Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Pottermore Experience

I've spent a bit of time on Pottermore today, after I was given the go-ahead to enter yesterday. At first, I was unimpressed. Actually, that's the understatement of the century: Pottermore sucks when you first enter. You have no wand, no house, nothing to do and no one to talk to, and it's all very boring. The only thing to do is to follow the story and read about a few different things, but otherwise it's the most useless thing in the world.

Nothing at all good happens until you reach Diagon Alley and get to buy some things. You follow Harry's buying path, meaning the wand is last. The wand is the first thing that makes Pottermore fun, to be honest. Following a series of questions, I was assigned my official wand of wizardry: ten and three-quarter inches, alder, slightly springy and with a unicorn core. I was really rather happy about this. There's more info on the Pottermore site about the different cores and woods used, and for the first time the website adds something extra to the Harry Potter world: detailed information on the very basic tool all witches and wizards carry with them, and a first-time glance at some of the secrets behind their maker.

Once you visit Diagon Alley, you're also able to brew potions. My advice: use the free test run to give it a try, but then wait until later when potions will earn you house points. I don't know whether or not the potions you make before house assignment (if you can even do it!) will count towards your score.

Come Chapter Seven, you get into a house. Again, questions are asked and it's a little more interactive again. Plus, you know, you get into a house. Nevermind the questions: now you can boast about being in Ravenclaw or Gryffindor, cause panic about being in Slytherin or hide the fact that you're in Hufflpuff (kidding!). What house am I in?

Um... rawr?

So, I'm in Gryffindor. It's fun knowing that, and while it doesn't change the experience of Pottermore, suddenly I'm a part of something bigger than just myself along on this little island in the midst of the seemingly great Pottermore. Also, you know, Dumbledore was in that house and he's friggin' awesome. (Along with Harry and whatnot... but let's face it, Hermione and Neville really are the best people in the house!)

What I have yet to experience is a wizardry duel, and with a lack of any lessons on how to do this I remain pulled back into the story. I'm enjoying the idea of reading along to the "moments" in the book that are highlighted on the website, so it'll take me a while to get through it all, but it's allowed me to rediscover the wonderful storytelling in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. It's not just the magic: there is genuine humour in this book that I might have missed as an excited child waiting for the climax and possibly skipping sentences to get through the book quicker.

That's what Pottermore really has to offer for older fans, like myself: a chance to rediscover the books, if they're put them down for a few years (yes, years!)

The website doesn't open to the public officially until October, so it's still in the Beta testing stage. But it will be worth it, in a way, when people start flooding in. Just be a little patient in the beginning: it will be boring, but  it gets better. The novelty of wands and houses really does add to the excitement a bit. Also, I've got this lovely boil removal potion brewing at the moment. It requires my attention, soon. When I discover some more of the magic of Pottermore - and I hope it doesn't end at novelty - I'll add a brand new post for that. And who knows, mayhaps I'll make some friends on the site!


Anonymous said...

im in hufflepuff~

Paul Carroll said...

Lots of people are in Hufflepuff. Many people say they don't want to be. That's the real problem with Hufflepuff: the fact that so many people don't want to be there. I think it's JK Rowling's fault. She didn't do them any injustice, exactly, but she never made them special. Gryffindor are brave, Slytherin are cunning and Ravenclaw are smart. All three of those houses have had that trait displayed in the books (even if Hermione out-shone so many Ravenclaws academically). Hufflepuffs are said to be loyal, but mostly they're not included in the books. The most notable student was Cedric, and he was killed. The fact that Harry and co stuck with Gryffindors more than anyone else makes it so we didn't get to see whether or not Hufflepuff was a good house to be in, or if it was just the house for those who didn't fit anywhere else for not being brave, smart or cunning (or evil) enough.