You may remember that not long ago, I had the great delight of reviewing the last instalment of the Harry Potter film franchise. Well, here I am again and once more I have been afforded the opportunity to write the review of a geek bloggers dreams. I am very excited to be among the one million Harry Potter fans who managed to secure themselves an account for the Pottermore beta, thus I will be sharing my thoughts and feelings with you as I explore the wizarding world experience!
My excitement for Pottermore began 6 weeks ago when, upon finding the Magical Quill, I was able to register for one of the coveted accounts. I was disappointed to find I would have to wait 8 weeks to do so – but in reality this only increased my anticipation and I was delighted when I received my welcome email 2 weeks earlier than expected. I quickly ditched my plans for the evening and set about exploring the world of Pottermore! Warning: possible spoilers ahead!
Disappointment hit me straight away in the form of a pink Pottermore support page which I have quickly become accustomed to: “Due to high demand Pottermore is not available at this time, please try again later” (or something to that effect). Vexing when you have been waiting 6 weeks, but after a few refreshes I was in! My next disappointment: I expected to feel the chills of excitement and the tingles of anticipation that wash over me every time I hear the haunting Harry Potter theme, but this did not happen. There is no sound at all; no music, no voices, and no swishing noises when you use your wand! Whether this is something which will appear in the full version remains to be seen, but this is definitely the thing most missing from the Pottermore experience for me.
As with the books, Pottermore is a little slow to get going, but once you begin to interact with the story the usual Harry Potter magic takes hold. As you explore the chapters you are taken on your own journey through the story alongside your favourite characters – collecting objects, earning points for your house, you can even duel with your friends, although I haven’t yet tried this out myself. So far my three highlights have been shopping in Diagon Alley for my supplies for Hogwarts including my wand (14 inch Spruce and Unicorn Hair), being sorted into my house (Gryffindor, thankfully), and trying out my first potion, which I have not yet mastered (third disappointment)! I suppose to many the idea of a grown woman sitting in her office giggling in excitement at being sorted into Gryffindor maybe be laughable, but that is the magic of Harry Potter, a world of fantasy even grownups can escape to and Pottermore really does take you there.
However, the main and most exciting feature of Pottermore is the new material you discover on the way. Hidden within the chapters are lovely snippets from JK Rowling: the back stories of our favourite characters, and some insight into the naming of characters and places we have come to love. This new material is what makes Pottermore so special: not only is it amazing to find out more about the characters who have come to feel like close friends but it is fascinating to get a glimpse into the mind of JK Rowling. It is hard to imagine how anyone can live a normal life with an entire world of witches and wizards living inside their head, but it seems JK Rowling does just that: every little detail is in there, no matter how insignificant it may be to the story. My only criticism is that the excitement of your own Harry Potter journey makes it all too easy to leave this material unread while you endeavour to become a fully-fledged witch or wizard. Happily, this material is there for you to return to at any time.
My experience in Pottermore has been a good one, aside from the disappointing lack of sound and some unfortunate demand-based down-time. The artwork is beautiful, the interaction is engaging and the experience is magical. I can only imagine that as the other books become available Pottermore will become more and more addictive. I can’t wait to play a game of qudditch or take part in the Tri-wizard tournament. I wonder if we will be able to fight in the battle of Hogwarts? Bearing in mind that this is currently only the Beta version I am already very happy to be a witch in the Pottermore experience and can’t wait to see what else Pottermore has in store!
Have you had the chance to explore Pottermore Beta? Tell us about you experience in the comments section below!