The question “What in the heck is Pottermore?” was answered today — kind of — and then the site for J.K. Rowling’s latest venture was promptly (and unsurprisingly) overwhelmed by visitors and had to shut down its sign-up function. Watch the author introduce and explain (once again, kind of) Pottermore, and then we’ll discuss:
Hmm. From watching that video, I would say that the availability of audiobooks and e-books (only through Pottermore.com — quite a business-savvy move, eh?) and some sort of new “online experience” that will launch in October were the main takeaways from the announcement, but I was left pretty foggy about what exactly that online experience would be. Clearly Rowling is going to include never-before-released background on some of the characters; that’s what she’s been “hoarding for years.” But it wasn’t until I came across this Time article that I understood precisely what to expect from Pottermore: about 18,000 words of new content, lightly animated “environments” representing some popular places from the novels (Privet Drive, Platform 9 3/4, Diagon Alley, Gringotts), the ability to submit fan artwork, and… well, not a heck of a lot else.
Now, I’m not ragging on the site, but as I predicted last week, the big reveal was pretty anticlimactic. That’s why Rowling & Co. were especially clever in timing this announcement to land amidst the Pottermania that’s building in advance of the final film’s release July 15. What’s more, on July 31 — two weeks after the last movie comes out — one million HP fans will be able to compete in an online challenge to get an early preview of Pottermore, which won’t be accessible to anyone else until October 1. Hence the email sign-up crash this afternoon. (I’ve been trying every hour or so, but no dice.) The audiobooks and e-books will then be released in succession — not all at once — prolonging the ultimate “end” of new Harry Potter content for what I guess would be at least another year, if not more.
What do you think about Pottermore? Will its “digital pop-up book” environment entice you to either reread the seven books — or maybe try them out for the first time? Or will it really All End for you and your Harry Potter fandom on July 15?
Prepare for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2!