Inside Pottermore

Yesterday, my “owl from Hogwarts” arrived, informing me that I can now log in and experience Pottermore. I immediately dived in to exploring the site.

When the news of Pottermore first came out, it was said to release ebook and audiobook versions of the Harry Potter series. Furthermore, it will include additional content and information about the series and allow its members to participate in an interactive reading experiences. However, you don’t just “read” but you explore the Potterverse.

As its on its beta version, there’s not much to do now as you glide along the Philosphere’s Stone. Most of the excitement happens as Harry enters Diagon Alley for the first time, and up until he gets sorted.

New information from J.K. Rowling
What’s interesting in Pottermore is that Rowling released information about the people, places and things of the Potterverse. In the “Philosopher’s Stone”, she included detailed information about Professor Minerva McGonagall. Now, I love McG, and I think she’s the most bad-ass of all the professors (aside from Snape, who is bad-ass in a different way). Reading her story makes me love her more, and reinforces the fact that Dame Maggie Smith was the best choice to portray her.

Rowling also included info on Quirrell, and some background information on the real Nicholas Famel and the story of the “real” Philosopher’s stone. The latter two should be familiar to many as it’s a topic that was discussed in science classes.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

The Wand and the Sorting Hat
Like in the book, Pottermore players need a wand. Off to Olivanders now, and Rowling has included many wonderful details about the wandmaker and his craft. You get your wand after you answer the questions. I was pleased with my wand, sycamore and phoenix feather. Olivander’s notes on these two are particularly interesting.

For the sycamore, he writes:

The sycamore makes a questing wand, eager for new experience and losing brilliance if engaged in mundane activities. As may be deduced, the sycamore’s ideal owner is curious, vital and adventurous, and when paired with such an owner, it demonstrates a capacity to learn and adapt that earns it a rightful place among the world’s most highly-prized wand woods.

For the phoenix feather:

Phoenix feathers are capable of the greatest range of magic, though they may take longer than either unicorn or dragon cores to reveal this. They show the most initiative, sometimes acting of their own accord…

Phoenix feather wands are always the pickiest when it comes to potential owners, for the creature from which they are taken is one of the most independent and detached in the world. These wands are the hardest to tame and to personalise, and their allegiance is usually hard won.

Somehow I find both descriptions to be particularly apt for me.

On Sorting
The Sorting is one of the most anticipated parts of the story, I would presume. Many Potterheads fancy themselves to be members of certain houses. Surprisingly, Slytherin and Hufflepuff are still popular choices from what I saw in many Potter communities, despite the former being known for churning out Dark Wizards and the latter being fairly unknown.

I don’t want to spoil the Sorting but I was surprised (and honestly disappointed) when I got Hufflepuff. I thought I answered the questions that would get me to Gryffindor. Apparently, I was wrong.

Once you get sorting into your house, you’ll have access to your common room. A welcome message from J.K. Rowling will play, and a welcome message from your prefect will appear. Since I got to Hufflepuff, I learned more about the house than what I’ve read in the books. It made me feel better that I got into this house.

Here’s a part of the welcome message (edited by me):

The Hufflepuff emblem is the badger, an animal that is often underestimated, because it lives quietly until attacked, but which, when provoked, can fight off animals much larger than itself, including wolves.

We’ve produced more than our fair share of powerful, brilliant and daring witches and wizards, but, just because we don’t shout about it, we don’t get the credit we deserve.

Hufflepuffs are trustworthy and loyal. We don’t shoot our mouths off, but cross us at your peril; like our emblem, the badger, we will protect ourselves, our friends and our families against all-comers. Nobody intimidates us.

And once again: congratulations on becoming a member of the friendliest, most decent and most tenacious house of them all.

Other things to do
There’s not much to do for now within the story. Most of the action that happens is when you try to get house points. You can do so by mixing potions or dueling with other wizards and witches. It takes a while to get the hang of mixing potions and knowing how to cast spells, so practicing is a must (as losing a duel or failing to correctly brew potions results to loss of house points). Dueling seems to be unavailable for now, so I can only get house points by brewing and buying stuff.

For now, Pottermore doesn’t offer a lot. Hopefully, we’ll see more activities and interactive displays when the site officially opens in October.

Excuse me while I go back to brewing my Forgetfulness Potion.

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