Madam President Seraphina Picquery (fl. 1903 – 1928) was an American witch born in Savannah, Georgia. She served as the President of the Magical Congress of the United States of America from 1920-1928, proving herself to be a strong and capable leader.
During her tenure as President, Gellert Grindelwald tried to incite a war between the magical and non-magical communities. He attempted this by attempting to expose the Wizarding world. Also in 1927, Madam Picquery made the Thunderbird a protected species and later extended the law to include all North American beasts. She ended her term as President in 1928.
Seraphina was born in the city of Savannah, no later than 1903. At the age of eleven she started her education at Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. During her sorting ceremony she was offered a place in all four Ilvermorny houses, becoming one of very few students to be so honoured. She chose Horned Serpent as her house. During that same evening, she was lead into the school's wand selection hall by members of the faculty, wherein she was chosen by a controversial Violetta Beauvais wand, a kind said to "take to Dark magic like a vampire to blood".
A gifted student, she excelled in her schoolwork.
As President of MACUSA
- Porpentina Goldstein: "Ma'am, yesterday a wizard entered New York with a case. This case full of magical creatures and unfortunately some have escaped."
- Seraphina: "He arrived yesterday? You've known for twenty-four hours that an unregistered wizard set magical beasts loose in New York, and you see fit to tell us only when a man has been killed?"
- — Goldstein bringing Newt Scamander's case before Seraphina[src]
She allowed wizarding consumption of alcohol during her mandate despite the establishment of Prohibition by the non-magical government of America. Whilst this raised concerns from some of her cabinet about the conspicuousness of inebriated witches and wizards amongst teetotalling No-Majs, Madam Picquery defended her decision with the argument that living as a witch or wizard in America was hard enough without banning booze. She famously stated to her Chief of Staff that "The Gigglewater is non-negotiable" and the matter was considered closed from that moment onwards.
Moving against Grindelwald
In December 1926, Seraphina was working to contain a series of magical disturbances in New York, and concerned over the incidents in Europe tied to Gellert Grindelwald. When Magizoologist Newton Scamander arrived in New York, his creatures escaped from his case causing a massive threat to the Statute of Secrecy.
On 6 December 1926, Picquery held a meeting with Percival Graves and a few other workers in the Major Investigation Department to discuss the disturbances, she stated that she believed Grindelwald to be responsible. Porpentina Goldstein interrupted the meeting, with Newt and his suitcase. However, when she did not explain herself, Seraphina considered her presence an unnecessary disruption and asked her to leave.
That evening, when the No-Maj Henry Shaw Jnr was murdered by an unknown magical force at a fundraising dinner, the Statute of Secrecy was placed in danger. The International Confederation of Wizards assembled a delegation and held a large meeting at MACUSA's Pentagram Office to discuss the attack, over which Picquery presided. Tina intruded again and explained that Newt had brought a suitcase with creatures and that some of them had escaped.
Seraphina was outraged by the revelation and asked to see Newt. Tina knocked on the suitcase and Newt appeared from it along with Jacob Kowalski. Seraphina and the witches and wizards attending the meeting were upset to hear that Jacob was a No-Maj. Seraphina then showed them an image of Henry Shaw Jnr's body to inquire about what creature could have killed him. Newt then pointed out the unusual injuries of Henry could not be done by any creature, but rather by an Obscurus. Madam Picquery disregarded this assertion, firmly refusing to believe the existence of an Obscurial in America, then had Graves confiscate the suitcase whilst Newt, Tina, and Jacob were placed in restraints and taken to the interrogation cells.
They later escaped with the suitcase, and Seraphina was later reunited with them as they were all seeking the Obscurus of Credence Barebone, who had wreaked havoc on New York, creating a severe breach of the Statute of Secrecy. She and her Aurors had arrived in the New York City Hall subway station in time to find Newt, Tina and Graves trying to talk Credence down. However, her arrival scared Credence who returned to his Obscurus form. Seraphina then commanded the Aurors to destroy Credence.
When they had appeared to have destroyed him, Graves grew angry with her and openly questioned the value of the Statute of Secrecy. Seraphina told him that she believed the law protected them from the No-Maj community, but Percival argued that the law protected No-Majs more than it protected them. Graves responded that he refused to bow down any more, and began to attack the Aurors. Newt used his Swooping Evil to distract him, and unleashed a binding spell. He then revealed that Percival was actually the disguise of Gellert Grindelwald.
Seraphina asked that Grindelwald be taken to MACUSA before she thanked Newt and his friends. She lamented that there was no way they could erase the memories of every No-Maj in New York and that the wizarding community was exposed for good. Newt then told her they could use the venom of the Swooping Evil by asking Frank the Thunderbird he had brought with him to fly across the city and create a storm with it. The rain water became infused with the venom, and successfully erased all the bad memories of every No-Maj New Yorker of having seen magic whilst the Aurors magically repaired all the damage that had been caused, ensuring the Statute of Secrecy remained intact. Seraphina thanked Newt, noting they were in his debt. However, before she left, she told them that she could not make an exception for Jacob and that he must have his memory erased. They agreed and she gave them a moment to say goodbye.
