New (less culturally appropriative) Ilvermonry House suggestions
So I’m not sure if anyone’s done this yet (they probably have and I don’t feel like scouring the internet to find out), but I thought I might make some suggestions for alternate house names and mascots for the Ilvermorny school in America. As an American, I was really excited to have an American side added to the wizarding world, yet I, like many, was incredibly dissapointed with J.K. Rowling’s insensitivity to Native American culture (and most of the sociopolitical, cultural, racial and historical nuances of this country, but that’s another post). When first announced, I was inclined to reject them and ignore Ilvermorny altogther. But as time went on, I really did begin to like the idea of the school, and I have lots of ideas for American wizard characters and stories set at Ilvermorny that I want to write. I also like what each house represents, because I think it’s a really interesting way to divide them. It’s just, the mascots and names are so…. just no. I don’t want to perpetuate and normalize cultural appropriation, and so I have decided that, for the purpose of my own understanding of Ilvermorny (and in my eventual fanfic) I will be swapping out the creatures and beings from different Native American cultures for literal animals that are native(ish…) to the Massachusetts area. The names are still preliminary, but I think the new mascots capture the spirits of each house.
So, without further ado, I present my version of the four Ilvermonry Houses:
Represents a wizard’s body; favors warriors
Mascot: The bear
At first, I intended the former Wampus house to be represented by the terrifying and fierce grizzly bear, but grizzlies are native to the western part of the continent, and the founders of Ilvermorny would not have encountered them. And so, I decided to go with a black bear, technically, but I’m sure modern members of the house also identify with grizzlies. And polar bears. And possibly pandas, although those aren’t technically bears. “Ursares” is based on the Latin word for bear, Ursa, but made to sound cool and more official. I originally considered making the mascot of this house a Puma, but decided that that was too easy. And also, bears are cute and scary and great.
So, go Bears!
Represents a wizard’s heart; favors Healers
Mascot: The Bee
This one stumped me for a while, but I eventually decided that the former Pukwudgie house would be best represented by a honey bee. Honey has healing properties, so the Healer connection works there. Also, bees are generally nice and won’t harm you until you try to harm them; at that point, they will put their very lives into the wounds they inflict, which to me captures the idea of the “wizard’s heart”. Though they be but small, they be fierce :) Once again, “Apidae” is taken from the Latin word for bee.
Represents a wizard’s mind; favors Scholars
Mascot: The Great Blue Heron
[I wanted a more majestic gif for this, but I couldn’t find one. Oh well]
While I originally was trying to think of some reptile that would capture the spirit of the former Horned Serpent house, I eventually concluded that the North American animal which best captures the aloof, mysterious nature of this house is the Great Blue Heron. If you’ve ever seen one in person, you will understand. They’re just so… majestic. They look like dinosaurs when they fly, and they’re very elusive. They seem like they would be wise. As far as the name goes, “Ardea” is the Latin world for Heron. However, I didn’t want two houses to start with the same letter and I was pretty set on Apidae, and so I added the prefix “Magna” which means great, because it’s the “great” blue heron, and also this house seems the most pretentious :) (this is my house, so I am allowed to say that). This is the name that I’m the least sure of, because it still sounds kind of weird to me, but it’s what I’ve got for now.
So, go Herons!
Represents a wizard’s soul; favors Adventurers
Mascot: The Rattlesnake
Once I became sold on the Heron as a mascot, I decided not to go with another bird for the former Thunderbird house. I was drawing a blank, until one of my friends suggested the rattlesnake, and I think it fits. I associate them with the woods and with the desert, which are far out places where one might go adventuring. Also, they’re known for their sound, which is also an association with Thunderbirds, so that sort of works. There’s danger and venom here. “Crotalus” is their Latin genus name, and I think it works as a House name without any modification.
I do like this mascot, but I would be open to other ideas for this house too. I think I considered wolf, coyote, different kinds of raptors such as hawks or vultures, and maybe an albatross? But again, I wanted four very different animals, and I already have a four-legged mammal and a bird house, and I can’t think of any other reptiles that are native to the Massachusetts area and that capture the spirit of Thunderbird (turtles don’t seem to work).
So (for now), go Rattlesnakes!