So… I’ve just read on Pottermore that there are eleven schools of magic in all of the world.
Okay no, there can’t just be ELEVEN magical schools. I know we all have our headcanons and all of them are secondary next to JKR’s actual world, but eleven? She did admit to not being good with numbers and I empathize with that but… But hey. Let’s look at this, let’s humour this statement that there are just eleven wizarding schools in all of the world - how could that be?
Well, before Hogwarts and other magical schools, magical spells and practices, potion making and all that, were passed on from older wizards and witches to younger ones. There were primitive attempts at organizing education and of course this method must’ve differed highly depending on the educators’ knowledge. I bet there are several of these smaller tutor-based schools/groups that don’t “count” as proper magical schools like Hogwarts, Beauxbatons or Durmstrang but are in action nonetheless…
On that note, let’s just take a look at existing schools we do definitely know of in the Potterverse: Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, Durmstrang, the Salem Witches Institute (which is a girls only school so there has to be one that allows boys too or boys only somewhere in North America), there’s a school in Brazil and there was word about one in Japan. We also know of Scholomance, it’s apparently a fascinating magical school in the Carpathians (that could easily fit into the world of HP, it’s really quite cool and very plausible and historically mentioned which makes it all the more awesome so let’s say there’s this one too). JKR, i was sad to hear, said Hogwarts doesn’t do exchange students (are there exceptions?) but there are English, Welsh, Scottish, Irish students (even though there is or was an Irish school but very small so you’re better off going to Hogwarts), we know BB allows French, Spanish, Portugese, Belgian, Dutch, Luxemburgian kids*, and Durmstrang is somewhere very north in Europe so I guess Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, German (?) Baltic states(?) students are allowed but Krum was Bulgarian and Draco was always going on about how he almost attended it instead of Hogwarts so I guess Durmstrang is probs more about the policy/mentality/reputation not the geography when if comes to students.*
That’s just seven schools. 4 of which are in Europe. We’re really left with four more for the whole world??? I doubt it but let’s say that’s true, that there really are just four big magical schools elsewhere.
- There has to be an English-speaking school where American and Canadian boys can go. Either an all boys school (having Dalton feels right now :D) or a co-ed school (I’d actually place this somewhere deep in the Canadian woodlands or on a remote island - sorry Californian witches and wizards for the cold but there’s the smallest chance of silly muggles wondering around…) ON TOP OF THAT, and this is very important, I feel like if there is any American education of magic, they absolutely CANNOT leave out Native American tradition so there’s already at least 3 schools in North America. There can’t be just two left for the whole world??? :(
- Magical schooling probs varies from culture to culture. I guess there are a shitton of rural areas where tribal culture is still alive, so I guess when a magical kid pops up, I imagine it’s more like a tutor-like education, personal, from master to student, like shamans take a magical kid under their wing and teach them the trade…? Where to find magical plants in the jungle and how to keep cool and hydrated in the desert? :) I don’t know, but then it’s not a school-based education so we can’t talk about one big school of course. Fine. Think rural Africa, rural Asia, Oceania, anywhere where population is scarce. That said, if it weren’t for the eleven schools rule, I’d definitely think that, like, for example Oceania had schools on remote islands nobody goes to where kids from all sorts of other islands can go to to study at school (accessible by portkeys or a magical ship). In my head it was always one English-speaking school and one French, but correct me if you’d use other common languages.* And I mean, come on, it’s so shitty to think that there can’t be more than one maybe two magical schools for all of the whole African continent??? Like if I were a muggle-born kid from the very urban Cape Town I’d definitely feel weird seeking out a shaman to teach me where I can find potion ingredients in the savanna. I’d first ask how I can brew up a good cauldron of magical sunmilk and how I could erect a sanitary toilet and magic up tampons out of nothing instead of cooking magical snake venom all day. The whole idea that there are barely any schools in the whole continent would be very disappointing. just think of flying carpets, that’s just one of the million magical awesome things that we barely heard of in the books.
- There must be a Spanish-speaking school in Latin America. The Brazilian school sounds great but they speak Portugese* and also I just can’t accept there’s just one school for ALL of those areas while Hogwarts is basically just for the British Isles. Like I’ve always felt there’s an institution-like school in the middle of a very uninhabited part of Mexico but also places where you can specifically study about traditional Aztec magic. Same for Inca magic in Peru, or don’t forget the Maya civilization. (The choice for this year’s Quidditch World Cup site, Patagonia, can’t have been a coincidence either!)
- No really, don’t tell me there’s one school for all of Africa because last time I checked my map there were a shitton of countries with their own respective cultures and history and do you think Egyptian magic is the same as Kenyan magic? I HIGHLY DOUBT IT. (omg tho imagine the awesomeness of an Egyptian magical school, I’d read 7 more books on that any day)
- And we haven’t even covered the Middle East? India? Mongolia? China? Thailand? Nepal? Russia? Do you think they go to one unified school? NO. NO. JUST NO. (And how big IS Durmstrang if we said ALL Russian witches and wizards attend there? And really what language are ther classes in??? see the next part:)
*AND NOW COMES THE BIG BIG BIG ASTERISK PART:
I know magical kids are supposed to be more resilient to common illness and they are generally better at survival and recovery but don’t tell me an average, clueless little kid like Harry would do well spending the first eleven years of their life in a certain culture, speaking a certain language and then BAM new country, new language, classes, homework, exams. This is all sorts of problematic. While I get how a Haitian kid could be sent to study at Beauxbatons with not many difficulties other than possible homesickness, HOW does the whole thing work when 11-year olds are put in one school from Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, and The Netherlands??? HOW. Not every family is multilingual, and judging by a lot of characters in HP, just because someone’s magical, they aren’t magically (pun, yeah) superintelligent. I doubt there are magical translation spells or devices, and if there are, it sounds like INCREDIBLY complicated magic, one that an eleven-year-old certainly couldn’t do, first day of school. Kids do pick up languages easier but it causes all sorts of learning difficulties if the kid does NOT speak a language or does not speak it well and then suddenly all their classes are in that language. If there really are only eleven magical schools in all of the world and not just in Europe, one solution could be a preparational year to learn the language, before they turn eleven and go to school, right? But muggle-born kids may only learn about their magic and the whole wizarding world when they get their acceptence letters, so… what then?
I hate to be pedantic about Harry Potter, I really do. Nothing irks me more than when people try to be dicks and find flaws in it just so, but ARGH this truly is so problematic. Just like, even though I live in Eastern Europe, I wouldn’t have been able to learn shit if I had had to attend a Slavic language school when I was 11. (In fact, this is a huge problem in Transylvania where Hungarian kids aren’t allowed to go to Hungarian schools, like it’s a huge problem and I don’t know I guess I just expected the magical world to be better than that.)
I have all these worked out plans and stuff about where magical schools might be, my notebooks are full of sketches of buildings, like imagine a Greek magical school on top of the Meteoras, or a vast Baroque palace in Russia, or a German-Austrian-Swiss school hidden in the Alps, a Croatian-Bosnian-Serbian school by a large waterfall… and that’s just Europe. I mean come on, for all we know the Ayers Rock could be the entrance of a magical school or I mean how fun would it be to say the Bermuda Triangle have a mishap of magical curse on them and the muggles have been trying to scientifically explain it but really it’s just a spell gone bad? :) Ahh the world is full of magical possibilities, so the whole eleven schools thing?