On the 30 May 1927, Madam Picquery allowed the International Confederation of Wizards to extradite Grindelwald to Europe to answer for his crimes committed there, from imprisonment in the MACUSA headquarters in New York. Before his removal from his cell, Picquery informed and warned the German representative Rudolph Spielman of Grindelwald's incredibly manipulative and persuasive ways, and how they had to remove his tongue to prevent him from brainwashing his guards. She also told him that MACUSA would have been more than willing to keep Grindelwald imprisoned in their headquarters. Before Grindelwald was flown off via a Thestral drawn Incarceration Carriage into the night sky, she thanked MACUSA employee Abernathy after he gave Spielman a box seemingly containing Grindelwald's wand (which actually contained the Chupacabra Antonio), before the carriage set flight. However, unbeknownst to her, Abernathy was a follower of Grindelwald, and that he had switched appearances with Grindelwald using Human Transfiguration, which subsequently allowed Grindelwald to kill all the Aurors in the carriage (with only Spielman only just surviving) and escape, where he could continue his sinister campaign across the Wizarding world. She was likely enraged when she learned of his successful escape from her headquarters.
In late 1927, a year after Mr Scamander's visit to New York, Madam Picquery made the Thunderbird a protected species. She later extended the law to include all North American beasts. At her request, Newt Scamander agreed not to include these beasts in the first edition of his book, which otherwise might encourage wizarding tourists to seek out and disturb them.
In the second half of the 20th century or early 21st century, Rita Skeeter wrote in her Newt Scamander biography Man or Monster? The TRUTH about Newt Scamander that Newt left Madam Picquery with a broken heart in 1926, something he later clarified was false.
Seraphina Picquery was a dark-skinned woman with blonde hair that she kept largely hidden under a turban-like headdress. During normal work hours she would wear practical attire, including a long black coat, but during situations of greater importance she would don more elaborate clothing. For example, during her presence at the meeting of the International Confederation delegation, she wore a very fancy dark blue dress robe with the MACUSA symbol down the front in gold, an ornate headdress, rings on every finger and purple nail polish, all of which denoted her authority and power as President.
Personality and traits
Haughty, blunt, and domineering, Seraphina Picquery was implacable in nature, and not someone to let anyone put her in her place. This was evidenced by how she refused to be lectured by Heinrich Eberstadt, who had allowed Gellert Grindelwald to escape him. In addition, Picquery was one of the incredible few Ilvermorny students to ever be offered a place in all four houses by all four carved statue mascots, however Picquery would ultimately select Horned Serpent, indicating a high-level of scholarly intelligence on her part.
While not an intimately friendly person, Picquery was very politically astute and possessed a sort of authoritative charisma. Most people were not happy to cross her and she was rarely light-hearted. While she was grateful for Newt Scamander's assistance in protecting their secrecy, she did not make any exceptions for him in the case of obliviating the No-Maj Jacob Kowalski. Despite her often stubbornness, she could also be highly pragmatic and liberal in her political nature, as she decided to declare the Thunderbird a protected species in 1927 (a law which was eventually extended to all North American magical creatures), showing her ability to change with the times and to pursue progressive political reform when needed, and immense respect for animal life forms.
Magical abilities and skills
- Magical Mastery: Having been elected to the highest office of the Magical Congress of the United States of America as President, it can be widely assumed that Picquery was a highly accomplished and talented witch, who was proficient and knowledgeable in most branches of magic.
- Apparition: Like most accomplished adult witches, Madam Picquery was very capable of apparating successfully at will.
- Wand: Made by the American wandmaker Violetta Beauvais, her wand was made of Swamp mayhaw with a Rougarou hair core. The wand had a very ornate handle composed of a purple jewel enclosed within silver filigree.
- Dress robes: She wore dark blue dress robes with the MACUSA symbol down the front.
Behind the scenes
- Seraphina Picquery is played by Carmen Ejogo in the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. She reprised her role in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
- An early draft of the script indicated that Picquery was from Africa, a detail that costume designer Colleen Atwood used as inspiration for her turban-like headdresses.
- From early drafts of the Harry Potter (book series), J. K. Rowling has stated that the name "Seraphina" has been known, and she wondered when she would ever use it.
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay (First appearance)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (film)
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Mentioned in foreword of 2017 edition)
- LEGO Dimensions
- LEGO Harry Potter
- Wizarding World
Notes and references
- Writing by J.K. Rowling: "1920s Wizarding America" at Wizarding World - Picquery is said to have been President of MACUSA throughout the 1920s so she must have been of age by the beginning of the decade.
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay
- Writing by J.K. Rowling: "1920s Wizarding America" at Wizarding World
- "J.K. Rowling to Reveal History of North American Magic – Beginning Tomorrow!" from MuggleNet
- Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry" at Wizarding World
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - 2017 edition
- Pottermore - Why Carmen Ejogo is 'so in love' with President Seraphina's wand
- LEGO Dimensions
- "Announcement Trailer for 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' to Be Unveiled Worldwide on December 15th" at BusinessWire
- Carmen Ejogo's Instagram account (4 October 2017)
- The Case of Beasts: Explore the Film Wizardry of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, page 79
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (film) (See Blue-ray DVD)
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