Chelsea Ratterman, Assistant Editor
Anxious Potterheads can finally take up their computer mice to begin the virtual journey through the wizarding world of Harry Potter.
The highly anticipated website “Pottermore” finally opened after a year of painstaking beta testing and delays. The companion to the “Harry Potter” books, announced around the time of the last movie, has been anxiously awaited by the legions of Potter fans the world over. When beta testing opened, a “search for the quill” was played, and those who won scored early entry into the site. In mid-April, the site announced it was open, and they would begin allowing players access in waves, so as to not overload the servers.
There are three steps to gaining entry into Pottermore, and all are nail biting at best. The first step is to enter one’s email into the website, and pick a username from one of the five randomly generated usernames, which was done by the site to better ensure user privacy. Some are better than others, and some are just plain weird. After that, you wait for an email, which will ask to verify your account through the email. Once that is done, wait for another email. This is where the anxiety really comes in. Some people who time it just right get in as they are doing the next wave of entries, while others wait for hours to get that email announcing entry.
Once inside Pottermore, players are able to go through each chapter of the books, which are interactive and contain backstory written by J.K.Rowling. The author said she wrote nearly 18,000 words of content just for the first book, which is the only one open at this time. Professor McGonagall’s backstory is here, among others, such as why the Dursleys live at number 4 Privet Drive.
Some of the most anticipated parts of the site come at the beginning. When shopping in Diagon Alley, users finally receive their wands. The process for choosing a wand (or the wand choosing you) is a short quiz on character traits. After that, the Sorting Hat is another quiz that is based on character trait questions. J.K.Rowling herself did the Sorting Quiz, and she sees the Sorting as one of the most important parts of the site, which allows the user to see more of the Houses than from in the books. “If you are sorted into Gryffindor you just follow Harry. But if you’re sorted into Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin, you go to your own common room, you meet your own prefect, who will tell you about famous people who were in your house and what the true nature of your house is,” she said during a press conference in 2011.
Once you have your wand and have been sorted, you have the ability to practice spells, potions and explore the books on your own, with the special content from J.K. Rowling. In the Great Hall, the house points are displayed for all users, and you collect House points by picking up items throughout the chapters. One of the site’s main attractions is the Wizards Duel, which allows you to challenge other users to a magical fight using spells you have practiced.
Only “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” is available for exploration. Once new updates become available, more of the books will be open to users.