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23 Things We Learned About The "Harry Potter" Universe In 2016

This year was full of cursed children and fantastic beasts.

1. If you didn't know, every so often J.K. Rowling, queen of wizards and also Twitter, gives fans little snippets of Harry Potter info from her glorious mind, like the fact that she didn't decide to kill Lupin (RIP) until Order of the Phoenix.

In the interests of total honesty I'd also like to confess that I didn't decide to kill Lupin until I wrote Order if the Phoenix.

2. And 2016 has been a pretty magical year for Harry Potter fans, even if it maybe hasn't been for the rest of the world.

Arthur lived, so Lupin had to die. I'm sorry. I didn't enjoy doing it. The only time my editor ever saw me cry was over the fate of Teddy. 😢

3. Back in March, she blessed us with a bunch of new information about American wizards. We didn't know about the word No-Maj before 2016!!

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Jacob ❤️

4. We learned that wands originated in Europe, and are used to refine and channel a magical power that would otherwise be uncontrollable.

.@ReadyFeddie As children, wizards often produce accidental magic when they feel strong emotion. Wands help control and channel this power.

5. That's why it's so impressive when a wizard (like Dumbledore or Voldemort) masters wandless magic.

.@bluesrgt Yes, nearly all wizards use wands, which makes magic easier to channel. Wandless magic is sophisticated and takes more talent.

6. AND why Voldemort, Snape, and Dumbledore were able to fly without broomsticks. Brooms are just tools to channel magic, like wands.

.@dwmw24601 @bluesrgt Exactly. Wands and brooms (and flying cars) are tools that channel magic. The most gifted can dispense with them.

7. European wizards began immigrating to America in the 17th century, and helped establish the American wizarding school, Ilvermorny.


8. Like Hogwarts, Ilvermorny has four houses: Thunderbird, Wampus, Pukwudgie, and Horned Serpent.


BUT the Ilvermorny houses bear no relation to the Hogwarts houses. Apparently.

9. We didn't get ~that~ much information about the characteristics of each house, but we ~did~ learn that Tina Goldstein was in Thunderbird, and Queenie was in Pukwudgie.

Tina: Thunderbird. Queenie: Pukwudgie.

10. The Salem Witch Trials were a tragedy for the wizarding community in America, and led to many witches and wizards leaving the continent.


Pure-blooded wizards around the world had read about the Trials and avoided moving to America, so there was a much higher population of Muggle-(or No Maj-)born wizards living there.

11. The Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA to you and me) was established in 1693.

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12. A law was established in 1790 – after a breach of the International Statute of Secrecy – that said American wizards and No-Majs had to be completely segregated.

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No marriage, no friendships, not even any talking to one another.

13. And all wizards in America have to carry wand permits. Basically, America is strict AF.

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14. Fantastic Beasts came along in November, and taught us that it's possible for a child to suppress their magic, but it comes at a cost.

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It creates an Obscurus – an uncontrollable force of dark magic – within the child, which usually kills them before they turn ten.

15. People have speculated that Dumbledore's sister, Ariana, was an Obscurial – which explains a lot about Grindelwald's fascination with them.

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OK, so J.K. hasn't exactly confirmed this, but her Twitter faves may suggest otherwise.

16. Speaking of which, we also learned Grindelwald is a super-creepy villain (and we're going to learn way more about him in the future!).

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17. In 2016, we were gifted with the beautiful character of Newt Scamander, who taught us that Hufflepuffs are actually some of the most badass people out there.


18. But it wasn't just Fantastic Beasts! This year also brought us Cursed Child, which taught us that 19-years-later Harry became the head of Magical Law Enforcement.

Manuel Harlan / Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

19. After all that reassurance at King's Cross, Albus was sorted into Slytherin, and Harry wasn't all that happy about it.

Manuel Harlan / Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

20. And let's not forget that whole Voldemort-having-a-kid thing.

Manuel Harlan / Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

(Same, Scorpius.)

21. We finally all learned our Patronuses, after approximately a million years of waiting for an official Pottermore quiz.


22. AND we learned that JKR's Patronus is a heron.

... so as far as I'm concerned, the @pottermore test works! Here's my Patronus...

23. But most importantly, we learned that Nifflers are the cutest animals in the world, and we all need one.

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Here's to an even more magical 2017, Potterheads! ✨

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