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New J.K. Rowling story set in Massachusetts

"Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling.Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

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.


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.