Pottermore.com open to all muggles, but will its magic enchant you?

I was excited to read Sunday morning that Pottermore.com, J.K. Rowling’s long-awaited website about Harry Potter’s world and books, was finally open to all muggles. (It’s the only place you can buy the e-books.)

I immediately signed on to register. The site asked for extensive personal information. For any other website, there is no way I would have given up that much info but I told myself it would be worth it. (And I needed to do it to report to you guys.)

So I thought I would be in after filling all that out, but no, they have to send you an email. So then you log in through that email and you think you’re in. But no! You do another step and then they have to send you a final link to log in.

It took six hours between the first and second emails but the website is warning it may take even longer due to high-demand for the site.

When I finally got in, I poked around on it a little bit and felt like I wasn’t getting it. I love Harry Potter – the books, movies and even the recordings. Walsh and I are listening to the fifth-book read on CD every night before his bedtime, so believe me I want to love this website.  But I’m not feeling it yet. (Maybe I just need more time on it.)

The site basically leads you through the chapters in each book. You switch backgrounds multiple times for each chapter and you can visit places within the chapter. You can collect objects from the story and mark your favorite characters, places and things from each part. A lot of the text is just defining the characters, places and objects but the thing is we know all that! We’re devoted fans. They are supposedly sprinkling new material in but I haven’t run into much yet.

Visiting Diagon Alley presented the most fun early on. You had a list of school supplies to buy but first you had to open your account at Gringotts Wizarding Bank (regrettably no goblins). Then you get to visit stores to buy your supplies. I must have been tired because I kept having to refer back to the list for what I needed to buy. It was fun to pick out a wizarding pet and you answer more questions for Ollivander to choose your wand. Once you’ve bought your equipment, you can practice spells and mix potions. Again, I kept having to refer to the potion recipe and finally just gave up.

I called my 8-year-old Potterphile over to explore and see if he got it more than I did. He wasn’t thrilled by it either.

I asked on Facebook if anyone else had been on yet and if they liked it. My 19-year-old sister-in-law (to whom I gave her first Harry Potter book) said she had been on and had blitzed through the first reading part to get to the choosing your wand, sorting hat and making a potion. She thought those parts were fun.

I am sure people will spend large amounts of time on the site, which is golden goose in the social media world. You’re trying to unearth any hidden treasure and make sure there is nothing good you’re missing. But I am worried there’s not much to miss.

If you’ve logged on to Pottermore.com let me know what you think? Does it get more exciting deeper in?

Do you plan to register? Will you register your kids? (They give you screen names so kids can’t accidentally reveal their identities. Kids can look for friends like on Club Penguin.)

27 comments Add your comment


April 16th, 2012
3:54 am

I feel kind of the same. Like…i waited six months to learn a little bit more than i already did. I still love the books and movies, and event the site…but it was a lot of hype


April 16th, 2012
7:16 am

I’ve been on Pottermore since the Beta testing phase first started. I discovered the only thing that really interested me was buying my wand and doing a sorting written by JK herself. After I did that and got my “official” house, I got bored with the whole thing very quickly. I wanted so much to love it, but there was just nothing very interesting there.


April 16th, 2012
8:31 am

My oldest will just now start reading the books and I think it will be a fun companion for her. She can interact as she’s reading about it. I found it OK, but do hope there is more as you move through the books. I did like the background info from JKR.


April 16th, 2012
8:43 am

Haven’t bothered with Pottermore even though I and my son are big fans of the HP books and movies. What turned me off was the beta testing period where only a select group of people gained access. And if I remember correctly, to get beta access, you had to jump through a bunch of hoops and sign up at a specific time each day otherwise you were out of luck. No thanks. This site should have launched to the general public from the outset and have a lot of original content to keep people coming back.


April 16th, 2012
10:10 am

I signed up yesterday mainly for the additional literary content – the games and images might be cute, but I’m not really their target audience. I knew it would take forever so I didn’t bother checking for the first registration e-mail until this morning.

One minor correction – you don’t choose your wand. The wand chooses you. That’s what Ollivander says in the book, and they make a point to say it that way in the description of the activities on the site.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

April 16th, 2012
10:52 am

Mike – you are right — the wand chooses you. should have said something like when you get the wand activity –


April 16th, 2012
11:19 am

I think Pottermore is as close to the experience that Harry had as possible. The series shows his gradual immersion into the wizarding world, and it’s made obvious to him that he can’t just jump in and start waving his wand around. You have to explore, you have to practice, and you have to want to learn. That is the way the website is designed. You don’t get sorted right away because Harry didn’t get sorted right away. Pottermore isn’t a game, they have Harry Potter videogames for that purpose. It is a place for the most devoted and loyal fans (not just people who like the books) to immerse themselves in, to connect and share theories and artwork and their own person experiences. I think it was designed to keep Muggles out, people who don’t love the magic of learning and imagination. Yes, you have to wait, yes you have to learn, yes you have to practice. That is the Hogwarts experience.


April 16th, 2012
11:22 am

I think you all have great points, some of which I address in my blog post titled “Pottermore: A Social Community for a Very Niche Group”– check it out here: http://socialbitsandbytes.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/pottermore-a-social-community-for-a-very-niche-group/ and feel free to leave any comments or constructive criticisms!


April 16th, 2012
12:20 pm

Roswell City released Summer Camp schedule.

Lots of camps.


April 16th, 2012
12:44 pm

Just another reason/excuse for kids to be planted to a computer instead of being outside playing and exercising.

Tommy Chong

April 16th, 2012
12:54 pm


April 16th, 2012
1:27 pm

Again, another slice of the Cult of Celebrity! Let’s get the kids out into the fresh air and let them imagine their own games!

