It's an exciting time to be a Harry Potter fan. Stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is currently in previews in London, with a script novelization set to hit bookshelves on July 31. Meanwhile, hype for this November's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, starring Eddie Redmayne as Hufflepuff hero Newt Scamander, is picking up steam, thanks in part to a series of short stories J.K. Rowling has released in recent months on Pottermore. The world-building entries are part of her "History of Magic in North America" collection, which is a primer on all things magic in America, from wizarding politics to the Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Her most recent story outlined the creation of Ilvermorny and its four houses. (You can read a detailed analysis of Ilvermorny here.) Of course, it didn't take long for fans to compare Ilvermorny's four houses — Thunderbird, Horned Serpent, Pukwudgie, and Wampus — to the four Hogwarts houses — Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin — but Rowling (a Thunderbird herself) quickly shot down comparisons on Twitter Wednesday morning.
It's hard to surmise anything from one short story, and to compare Gryffindors to Thunderbirds would simply be unfair given the breadth of detail Rowling has dedicated to Hogwarts over the past two decades. But here's what we do know about Ilvermorny's houses: Each house is said to embody a core part of the ideal wizard — Thunderbird identifies with the soul of the wizard and favors adventurers; Horned Serpent represents the mind of the wizard and favors scholars; Pukwudgie speaks to a wizard's heart and favors healers; and Wampus is the body of a wizard, favoring warriors.
Since there's no Sorting Hat, it's not uncommon for more than one of the enchanted wooden carvings representing the individual houses to choose a student. If that happens, the choice rests with the student. So, in many ways, the Ilvermorny houses are kind of like hybrids of Hogwarts houses. (Huffleclaws, represent!)