PM on January 30 [4 favorites]


So in this supposedly less aristocratic society we have a system whereby only "pure-blood" witches and wizards have any real shot of honing their craft at all.

I love the possible dynamic of American wizards going on and on about how thier private home-schooling system is far more fair and democratic than their UK counterparts and the Hogswarts wizards are all " Um like the same four families have controlled 90% of all offical US wizardry for like two hundred years."
posted by The Whelk at 5:37 PM on January 30 [4 favorites]


You can't imagine the kind of hijinx that the International Quidditch Anti-Doping Association has to put up with. Anabolic Potions, Blood Transfiguration, injections of Giant Growth Hormone, it's awful.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:40 PM on January 30


I wish this stuff didnt have to always involve Salem. Or at least if they had to, acknowledge the innocent people who were murdered.
posted by bleep at 5:41 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]


Giles Corey knows what he did.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:42 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]


Even if the men and women murdered in Salem did know magic, in the context of a fictional world where magic isn't associated at all with Satanic worship, the trials would still have been injustices and the tortures cruel and inhumane.
posted by muddgirl at 5:49 PM on January 30


this thread is best thread
posted by Phire at 5:55 PM on January 30 [8 favorites]


I like to think that good ole Giles was the only wizard actually killed and was enough of a stubborn jerk to not only will his wealth to the founding of the first North American school of magic but also to be its first ghostly faculty member.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:56 PM on January 30 [4 favorites]


It's worth noting that while Beauxbatons is, as far as we can tell, strictly a school for French witches and Wizards, Durmstrang is located in northern Sweden or Norway and takes students from seemingly anywhere east of Switzerland.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:56 PM on January 30


Do you have what it takes to become a serious magic student? Transfigure either this turtle or this pirate for evaluation by our top team of instructors. For more info, send a self-addressed, stamped owl and five galleons to the address below.
posted by dr_dank at 5:56 PM on January 30 [10 favorites]


Actually, I am wrong, according to the Harry Potter Wiki, "Beauxbatons accepted students from France, Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands." So it is Hogwarts which is bizarrely focused on it's own nation (and also, those kids are getting no favors coming out speaking only English - and, I guess, some limited Latin - in a polyglot Wizarding world.)
posted by Navelgazer at 6:00 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]


If Durmstrang (a strange mish-mash of German, Russian, and Nordic elements) is anything to go by, the American wizarding school should be named Yinzerport, be located in Canada, and be headed by professor Hernandez.
posted by Pyry at 6:14 PM on January 30 [14 favorites]


American wizards all turning their noses up at quidditch for being "boring" and full of "divers." Instead they're all into Eggpit where two teams line up and try to hurl their wyvern eggs into the other team's pit of fire before the eggs hatch and devour them all. "Now thar's a game!" they caterwaul, popping open another can of Meisterbrew, "It's got strategery, devourings, and mass envenomings! Yee-haww!"
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:16 PM on January 30 [10 favorites]


robocop is bleeding - that is shockingly close to the canon truth about American wizard sports.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:21 PM on January 30


o god what have i become
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:23 PM on January 30 [5 favorites]


self-link here: I've been working on a Potterverse worldbuilding project based on Bengali culture and Bangladeshi history.
posted by divabat at 6:52 PM on January 30 [3 favorites]


Ages back I had the thought 'one school for the WHOLE of Britain? That CAN'T be right. And what about further education?' And so in the festering recesses of my mind there is Pendeltor College, located in the hills (as in, IN Pendle hill, fairy hill style) in the North of England.

Not one of the big-name universities, but it holds its own and specialises in Muggle Studies, Herbology and Potions.
posted by HypotheticalWoman at 6:55 PM on January 30


So long as they keep the Thrawn stuff I don't care.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:36 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]


There was a barely adequate piece called The Eighth Weasley or something like that. Turned out that Willow Rosenberg was a long lost child of the famed English wizard family. Giles, of course, was a Hogwarts grad but somehow dumb enough to not figure out the connection. God, if only someone that could write had taken that premise. Best part was Buffy beating the living shit out of Crabb, Goyle, and Draco. Especially Draco.
posted by Ber at 9:12 PM on January 30


Giles actually totally works as an ex-pat Hogwarts drop-out.
posted by The Whelk at 9:20 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]


(although the Bernard Black from Black Books as a lapsed member of the ancient and noble house of Black fic was really amusing.)
posted by The Whelk at 9:21 PM on January 30 [8 favorites]


I'm going to risk overselling my joke here because I really like it and want it to become fan-canon at least somewhere, but the Cadman Plaza Towers are a nasty bit of blight put in place by Robert Moses, who wrecked a shitload of NYC, in particular destroying the Bronx, in a manner of power but extremely focused (he was a parks commissioner with a great degree of influence over roads and not much else) and yet unlimited (he was almost completely unchecked in his use of this power.) In the people's history of New York, he occupies a place almost analogous to Satan.

