Announcement and unveiling
Some fan sites reportedly had access to a sneak preview of Pottermore and, while jokingly added that they had made "an unbreakable vow concerning its secrecy," they reported it is "breathtaking in scope, detail, and sheer beauty" and "perfect."
On 23 June, J. K. Rowling made an announcement via her YouTube account to inform fans of the nature of the website: "Pottermore will be the place where fans of any age can share, participate in, and rediscover the stories. It will also be the exclusive place to purchase digital audio books and, for the first time, e-books of the Harry Potter series." Rowling also said that Pottermore would be open for everyone from October, 2011, though this opening date was later delayed. It was later announced that Pottermore would be open for everyone in early April, 2012 On 1 April, 2012 a sneak peek video was shown on Pottermore's homepage and Youtube.
J.K. Rowling's announcement on YouTube
Between 31 July and 6 August, there was a Magical Quill challenge, a competition in which fans had to solve a clue revealed on the main site, add the answer to the end of a special web address (), and then locate the Quill on the site they are taken to. Once locating the Quill, fans were taken to a registration page for Pottermore. Approximately 1 million fans were given access through this promotion (about 143,000 a day). After each day's quota was filled, the clue was removed and replaced with a message indicating that registration had closed. Those who managed to find the Magical Quill and register received an email with a validation link that they must follow within 48 hours. Upon clicking the validation link, they became eligible for early access to Pottermore. Those granted early access eventually received a welcome email that allowed them to access Pottermore. Not all early testers received this email at the same time.
The Magical Quill challenge was open for seven days, from 31 July to 6 August, hence the tag-line "7 books, 7 days, 7 chances," but closed as soon as each day's spots were filled. Each day, a new clue was revealed on the main page. Each day's clue corresponded to a different book (e.g. day 1's clue relates to book 1, day 2's clue relates to book 2, and so on). The first three clues were more difficult than the last four.
Access to Pottermore for the early testers chosen was not instantaneous. Due to the number of people seeking to register, fans may have had to wait several weeks before receiving the welcome email allowing them such access.
When all the early entry places were filled, the Magic Quill links were withdrawn. Fans were still able to join the email list on the homepage, but were not able to fully register or enter until Pottermore opened to all in April 2012.
On 8 August, the ability to login to Pottermore was removed. Even those who registered during the promotion (and had been logged in previously with 'keep me logged in') were logged out. On 10 August, users began receiving emails confirming that they have been selected for early entry for Pottermore. The activation time was mid-August until late September.
On 15 August, the ability to login to Pottermore was available once again and the beta period began for users who had received their welcome emails that day.
On 26 August for 5 hours, Wizard Duelling was available.
On 5 November, the site was still in beta mode, and the ability to log in was complete, but usernames and passwords were limited and registration was closed.
On 13 December, Wizard Duelling was once again available.
Everyone, including those who missed the early registration period and/or were not picked as Beta testers, are now able to register. Registration will not give immediate access. Instead, those who register will be sent an e-mail when their account is enabled, based on order of registration and demand. The Pottermore Shop, featuring eBooks and digital audiobooks, opened 27 March, 2012, based on the first priority of "opening Pottermore to as many people as possible and making the experience as good as it can be." Originally it was announced that general registration would be opened to the public sometime around the end of October. On October 28, 2011, an announcement was made that the beta period was to be extended "so that we can make Pottermore the best experience it can be before it opens to everyone." No new date for general registration was announced for several months, only that "...we will open registration as soon as we can." However, on 8 March 2012, a release date of early April was announced, as well as an announcement that the site would be moving to "an entirely different platform setup" as an explanation of the extended beta period. On 14 April 2012, Pottermore ended the Beta period and was opened to all users for sign up. All pages, however, still displayed a "beta" link which all registered members could use to report problems they were experiencing with the site, up until the release of the final chapters of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on 31 July, 2013, which was accompanied by a major redesign of the site.
