The Scholomance

In Transylvania (which is an excellent start to any story), there is a legend about a school of black magic run by Satan, called The Scholomance.

That sentence alone raises SO MANY QUESTIONS:
1.) Is it a state-run or private school?
2.) Is Satan the sole teacher, headmaster, or just the founder? If either of the latter, whom does he employ? That's got to be an amazing job interview process.
3.) What's the tuition like?
4.) Who attends this school? Local children? Wizards? IS THIS A SINISTER HOGWARTS?

Side note–Shit, you guys, Voldemort totally spends time in Romania in Harry Potter. Is this really his school? Or did he maybe just attend to brush up on his evil skills? Like community college for dark wizards?

Emily Gerard, who was a 19th-century author, traveled to Transylvania and published a collection of folktales, this being among them. Her collection famously had influence on Bram Stoker in his composition of Dracula.

Gerard writes, "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 [ah, well that answers that question. That's a LOT of responsibility. I'm teaching 4 classes this semester and it's wearing me out. I can't imagine also being the Prince of Darkness. Sounds like it's a position with a lot of paperwork].

"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 Sibiu [sic], is supposed to be the cauldron where is brewed the thunder, and in fair weather the dragon sleeps beneath the waters."

Ahh, so this explains the tuition: perpetual servitude. If I'm being honest (and checking my bank account), this sounds pretty standard.

Someone, go read Dracula and get me any and all references to this text!

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2 Responses to The Scholomance

  1. hearts_blood says:

    Dude. This is AWESOME. 😀 Totally putting this in a novel.

    …That said, Emily Gerard was notorious for making stuff up. Like the word “nosferatu,” which no one is quite sure how she came up with. So I’d dearly love to see where she got the material for this entry.


  2. pcb says:

    Two direct references only,
    Chapter 18, Mina Harker’s journal:
    “I have asked my friend Arminius, of Buda-Pesth University, to make his record; and, from all the means that are, he tell me of what he has been. He must, indeed, have been that Voivode Dracula who won his name against the Turk, over the great river on the very frontier of Turkey-land. If it be so, then was he no common man; for in that time, and for centuries after, he was spoken of as the cleverest and the most cunning, as well as the bravest of the sons of the ‘land beyond the forest.’ That mighty brain and that iron resolution went with him to his grave, and are even now arrayed against us. The Draculas were, says Arminius, a great and noble race, though now and again were scions who were held by their coevals to have had dealings with the Evil One. They learned his secrets in the Scholomance, amongst the mountains over Lake Hermanstadt, where the devil claims the tenth scholar as his due. In the records are such words as ‘stregoica’—witch, ‘ordog,’ and ‘pokol’—Satan and hell; and in one manuscript this very Dracula is spoken of as ‘wampyr,’ which we all understand too well. There have been from the loins of this very one great men and good women, and their graves make sacred the earth where alone this foulness can dwell. For it is not the least of its terrors that this evil thing is rooted deep in all good; in soil barren of holy memories it cannot rest.”
    Chapter 23, Dr. Seward’s diary:
    “I have studied, over and over again since they came into my hands, all the papers relating to this monster; and the more I have studied, the greater seems the necessity to utterly stamp him out. All through there are signs of his advance; not only of his power, but of his knowledge of it. As I learned from the researches of my friend Arminus of Buda-Pesth, he was in life a most wonderful man. Soldier, statesman, and alchemist—which latter was the highest development of the science-knowledge of his time. He had a mighty brain, a learning beyond compare, and a heart that knew no fear and no remorse. He dared even to attend the Scholomance, and there was no branch of knowledge of his time that he did not essay. Well, in him the brain powers survived the physical death; though it would seem that memory was not all complete. In some faculties of mind he has been, and is, only a child; but he is growing, and some things that were childish at the first are now of man’s stature. He is experimenting, and doing it well; and if it had not been that we have crossed his path he would be yet—he may be yet if we fail—the father or furtherer of a new order of beings, whose road must lead through Death, not Life.”

    *heads off to the bookcase because it’s more fun than journalism*


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