Move over Slytherin, this school makes you look positively virtuous!
If one reads about the medieval idea of demons, they often are described as teaching things we don’t ordinarily associate with demons, such as liberal arts.
This was because a university education was hard to come by, so scholars were tempted to take the easy route. What was the easy route?
Legends had it that the powers of darkness hung around the universities looking for students who wanted to study forbidden subjects. These students would be tempted to come to a school that taught other subjects.
However, this school had an unusually tricky pricing schedule.
As I am on the subject of thunderstorms, I may as well here mention the Scholomance, or school supposed to exist somewhere in the heart of the mountains, and where all the secrets of nature, the language of animals, and all imaginable magic spells and charms are taught by the devil in person. Only ten scholars are admitted at a time, and when the course of learning has expired and nine of them are released to return to their homes, the tenth scholar is detained by the devil as payment, and mounted upon an zmeju (dragon) he becomes henceforward the devil’s aide-de-camp, and assists him in ‘making the weather,’ that is, in preparing thunderbolts. A small lake, immeasurably deep, lying high up among the mountains south of Hermanstadt [sic], is supposed to be the cauldron where is brewed the thunder, and in fair weather the dragon sleeps beneath the waters.
The Nineteenth Century by Emily Gerald (1885)
So you get to spend time studying by a lake in the lovely mountains south of the city of Hermannstadt, in Transylvania (now Romania), and if you win the tuition lottery, you get to leave again. Otherwise, you take up permanent residence there, stirring up trouble as a servant of Prince of Darkness.
For more information about Scholomance and one of its most famous pupils, see Denton Salle’s article on the topic.
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