We have a guest report from a robot with metallic boots on the ground in Orlando, Florida right now at Leaky-Con 2011. Her name? Cybernetic Tofu.
And she braved Leaky-Con to bring us this report about what exactly JK Rowling's Pottermore is.
It is the third day of LeakyCon2011 and we finally attended a panel that didn't make me want to end my life, although I did want to punch a bitch or two desperately who felt it was necessary to scream at the top of their lungs after every slide shown. We got the full scoop on wtf POTTERMORE is. Some of you were giddy as schoolgirls waiting for the countdown to J.K. Rowling's announcement. "The owls are gathering..." was all we could think about. Well we have quite a few more details to add and are actually very excited!
This project was started over 2 years ago and was created to give back to the readers of Harry Potter. It is the "Same story. With one addition. You." POTTERMORE's main initiative is to bring to life the most special moments of the series and give the reader a completely unique and new experience as they read in tandem with the site. Rowling has also written and is still writing thousands of words of new content in relation to the history of the characters, the world, and everything in between to be discovered as you read the books. Much of this new and scrumptious information is just bits that were left out of the books and have been sitting, gathering dust in Jo's old HP notes.
It all starts with your registration. You fill out some information to begin, and the next page will tell you if you are indeed magical. It will then let you choose from 5 different usernames. They don't allow you to make up your own username for child safety reasons. You then get sorted into your house by some dirty old hat. There is a large pool of questions that Rowling, herself, wrote, that will determine your house. Once you are sorted into either Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, or Slytherin, you will get a good page or two of brand new information about the history of your house.
Your homepage branches out into the seven books and includes décor befitting of your house. When you begin a book, it shows each chapter as a dot on that branch. While you are reading the book, there are interactive illustrations and animations that go along with the story. Each illustration was painstakingly designed directly from the books with every detail ever mentioned in them. They then had to be approved by Rowling and touched up until they were just how she had imagined them.
As you read, you "discover" new content. We got a sneak-peek at the history of Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia. The page that we saw explained how they were named, and also how they met and fell in love, etc. We also saw a bit of background on Professor McGonagall, which involved a somewhat tragic childhood and a muggle...
Going through the books in this way, you can also turn on lights, collect items and objects, and you also have money. You have a virtual bank account in Gringotts. You need this money because you will need to buy all of your schoolbooks and supplies from Diagon Alley. You can buy your own pet to take to school, but the first thing to get is of course, your wand. In Ollivander's, you will be chosen by one of a possible 33,000 different wand combinations, after all, "the wand chooses the wizard."
You then arrive at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry. In your menu you will find your Favorites, Friends, Illustrations, Spells, Potions and Trunk. Your house commonroom is a sort of chat room, and also has your points for wizard dueling among a few other things. The Great Hall is nearly the same as the commonrooms, but it also includes all of the house points and updates from everyone. While you can invite friends to share this experience with you, POTTERMORE is not trying to be Facebook, and I don't think it will ever be near as obnoxious.
For the first time, you will be able to purchase e-books and the digital audio book versions of the series. It looks like the e-books are styled after the new Bloomsbury Signature collection of Harry Potter.
There will be no fan-fiction on this site (sorry Snarry shippers out there..).
"It is not an encyclopedia, although much of the content is encyclopedic in nature," whatever that's supposed to mean.. It will be launched in English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish, with Japanese soon to come. It will begin a beta phase on July 31st to a lucky one million, and the official launch will be in October. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone will be the only book available in October, with Chamber of Secrets to come early 2012. You can enter your email on www.pottermore.com to receive updates and learn how to qualify for beta testing.
J.K. Rowling wants the readers to know that she will be updating and contributing to her newest baby, POTTERMORE, for as long as she has breath, more or less. Most importantly, POTTERMORE will be FREE forever.
You can get updates through: