Ilvermorny school-founder Isolt Sayre had a complicated family, as she would soon discover. Now it’s your turn to delve into her family history.
Salazar Slytherin was one of the four founders of Hogwarts. Unlike the other founders, Salazar believed the school should only teach pure-blood witches and wizards, which led to him building the Chamber of Secrets. The Chamber held a great snake, the Basilisk, that killed Muggle-born students. Centuries later, Salazar’s reputation lived on through certain Slytherins, and his ‘heir’, Tom Riddle, would open the Chamber twice.
Morrigan was an early ancestor of William Sayre, Isolt’s father, and she was a celebrated Irish witch. An Animagus, Morrigan famously had the ability to turn into a crow. William used the name as a nickname for his daughter, and eventually word came back to Ireland that the headmistress of Ilvermorny was also known as ‘Morrigan’.
Corvinus Gaunt was a Hogwarts student who knew about the Chamber of Secrets. As a direct descendent of Slytherin, he made sure that the secret trapdoor to the Chamber was protected when Hogwarts adopted elaborate Muggle-style plumbing in the eighteenth century.
Marvolo was the unpleasant father of Merope and Morfin Gaunt, and a descendant of Salazar Slytherin. Left in poverty by his careless ancestors, Marvolo had a terrible temper, eventually ending up in Azkaban for six months after attacking Ministry workers. Like his relative Gormlaith, Marvolo was obsessed with pure-blood pride. He could also speak Parseltongue, along with his two children.
Merope was the troubled daughter of Marvolo Gaunt, who was regularly beaten and mistreated. Often called a ‘Squib’, Merope did have some magical abilities, which she used to make a Muggle, Tom Riddle, fall in love with her. Unfortunately, the feeling wasn’t mutual, and Tom ran away the second the magic wore off. Merope was left to give birth to their son, also called Tom, and soon afterwards, died tragically.
Morfin lived with his family in a shack near the village of Little Hangleton. Morfin was as dim and violent as his father, and with an established record of Muggle attacks he was sentenced to three years in Azkaban for hurting a Ministry worker. He would later go to Azkaban again for life, after Lord Voldemort framed him for the murder of the Riddle family. He died before Albus Dumbledore had a chance to clear his name.
Tom Riddle Sr
Tom Riddle Sr. was the unfortunate rich Muggle who lived near the Gaunts in Little Hangleton. His handsome appearance attracted poor Merope Gaunt, who used magic to lure him into a relationship. Once Merope’s magic was lifted, Tom fled, leaving Merope pregnant with their son. That son would eventually grow up to hate Muggles – and he would murder Tom Sr, as well as the rest of the Riddle line.
Tom Riddle Jr
Tom Riddle Jr, a product of his parents’ magically-influenced romance, grew up a lonely child in a Muggle orphanage. He discovered his powers at an early age and later became one of the Darkest wizards of the wizarding world: Lord Voldemort. Disgusted by his half-blood heritage, Tom despised Muggles and Muggle-borns. He was certainly a loyal descendent to the similarly hateful Salazar Slytherin.
William was Isolt’s loving father, and a direct descendent of the famous Irish witch Morrigan. William even nicknamed his daughter Morrigan, after his ancestor. Tragically, William died in a fire instigated by his wife’s vicious sister, Gormlaith. Isolt would later honour her father’s memory by naming her Pukwudgie friend ‘William’.
Rionach was Isolt’s mother, who was eventually killed in a fire by her estranged sister, Gormlaith. Before her death, Rionach would help Muggle neighbours with magical cures for humans and livestock, alongside her husband William. Isolt would honour her late mother by naming her daughter after her.
A pure-blood fanatic, Gormlaith Gaunt was obsessed with the idea of her niece, Isolt, being brought up the ‘right way’. To do this, Gormlaith torched Isolt’s family home, crushed her dreams of going to Hogwarts, and forced her to live a sheltered life at her abode in Hag’s Glen. A direct descendent of Salazar Slytherin, Gormlaith shared his vision of an all pure-blood wizarding world. All in all, she wasn’t very nice.
Isolt was born in Coomloughra, County Kerry in Ireland around 1603, and for a while, had a happy childhood. However, when her twisted aunt Gormlaith torched her family home, killing both her parents, Isolt’s life changed forever, and she was forced to live with Gormlaith. Eventually Isolt went on a journey of discovery to America, ridding herself of her brutal past, and founded the American wizarding school, Ilvermorny.
James Steward was a stonemason from England who had also journeyed to America. He fell in love with Isolt Sayre after meeting her in the forest, where he eventually helped her to form her life in America with their two adopted sons, Chadwick and Webster Boot. Despite being a No-Maj, he would go on to found the wizarding school Ilvermorny, along with his wife Isolt.
Chadwick and his younger brother Webster were two lost boys adopted by Isolt Sayre after their parents were killed by a Hidebehind. Chadwick grew up to be a talented and well-travelled wizard, who eventually authored Chadwick’s Charms Vols I – VII.
Webster and his older brother Chadwick were orphaned at an early age when their parents were killed after their voyage to America. After being adopted by Ilvermorny school founder Isolt, Webster grew up to be an ‘Auror for hire’. After tracking down a Dark wizard in London, Webster fell in love with a witch who worked at the Ministry of Magic, leading his descendants to be based in Britain, eventually attending Hogwarts.
Rionach was one of Isolt Sayre and James Steward’s twin daughters. Named after Isolt’s late mother, Rionach grew up to teach Defence Against the Dark Arts at Ilvermorny school. Rionach never married or had children, as rumour had it that she had the ability to speak Parseltongue like her ancestor Salazar Slytherin, and did not want his powers to be passed down any further.
Martha was one of Isolt Sayre and James Steward’s twin daughters, who grew up to be a Squib. Growing up at a wizarding school was hard for Martha, even though she was deeply loved by her parents. She would eventually marry the non-magical brother of a friend from a Pocomtuc tribe, and live her life as a No-Maj.