Original image

Everything We Know About Harry Potter's 4 New Wizarding Schools

Original image

J.K. Rowling continues to expand the Harry Potter universe ahead of the November release of the spin-off movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Last night, at the annual Harry Potter Celebration at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, four new schools of magic were revealed; they join Hogwarts, France’s Beauxbatons Academy, and the Durmstrang Institute. (There are “11 long-established and prestigious wizarding schools worldwide,” Rowling writes on Pottermore, so we can probably expect her to reveal more at some point in the future.) Here’s what we know about these new additions to the wizarding world.


How to say it: Mah - hoot - o - koh - ro
Location: The “uninhabited” volcanic island of Minami Iwo Jima
Its castle: “Ornate and exquisite … made of mutton-fat jade.”

This school—the smallest of the 11 registered with the International Confederation of Wizards—takes students as young as 7, who are flown back and forth each day on giant storm petrels. Boarding begins at age 11. Rather than the plain black robes used at Hogwarts, Mahoutokoro students don “enchanted robes” as soon as they arrive, Rowling writes on Pottermore, “which grow in size as they do, and which gradually change colour as the learning of their wearer increases, beginning a faint pink colour and becoming (if top grades are achieved in every magical subject) gold.” If the robe turns white, it means that “the student has betrayed the Japanese wizard's code and adopted illegal practices ... or broken the International Statute of Secrecy.” The penalty for turning white is immediate expulsion and trial at the Japanese Ministry for Magic.

In addition to being academically impressive, Mahoutokoro also has a reputation for being excellent at Quidditch which, “legend has it, was introduced to Japan centuries ago by a band of foolhardy Hogwarts students who were blown off course during an attempt to circumnavigate the globe on wholly inadequate broomsticks.”


How to say it: Wag-a-doo
Location: “Mountains of the Moon,” Uganda
Its castle: “A stunning edifice carved out of the mountainside and shrouded in mist, so that it sometimes appears simply to float in mid-air.”

There are many smaller schools in Africa, Rowling writes, but Uagadou is the oldest; it’s been around for at least 1000 years. Located in Uganda, the school accepts students from all over the continent and is different from other magical schools in a couple of ways: Hogwarts students are notified of admission by letter, but Uagadou uses Dream Messengers, who “appear to the children as they sleep and will leave a token, usually an inscribed stone, which is found in the child’s hand on waking. No other school employs this method of pupil selection.” In addition, wands aren’t the normal method of magic-making. “The wand is a European invention,” Rowling writes, “and while African witches and wizards have adopted it as a useful tool in the last century, many spells are cast simply by pointing the finger or through hand gestures. This gives Uagadou students a sturdy line of defence when accused of breaking the International Statute of Secrecy (‘I was only waving, I never meant his chin to fall off’).”

The school’s graduates are particularly good at Astronomy, Alchemy and Self-Transfiguration. Uagadou has a number of notable alumni, including “Babajide Akingbade, who succeeded Albus Dumbledore as the Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards.”


How to say it: Cass - tell - o - broo - shoo
Location: “Deep in the rainforest”
Its castle: “An imposing square edifice of golden rock, often compared to a temple” that “appears to be a ruin to the few Muggle eyes that have ever fallen upon it.”

Students from all over South America attend this magical school (whose name, translated from Portuguese, means, literally, “Castle Wizard”), where students wear “bright green robes and are especially advanced in both Herbology and Magizoology.” Whereas Hogwarts has Peeves, Castelbruxo has “Caipora, small and furry spirit-beings who are extraordinarily mischievous and tricky, and who emerge under cover of night to watch over the students and the creatures who live in the forest.” The school runs a popular student exchange program.

Famous alumni include Libatius Borage, author of Advanced Potion-Making and Have Yourself a Fiesta in a Bottle!, and João Coelho, who captains “the world-renowned Quidditch team the Tarapoto Tree-Skimmers.”


How to say it: Ill - ver - morn - ee

Rowling hasn’t posted anything about this new school on Pottermore yet, but according to a press release, “All of you eagle-eyed fans had an inkling that word was going to mean something special, and Pottermore will bring you more writing by J.K. Rowling on this magical school soon.” Redditors are already on the case, trying to figure out what the name might mean; leave your own guesses in the comments below, and we’ll update this post as we find out more!

All images courtesy of Pottermore.

Original image
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
P.G. Wodehouse's Exile from England
Original image
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

You don’t get more British than Jeeves and Wooster. The P.G. Wodehouse characters are practically synonymous with elevenses and Pimm’s. But in 1947, their creator left England for the U.S. and never looked back.

Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, better known as P.G., was living in northern France and working on his latest Jeeves and Wooster novel, Joy in the Morning, when the Nazis came knocking. They occupied his estate for a period of time before shipping him off to an internment camp in Germany, which he later said he found pretty pleasant:

“Everybody seems to think a German internment camp must be a sort of torture chamber. It was really perfectly normal and ordinary. The camp had an extraordinarily nice commander, and we did all sorts of things, you know. We played cricket, that sort of thing. Of course, I was writing all the time.”

Wodehouse was there for 11 months before being suddenly released to a hotel in Berlin where a man from the German foreign office named Werner Plack was waiting to meet him. Wodehouse was somewhat acquainted with Plack from a stint in Hollywood, so finding him waiting didn't seem out of the ordinary. Plack advised Wodehouse to use his time in the internment camp to his advantage, and suggested writing a radio series about his experiences to be broadcast in America.

As Plack probably suspected, Wodehouse’s natural writing style meant that his broadcasts were light-hearted affairs about playing cricket and writing novels, This didn’t sit too well with the British, who believed Wodehouse was trying to downplay the horrors of the war. The writer was shocked when MI5 subjected him to questioning about the “propaganda” he wrote for the Germans. "I thought that people, hearing the talks, would admire me for having kept cheerful under difficult conditions," he told them in 1944. "I would like to conclude by saying that I never had any intention of assisting the enemy and that I have suffered a great deal of mental pain as the result of my action."

Wodehouse's contemporary George Orwell came to his aid, penning a 1945 an essay called “In Defense of P.G. Wodehouse." Sadly, it didn’t do much to sway public opinion. Though MI5 ultimately decided not to prosecute, it seemed that British citizens had already made up their minds, with some bookstores and libraries even removing all Wodehouse material from their shelves. Seeing the writing on the wall, the author and his wife packed up all of their belongings and moved to New York in 1947. They never went back to England.

But that’s not to say Wodehouse didn’t want to. In 1973, at the age of 91, he expressed interest in returning. “I’d certainly like to, but at my age it’s awfully difficult to get a move on. But I’d like to go back for a visit in the spring. They all seem to want me to go back. The trouble is that I’ve never flown. I suppose that would solve everything."

Unfortunately, he died of a heart attack before he could make the trip. But the author bore no ill will toward his native country. When The Paris Review interviewed Wodehouse in 1973, they asked if he resented the way he was treated by the English. “Oh, no, no, no. Nothing of that sort. The whole thing seems to have blown over now,” he said.  He was right—the Queen bestowed Wodehouse with a knighthood two months before his death, showing that all was forgiven.

Original image
The Internet Archive is Making 62 Obscure, Out-of-Print Books Available Online
Original image

Dozens of of obscure, out-of-print books are about to become much more accessible thanks to the Internet Archive, the digital archive of public domain media. But to do it, they’ll have to exploit a loophole in a controversial copyright law, as Ars Technica reports.

The Internet Archive is releasing the Sonny Bono Memorial Collection, a group of books from the 1920s and 1930s that are out of print, but still technically under copyright—meaning they’re extremely difficult to get a hold of.

The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act was a copyright extension law passed in 1998 to extend copyright protections to works published after 1923 (which would otherwise have already entered the public domain) by 20 years. Unfortunately, while Disney may be happy that Mickey Mouse still falls under copyright protections, that also means that less-famous books that are now out of print can’t be made available to the public. But a provision of the law provides for public access for research, allowing nonprofit libraries to distribute the works if they cannot be found elsewhere for a reasonable price.

A screenshot of an online collection of books from the Internet Archive
Screenshot, Internet Archive

The Internet Archive explains:

We believe the works in this collection are eligible for free public access under 17 U.S.C. Section 108(h) which allows for non-profit libraries and archives to reproduce, distribute, display, and publicly perform a work if it meets the criteria of: a published work in the last 20 years of copyright, and after conducting a reasonable investigation, no commercial exploitation or copy at a reasonable price could be found.

Libraries don’t tend to take advantage of the law because it takes considerable resources to track down which works are eligible. However, the Internet Archive collaborated with Elizabeth Townsend Gard, a Tulane copyright expert, and a pair of interns to find books that could be scanned and uploaded online legally. Gard has released guidelines for libraries based on this work to help other archives do the same.

The Internet Archive is starting out with 62 books published between 1923 and 1941 (meaning they’re within 20 years of their copyright expiring) and plan to release up to 10,000 more in the near future to be downloaded and read by online users. And the collection will grow each January as more books enter that 20-year window.

[h/t Ars Technica]


More from mental floss studios