It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Harry Potter. I have all the books in multiple forms, the movies in standard, extended, and deluxe editions, a few wands, a set of robes (for when such garb is necessary, you know), and perhaps nerdiest of all, a tattoo of the dark mark on my left forearm. I am a Potterhead, no doubt about it.
For those of you who don’t know, Pottermore is Jo Rowling’s (and I do mean “Jo”, not J.K… Google it) way of keeping her fans from suffering post-Potter depression. It is, in a way, a social networking platform for fans, and a way to relive the books that we all know and love. Pottermore is set to open to the public next month, so imagine my surprise when I got an email this morning admitting me into the website as a beta tester.
At first glance, Pottermore is beautiful. The illustrations are whimsical and engaging, and the way the story is told is fresh and entirely unfamiliar to me. At second glance, it’s still beautiful. This website is amazing.
In my journey through the first chapters of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, I have found that Pottermore retells the Potter series through images, snippits of information, and Jo Rowling’s notes on the series. She gives the reader depth into the books that has never been released before. I have spent hours getting involved in the stories like never before. Mind you, I haven’t been able to bring myself to read the first few Harry Potter books since I was sixteen. There’s a childishness to Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets that I have a hard time getting through. Pottermore, however, has made the story interesting to me again, which is difficult for someone who read the books at least twenty times when he was a teenager.
For those initiated, Pottermore will encapsulate you and keep you interested for hours. For those uninitiated, you may as well move along because there’s not much for you here. For me, I have the feeling that Pottermore will keep me engaged for many hours.
What this is is more than just a way to sell e-books though, it’s a sign of Rowling’s respect for her fans. She has given Potterheads a gift that no other author has matched. She has given us her notes, her thoughts, and a deeper look into a world that not even the movies reached. Her insatiable fans may, after years of waiting, have all the answers they ever wanted, even after the series came to a close.
In exploring Pottermore thus far, I have purchased (you’re given 500 galleons to start) my wand, a handsome 14.5 inch elm wand with a unicorn hair core,and been sorted into Ravenclaw after some prodding by the sorting hat. As you continue through the site you collect items to be stored in your trunk, such as chocolate frog cards, Bertie Bott’s every flavour beans, textbooks, notes, etc. I even acquired a tawny owl, which serves as an inbox.
Once sorted you have no option to retake the test, and you are constantly urged to answer as honestly as possible. Following a detailed introduction into your house, in which I was told that Ravenclaw houses the best and brightest witches and wizards (a fact that I may be overly proud of) you are invited into the common room.
Rather like a forum, the commonroom is a space for other individuals sorted into your house to congregate. One of the more interesting parts of this website is that everything you do is divided into chapters. You get to experience the events in the order they happen in the books, as they happen to our lovable titular character, Harry Potter.
At this point, I am thoroughly engaged.
When general registration opens I highly recommend Potter fans sign up. You won’t be disappointed.Pottermore will be open to the general public starting in October. To keep abreast of Pottermore news check out the insider blog.