After the release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II,” many Potter fans around the world wondered if that would be the end of Harry Potter-mania. Yet J. K. Rowling, the author of the beloved series, has answered those fears with a new way for fans to interact with her work.
On June 23,through her YouTube channel, Rowling announced her newest project to revolve around Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, entitled Pottermore. Pottermore is a free, interactive website that allows fans of the series to explore each Harry Potter book by going through individual chapters and clicking on objects to unlock new background information on characters, places and other facets of the Harry Potter world.
Though Pottermore won’t be available to the public until October of this year, Rowling created a seven-day challenge for fans that began July 31 -Potter and Rowling’s birthday – to allow some fans early access to a test version of the site. The challenge ended August 6, leaving everyone else to wait until October of this year.
During that week, there were seven chances for a total of one million people to have an early peek at Pottermore. Clues – questions based on the seven books – appeared on the Pottermore website at any time of the day, with many in the first few days going up in the early hours of the morning in the States. Those who answered the clue correctly had to wait for their “welcome” email before their account was activated to go on the site.
Each clue posed a specific question from the Harry Potterseries. For example, the second day’s clue was, “What is the number of the chapter in which Professor McGonagall cancels the Quidditch match between Gryffindor and Hufflepuff? Multiply this number by 42.” Once you had your answer you simply typed it into the site’s URL as pottermore.com/(the answer), and this would lead you to another website. To actually register for the website, visitors had to find a writing instrument known as “The Magic Quill” on a Harry Potter-related website.
I was one of the lucky million to be allowed early access to the site. Emails were sent out to activate your Pottermore account August 17 and, starting the first week of September, I began my journey through Pottermore, much like Harry on his first day at Hogwarts.
The whole website looks neat and professional. Upon logging into Pottermore, I was first transported to a “gateway,” which literally shows a gate connecting to all of the Harry Potter books. Book one is the only one available at the moment, so clicking on the other books does nothing. It was definitely worth accessing the site early, and I can only imagine that once it opens for the public the website will be running more smoothly, without periodic crashes due to high traffic.
Pottermore literally brings the books to life, as it is an interactive clicking game. Members don’t get to personalize their avatar; it shows up blank until you get a pet in Diagon Alley. Then, when members are sorted into Hogwarts houses, their “gateway” is in the color of their house. Once a member is sorted, they will have access to their common room, which will allow them to comment on the page and interact with other housemates.
Rowling will keep releasing new information to the site, which is free, as more books become available.
As of September 25, there are only 454, 700 members in Pottermore – quite short of the promised one million. However, the purpose of this is to allow a limited number of people in to see how the website handles a large amount of user traffic.
Ivonne Najarro, a sophomore majoring in medical engineering at the University of Central Florida, was granted early access into Pottermore and was sorted into the Slytherin house.
“I loved the idea of Pottermore but from my experience and some other people’s opinions, I had higher expectations,” said Najarro. “More interaction would have been better, though I got sorted [into a house] and I got a wand. That was awesome.”
Currently only the first book, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” is open for members to go through, with “Chamber of Secrets” set to debut after the site’s October launch later this year.
Users can leave comments after finishing a chapter for the site’s designers to take into account. Right now, Pottermore is only in its early stages, yet still has the potential to become one of the most innovative fan experiences available.