New J.K. Rowling story set in Massachusetts

"Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling.

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

"Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling.

Have you ever thought to yourself, the Harry Potter series is great, but it would be so much better if it were set in Massachusetts? If so, it’s your lucky day.

A new story released today on tells the background of the Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a part of the North American school of magic. The Ilvermorny School is founded in the 17th century at the peak of Mount Greylock in Adams.


At the heart of the story is an orphaned Irish girl — Isolt Sayre, who was “the offspring of two pure-blood wizarding families” and a descendant of Hogwarts co-founder Salazar Slytherin — who sails across the ocean on the Mayflower, making it to Massachusetts. Sensing that the Puritans wouldn’t tolerate a witch in their midst, she wandered through the wilds, ending up on Mount Greylock. There, she — with some magical beings she rescued and a human defector of the Plymouth colony — built a stone home that becomes a school for magic.

Rowling is not the first to set a story on Mount Greylock: Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of “The Scarlett Letter,” set his “Ethan Brand — A Chapter from an Abortive Romance” there (though he wrote it “Gray-lock”), about a man who operates a lime kiln on the mountain.

Get The Weekender in your inbox:
The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Rowling also wrote about this American school in a four-part series released in March on That and this new short story are the backstory to the upcoming movie “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” starring Eddie Redmayne. Slated to be released in November, “Fantastic Beasts” will tell of magic in North America in the 1920s, years before the Harry Potter series takes place.

In addition to the story, fans can take a quiz and be sorted into one of the four houses of Ilvermorney.

Watch a video that Rowling posted to Twitter that tells about the beginnings of the North American school of magic.

Heather Ciras can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @heatherciras.
Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
You're reading  1 of 5 free articles.
Get UNLIMITED access for only 99¢ per week Subscribe Now >
You're reading1 of 5 free articles.Keep scrolling to see more articles recomended for you Subscribe now
We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of
Marketing image of