In April of 2014, approximately two years after the site's official release, Sony cancelled their partnership with Pottermore, leaving the site and related media to run as an independent venture.
New phase of development
On 22 September, 2015, a massive redesign of the site was unveiled. The site's new design is a dramatic departure from the previous version. It eliminates any need for a user account to access content and no longer focuses on interactive features, instead offering open exploration of content from the books and Rowling's writings. FAQs indicated that the site staff does eventually plan to bring back certain popular features such as the ability to be sorted into Houses and obtaining a wand, as well as learning one's Patronus.
While the main interactive content of the site is only available to registered members, the Pottermore Insider is available to all visitors. This feature provides the latest updates on news related to the site, including technical issues and promotional material. From time to time, it also features a look inside the making of Pottermore, including a behind-the-scenes look at the design process for the Pottermore House crests, how Pottermore Moments are made, and more. The Insider was discontined on 14 April, 2015. When Pottermore relaunched in 2016, the Insider returned as the Pottermore Correspondent.
The Pottermore Shop
The Pottermore Shop is one of the features of Pottermore. It was launched in US and Great British English on 27 March 2012. The Pottermore Shop launched soon after in French, Italian, German and Italian languages on 24 April 2012. In August 2013, it launched in Danish, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, and Brazilian Portuguese, and Swedish.
The Pottermore Shop is the only place where Harry Potter eBook and digital audio books are available to purchase. As such, Pottermore has established certain prices for particular:
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - £4.99 ($7.99)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - £4.99 ($7.99)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - £4.99 ($7.99)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - £6.99 ($9.99)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - £6.99 ($9.99)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince -£6.99 ($9.99)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - £6.99 ($9.99)
While purchasing all seven volumes (e-books) there is a discount (-10%), and final price is £38.64 ($57.54).
Digital audio books
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - £17.99 ($29.99)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - £17.99 ($29.99)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - £17.99 ($29.99)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - £32.99 ($49.99)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - £32.99 ($49.99)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - £32.99 ($49.99)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - £32.99 ($49.99)
All seven volumes - £167.34 ($242.94) with the 10% discount if bought at once.
Pottermore Shop eBooks are provided in EPUB format - the world's most popular and open eBook standard - and are compatible with the vast majority of computers and devices. In addition, the Harry Potter eBooks are available in Amazon Kindle formats for use by Amazon Kindle devices and apps.
EBooks and digital audio books can be bought from any country in the world. Certain editions are not available for sale in some countries, but there are always editions available to buy for oneself or as instant gifts in every country. Pottermore accept MasterCard, Visa, Carte Bleue, JCB (£ GBP at present), Maestro and Solo credit and debit cards at the Pottermore Shop. It does not accepted cheque or any other kind of payment at this time, although there will be added additional payment options in the future.
At present users can use £ GBP, € EUR and $ USD to buy eBooks and digital audio books from the Pottermore Shop.
Pottermore's Old features
In the old Pottermore, users could move through the chapters and "follow" Harry Potter as well as collect items such as potion ingredients, books and Galleons, many of which earned house points once they are sorted. Among other things, users were able to visit Diagon Alley, learn spells, duel other users and brew potions. Students from different houses competed with each other for the House Cup by gaining house points mainly through duelling and potion-making. Since the public launch of Pottermore, the House Cup has been awarded four times.
Exploring Harry's story
Users of Pottermore could get through the chapters of each Harry Potter volume and explore its content. Every chapter is divided into Moments in which a user could find new characters, objects, creatures and places or, if there was such a possibility, read new information from J. K. Rowling. The user could move through the Moments by using the Story Navigator. There was also a short quote from the book depicting a main event that the Moment contained.
Upon the public launch, only the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was ready to explore for users. Starting with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the books were released in batches of chapters. The first installment of Chamber of Secrets was launched in July 2012, concluding with the third installment, released at the end of October that year. The release of Prisoner of Azkaban was also scattered, with installment releases in December 2012 and April and July 2013, respectively. As of May 2015, Philosopher's Stone to Half-Blood Prince were all released in full, and Deathly Hallows was said to be "coming shortly". Material from Deathly Hallows was released in full on 23 June, 2015.
