I was a “late addition” to the Harry Potter fan club. I started reading them in 7th grade, and ever since, I’ve been hooked. Like millions of other people, I was sad to go and sit in the movie theater to watch Harry, Ron and Hermione battle it out with Deatheaters for the last time on the big screen. I, like many others, searched the Internet endlessly after the last movie aired, hoping for some kind of sign that J.K. Rowling would continue to expand the world of Hogwarts. My wish was granted on July 31 of last year, when the word “Pottermore” appeared as a trending topic on Twitter.
I discovered that it was a new website, created by J.K. Rowling and Sony. It was the beginning of a new interactive way to read the Harry Potter books, with new content written by J.K. Rowling. After reading up on it, I found that there would be 1,000,000 invitations sent to those lucky enough to find “The Magical Quill” on various Harry Potter related websites from July 31st to August 6th. I made it my goal that summer to be one of those million people. Since the book series was created in Great Britain, naturally the time frame at which the “Magical Quill” location clues were released was in Great Britain Time, which meant I had to wake up at 3 am to get onto the site. It wasn’t easy. I stared at a refresher page for about an hour before I was finally given the clue to the “Magical Quill” location.
I was one of the lucky million who got early access to Pottermore. I received an email containing my Hogwarts letter in August, that contained my username and password, and I immediately signed on and became a new member. Just like the book series, as a new student I received a wand and I was sorted into one of the four houses (Gryffindor, Ravenclaw Hufflepuff and Slytherin). To do so, I was prompted with a quick multiple-choice quiz. Every new member is given this quiz. Afterwards, I was brought to the main page. I was stunned by the beautiful graphics. During the beta test, there was no sound on the site, but now there is really nice background music, similar to what was heard in on the movie soundtrack.
The thing I was most excited about was the new interactive reading. J.K Rowling partnered with SONY to create amazing graphics and illustrations of her first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Each new page gives a summary of a portion of the book, as well as an interactive graphic that moves things and has hidden objects for you to find. Included in this interactive storybook is brand new content from JK Rowling about various characters. It was really interesting to read more about characters and the origins of how the world of Harry Potter was created.
Along with many other similarities, the site also has different ways for users to earn house points, which are counted in the “great hall” section of the site. There is also a common room, where users in the same house can comment and share their own thoughts about Pottermore. This is a great place to show off your house pride! House points can be earned by making potions and participating in Wizard Duels.
While you read, you will find different objects that can be used in the other parts of the site, like potion making, where users are able to brew different potions, like a Cure for Boils or a sleeping draft. These potions are made in real time, which can be a little bit time consuming, as some potions take up to an hour or more to create. It doesn’t take that much time to add the ingredients, but waiting for the potion to be complete can take a while. While you’re waiting, you can go over to the Wizard Duel section, and compete against other users to win house points. The Wizard duel system is still a little bit glitch, and there has been some times where the site has had to close it due to maintenance. As of right now, the object is to type a specific letter of the spell that you are trying to cast when the letter lights up on the screen. The more accurate you are, the more points you can earn. The person with the most points earns 5 house points for their house.
You should also check out is Diagon Alley, where you can purchase all of the ingredients that you need for potion making. This store uses the same currency, (Galleons) as the Harry Potter books. You can earn Galleons randomly when reading the interactive stories.
Another fantastic addition to Pottermore is the release of eBooks, which can be purchased and downloaded onto any eReader device (Kindle, Nook). Pottermore is the first place to have Harry Potter eBooks, and I was very happy to finally have the completed collection on my Kindle.
The website is now open to everyone, and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is the only interactive story that is available on Pottermore, but there are rumors that Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the second book, is set to be released soon!