Pottermore is an official Harry Potter website. It is a joint venture of J. K. Rowling and Sony, and offers an experience focusing on the reading of the Harry Potter series, with interactive features, new information from Rowling's extensive collection of notes (over 18,000 words), and eBook editions of the stories available for purchase for the first time. Rowling has also discussed a new addition to the Harry Potter series. One million people received a chance to preview the site before its general launch in early April 2012. It was opened for the public 14 April, 2012. Pottermore is currently available to all people, and from the first chapter of Philosopher's Stone until the very end of Chamber of Secrets are available for viewing.
Announcement and unveiling
As a teaser for what was then a mystery announcement, a challenge was set up on 15 June, 2011. Fans had to use coordinates revealed among ten Harry Potter fan sites to piece together a word that would be the subject of her announcement. A while after all the letters (E-T-O-T-O-P-E-R-R-M) were revealed, Pottermore.com was launched with a "coming soon" message and Rowling's signature. An official Twitter account was also created. By the next day, a new YouTube account titled "J. K. Rowling Announces" was revealed to show a countdown which noted the official unveiling of Pottermore's nature was take to place on 23 June, 2011.
Initially, fans were told only that Pottermore was not another book. A representative of Rowling told The Guardian on 16 June, 2011, "All we can say is that Pottermore is the name of J.K. Rowling's new project. It will be announced soon, and it is not a new book." Many fans guessed it was either an online game, a new fan site, or a digital encyclopedia. But all of those guesses were correct.
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 display a "beta" link which all registered members can use to report problems they are experiencing with the site.
While the main interactive content of the site is only available to registered/confirmed members, the Pottermore Insider is available to all visitors. This feature provides the latest updates on news related to the site, including technical issues. It also featured a behind-the-scenes look at the design process for the Pottermore House crests. Since November 2011, it has featured selected artwork from fans regarding the subjects of the Harry Potter books, beginning with the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and continuing in sequence.
Pottermore Shop is one of several features of Pottermore. It was launched in US and GB English on 27 March 2012. The Pottermore Shop launched soon after in French, Italian, German and Italian languages on 24 April 2012. This 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.
Users can move through the chapters and "follow" Harry Potter as well as collect items such as potion ingredients, books and Galleons, many of which earn them house points once they are sorted. Among other things, users are able to visit Diagon Alley, learn spells, duel other users and create potions. Students from different houses compete with each other for the House Cup by gaining house points mainly through dueling and potion-making. On 22 June, 2012, the Pottermore Insider revealed that the first House Cup would be award on 5 July. On 25 June, Pottermore sent registered users an e-mail regarding the House Cup and promised an announcement regarding the release of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on the site.
Getting through Harry Potter volumes
Users of Pottermore can get through the chapters of each Harry Potter volume and explore its content. Every chapter is divided into Moments in which a user can find new characters, objects, creatures and places or, if there is such a possibility, read new information from J. K. Rowling. The user can move through the Moments by clicking the button on the bottom of the screen. There is also a short quote from the book depicting a main event that the Moment contains. Users are informed where they finished their journey by the Gateway - main page of user, or by the timeline situated on his or her profile.
Upon the public launch, only the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was ready to explore for users. Beginning around mid-May 2012, Pottermore users noticed that by substituting "book2" for "book1" in the address bar when browsing, they would receive a page stating "Be patient, this page will be unlocked very soon." As such pages had previously displayed a "not found" message, this would seem to be an apparent indication that the second book is nearly ready for launch on Pottermore. Recent updates at the Pottermore Insider have confirmed that the Pottermore team is at work on producing sound effects for the release of material from the second book on Pottermore and is also in the process of finalising artwork. On 2 July, 2012, an announcement was made that the first chapters of Chamber of Secrets were coming to Pottermore "very soon," with a promise of more details to be revealed the next week. On 10 July, 2012, the first four chapters of Chamber of Secrets was opened for exploration by those who were registered in Slytherin House prior to the end of the first House Cup, with other users to be granted access 24 hours later. Chapters 5-11 have been released. New games include levitating Aunt Petunia's pudding, de-gnoming the Weasley family's garden, and rounding up Lockhart's cornish pixies.
Brewing potionsPottermore gives users an opportunity to make their own potions in three different cauldrons (although only one can 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 can make six different potions, each of which rewards house points if completed, or does not if the potion fails. The potion can fail by adding the wrong amount of an ingredient, leaving it to brew for too long, not keeping the temperature within the range, crushing things too finely or not finely enough and causing the cauldron to explode.
The potions that can be made by users are situated in the following potion books:
- Magical Drafts and Potions
- Moste Potente Potions
- Polyjuice Potion (made in 2 parts)
Users of Pottermore are allowed to practice spells and later use them against other members in Wizard Duelling. The currently available spells are situated in following spellbooks:
- The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 1
- The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection
- Curses and Counter-Curses
Pottermore gives beta tester an opportunity to purchase a wand in Diagon Alley, hence each member of Pottermore has the ability to duel with other users. Each user can choose 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 (though there is no evidence of this happening in the site) The only known ways to earn house points is to duel (above), successfully brew potions, and to find items on moments. Finding items will only be available after completing the second chapter of the first book. Galleons do not count.
"Sneak Peek" video
On 28 March, 2012 Pottermore inserted a video on its main page, showing a preview of the site's features, for users waiting for the public launch.
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.
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 will receive 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
Following the announcement of the awarding of the first House Cup, a new House Cup began. The second Pottermore House Cup is being awarded on the 21st of November, 2012.
Behind the scenes
- Pottermore is offering parts of the Wonderbook experience for users to view, through the Insider; on the 21st November, the Water-Making Spell will be available, the 28th November for the Fire-Making Spell, and the 5th December for the Revealing Charm.
- The date of the start of beta registration (31 July) is both J. K. Rowling's and Harry Potter's birthday.
- Pottermore had been in development for two years since its incorporation in April 2009, however 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.
- The CEO of Pottermore, Charlie Redmayne, stated that the final padlock at the top of Pottermore will be a "Games" hub, as well as that the last chapters of Chamber of Secrets will be revealed sometime in October 2012.
- The Pottermore Insider later confirmed this, stating that chapters eleven to eighteen will be released sometime from October 29-November 2. The Insider also gave a sneak preview of the Moment Follow the Spiders, as well as the scene in Professor McGonagall's office.
- 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
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 "It's official: 'Pottermore' is J.K. Rowling's next Harry Potter project!" on Mugglenet
- ↑ "Pottermore: JK Rowling's next big thing" at HPANA
- ↑ "Exclusive Announcement by J.K. Rowling" on YouTube
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 "Making Pottermore even better" on Pottermore.com
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 "Beta and Beyond" on Pottermore.com
- ↑ Pottermore Press Release (PDF) on Pottermore.com
- ↑ "Waiting for Pottermore" on Pottermore.com
- ↑ 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 Insider Announces "Chamber" is Coming Soon
- ↑ SnitchSeeker - CoS 1-4 Opened to Slytherin
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 23.5 23.6 The Magical Quill Challenge: clues and solutions on Pottermore
- ↑ 24.0 24.1 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
- ↑ "The next Pottermore House Cup is set for November…" at Pottermore Insider
- ↑ 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"
- ↑ http://pottermoreowl.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/pottermore-ceo-charlie-redmayne-talks-at-the-frankfurt-book-fair/