On 25 January, 2014, the creative director of Pottermore, Tom Hodgson, appeared at the "A Celebration of Harry Potter" convention in Orlando, displaying an audio clip recorded by J. K. Rowling in which she gave "a mischievous and somewhat unexpected back-story to one of her most colourful Harry Potter characters", and revealed artwork from the next selection of chapters from Goblet of Fire .
On 25 June, 2014, it was announced via the Pottermore Insider that the final instalment of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, consisting of chapters twenty-one to thirty-seven, would be made available shortly after the 2014 Quidditch World Cup, with Ravenclaws having twenty-four hours' early access due to having won the fifth House Cup. The early access began on 30 July, 2014, whilst other houses were able to explore the new moments on 31 July, 2014, Harry Potter's (and the author's) birthday; this was announced on 28 July, 2014.
Brewing potionsPottermore gave users an opportunity to make their own potions in three different cauldrons (although only one could be used at a time) made of pewter, brass and copper, each making potions of increasing speed, with pewter the slowest and copper the fastest. Pewter cauldrons cost 15 Galleons, brass cauldrons cost 21 Galleons and copper cauldrons cost 25 Galleons. With ingredients bought in Diagon Alley, users could make six different potions, each of which rewarded house points if completed, or did not if the potion failed. The potion could fail if the user added the wrong amount of an ingredient, left it to brew for too long, didn't keep the temperature within the range, crushed ingredients too finely or not finely enough and caused the cauldron to explode.
The potions that can be made by users could be found in the following potion books (bought with in-game money):
- Magical Drafts and Potions
- Moste Potente Potions
- Polyjuice Potion (made in 2 parts)
- Book of Potions
Users of Pottermore were allowed to practice spells and later use them against other members in Wizard Duelling. The available spells could be found in the following spellbooks (bought with in-game money or found in Moments):
- The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 1
- The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection
- Curses and Counter-Curses
- The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 2
Pottermore gave users an opportunity to purchase a wand in Diagon Alley, hence each member of Pottermore had the ability to duel with other users. Each user chose a spell to use against his or her opponent, and the winner is determined based on the rating of the spell casting. Users can practise against members belonging to the same House as themselves, but can only challenge members of other houses. The winner receives five points for the house, while the loser receives zero points.
The rules on Pottermore are the same as those in the books and the movies. If you break a rule, your house points will be lost (failure to brew a potion successfully results in loss of points sometimes) The only known ways to earn house points was to duel (above), successfully brew potions, and to find items on moments. Finding items would only be available after completing the second chapter of the first book. Galleons do not count.
The Seven Magical Quill cluesBelow is a list of the riddles (a.k.a. "clues") involved in the Magical Quill promotion:
- The first riddle, based on Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and unveiled 31 July at 9:00 am London time, was How many breeds of owls were featured on the Eeylops Owl Emporium sign? Multiply this number by 49. The answer is 245, as there are 5 owl breeds.
- The second riddle, based on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and unveiled 1 August at 10:00 am London time, was: What is the number of the chapter in which Professor McGonagall cancels the Quidditch match between Gryffindor and Hufflepuff? Multiply this number by 42. The answer is 588, as this happens in Chapter 14.
- The third riddle, based on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and unveiled 2 August at 11:00 am London time, was: In the Gryffindor versus Slytherin Quidditch match, in Harry's third year, how many points was Gryffindor leading by before Harry catches the Golden Snitch? Multiply this number by 35. The answer is 2100, as they led by 60 points.
- The fourth riddle, based on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and unveiled 3 August at 3:30 pm London time, was: How many students take part in the Triwizard Tournament during Harry's fourth year? Multiply this number by 28. The answer is 112, as 4 students took part in the Triwizard Tournament in 1994.
