On the heels of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them release next month, J.K. Rowling has released more information on the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA), no doubt to prep us on what we shall see in the wizarding world of America in the 1920s.
From what’s been released on Pottermore, it’s clear that MACUSA had a very rocky start. Most likely due to the fact that it was established shortly after the Salem Witch Trials in the late 1600s. There were disagreements as to where they should be located (bouncing around various New England cities) and how involved or uninvolved wizards should be in their magic and non-magic communities respectively.
“MACUSA’s primary aim was to rid the continent of Scourers, corrupt wizards who had hunted their fellow magical beings for personal gain. MACUSA’s second great law enforcement challenge was the number of wizarding criminals who had fled to America from Europe and beyond, precisely because of the lack of organised law enforcement such as existed in their own countries.”
The American magical community struggled particularly when issues with Britain arose during the American Revolution. The question as to whether their alliance should be with their countrymen or their fellow wizarding community across the pond was heavily debated but ultimately settled when the Ministry of Magic in London declared they would be “sitting this one out”. Ouch.
While the reading was of course interesting, I can’t help but feel that it is much more turbulent than the formation of the Ministry of Magic in London. Maybe its because the United States itself had such a rocky start? Either way, it just made me feel weird. One example? There was no Azkaban equivalent in America; the foulest American magical criminals were simply executed rather than jailed. Uh, what? I suppose Rowling is trying to go off cultural difference between the countries and of course we can’t all be painted in the same light, but their are some stark differences here which I don’t particularly like.
I’m hoping that MACUSA’s portrayal in Fantastic Beasts clears this up, both in the film and screenplay versions of the story.