As a grown-up, I probably shouldn’t be as excited about this as I am, but come on. We all know that I am a raging Harry Potter maniac, so I am very excited. Honestly I have been excited about since I heard of it sometime in 2011. And yes, I check ed the site for updates at least once a month to see if we could get in yet. I’m a nerd. I am okay with that.
I joined Pottermore earlier this week and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of exploring the site. When I signed up, I wasn’t really all that certain as to what I could expect. I knew it was based on the books, but didn’t know if it would trend more towards World of Warcraft or be a more static experience.
Honestly, I was a bit worried that this would be like so many Zynga games and other apps that can be played for free, but take real-life cold, hard cash to really get ahead.
So far, that hasn’t happened. And for that I am grateful.
What is Pottermore?
Pottermore is a unique online experience from J.K. Rowling, built around the Harry Potter books.
Pottermore is the place for Harry Potter fans to share and participate in the stories, showcase their own Potter-related creativity, and discover additional information about the world of Harry Potter from the author herself.
Each user basically works their way through the magical world one chapter of each book at a time, right alongside Harry Potter. It’s not 3D. I would say it’s more like I imagined the magical portraits to be. The artwork is gorgeous, the storylines fun and highly interactive and a direct reflection of what you read in the book. Each chapter has 2-3 scenes that you work through, exploring to find Galleons (magical money), books, and other fun items. I have been through the first book twice now and still haven’t found everything!
* You can’t pick your own user name, even if you are over 13 (you choose from a list of site generated potentials). I am okay with that simply because I know that they would have likely been overwhelmed with having to screen every U/N that came through. Any site that will be dealing with minors probably needs a control like this to save heartache and time. I kinda like my pre-picked user name anyway and it eliminated the “stress” of needing to come up with a cool, relevant name. As a Mom, I like this set-up.
* You can’t pick your avatar either. Again, it’s to protect the minors on the site. This Mom approves. (And you can see their detailed explanation of their child-safety practices here.)
* I really like the interface. It’s not World of Warcraft, which is nice, especially if you are running a machine without tons of graphics processing power or have a slower internet connection. It is interactive and it works great as an online supplement to the books. In fact, I am thinking of having Hollywood experience this alongside the books in hopes that it will help her cement major plot points by pairing the words on the page with beautifully illustrated graphics and an interactive experience.
* I was over-the-moon excited about the wand that chose me at Ollivanders.
* It was exciting to get sorted. I was less than thrilled with my house initially, I mean it’s the house that got the least amount of story, right? Well, except for Cedric Diggory, but that didn’t exactly end well now did it? Anyway, I got over it quickly and realized that not everyone can be a Gryffindor. Heh.
* It is very cool to get to see “behind-the-scenes” information on plot points, areas, and characters from J.K. Rowling, and even better that discovering this information is part of the game.
* I was partly disappointed and partly very pleased (how’s that for conflicting?) that only the first book has been covered so far. The site has been in Beta for quite some time, so I was worried that the Beta testers would have worked through all of the books, putting them light years ahead in scoring and experience than the rest of us. Turns out this concern was needless. While I don’t think you will ever see my name on the Hufflepuff leaderboard, anyone that aspires to that certainly has a pretty fair chance. I have no idea when book 2 will be released, but can’t wait to get in and experience it!
* Potions class and spells were harder than I thought they would be. Hmph. I did finally master them, but as fair warning to any parents out there, these portions may be especially frustrating for younger kids.
So, what do you think? Are you on Pottermore?