- The fifth riddle, based on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and unveiled 4 August at 6:00 pm London time, was: What is the house number of the Headquarters for The Order of the Phoenix in Grimmauld Place? Multiply this number by 21. The answer is 252, as the Headquarters was number 12, Grimmauld Place.
- The sixth riddle, based on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and unveiled 5 August at 2:00 pm London time, was: How many chapters are there in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince? Multiply this number by 14. The answer is 420, as there are 30 chapters.
- The seventh and final riddle, based on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and unveiled 6 August at 1 am London time, was: How many Deathly Hallows are there? Multiply this number by 7. The answer is 21, as there are 3 Deathly Hallows.
On the first day, keying in the correct URL would redirect you to Sony USA's website, where a maroon screen reads 'Your journey begins here'. Click on it, and you will see a screen filled with floating feathers, but only one is the Magic Quill. It has an aura of luminous blue around it, and clicking on it will bring you to the registration site.
On the second day, keying in the correct URL would redirect you to the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 photo gallery on the official Warner Bros. website. In the gallery a photo of the Magic Quill on a pink background was added. Clicking it would redirect you to the Pottermore registration page.
On the third day, keying in the correct URL would redirect you to guardian.co.uk, where the page has the article of Pottermore. Usually where the calendar is, the Magic Quill box filled its space. You had to move your mouse quickly from side to side to levitate the quill. After levitating the Magic Quill a "Congratulations" message would appear, and the ad box would slowly load a "Now begin your journey" link. Clicking the link redirected you to the Pottermore registration page.
On the fourth day, keying in the correct URL would redirect you right to the "Congratulations! You have found The Magical Quill" page on pottermore.com where you can register. Initially, the answer redirected to Sony's page selling Sony Blu-Ray players, Sony PlayStation 3s, and Harry Potter Merchandise, but there was no magical quill. This issue went on for a couple minutes until it was resolved by redirecting the URL to the registration page, skipping the search for the quill entirely.
On the fifth day, keying in the correct URL would redirect you to Scholastic's Harry Potter page. At the top, there was a banner ad for Pottermore. Floating feathers appeared, and the magical quill had an aura of luminous blue around it. Clicking the Magic Quill would give you a "Congratulations" message, and the ad box would slowly load a "Now begin your journey" link. Clicking the link redirected you to the Pottermore registration page.
On the sixth day, keying in the correct URL would redirect you to Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter . On the homepage (after the intro) there was the Magic Quill with an aura of luminous blue around it. Clicking the Magic Quill would give you a "Congratulations" message, and the ad box would load a "Now begin your journey" link. Clicking the link redirected you to the Pottermore registration page.
On the seventh day, keying in the correct URL would redirect you to Warner Brothers' Parseltongue Translator. On the homepage (after the intro), users had to select the Magic Quill from a selection of quills in an ad space. Clicking the Magic Quill would give you a "Congratulations" message, and the ad box would load a "Now begin your journey" link. Clicking the link redirected you to the Pottermore registration page.
House Cup (Discontinued)
Inaugural Pottermore House Cup
The inaugural Pottermore House Cup was awarded on Thursday, 5th July, 2012, to Slytherin.
- Slytherin with 74,290,864 points
- Gryffindor with 74,069,919 points
- Ravenclaw with 71,815,917 points
- Hufflepuff with 62,596,368 points
For winning, Slytherin was rewarded with a secret bonus - the ability to explore the first few Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets chapters on the site 24 hours ahead of the other houses users. Only students already in Slytherin at the time the House Cup was awarded received this bonus, a ruling likely added as a precaution against users attempting to register a new Slytherin account in order to gain access to the bonus. The Slytherins got to start exploring the first four chapters of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on 10th of July, 2012. Gryffindors, Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs were able to start exploring it on 11th of July, 2012.
Second Pottermore House Cup
The second Pottermore House Cup was awarded on Wednesday, 21st November, 2012, to Gryffindor.
