A few weeks ago, a friend of mine (the same one who helped me establish the philosophy of the Lost Boy) solved the question presented to get into the beta of Pottermore and quickly posted it on a number of Facebook walls within our group of friends. Throughout the following weeks, I waited impatiently for the beta to actually open for me and over the weekend, it finally did.
For those of you who don’t know, Pottermore is a kind of companion piece for the Harry Potter books. It has a number of interactive images for important scenes in each chapter that allow you to explore the books in a deeper fashion than reading just the books would allow. While exploring these scenes, you can find content that was not in the books like deeper explanations of aspects of the book like the make-up of wands and how that affects the wand’s choice in a wizard and the different attributes of spell casting that each material helps or hinders and also explains the backstories of some characters that were never explained in the book. The biggest one in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is Professor McGonagall and her story is told through three parts that really show how she became the woman she is.
The website is not a replacement for the books, it’s just a companion piece. As stated earlier, it only has key scenes from each chapter. If you had not read the books or seen any of the movies, you would be completely lost, Pottermore is a fans only experience, but it pushes all of the right buttons to make it something that the fans will really love.
Within the story, you get your own letter to Hogwarts, go to Diagon Alley and get the required supplies, a pet (which becomes your avatar for the site), and your own wand (my wand is 12 1/2 inches, Aspen wood with a Dragon Heartstring, and is surprisingly swishy), and once you get to Hogwarts, you are even sorted into a house (I wanted to be a Ravenclaw, but I was sorted into my second choice of Slytherin. There is a surprising amount of people who should be other houses that are sorted into Hufflepuff, though) and are able to compete in the House Cup (I am proud to say that as of the writing of this post, Slytherin is in the lead). You earn house points by finding items within the scenes, casting spells accurately in a Typing of the Dead styled minigame, mixing potions in a timed minigame that is surprisingly difficult but fun, and competing in Wizard Duels with other people playing Pottermore.
The site is still in beta testing, but it is supposed to open to the public in October. It has some stability issues and is going to need a crapton more servers to counter-act the number of people that will be trying to use the site. The beta version has some serious stability issues due to lack of servers and I can only imagine how bad it will be when it actually launches.
If you are a Harry Potter fan, definitely check out the site when it actually goes live. It’s a fun little companion piece to a fun series of books that will delight the fans for years to come.