"The Native American wizarding community was particularly gifted in animal and plant magic, its potions in particular being of a sophistication beyond much that was known in Europe."
That's what J.K. Rowling writes in the first of a four-part essay series, collectively called History of Magic in North America. "The most glaring difference between magic practised by Native Americans and the wizards of Europe was the absence of a wand."
It's just one tidbit from the essay titled "Fourteenth Century — Seventeenth Century" and published on the Pottermore website on Tuesday.
The writing is full of details to whet fans' appetites ahead of the November release of the Harry Potter spinoff film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Set in New York City in 1926, the movie documents the life of wizard Newt Scamander (played by Eddie Redmayne), who wrote the "Fantastic Beasts" textbook featured in the Harry Potter series.
For example, Rowling writes that "while every nationality has its own term for 'Muggle,' the American community uses the slang term No-Maj, short for 'No Magic.' " The essay also explains the "legend of the Native American 'skin walker' – an evil witch or wizard that can transform into an animal at will."
The remaining three parts will publish, one per day through Friday, at 8 a.m. ET on Pottermore. The series will cover magic-related topics in North America, such as the Salem witch trials and other native American legends.