For over twelve years, I have patiently waited for owls to swoop through my windows and deliver the letter that would whisk me off to Hogwarts for adventures with magic.
Well, it’s safe to say that did not happened. I graduated from my boring highschool and went on to graduate from college. Neither of which were Hogwarts and neither of which taught me how to wield a wand.
J.K. Rowling, however, finally answered all the woes of Potter fans everywhere by announcing Pottermore back in June of this year. It was slated to be an interactive journey as well as providing supplementary material that Rowling has been holding back throughout her years as the woman weaving this fantastic, magical tales. The announcement was a bit lackluster at first, but after thinking about what this could mean for fans that want the series to continue on was astounding after thinking about it.
Then late July arrived when Potter fans across the world vied for a magic quill that would potentially grant them early access to the coveted Pottermore interactive website. I was among those fans and I lucked out to get the quill on the first day.
By this time people were getting frustrated as they waited for their
owls emails that would grant them early access into what was now known as a “beta” of the site. Who wouldn’t want to get in early before it opened to everyone in October? It was rumored that 1 million individuals would be granted this early access.
I finally got my email right before I left for PAX Prime so after my two whirlwind weeks of conventions, I have just been able to explore Pottermore to it’s limited fullness.
For starters, the site is gorgeous. The user interface is simple to use and, at first, nearly everything is locked until you begin your journey through the books. Although the chapters in the books are not read to you in full (just key scenes are played out through the art and minor moving sequences), it was still a chore to go through the first few chapters of Sorcerer’s Stone just to get to what I really wanted to do: get my wand and get sorted.
The site could certainly benefit for some sound. Either the musical score from the films or just minor sound effects would work wonders for what is now a very silent site. Interaction, to me, should use as many of my senses as it can. I want to hear the world of Pottermore as I experience it.
Diagon Alley is where we first get to interact with the world. We must find our shopping list and then do a bit of shopping. It was quite a mindless task, essentially trying to make us feel like Harry when he first visited, but just lacking. The shops are nothing more then a list of the items with a picture. Nothing more. I was expecting to seem like I was walking into the actual store, but I must remember this is limited to the confines of my computer screen.
Then, after gathering all my supplies for my first year at Hogwarts, – I’m 25 so starting quite late don’t cha think? – I was finally able to get my wand. Asking me a series of questions, which I carefully answered, I finally received my wand. No fanfare. No music, as already stated. It all just seemed dull.
After getting over my un-magical wand experience, it was time to get on the Hogwarts Express and head off to where I have belonged all my life: Hogwarts. The time to be sorted was getting near! Sorting was probably the best part of the site so far.
As many people have been a bit displeased with where they were sorted, I like to think the sorting hat really does listen to you because I was chosen to be placed where I was always destined to be:
Suddenly, the site changes to feature blue themes and the crest of Ravenclaw. I’m officially a student at Hogwarts now.
So, is Pottermore worth the wait for those who weren’t granted early access? I think so. I am sure the real fun of the site is about to stand now that the boring first parts of Sorcerer’s Stone are over. I’ll be able to compete in duels and earn House Points; create spells and interact with other students. I have a tiny friend’s list right now, but it is ever growing now that I am meeting fellow Ravenclaws. I just hope the site utilizes sounds soon because that would make the experience even better.
The supplementary material provided by Rowling herself is worth being a member of the site. Why? Because if you are a Potter fan then you obviously want to know more about the world. I sure do. I enjoyed reading this extra material that would have been unnecessary to the stories themselves, but just add more depth to the world of Potter. I have already learned how Vernon and Petunia met. I’ve learned about “ghost plots”. I’ve learned more about Diagon Alley. It is astounding how much Rowling has been keeping. I wonder if this was her plan all along.
So, get ready. Your owl will arrive soon. Your housemates are waiting. You’re going to be going to Hogwarts soon.