Pottermore: the secret is out(Read article summary)
Pottermore is a free, collaborative website that will offer new material about Harry Potter and exclusive access to Harry Potter e-books.
Looks like JK Rowling had the last laugh.
In the hours leading up to the anticipated announcement, scores of news organizations published ‚Äúleaked‚ÄĚ reports revealing that Pottermore would be an online Harry Potter game and global treasure hunt.
So it was an unexpected surprise today when Ms. Rowling revealed the true nature of Pottermore: Pottermore is a free, collaborative website that will offer readers an online reading experience with extensive new material about the world of Potter. The site will launch in October in English, French, Italian, German and Spanish. (More languages will eventually follow.)
‚ÄúI‚Äôm thrilled to say I‚Äôm now in a position to give you something unique: an online reading experience unlike any other. It‚Äôs called Pottermore,‚ÄĚ Rowling said in her YouTube announcement. ‚ÄúPottermore will be where fans of any age can share, participate in, and rediscover stories‚Ä¶. I‚Äôll be joining in, too, because I‚Äôll be sharing additional information I‚Äôve been hoarding for years about the world of Harry Potter.‚ÄĚ
Fans of all ages will be able to enter a virtual world they‚Äôve been imagining for years. In the online Potter universe, readers will choose a magical username, be sorted into a Hogwarts house just as Harry was in the books, choose wands, experience life at Hogwarts, and journey through Harry‚Äôs adventures as they play games, cast spells, mix potions, and collect points. For now, the website will be limited to the first Potter book, ‚ÄúHarry Potter and the Sorceror‚Äôs Stone.‚ÄĚ
The part muggles will go mad for? The as-yet unpublished extra material Rowling will share about the people, places, and plots she‚Äôs created. And there‚Äôs a lot of it. ‚Äú[T]he fresh Potter background from the author already stretches to 18,000 words, with more to come,‚ÄĚ reported The Guardian, which attended Rowling‚Äôs London press conference Thursday morning.
It seems Rowling is brimming with new details that‚Äôll round out characters and enrich Harry‚Äôs story: how the Dursleys met, why Professor McGonagall may be sympathetic to Harry (hint: as a young woman, she once loved a muggle), background on the Hogwarts houses, and new information on wand wood.
There‚Äôs more: Pottermore will also be the only place where Rowling will release Harry Potter e-books (which we guessed in a previous Pottermore blog). After refusing to release her beloved novels as e-books for years, Rowling is finally taking the digital plunge ‚Äď but doing it her way. Pottermore will likely include an online store that will bypass traditional e-book sellers to sell Harry Potter e-books directly to readers.
‚Äú[It will be] the exclusive place to purchase digital audio books and e-books of the Harry Potter series,‚ÄĚ Rowling said in her YouTube announcement.
There will be no charge to access the site. ‚ÄúThis is free,‚ÄĚ Rowling added in her London press conference. ‚ÄúYou don't have to pay to get extra materials, you don't have to buy a single thing. That was really important to me. This was about the 'give-back'.‚ÄĚ
(Rowling has sold more than 450 million copies of the Potter books worldwide, making her one of the richest women alive.)
Although Pottermore doesn't officially launch until October, Rowling said a lucky few (we‚Äôve heard the lucky few will actually be the first million users) can enter early, on July 31 ‚Äď Harry Potter‚Äôs birthday. (Fans can submit their email addresses on Pottermore.com now, asking to be contacted by the site when registration opens July 31.)
‚ÄúSimply follow the owl,‚ÄĚ Rowling said at the end of the announcement, suggesting another trick up her sleeve, a game to determine who enters first. ‚ÄúGood luck.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúPottermore,‚ÄĚ wrote The Guardian, ‚Äúwill be the only way fans will be able to get fresh material from Rowling about Harry's world. ‚ÄėI'm pretty sure I'm done on the novel front,‚Äô [Rowling] said.‚Äô‚ÄĚ
Even so, Potter fans can rejoice: It‚Äôs been 13 years since the first book appeared and even though the seventh book and eighth film have now been completed, Harry Potter lives on. Pottermore is Rowling‚Äôs secret potion to keep Harry and his wizarding world ‚Äď not to mention readers‚Äô imaginations ‚Äď alive.
Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.