J.K. Rowling published a new short story today about the North American equivalent to Hogwarts, called Ilvermorny, and along with a new hero, classes of creatures and magical history, also introduced four new houses for people to be sorted into.
The houses — Thunderbird, Pukwudgie, Wampus and Horned Serpent — were based on the new founders’ favorite magical creatures that they discovered in North America. The history behind how the houses came to be can be read on Pottermore, along with the entire short story surrounding the school, which acts as an introduction to Warner Bros.’ upcoming film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
But for those who are looking to skew their answers to get sorted into the house that they believe, in their hearts, that they belong to — don’t lie, everyone’s done it — here’s a breakdown for which houses represent which characteristics.
The Thunderbird, according to Pottermore, was named by Chadwick Boot after the mythical bird that creates a storm whenever it flies. The house is said to represent the soul of the witch or wizard that gets sorted into it. The Thunderbird is also said to be one with adventurers.
Here’s the thing: The comparisons between houses in Hogwarts and houses in Ilvermorny are going to come up for multiple reasons, but they’re designed to. According to Rowling’s short story, the founders were obsessed with creating a school that would give students a similar experience to Hogwarts, so the four houses at Ilvermorny are going to match Hogwarts’ originals pretty closely.
Thunderbird’s colors, for example, are gold and red, and the traits that people sorted into Thunderbird are likely to possess — being adventurous, being courageous — are basically the same traits as those in Gryffindor would have.
The Pukwudgie is a short gray animal with comically large ears that is native to America. It’s best known for being fiercely independent, mischievous and not overly friendly to nonmagical creatures. The beast, which is a distant relative of the European goblin (which, some might remember, ran Gringotts in Diagon Alley), uses poisonous arrows to hunt.
The Pukwudgie house was named by James Steward, one of the last founding members to join the pack, and was only crowned as the official symbol of the house because Steward realized the rest of the founders were using magical creatures, and he thought the Pukwudgie was hilarious.
Those who are sorted into Pukwudgie have the same traits as the creature that represents their house: They are wickedly smart and independent. The closest analog at Hogwarts would probably be Ravenclaw.
The Wampus is first introduced as a kitten in Rowling’s story, but later on, is described as panther-like creature that’s incredibly fast and strong. The Wampus is also nearly impossible to kill. The Wampus has the least amount of information written about it in the story, but it is said to represent the body of a wizard or witch, much like how the Thunderbird represents the soul and the Pukwudgie represents the heart.
The Wampus was picked as a symbol for one of the houses by William Boot, another one of the founders, who fell in love with the creature and its abilities. Those sorted into Wampus are probably similar to those sorted into Gryffindor or Ravenclaw.
The Horned Serpent, for those looking to get their Slytherin fix, is the most diabolical of the house mascots. For those of us who grew up with Harry Potter and had a soft spot in our hearts for the Malfoy family or the students who took up residence in the dungeons at Hogwarts, this is the house that you’ll want to try and get yourself sorted into.
Here are the big takeaways from the creature itself: It resembles a snake and, much like Harry Potter with the python at the zoo or the basilisk at the school, our newest hero, Isolt Sayre, can speak to it, meaning that Parselmouths definitely exist in America, too. It’s why she felt a kinship with the snake, and the reason it was chosen as the head of the house. The serpent has a jewel in the middle of its forehead, and the gem was what drew Sayre to the snake in the first place.
Students sorted into Horned Serpent are highly intelligent and scholarly, but also resourceful and look out for one another. It’s very close to how the students of Hogwarts operated, but without that whole “I’ve got to look like I’m the best in front of Lord Voldemort” pressure.
Although this is just a short story for Rowling, there’s enough backstory and material for the author to explore the characters and world further if she wanted to. To find out which house you belong in, you can take the quiz over on Pottermore.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which will certainly make mention of these creatures, will hit theaters Nov. 18.