25th Apr 2012
Pottermore Goes Public
Having finally explored the magical world of Potter, here are my tips for anyone who hasn’t signed up yet:
- You will want to sign up a good few days before you actually intend to use the site. Thinking of spending a quiet Sunday afternoon exploring? You’ll want to sign up by Friday at the latest. While you take a test to see if you’re magic or not as soon as you sign up, you won’t be allowed access to the site for a few days while your account is registered. Also (annoyingly) you cannot compose your own user name, so you might want to write down the accompanying stream of numbers somewhere useful. I can’t remember my full username off hand, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
- The intended audience for the site is not entirely clear. While it caters to both the casual fan and the intense fanatic (myself included in the latter group), the tasks range from mind-numbingly simplistic, to pretty complicated – though this is mainly due to a lack of appropriate instructions and guidance. A simple potions task flummoxed me as I didn’t have a clue how to use my wand, and there was no instruction as to how to use it. While I’m sure I’m among the few adults to get confused by this, I imagine many children using the site may become frustrated through one failed task after another.
- The first few ‘moments’ of the experience can become kind of (dare I suggest it) boring, but you should stick with it. As you finally reach Diagon Alley you will begin to fully experience the true magic of the site, and this continues to grow as you reach Hogwarts. Which leads me on to my next point…
- The selection processes matched, if not excelled, my expectations. The selection processes for the first book are mainly for your wand and for your house. While other sites have attempted to use the selection process to sort you, this is the most original that I have experienced so far. While the other websites have used pretty obvious questions so you’d end up knowing how to get into whatever house you want, the questions in the Pottermore experience are very original and force you to be honest with yourself. For anyone interested, my wand is Laurel with unicorn core, ten and three quarters, slightly springy, and my house is Ravenclaw. You will receive a personalised message for whatever house you are selected for, and this feels like a real bonus to the Potter experience.
- For the huge fan – At first you may feel a tad disappointed. However, for me, the best feature for the site is the original notes from J K herself. The history of characters, their emotions and her writing process is amongst a huge amount of original information that you’ll unlock on your travels. It adds a whole new depth to the books which I never thought truly possible since I’ve read all of the books countless times. No matter how big of a fan you are, you will discover something new in these notes.
- For the casual reader – often find yourself lost in Potter conversations? This site will be your saviour. The details about the different parts of the universe are explained simply and thoroughly, so you will quickly learn about everything from Gringotts to toads. After an hour on the site you will know the basics off by heart, and quickly pick up the more complex, insider knowledge that every Potter super fan prides themselves on.
My final word? Make sure you give yourself ample time to truly get to grips with the site. While I only briefly explored what is currently up for offer, I still spent a good 3 hours working my way through, and that is without fully using all the sites facilities.
If I’m honest, I was ever so slightly disappointed in some of what I was presented with, but a lot moments were pure gold (galleons that is). You’ll enjoy visiting the world of Harry Potter from the beginning again, as it provides new life into the recently ended franchise, and I very much look forward to The Chamber of Secrets finally coming online.
Have you signed up yet? What did you think? Don’t think you’ll be signing up any time soon? Leave your comments below!