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"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."
— Rionach's kindness towards Muggles[src]

Rionach Sayre (née Gaunt) (d. 1608) was an Irish pure-blood witch. She was the wife of William Sayre and the mother of Isolt Sayre. Isolt was one of the founders of Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Rionach was not a pure-blood supremacist like the rest of her family, and was sympathetic towards her Muggle neighbours and because of this she was murdered by her prejudiced sister Gormlaith Gaunt.[2]


Rionach was a descendant of Salazar Slytherin, one of the founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She was born into the Irish branch of the Gaunt family. By 1603, she had married a pure-blood wizard, William Sayre, and was living at Ilvermorny Cottage in Coomloughra, County Kerry, Ireland. Their daughter, Isolt, was born that year.[2]

She and her husband loved their daughter very much and were quietly helpful to their Muggle neighbours, producing magical cures for humans and livestock alike, as Rionach did not seem to share her family's belief in their pure-blood supremacy.[2]

However, when Isolt was five, William and Rionach were killed in a fire started by her estranged and deranged sister, Gormlaith Gaunt, a malevolent Dark witch who "saved" Isolt with the intention of raising her with a belief in pure-blood superiority. Isolt eventually fled Gormlaith and moved to the New World where she befriended a Pukwudgie who she named William in honour of her father. Rionach had two granddaughters through Isolt's marriage to James Steward, Martha and Rionach Steward, as well as two grandsons by adoption, Chadwick and Webster Boot.[2]

Personality and traits

Rionach was evidently a very kind-hearted and compassionate witch, who loved her daughter and husband dearly, and cared immensely for the well-being of others. She was known to be very tolerant towards Muggles, as she often helped them using magic, showing that despite being a pure-blood, she viewed them as equals to Wizardkind, and was not a pure-blood supremacist, unlike many others, such as her sister.[2]

Magical abilities and skills

  • Healing magic: Rionach was proficient in the art of medical magic, as she was capable of producing magical cures for the illnesses and health conditions of her Muggles neighbours and livestock alive, meaning with healing spells, potions and other magical remedies.[2]


  • Rionach is a variant of the name Ríoghnach, derived from Irish ríoghan meaning "queen". In Irish legend this was a wife of the Irish king Niall.
  • Sayre is a derivative of the pre-medieval personal name Saher or Seir, which itself is a short form of the Norman name Sigiheri introduced into England after the Conquest of 1066, and that can be translated as "victory, army". It can also be originated from the medieval occupational name for a wood cutter, sayhare, although the usual surname is now Sawyer. The third orgin is from Middle English say(en) or seycen, to say, and literally means "professional reciter". The fourth origin is from the medieval occupation of assaying metals or tasting food, derived from the Old French essay, meaning "trial, test".


Notes and references

  1. An age of consent statute first appeared in secular law in 1275 in England as part of the rape law. The statute, Westminster 1, made it a misdemeanour to "ravish" a "maiden within age," whether with or without her consent. The phrase "within age" was interpreted by jurist Sir Edward Coke as meaning the age of marriage, which at the time was 12 years of age. A 1576 law making it a felony to "unlawfully and carnally know and abuse any woman child under the age of 10 years" was generally interpreted as creating more severe punishments when girls were under 10 years old while retaining the lesser punishment for acts with 10- and 11-year-old girls. Jurist Sir Matthew Hale argued that the age of consent applied to 10- and 11-year-old girls, but most of England's North American colonies adopted the younger age. Per this information, Rionach could have been as young as twelve - the "age of consent" per the law in 1576 - at the time her daughter was born in 1603.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry" at Wizarding World