Pottermore and J.K. Rowling’s four Ilvermorny Houses have been updated with new artwork. Why is that?
Update (August 26): BuzzFeed covered our story and received a statement from Warner Brothers, who confirmed that changes were made “to avoid any misunderstanding.” WB’s statement:
Warner Bros. commissioned the design of the Ilvermorny School Crest from a design team who used a range of references, particularly Celtic and centuries-old folkloric images. Whilst we are assured there was no intention to use elements from pre-existing designs, as a copyright creator and company that respects the creations of others, Warner Bros. decided to change the Ilvermorny design so as to avoid any misunderstanding.
Original story (August 24): Those who’ve visited Pottermore’s profiles on Thunderbird, Pukwudgie, Horned Serpent, and Wampus over the past few days may have noticed that each house has a new logo.
The original logos are on the left, and the new designs are on the right. Notice that each of the new designs are more elaborate than the original:
Interestingly, these significant changes arrive a month after a Reddit thread alleged that the Ilvermorny house logos were taken from designs that originated elsewhere on the internet.
For example, the Wampus design appears to have been heavily inspired by an ancient “Magical Rat” website (I’m not kidding — read the home page) in which someone drew potential rat and cat ideas for their next tattoo using Microsoft Paint.
On the left is Pottermore’s original Wampus design, and on the right is from the “Magical Rats” website linked above:
Here are side-by-side comparisons of Pottermore’s old designs versus the designs that Reddit thinks inspired them (via Amber Goldsmith on Reddit/Imgur). You can compare them for yourself:
The new Ilvermorny house logos employ many more details, making them less similar to the original Pottermore designs, or the designs the Pottermore artist appears to have based them on.
Also, this Ilvermorny crest appears to have been scrubbed from Pottermore.com. I haven’t been able to find an updated version with the new house logos:
The Redditors told me in July that several of them reached out to Pottermore and J.K. Rowling to tell them about their concerns (but didn’t receive a response).
When asked about the Reddit conversations and the new designs, Pottermore told Hypable in a statement: “Warner Bros., which commissioned the original artwork, has provided Pottermore with new designs. We’re delighted to have the opportunity to share these crests with our global audience.”
Pottermore and J.K. Rowling unveiled the four Ilvermorny houses a few months before Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens in theaters. The movie is expected to make a reference or two to the North American Wizarding School since the film’s lead, Newt Scamander, is visiting New York from the U.K.
Pottermore visitors can take a quiz which’ll sort them into one of the school’s four houses. Upon being sorted, you’ll be given the opportunity to share your house’s (new) artwork on social media.
The designs for the four Hogwarts houses were 100% original, and now it seems that Ilvermorny’s are too.