- Gryffindor with 48,538,348 points
- Slytherin with 48,495,275 points
- Hufflepuff with 48,438,276 points
- Ravenclaw with 45,455,773 points
For winning, Gryffindor were able to download beautiful artwork of their common room as wallpapers and screensaver for their electronic devices.
Third Pottermore House Cup
The third Pottermore House Cup was awarded on Thursday, 25th April, 2013, to Slytherin.
- Slytherin with 26,990,924 points
- Ravenclaw with 26,916,194 points
- Gryffindor with 26,740,444 points
- Hufflepuff with 26,715,401 points
For winning, Slytherin were given a Pottermore Badge that would only later be collectible on Pottermore.com.
Fourth Pottermore House Cup
The fourth Pottermore House Cup was awarded on Thursday, 12th September, 2013, to Hufflepuff.
- Hufflepuff with 24,915,860 points
- Slytherin with 24,865,783 points
- Gryffindor with 24,610,105 points
- Ravenclaw with 24,567,337 points
Hufflepuff house received 24 hours early access to the first instalment of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Hufflepuffs received a Pottermore.com Owl Notification to let them know when the early access would begin.
Fifth Pottermore House Cup
- Ravenclaw with 28,048,578 points
- Slytherin with 27,795,479 points
- Hufflepuff with 27,350,412 points
- Gryffindor with 27,299,570 points
Ravenclaw received twenty-four hours early access to the final instalment of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on 30 July, 2014 and downloadable house art in addition to their early access.
Sixth Pottermore House Cup
The sixth Pottermore House Cup was awarded on Friday, 26th September, 2014 to Ravenclaw.
- Ravenclaw with 32,371,299 points
- Gryffindor with 32,279,991 points
- Hufflepuff with 32,259,036 points
- Slytherin with 31,926,625 points
Seventh Pottermore House Cup
The seventh Pottermore House Cup was awarded on Friday, 22 May, 2015. The standings were thus:
- Slytherin with 52, 652,850 points
- Hufflepuff with 50,109,456 points
- Ravenclaw with 49,775,819 points
- Gryffindor with 49,335,378 points
As a prize for Slytherin winning the Cup, an image was produced entitled "Famous Slytherins Through the Ages".
Eighth Pottermore House Cup
The eighth and final Pottermore House Cup was awarded on Wednesday, 9 September, 2015. The standings were thus:
- Hufflepuff with 26,796,774 points
- Slytherin with 26,564,159 points
- Ravenclaw with 23,712,525 points
- Gryffindor with 23,269,414 points
As a prize for Hufflepuff winning the Cup, an image was produced, titled "Famous Hufflepuffs Through The Ages".
In April 2013, Pottermore was integrated into PlayStation Home, a feature available to members of the PlayStation Network, accessible through the PlayStation 3 console. The feature introduced a new minigame called "Book Herding," as well as an expanded Duelling system and also allowed existing Pottermore users to link their accounts and collect new trading cards.
Behind the scenes
- Pottermore offered parts of the Wonderbook experience for users to view through the Pottermore Insider; they could practise the Water-Making Spell, Fire-Making Spell and Revealing Charm. After completing each spell, users were able to download a certificate for their achievement. It can be found here.
- The date of the start of beta registration (31 July) was both J. K. Rowling's and Harry Potter's birthday.
- Pottermore had been in development for two years since its incorporation in April 2009. The Leaky Cauldron's Melissa Anelli has been involved with the project since October 2009.
- Entertainment Weekly admitted with approval of the website and praised that the website was not just a marketing ploy to sell e-books and audiobooks, but a website that "will at least let you experience some of the fun of living in the world of Harry Potter."
- Though it was stated that one million beta members would have the opportunity to preview the site, as of 15 April, 2012 (the day after the public opening), the site's Great Hall section listed around 850,000 students as being registered. A number of factors account for this, including members who "caught the magical quill" but later chose not to participate, and accounts that were reviewed following reported attempts to sell accounts for early access to the site.
