A Tale of Two Books: Comparing Chamber of Secrets to Philosopher’s Stone

There are now two books on Pottermore: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. We’ve decided to compare the two in a full evaluation – taking into account the content, enhancements, and artwork. We did this to find out which is the better book, and here are our results.


The difference in the amount of exclusive content by J.K. Rowling in Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets is staggering. The first book boasts 28 exclusive content entries (including book excerpts) in it’s 17 chapters, whilst the second book only has 11 entries in 18 chapters. However, we think Pottermore focused on other things to make sure users didn’t notice the absence.

We noticed that in the chapters without exclusive content entries, there were mini-games such as Aunt Petunia’s Pudding and the Dueling Club for users to play. The first book was driven by it’s content because Pottermore didn’t really have much more to offer. When the second book came around, we’re thinking the Pottermore Team decided to focus more on animation and games and less on content.

We also found that there only appeared to be the same amount of content because the chapters were released in installments. When going by installment, there seems to be a fair amount in each one. It definitely made us believe the amount was equal, but it clearly isn’t.

Verdict: Even though Chamber of Secrets offers fascinating backstory on the Malfoys, the Chamber of Secrets, and Purebloods, we felt that the new writing in the first book interested us more.

Enhancements (Sounds, Games, Animation)

With Chamber of Secrets, Pottermore introduced a new feature – mini-games. Whether you loved them or hated them, you have to admit they were amazing. Games were definitely something users wanted, and in this case Pottermore listened (and did a fair good job of listening).

Not only the games, but some of the animation in the Moments is absolutely awesome (as in the literall term, not slang). It is most notable in some of the later chapters, specifically chapters 16, 17 and 18. You can’t beat the graphics in the Basilisk scene, or in the Moment in which Harry destroys the diary. The latter though did have us yearning for more.

Verdict: We think it’s pretty clear that Chamber of Secrets came out on top in terms of animation and games. The first book can’t even compare, simply because the animation just isn’t there. The graphics were bad and glitchy. Chamber of Secrets was a huge improvement in this category.


The animation in Chamber of Secrets was an improvement from the first book, and the artwork is no different. When we first explored the second book, it was one of the first things we noticed. The artwork changed a lot.

In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the artwork was more of a painting. That’s not to say it wasn’t beautiful – it for sure was – but the artwork was more of a book illustration than anything. It seems that the illustration aspect was changed in Chamber of Secrets.

In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the Pottermore team seemed to have found the right mixture, as the artwork is a major improvement. In book two, the artwork is more clearer and realistic, almost like a computer graphic. The artwork in the last chapters worked very well because of the combination between art and animation.

Specifically in the second installment, we saw a perfect medium between old and new. These Moments had a fresher look to them while still keeping the aspects of the traditional artwork in book one. A great example of this is in Chapter 8, Moment 1, Nearly Headless Nick’s Party. It is one of the best Moments on Pottermore because of it’s stunning artwork.

Verdict: Overall, the artwork in book two beats the artwork in book one by a long shot. Kudos to Atomhawk Design (Pottermore artwork design team) for the great work!


There was a lot to take into consideration within those categories – graphics & animation, artwork, and content. Each book has its good parts and bad parts. There is no real clear winner here.

As we said above, the first book is content driven, and the second is more focused on graphics and animation. It was a risky decision, but Pottermore definitely succeeded. In our opinion, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the better book. There was a lot of pressure on the Pottermore team because the public expected the second book to have some major improvements, but Pottermore delivered. Now the pressure is on for Prisoner of Azkaban.

>>>Watch our Tumblr site this week as we break down Chamber of Secrets. We’ll be rating the content and games, naming our top moments, and a whole lot more. Stay tuned!


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