When he was about to push through a plan to level SoHo for a multi-lane through-way, activist Jane Jacobs (and a lot of other people) were able to finally stop him. She then became an urban design theorist whose ideas are fundamental today. Brooklyn Heights is a great example of the positions she presented, and Cadman Plaza, on the border of Brooklyn Heights, the antithesis of them. But the towers at Cadman Plaza ended up being, in the seventies, a place where a shitload of teachers moved in, because for all of their faults, they were affordable.

Also, my best friend owns an apartment in one of those towers, with the best view in all of NY.

So in my potterverse version of the world, I want those teachers to have moved in with a purpose, after the epic (if too unknown) David v. Goliath battle for the soul of NYC.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:23 PM on January 30 [3 favorites]


Of course the most dangerous Wizarding school in the US is Ennis Academy just outside L.A.

You forgot Vince Clortho High.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:25 PM on January 30


Wizarding culture in China and India.
posted by divabat at 9:28 PM on January 30


muddgirl: Even if the men and women murdered in Salem did know magic, in the context of a fictional world where magic isn't associated at all with Satanic worship, the trials would still have been injustices and the tortures cruel and inhumane.

Returning to the real world for a moment, I've always wondered if JK Rowling included the celebration of Christmas in the books as a deflector against the inevitable charges that the books promote satanism.
posted by dr_dank at 6:49 AM on January 31


That Muslims at Hogwarts piece was really nice. Thanks for sharing that, divabat.

Surprised to see my headcanon matches a lot of what folks have posted here. Maybe we're all tapping into the same bit of the Collective Unconscious, which is what I imagine they taught at those "Earth Magic" Hippie Wizarding Schools that sprang up all over the US in the 60's. :-D
posted by lord_wolf at 7:32 AM on January 31 [2 favorites]


EA Games came out with a "Quidditch World Cup" game years ago, which isn't particularly good in terms of gameplay and for the most part feels like the tossed-off licensed cash grab that it is. The make-up of the league was weird (six of the nine teams were European, for instance, but none of them were Ireland, canonically the winners of the QWC, etc.) But one department sunk their teeth at deeply and hungrily as they could, so much so that it almost saves the game as a whole, and that was the stadium designers.

All of the stadia are gorgeously rendered and impeccable in their detail, clearly created by devoted fans who wanted to put their own reverent spin on how different wizard communities would grow among different peoples. Australia's stadium is evocative of Uluru and Dreamtime. Spain's is set in a cavernous domes Castilian ruin, and those are both beautiful, but seem a little obvious. The perfectly manicured French gardens and somewhat more austere Black Forest setting for Germany are also very nice and feel very authentic. And then you get to Japan, with the bright multi-colored pagodas around a brilliant reflecting pond that serves as the ground of the pitch, so that now you're skimming your broomstick over tranquil water and it is amazing.

But my favorite is the American one, a fairly rustic, cozy, wooden stadium with an overgrown gridiron as it's grounds, insane spectators throwing red, white and blue confetti everywhere, and surrounded by what is unmistakably New England in autumn. Because if we're talking about witches in the US than it has to be.

I think there's something about the Potterverse that (aside from just being ubiquitously well known) just lends itself well to pinhole-worldbuilding, where it's less interesting to imagine the world as a functioning whole than to pick a tiny corner of it and easily picture it in extraordinarily detailed glory, in ways which then inform other little pinhole views.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:31 AM on January 31 [9 favorites]


Given that we have two Harry Potter stores and three schools of witchcraft and/or wizardry here in Salem, my take out be the Salem school is the University of Phoenix of the wizarding world. "Get your degree by owl!" the ads say.

Well yeah, obviously the really excellent wizarding school in the Northeast US would be in Sleepy Hollow.
posted by elizardbits at 10:17 AM on January 31 [7 favorites]


I think there's something about the Potterverse that (aside from just being ubiquitously well known) just lends itself well to pinhole-worldbuilding, where it's less interesting to imagine the world as a functioning whole than to pick a tiny corner of it and easily picture it in extraordinarily detailed glory, in ways which then inform other little pinhole views.

Absolutely. JKR hit the magical balance of enough detail to fascinate but not so much detail to overwhelm. When fans get into worldbuilding discussions, it doesn't turn into a morass of arguing over tiny canon details and whether they contradict each other, it's more of a gleeful "how do we fill that hole?" or "how do we explain that?" type of discussion.

Also, I think JKR excels at filling out her worldbuilding with interesting characters, which is part of what's fueled the huge fandom. Over the course of seven books and a couple of tie-ins, she introduces a huge number of characters, and gives the occasional fascinating tidbit about them, such that any number of one-off characters clearly have novels' worth of backstory. The Wizarding world feels populated with actual people, so even when Harry has tunnel vision, you know that there are other characters walking around having their own fascinating stories and adventures.
posted by yasaman at 10:19 AM on January 31 [4 favorites]


Well yeah, obviously the really excellent wizarding school in the Northeast US would be in Sleepy Hollow.