Roberta Higginbotham

April 16th, 2012
2:04 pm

To each his/her own. I think each person’s individual experience with the site is just that – one person’s individual experience with the site.


April 16th, 2012
2:22 pm

I had been doing Pottermore since the Beta. I enjoyed some things; others I didn’t.

One thing I didn’t care for was Potions. You have to be very careful when using your mouse to handle the ingredients, and your aim has to be perfect. Also, the length of time it took to brew the potions took too long. They had recently announced on the Pottermore Insider blog that they’ve shortened brew times, but I wasn’t impressed.

Same thing with the spell casting and Wizard’s Duel. With Wizard’s Duel, you could challenge any of your friends in your own House or other Houses. It seemed to always be down.

One thing that irks me about the site is it’s in “real time”. Even if you progress through the entire first book in less than a week, you have to wait for them to release the second book, which I’m predicting won’t be until September 2012, when the new school year starts.

I kind of enjoy the backstories of the characters, such as their histories and where they came from. Allows you to get a better understanding as to why they acted the way they did in the books.


April 16th, 2012
3:44 pm

Seriously? Is this blog a continuous recital of everything this person does during the day? Where is the breakfast post? “I kept searching for more Purple Horseshoes under the remaining Lucky Charms. I only found one. That was disappointing. Then I looked on facebook and one of my friends had a similar experience. And then someone else said that she had many, many purple horseshoes.”

Also, consider reading a different book. There are literally hundreds to choose from.


April 16th, 2012
3:46 pm

I’ve got a 12-year old interested in this. Does it cost anything? It sounds like it’s divided into books. Has anyone finished the first book and can give an idea of how long it took?

[...] the only place you can buy the e-books.) I immediately signed on to register. Read more on Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) This entry was posted in Callifornia Allstate Insurance and tagged Latest, News, Willits by . [...]

Greg S.

April 16th, 2012
4:37 pm

C’mon! Whatever you think it is it’s not. It’s just a website. Websites, not to be confused with web apps, fall into only a few categories: games/entertainment, information and SALES. And a lot of the games sites are really sales sites as you are paying monthly for gametime. I suspect Pottermore is OK but the books and movies are the real stuff. The stuff of imagination.


April 16th, 2012
5:09 pm

Or you could forget about this garbage and find some real literature, or, god forbid, some relevant non-fiction. Hey, we’re at the bicentennial of the War of 1812. You could read about Andrew Jackson, Jean Lafitte, the Battle of New Orleans, etc.

But forget that, right? Why read history when you can read about some imaginary 8 year old and pretend to be impressed by deus ex machina. Herp derp.

Let's Be Real

April 16th, 2012
7:38 pm

Adults who care about fake wizards need to chase a ball into traffic


April 17th, 2012
1:52 pm

I have been on Pottermore since the first day of the Beta phase, last summer. I agree with many of the other comments, that the wand and house sorting are awesome, and I ESPECIALLY love the behind the scenes look at characters, like McGonagall’s life story, etc. I think that J.K. Rowling should have had the 1st and 2nd books lined up before opening it to the public. I went through the first book in a day, then had nothing else to do except make the same potions over and over.

The more books come out, the more fun things will be opening up to do, like hopefully Quidditch, more shops, more spells, more activities, more stories and extras, etc. I haven’t given up on it yet! I feel like there’s more fun things to come.


April 17th, 2012
5:57 pm

What did you expect? JK Rowling herself to jump out of the screen and whip up a new story for you? I think the site is perfect for what it is…a companion to the books.

And I think people who get on comment boards just to make rude comments should actually BE the ball in traffic.

Let's Be Real

April 17th, 2012
7:36 pm

Dawn, you are even crying like a little girl who got her feelings hurt. lol.


April 18th, 2012
12:04 pm

I am a 60 year old mother of two grown children and have 3 grandchildren. I love the Harry Potter books and movies. We were fortunate enough to have had seven books that took us to another world we could never have imagined and then to have movies bring all of this wonderful magical world to reality for us….I don’t think anything can ever top that. We actually escaped into Harry, Hermione, and Ron’s magical world. Rowling’s descriptions were so vivid you could see them and when the movies came out it was exactly what you imagined it would be. Anything after all of this is just filler…so we don’t forget and can still experience some of the magical world.

I don’t think there is anything, book, movie, web site that would satisfy what J. K. Rowling opened up in most of us. So enjoy the web site, it is what it is and it will probably get bigger but it’s never going to meet the expectations we have set for anything that’s Harry Potter.

Remember how exciting reading the next chapter was or how hard it was to put the book down and come back to your world. And the movies! November meant much more than just Thanksgiving, a Harry Potter movie! Then July became a month for two celebrations, our country’s independence and the next Harry Potter movie!

All I’m saying is don’t take Pottermore too seriously and either like or not. Be thankful for the extra security they have placed on the site and don’t we wish more sites that our children get on would do this.

I’m going to miss the Harry Potter books as I’m sure all of the Harry Potter fans will. I didn’t read the last chapter of the Deathly Hallows for the longest…because I didn’t want it to end.

Things like the Pottermore web site, as I said earlier, fills a void for some.


April 19th, 2012
2:55 pm

My only complaint is that they made us wait for almost a year to have access to this site and there’s only one book open. I just don’t get it. Why even open a website that only has 1/7 of its features available? I really hope they don’t do something stupid like release one book every year.


April 21st, 2012
5:44 am

I’m laughing to myself because I haven’t even looked around more at the site. I just signed up so I could have the books on my Kindle. I didn’t realize there WAS any thing else to the site. I was however a bit disappointed that they charged me an international transaction fee to purchase the e-books. It wasn’t much – just under $2 – but unexpected. Oh well.

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