By Laura Dildine
Feel like your childhood has come to an end after the last Harry Potter movie has come to a close? Never fear, there is more Harry Potter entertainment on the horizon.
A couple of months ago, J. K. Rowling officially announced a new release in the Potter universe, but it wasn’t a novel, not even a spin-off movie–it was Pottermore.
Designed to be an online, interactive Potter experience, this particular Potter release is free to all users and has no print counterpart.
The site is due to be open to the public in October. Right now, beta testers are swarming the site, working out the bugs, and enjoying the all new material written by J. K. Rowling.
Over the summer, fans were given the opportunity to sign up for beta testing. Over the period of 7 days, 7 questions were revealed on the Pottermore website. Fans had to answer the question in order to sign up to become a beta tester.
Over the past month or so, beta testers have been invited in slowly so that the site could be tested, and over the next two weeks, the last of the beta testers will be allowed in.
I was finally allowed in on Monday, September 12, 2011, and I was able to gain a small peak of the site before this issue went into print.
Right now, the site takes you through the first book, The Sorcerer’s Stone. It is broken up into the same 17 chapters that are in that book. The site has the potential to explore every chapter in all seven novels, but as of now, only the first book’s chapters are available. The second book is slated to be unveiled next year.
Graphically speaking, the site is breathtaking and charming. It really allows users to catch a glimpse of all the main places that take place in the story. Interactive and engaging, the site allows users to click on objects to learn more about them or to collect them. It highlights all the major characters, places and objects, detailing their part in the story and expanding as the user uncovers more content.
The main features that are really drawing in fans are buying a wand and the
Sorting Hat ceremony. J.K. Rowling herself, along with a team, has devised two series of questions in order to give users their own wand and then, to sort them into a Hogwarts House. Users will only get a select few questions to answer, so your friends will probably have very different questions! All of these questions are final and users do not have the ability to change them once all questions are answered. Kind of scary! For wands, there are very many different combinations of wand core, length, wood, and flexibility, making the wand a very personalized (and very cool) feature for fans and users. The second set of questions will then determine which of the four Hogwarts houses, whether it be Gryffindor, Raveclaw, Hufflepuff, or Slytherin, the user will be placed in.
Other interesting features are making potions (think chemistry here except you concoct wizardish potions like Draught of the Living Dead), wizard duels with friends made through Pottermore, and shopping in Diagon Alley. It’s enough to keep longstanding fans and even new ones playing for awhile. And with six more books to wait for and explore, it will certainly keep fans completely and totally addicted to the Potterverse.
Want more information about Pottermore? Visit insider.pottermore.com. Or you can visit the Pottermore website directly at www.pottermore.com to sign up to be notified when everyone is allowed in come October.