The North American Wizarding School named Ilvermorny is largely still a mystery to Harry Potter fans, but some eagle-eyed readers may’ve uncovered a big clue about the school’s origins.
Reddit user Monani took a look at the code behind J.K. Rowling’s new writings on the history of magic in North America, and discovered references to “Kitchi.”
The name Kitchi is in the filename (“Magic_in_North_America_Teaser_Kitchi_Day_2.jpg”) of this photo, which was used in J.K. Rowling’s writing on magic amongst Native Americans.
Monani did some Google-ing and found that “Kitchi is a male Native American name meaning ‘Brave,’ and is from Algonquin origin. The distribution on Algonquin peoples, as shown in Wikipedia, is pretty much on the known area Ilvermorny is at.” “Kitchi” is a title for a person and probably not a specific person, so it likely is a clue about a group as opposed to a particular school founder.
Here’s where the Algonquin people lived:
And here’s where Ilvermorny is, according to an illustration from Pottermore:
And remember, J.K. Rowling told us this in June:
.@loonyloolaluna However, indigenous magic was important in the founding of the school. If I say which tribes, location is revealed.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 7, 2015
All this evidence considered, it looks like the Alqonquian group will play a role in how Ilvermorny was formed. Why else would “Kitchi” be specifically referenced in the code?
Despite giving us a history lesson on magic in North America last week, the Harry Potter author has yet to share the details we’ve been craving about Ilvermorny. How was it founded? Do they sort their students like the Europeans do at Hogwarts? What are the school’s strengths? And how do we enroll?
It’ll be interesting to see how Rowling introduces Ilvermorny’s backstory. Last week her writings on magic amongst Native Americans didn’t win over real Native Americans — They were disappointed in how the author represented their culture. Novelist N.K. Jemisin wrote on her blog that Rowling didn’t put enough research into what she created (which would be a rare mistake for the author):
Pretty sure she would never have dreamt of reducing all of Europe’s cultures to “European wizarding tradition”; instead she created Durmstrang and Beauxbatons and so on to capture the unique flavor of each of those cultures. It would’ve taken some work for her to research Navajo stories and pick (or request) some elements from that tradition that weren’t stereotypical or sacred — and then for her to do it again with the Paiutes and again with the Iroquois and so on. But that is work she should’ve done — for the sake of her readers who live those traditions, if not for her own edification as a writer.
Native Americans and Ilvermorny are expected to be mentioned (at the least) in this November’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which is set in 1920s New York.
Note: This article originally described the Algonquins as a tribe. They are actually “one of the most populous and widespread North American native language groups” (via Wikipedia).