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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    More Pottermore, please

    More+Pottermore%2C+please

    Less than a month before “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” opened, the author of the series, J.K. Rowling, uploaded one of the most cryptic YouTube videos I’d ever seen. Thanks to it, though, Potter fans were riled up. No one knew what this “Pottermore” she spoke of was — probably something to do with more Potter — but everyone wanted to find out.

    Not me, though. I mean, I read the “Harry Potter” books when I was younger but stopped after high school, moving on to what I deemed as more mature material. It was not “my childhood” and I was even a bit glad to see it finally put to rest. But then Rowling had to go and beat her dead horse with this new “Pottermore” thing, which, at the time, I dismissed as nothing more than a way for her to milk more money out of her series since she had nothing else to write about.

    But as more details surfaced, I kept getting pulled back to what Rowling claimed would be “an online reading experience unlike any other.” When it was announced a small amount of people would be allowed into the site early as beta testers, I decided I wanted to be one of them. Call me a sucker for exclusivity, but even if I didn’t have high expectations for Pottermore, I wanted to see what all the hype was about.

    Even after I answered the first of seven “Magic Quill” questions, which ultimately granted me and thousands of others early access, I still had no idea just what “Pottermore” was about. So, when I received an email on Aug. 15 saying that I was being let in, I hurried over to the site.

    I found a gray gate with seven symbols embedded in it. Only one was clickable — a yellow stone. The stone linked to “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” the first book’s reading experience. From there I was led to an overcast still screen of Privet Drive, the street that Dumbledore delivered a young Harry to after his parents were killed. I was told there were clickable items scattered throughout the screen, which I could search for by shifting the picture’s focus.

    I went through the chapters, clicking random objects, which unlocked new background information about various facets of the Harry Potter world, and also gave me what were then useless items to add to my trunk. Eventually I earned my own wand and the Sorting Hat placed me into Ravenclaw.

    It may sound underwhelming, but covering the insane amount of detail in Pottermore’s experience related to book one would take the entire paper — and considering how little I expected out of it, “Pottermore” was inescapably interesting. Not only was it great to learn new information about, for example, Professor Minerva McGonagall’s childhood and family, but it was oddly exciting to get a personalized wand and be officially placed in one of the four houses.

    What’s more, there are several mini-games scattered throughout the Pottermore world, including wizard duels and potion mixing that can earn you house points and help you win the House Cup, just like in the books. They’re easy to learn and bearable enough to play multiple times. Of course, the games are just gravy in the end.

    Keep in mind, this is just the first book. If Rowling adds half as much material for every other book, there will be days of new background to sift through by the time everything finishes.

    Fans will love Pottermore because it lets you immerse yourself even more deeply in the world Rowling created, just as she claimed in her vague video, but anyone who appreciates writing will find it interesting as well. Being a writer myself, I love getting a peek inside of another author’s mind, especially one as successful as Rowling. It’s fascinating to see all the bits that ended up on the cutting room floor.

    There are still some problems with it, but that’s expected with a beta version. When it’s released to everyone in October, I highly recommend you register just to see everything for yourself. In the end, you might be like me and find your expectations far exceeded by this truly unique glimpse into the world of Harry Potter.

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