You'd have 20 credits of lessons stuffed into 3 credit hours and really bad history lessons, but every now and then you'd get John Noble monologuing at you, so it would be amazing.
posted by jeather at 10:49 AM on January 31


History would basically be "go play Assassins Creed".
posted by Artw at 12:12 PM on January 31


sob
posted by elizardbits at 12:28 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]


Slightly off-topic: J.K. Rowling Regrets Ron and Hermione's Relationship

Tumblr is rioting.
posted by divabat at 8:20 PM on February 1


I'd like a better source for that than "in an upcoming magazine interview". Do we actually even have a press release for the interview, or anything that indicates this is for real? All the recent news stories from general (non-fandom) news sources seem to be about her suing the Daily Fail.

(On the other hand, JKR writes something wish-fulfillment-y about Hermione? You don't say.)
posted by immlass at 8:34 PM on February 1


Yeah, they seem to be basing this on screenshots of The Sunday Times as released on Twitter.

I've just ordered a copy of the magazine, so when it arrives I'll be able to see it for myself!
posted by divabat at 9:04 PM on February 1


This is the Sunday Times article they're citing (semi paywall).
posted by divabat at 9:22 PM on February 1


from twitter: the only thing to regret is that Neville and Luna didn't start up a Wizarding detective agency.
posted by The Whelk at 9:23 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


A Muslim In Hogwarts has its own Tumblr.
posted by divabat at 11:25 AM on February 2


I am a lifelong Harry/Hermione shipper so I feel a certain degree of Schadenfreude at this, but this article is a good summary of why that "revelation" is kind of annoying.
posted by Phire at 12:57 PM on February 2


I guess as someone who is slowly reading through the thing with their kid supposedly for the kids benefit many years after publication I can't really complain about spoilers, but boy has this week been annoying.

Also it's totes obvs Ron and Hermione end up together from book 4 onwards.
posted by Artw at 1:03 PM on February 2


She's not saying that Ron and Hermione's relationship came out of nowhere, so the "but it's been obvious since book X!" comments are rather besides the point.

She's saying that in the long run that relationship might not have worked very well, and that it didn't adapt the same way the rest of her plot adapted over time.

What frustrates me over the fandom responses is the assumption that this means Ron was deficient somehow. They're incompatible - that doesn't make them bad people. I'm out of a deep relationship that had similar dynamics to R/Hr in hindsight: loved each other and protected each other, but also not very good for each other in the long run. Even relationship counseling didn't save us.

There is still time for a divorce. And why is JKR not allowed to reconsider decisions she made years ago? It's not like she's recalling all the books to change the plot. She's grown and learned. The characters grow and learn too - or are they supposed to be in statis from the epilogue on?
posted by divabat at 1:32 PM on February 2


or are they supposed to be in statis from the epilogue on

I don't have a dog in the shipping wars, but the ridiculous thing, to me, is that JKR can write another book hooking up whatever characters she wants! She's the author!

She's not saying, "Oh, Ron and Hermione will get divorced and then Hermy and Harry are free to be together!" She's saying, "The books which I wrote to make sure every heterosexual couple was paired off and breeding paired up the wrong characters!" That's pretty laughable to me, since they're her characters in the first place!
posted by muddgirl at 2:17 PM on February 2


In a crypt far beneath the earth lies JKR's "Harry Potter And The Final Adventure", to be published only on the advent of her death. Within its 900 pages are the work of years, decades spent crafting the ultimate crack-shipping epic, a sprawling polymorphicly perverse, world-bending genre crossover event that would make Burroughs blush - long detailed descriptions of every possible and impossible combination, all carefully thought out and now delirious canon.
posted by The Whelk at 2:45 PM on February 2 [2 favorites]


all carefully thought out and now delirious canon.

Dear Harry Potter fandom: let us introduce you to this marvellous concept called Snooty First Series Purism. Love, Chronicles of Amber fandom.
posted by immlass at 4:14 PM on February 2 [3 favorites]


Wouldn't it be great if it came out that JKR had been writing Harmony fanfic all this time under a pseudonym, a la The Cuckoo's Calling?
posted by Rock Steady at 4:28 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]


So... She 50 Shades herself?
posted by Artw at 5:59 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]


I was trying to think of a color that typifies the Potterverse to complete the 50 Shades of... joke you made, and I couldn't, but it did make me think of 50 Shades of Octarine, and now I really want to write an erotic romp through Ankh-Morpork.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:22 AM on February 3


THE GROWING GOLEM.
posted by The Whelk at 10:10 AM on February 3


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