Tag Archives: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Pottermore: A Partisan Review

Contributed by Harrison Cole

As a self-proclaimed Potterphiliac, I was delighted to be granted access to the Beta version of Pottermore before its opening to the general public. For those who haven’t heard, Pottermore is an interactive website that provides fans with a new way to experience the world of Harry Potter. Users navigate the story of The Boy Who Lived by clicking through picturesque snapshots from each chapter of the series while interacting with fellow fans. The site is scattered with snippets of information, including exclusive content relating to the many characters and places within the wizarding world crafted by J.K. Rowling.

To my surprise, after first logging on I was frustrated with the interface of the site.  Users must begin with Chapter One of The Philosopher’s Stone and move through each of the seven books in chronological order. Within each chapter, content-unlocking discoveries must be made in order to advance. This might be a result of my computer and gaming ineptitude, but I would prefer to read the site at my leisure without spending ten minutes clicking around each page to locate hidden items. Although interesting to the Potter fanatic, the pages within Pottermore provide an excessive amount of detail. This site is not for the casual fan; I doubt there are many itching to peruse the 4,596 words devoted to the types of wood used in wandmaking.

The material unique to Pottermore includes Rowling’s inspiration for certain aspects of the story, and “Ghost Plots” or scenes and events that did not make the final cut of the published novels. The site also adds a personal touch for the fan, providing the opportunity to purchase a wand of their own and don the Sorting Hat to join one of the four houses of Hogwarts.  Pottermore is somewhat reminiscent of a role-playing video game; once sorted, users can earn points for their house by brewing potions, or test their wandwork by challenging others to duel. This competitive aspect should lure users with waning attention spans. Those that are expecting more of a Potter encyclopedia with freely accessible information should keep their expectations low.

Like I mentioned above, I love Harry Potter and as a result will probably end up reading Pottermore cover-to-cover, or whatever the internet equivalent of that may be…even the aforementioned section on wandmaking. But completing the Pottermore journey is a laborious task, and I surmise most people would prefer to enjoy the series without the excruciating additional detail. If I had any sense, I would broaden my horizons by moving on to a new book, but alas, I do not.

Harrison is a human male and a Certified Public Accountant in the state of New York. He lives in Manhattan’s Upper East Side with his collection of Harry Potter novels and memorabilia. You can follow him on Twitter @HarrisonsHuff, if you’re into that kind of thing.

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Harry Potter Director To Pen His Own Series

For Harry Potter fans, the bestselling fantasy series was a way to trigger a love for reading, imagination, and adventure. For parents, it was a way to bond with their children. But for film director Chris Columbus, it was a source of inspiration.

Columbus, who directed the first two Potter films — Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, is now writing a young adult fantasy series of his own.

According to this article by Entertainment Weekly, House of Secrets will tell the story of a few siblings whose father moves the family for a new job. But their new house used to be that of a troubled fantasy writer, and suddenly their lives are full of secrets, powerful books, and the responsibility of saving their parents and the world.

Columbus explains to EW how he came up with the idea.

At one point, I started it as a screenplay, so there were about fifty pages of a screenplay that would become the first seven or eight chapters of the book. Then I thought, “Maybe it’d work as a television pilot,” and I immediately discarded that idea because this is something that would be prohibitively expensive for television. Then I put it away and I didn’t think about it, but it was always coming back to me at some point or another. Finally, I thought maybe this would work as a young adult novel for no other reason except I really wanted to see it to its conclusion.

HarperCollins acquired the rights. House of Lies will be a 3-book series, co-written by young adult author Ned Vizzini. It’s aimed at middle-school children. The first book will be released in the spring of 2013.

With Columbus’s ideas and imagination and Vizzini’s writing, the series is sure to be a hit. But it would take magic for him to outsell Harry Potter.

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Positive Reviews for Pottermore!

If you’re still waiting for the email saying you’ve been chosen to enter the wonderful wizarding world of Pottermore, then you’re wasting your time.

It seems the Sorting Hat has already picked the special few who get an early look at the Harry Potter-infused web site. And so far it’s getting good reviews.

Writers from Huffington Post and Entertainment Weekly got first looks (I’m not sure if that was purely by chance or because they’re writers for Huffington Post and Entertainment Weekly), and it seems they had few bad things to say about it.

The cons: moments of slow connectivity, glitches in hidden content, trouble stirring potions, not much to do upon first entering the site.

The pros: character backgrounds, location histories, excluded plot lines, fun facts (like Hermoine’s last name was originally going to be Puckle), having a wand choose you (and match your personality traits), few ads, House points, House Cup, surprise video clips from J.K. Rowling herself, etc, etc, more fabulousness, etc.

It’s clear that the pros outweigh the cons here. But probably the most interesting thing I learned upon reading the reviews is that only Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone content is available at this point. I suppose content related to the other books will come in due time, but that’s kind of a downer. The good news is…October is just around the corner, and Pottermore will be free to all of us Muggles!

For more, here’s my take on the web site, the Huffington Post review, the Entertainment Weekly review, and more photos from Entertainment Weekly.

**Edit: It has come to my attention that all those who have signed up for Pottermore WILL gain full access to the site prior to October. The site is operating on a rolling admission. Please see comments below.

Get the entire Harry Potter box set in paperback for only $50 — a total savings of 43%.

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