Harry Potter and the Curse of the Factual Error: Can You Spot J.K. Rowling's Pottermore Mistake?

JK Rowling
J. K. Rowling attends the press preview of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” at Palace Theatre, London, July 30, 2016. Her very public ire for Trump, Brexit and other right-wing causes has often made her a champion within progressive online communities. Rob Stothard/Getty

J.K. Rowling's fantastical Harry Potter stories have made fans worldwide believe in the seemingly impossible: magic spells, Dementors and even chocolate frogs that come to life when unwrapped. But this inconceivable feat may be a stretch of the imagination too far even for the boy wizard.

Ahead of the release of new spin-off movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them , which follows magical explorer Newt Scamander's (Eddie Redmayne) adventures in America, Rowling has penned short stories over the last year providing some context about the use of magic in the U.S. before it is unleashed. (The new film is set in New York, whereas the Harry Potter movies had a wholly British feel.)

The latest of Rowling's shorts is titled: The Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA), detailing the history of the U.S. equivalent to the Ministry of Magic (which hopefully has more friendly ministers than Dolores Umbridge), and was published last Thursday. But it seems American history may not be the author's strong suit as many readers noted a factual error in the story.

Pottermore mistake

Rowling says that the MACUSA, the governing body of wizards and witches in America, had relocated several times before eventually settling in Washington, D.C., where a famous meeting was held about the future of the U.S. magical community. "It was in Washington that President Elizabeth McGilliguddy presided over the infamous 'Country or Kind?' debate of 1777," writes Rowling.

However, Washington, D.C. was not created until 1790—some 13 years after the events Rowling describes.

One fan wrote:

Perhaps Rowling means to suggest the U.S. wizarding body found the land before it became the country's political heart? Perhaps they moved in the shadows of Washington, undetected by their muggle co-habitants, and even used their witchcraft to influence the politics of America? In which case, one can only assume that dark magic is at work in the ongoing presidential election. All of a sudden those Voldetrump comparisons do not seem so far-fetched.

Harry Potter and the Curse of the Factual Error: Can You Spot J.K. Rowling's Pottermore Mistake? | Culture