The History of Magic in North America: 1920s

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Image source: Pottermore.com

Well, kids, we’ve reached the end of our magical journey with Pottermore’s Magic in North America series. If you haven’t, be sure to check out my quick hits from 14th-17th Century, 17th Century and beyond, and the history behind Rappaport’s Law. Today’s history lesson focuses on the 20s–which is, of course, the time period in which Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is set. Here are some quick hits on what it was like being an American wizard in the Jazz Age:

    • Wizards fought alongside No-Majes in WWI. The No-Majes weren’t aware of this, of course, and the wizards mostly fought against enemy magical factions. However, they did manage to gain several victories and stop further loss of life.
    • Despite sitting alongside No-Majes in the trenches, Rappaport’s Law was not relaxed during or after the war.
    • Wizards started using the name Dorcas to describe someone who was an idiot or inept–which is kind of not cool. Yeah, Dorcas should have been more wary before spilling all of her magical secrets to her Scourer boyfriend, but to be fair, she didn’t know he was a Scourer at the time. Plus, I’m pretty sure every single one of those wizards who would roll their eyes and call someone they didn’t like a Dorcas had their own stories of when they got bamboozled, cheated, hurt, or lied to because they were blinded by infatuation. Not cool, American wizards.
    • In 1892, there was a thing called the Great Saquatch Rebellion, and it was exactly what it sounds like. I’m a bit upset that we don’t get to hear more about Big Foot having a heyday, though there is further reading in the wonderfully-titled book, Big Foot’s Last Stand.
    • Magical creatures, ghosts, and other non-human entities of the magical world were on serious lockdown in the US since they could alert No-Majes to magic pretty quickly by simply existing near a No-Maj…magical creatures on the loose, it seems from the preview anyway, will be the big focus of the Fantastic Beasts movie.
  • The MACUSA President in the 20s was a witch from Savannah called Madam Seraphina Picquery.
    • Unrelated to our history lesson: why do wizards always have such bizarre names? Seriously? Although Ron was a pureblood and Hermoine was Muggle-born, so maybe it isn’t just witches and wizards. I mean, look at the names of celebrity babies. They’re all Muggles/No-Majes…as far as we know
  • At the end of the 19th century, American wizards needed a wand permit to carry a wand in an attempt to keep tabs on the magic happening around the country, and to help ID those perpetrators of magical crimes.
  • Ollivander may have a monopoly on wand-making in Britain, but in the US there were four great wand-makers. Shikoba Wolfe, Johannes Jonker, Thiago Quintana, and Violetta Beauvais.
  • Thunderbirds are sort of an American relative of Phoenixes. And here I always thought they were those fancy planes you saw at air shows…
  • Most importantly, the magical community did not take part in prohibition. President Picquery was totally cool with wizards having their hooch. In fact, she called it “giggle water”, and told her staff that having it was a non-negotiable for her since living as a wizard in the US was tough enough to have to live that life dry. Picquery was probably a lot of fun at parties.

And that concludes our magical history lesson! What was your favorite part? What do you want to hear more about? What did you hate? Did this get you more or less excited for Fantastic Beasts? Let me know what you think in the comments! 

2 Replies to “The History of Magic in North America: 1920s”

  1. I haven’t had time to log into Pottermore and read the North American stories, so I’ve loved reading your take on them 🙂
    I’m of two minds. On one hand I’m excited to have more official knowledge of the wizarding world, but on the other hand these stories are different than the stories I’ve made in my head about wizards in America and I sort of like my version better lol.

  2. I love that they didn’t take part in The Prohibition and I really want to learn more about Sasquatch! 🙂

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