March 8, 2016


J.K. Rowling’s New Short Story Depicts Magical Native Americans

Nomi Ellenson/FilmMagic
Nomi Ellenson/FilmMagic

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is rolling (rowling?) out a series of short stories depicting the history of magic in North America. The series has kicked off with a piece titled “Fourteenth Century - Seventeenth Century,” which reveals the wizarding world of Native Americans.

“The Native American magical community and those of Europe and Africa had known about each other long before the immigration of European No-Majs in the seventeenth century,” Rowling writes. Oh, by the way, “No-Maj” is the new term Rowling uses as an ancient form of “Muggle,” or non-magical human.

The story goes on to describe the Native American utilization of magic, lack of wands in the society and shape-shifting phenomenon of “skin walkers”:

“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. 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. Such derogatory rumours often originated with No-Maj medicine men, who were sometimes faking magical powers themselves, and fearful of exposure.”

Click here to read the full short story on the Pottermore website. The three next short stories will be rolled out each day this week, whetting the appetites of Harry Potter fans for the upcoming Fantastic Beasts film and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child stage play.