JK Rowling unveils new Pottermore story on the history of the American Ministry of Magic

Source: YouTube
Source: YouTube

Ahead of November's release of the first Harry Potter spinoff film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, author J.K. Rowling has unveiled her third story breaking down the history of magic in North America. The new piece, published on Pottermore, is "The Magical Congress of the United States of America," a document detailing the history of the American Ministry of Magic up until the events of Fantastic Beasts, which takes place in the 1920s. 

The fictitious history takes real-life accounts of the Salem witch trials and uses them to explain the formation of MACUSA, as it's abbreviated, designed to unite the American Wizarding World under an organization to guard against anti-wizarding sentiment. This, of course, means segregating wizards from the "no-maj," aka the American term for muggles. 

The history goes that the headquarters of MACUSA bounced around between the Appalachian mountains, rural Virginia — where a magic-specific dog breed attacked a no-maj — Baltimore and Washington, before settling on New York City. The story also explains how in Washington in 1790, the MACUSA passed "Rappaport's Law," which forbids marriage and friendships between wizards and no-maj. 

The law brings important context to Fantastic Beasts as its protagonist, Newt Scamander, befriends a no-maj while trying to track down all the creatures that escaped his briefcase when he crossed the Atlantic. As Rowling explains, the way magic is treated in North America is uniquely different from the Wizarding World abroad.

"Newt's been across pretty much every continent, but magic developed very differently in America," Rowling told Entertainment Weekly. "Newt accidentally walks right into the middle of MACUSA. He gets caught up into a society he doesn't understand."   

"The Magical Congress of the United States of America" is essential reading ahead of Fantastic Beasts, which arrives in theaters Nov. 18.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Miles Surrey

Miles is a staff writer at Mic, covering culture. He is based in New York and can be reached at miles@mic.com.

MORE FROM

7 times women in Hollywood pushed back against the pressure to lose weight

They're not here to fit any sort of body standard.

Kendrick Lamar's "Element." video shows a violent portrait of black life in America

"I done cried for this shit, might take a life for this shit/ Put the Bible down and go eye for an eye for this shit."

Nicki Minaj was given the key to Queens. These 9 verses prove she deserves it.

"A star will arise/ And she'll originate from the streets of Southside"

Here's everything you need to know for the 'Pretty Little Liars' finale tonight

Secrets abound in the 'Pretty Little Liars' season finale.

Algiers' 'The Underside of Power' is a soundtrack for every revolution — past, present and future

'Mic' talks with the experimental, Atlanta-bred group about their latest improbable fusion of industrial, punk, gospel and soul.

These are the 9 best 'America’s Got Talent' Golden Buzzer moments of all time

A look at the acts that have earned the show's distinct honor.

7 times women in Hollywood pushed back against the pressure to lose weight

They're not here to fit any sort of body standard.

Kendrick Lamar's "Element." video shows a violent portrait of black life in America

"I done cried for this shit, might take a life for this shit/ Put the Bible down and go eye for an eye for this shit."

Nicki Minaj was given the key to Queens. These 9 verses prove she deserves it.

"A star will arise/ And she'll originate from the streets of Southside"

Here's everything you need to know for the 'Pretty Little Liars' finale tonight

Secrets abound in the 'Pretty Little Liars' season finale.

Algiers' 'The Underside of Power' is a soundtrack for every revolution — past, present and future

'Mic' talks with the experimental, Atlanta-bred group about their latest improbable fusion of industrial, punk, gospel and soul.

These are the 9 best 'America’s Got Talent' Golden Buzzer moments of all time

A look at the acts that have earned the show's distinct honor.