For those of you who don’t already know, Pottermore is an all-new interactive look at JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series. It does something interesting (and really fun) by taking books that most of us have probably already read (maybe more than once) and making them interactive. Well, in a sense.
There are still plot lines that are very definite and can’t be changed around, but Pottermore does offer an entirely new perspective on the Potter books. Instead of only thinking and knowing what Harry knows, the user has a chance to view Hogwarts from their own point-of-view and form opinions and memories unique to them.
Aside from being totally geek-tastically fun (users are sorted into Houses and chosen by a wand), Pottermore is unlike most things I’ve discovered online. It brings users together they same way that the books brought readers together. I have friends on my Pottermore account that I have never met, but we mare members of the same House and work together to earn points. My House, Slytherin, is currently in the lead for the House Cup.
And even though I have always identified as a Hufflepuff, I feel a growing affection towards Slytherin House that I would not have gained outside of the Pottermore experience. For one thing, JK Rowling designed the Sorting Test herself, and I feel as though if anyone knows better than I do what House I belong in, it’s Rowling. And there’s no going back – no being re-Sorted or choosing another wand. But I kind of like it that way. It means that it’s more “real” in a sense because I didn’t just choose what answers I knew would get me into which House.
But it also means that Pottermore is far from being truly interactive. In each chapter, the user can only explore three layers of the newly-designed environment. (Think of it like a pop-up book in style). There are items to be collected, which gives the whole experience more of a “game” feel, but also brand-new content about the story and characters, written by JK Rowling. For example, Deputy Headmistress Minerva McGonagall is discovered to have a very detailed (and sort of tragic) back story that is never revealed in the printed series.
So far, only Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is open on Pottermore, but it is an experience not to be missed by any fan of the series. While it is not completely interactive, it does add another level of interactivity to the beloved series. And it makes me feel like Harry Potter isn’t over after all.