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A Potterhead Ponders Pottermore

November 30, 2012


Going strong with interactive games, sorting eager Potterheads (fans of the Harry Potter series) into houses in a virtual version of Hogwarts and here letting them compete for the house cup while mixing potions and engaging in wizarding duels, Pottermore is a magical platform for exploring the universe created by J.K. Rowling beyond books and movies. As resident Potterhead here at WeHave9Minutes, I’m excited about Pottermore in general with a few smaller exceptions. Hit the “Read more”-button to see why.

Pottermore was first announced by J.K. Rowling during the summer of 2011 as a collaboration between herself and Sony and destined to be the future home of the Harry Potter series on the internet. As a big fan of the series, I was very happy when I found out that there would be some sort of interactive experience regarding Harry Potter from the original source online. We’ve all taken the unofficial sorting tests and pondered what house we were in, but Pottermore was a chance to find out for “real”. If there is such a thing.

Pottermore didn’t open fully to public before April 14th 2012, which was after some significant delay, and after 7 months, it it’s still only the first two books, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which have been opened up as interactive games on the site.

This is somewhat of a disappointment, especially since the games are small, simple and a whole book doesn’t take more than 20 minutes to play through. The little games mostly consist of coloured drawings of each chapter with a few interactive options such as finding items in the pictures. There is no music, which is a let down as you don’t completely feel the universe without the characteristic music, and the ambience sound jumps every time it starts over in its loop, making the experience feel unpolished. But the drawings are nicely done, and revisiting the chapters is sometimes a pleasant experience regardless. Besides, Pottermore is free of charge and the real attraction regarding the interactive games is most likely the comment section, where you can discuss the chapters with fellow Potterheads. And stretching out the time between opening the books to public makes the experience last longer at least.

Example of interaction in book 2: Getting the pesky pixies back into their cage.

Other little games on Pottermore include brewing potions and casting spells in wizarding duels. You need to gather, buy and mix ingredients to brew potions and hit keys on your keyboard to perform the correct spells. As with the little games in the chapters, these games are not very entertaining in the long run, but it’s nice to see the energy and love put into developing the series that little extra by describing the exact ingredients, brewing times, difference between cauldrons (some brew faster than others), and exactly how to flick your wand in order to recreate this and that spell from the books. I imagine younger readers being fascinated.

I personally find that the real attraction of Pottermore is a combination of three things. First, getting sorted. Which child hasn’t speculated on in which house he or she might belong while turning the pages of the first book? And here it is, straight from the original source, a sorting test to tell you the answer. It is magical. When you get sorted, you feel like you are a part of the series even more. And I got sorted to where I had a notch I belonged: Hufflepuff.

“HUFFLEPUFF,” the Sorting Hat announced.

The second big attraction is the wand test. As most will know, it’s the wand that chooses the witch or wizard. And through a series of questions, the right wand will find you on Pottermore. Again, who didn’t dream of this? A personal wand. Not any toy store rip-off, but a personal wand made to fit who you are. Of course it is all virtual, but I can tell that I have commissioned a woodcarver, no one less than our own Sam Roberts in fact, to carve the wand for me.

This leads me to the third big attraction of Pottermore: The additional wiki. Once I got my wand, I was delighted when I found out how much wiki there was on the site about precisely wands. My bet is that I spent at least a couple of hours reading about wand wood, wand cores, wand length and what these say about the wielder. And I felt recognised when I read about my own. Again, the wast fantasy and love put into series was whining through and made it feel magical. There is also extra wiki about places, characters, magical creatures, plants and much more.

The books may be published, and the movies may be out, but even though Pottermore is not as exciting as it could have been in regards to interaction, it keeps the magic alive. And it actually does it quite well, even without charging. And the little personal videos from J.K. Rowling herself on the site makes the experience warm and inviting. All in all, Pottermore is worth a visit from anyone ever loving the Harry Potter series. And in fact, I think Pottermore could get away with opening an official merchandise section. I’m on my way to getting a wand, and I think I’d quite like a robe now too …

 

Original Sources: Pottermore, Wikipedia: Pottermore

Image Links: Official Pottermore Facebook, Pottermore

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2 Comments leave one →
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