- On October 11, 2012, Rowling held a live webcast and answered fan questions, including one chosen from a poll on the Pottermore Insider. The chosen question was which Pottermore house she was sorted into. The answer was Gryffindor House.
- Pottermore was selected by the Time Magazine as one of its 50 Best Websites of 2012, one of six in its "Family and kids" category.
- In the webcast Harry Potter: Beyond the Page, Rowling revealed that some material on Pottermore was written by her exclusively for the site and was not part of her original notes.
- Pottermore on Twitter
- Pottermore Insider
- Pottermore on Facebook
- Pottermore Help
- Pottermore on Wikipedia
- Pottermore Wiki
Notes and references
- ↑ New Rowling mystery project spellbinds on Sydney Morning Herald
- ↑ J.K. Rowling's Pottermore reveal: Harry Potter e-books and more on Wired UK (Ars Technica)
- ↑ Secret Street View.com
- ↑ "Secret Street View results" on Hogwarts Radio
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 "Pottermore" on Twitter
- ↑ Pottermore: New J.K. Rowling Site Sends Harry Potter Fans into a Frenzy at Yahoo! News
- ↑ "Pottermore: JK Rowling's next big thing" at HPANA
- ↑ "Exclusive Announcement by J.K. Rowling" on YouTube
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 "Making Pottermore even better" on Pottermore.com
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 "Beta and Beyond" on Pottermore.com
- ↑ Pottermore Press Release (PDF) on Pottermore.com
- ↑ "Waiting for Pottermore" on Pottermore.com
- ↑ Pottermore concludes successful relationship with primary commercial partner Sony, Pottermore.com
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 Pottermore site updates - accessed 14 April 2015
- ↑ Pottermore Terms & Conditions
- ↑ Pottermore Child Privacy & Safety Policy
- ↑ Mashable - Expecto new website
- ↑ Pottermore - Welcome to the New Pottermore
- ↑ J.K. Rowling's website starts selling Harry Potter e-books at Wall Street Journal
- ↑ Harry Potter eBooks and digital audio books now available! at Pottermore Insider
- ↑ Harry Potter eBooks at Pottermore Shop
- ↑ Harry Potter digital audio books at Pottermore Shop
- ↑ Compatible devices and reading services (complete list of devices) at Pottermore Shop
- ↑ Payments, charges and refunds at Pottermore Shop
- ↑ Pottermore front page at Pottermore.com
- ↑ "Pottermore Presentation" on Pottermore News blog
- ↑ "Site Updates": Pottermore Insider
- ↑ "24 hours early access for Ravenclaws begins this Wednesday" at the Pottermore Insider
- ↑ 30.0 30.1 30.2 30.3 30.4 30.5 30.6 The Magical Quill Challenge: clues and solutions on Pottermore
- ↑ 31.0 31.1 Pottermore: your experiences on Guardian.co.uk
- ↑ Pottermore: my quest to find the Magical Quill on Guardian.co.uk
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Muggle Quest for More on Publisher Weekly
- ↑ "Congratulations Slytherin on Winning…" at Pottermore Insider
- ↑ "House pride week and the awarding of the fifth Pottermore House Cup will soon be taking place!" on Pottermore.com
- ↑ "Ravenclaw's prize as winners of the fifth Pottermore House Cup" on "Pottermore Insider"
- ↑ Pottermore - "Famous Slytherins Through the Ages
- ↑ IGN - Harry Potter Coming to PlayStation Home Through Pottermore
- ↑ See here
- ↑ Pottermore: first impressions of the new interactive Harry Potter site on Entertainment Weekly
- ↑ Pottermore Insider - Your Chance to Ask J.K. Rowling - The Results
- ↑ "J. K. Rowling Surprises Harry Potter fans on Live Global Webacast"
- ↑ The Leaky Cauldron - "Pottermore one of Times 50 Best Websites of 2012"