Pottermore launches redesigned site with a message from J.K. Rowling

Pottermore 2.0 has launched.

Pottermore 2.0 has launched.

Pottermore launched their redesigned site early Tuesday morning with a message from author J.K. Rowling.

Gone away is the Map and chapter-by-chapter timeline, or even Diagon Alley and Wizard Duel. Pottermore as we know it has changed forever, embarking on a new era.

The new website comes with a handful of new features, revealed by the Menu on the right-hand side of the site. In the News section, the latest updates about all Harry Potter-related projects are reported on by the Pottermore correspondent, an anonymous source but professional journalist who was hired by Pottermore for the job. The correspondent writes with a strong grasp on the task at hand and a unique, personable voice, a refreshing departure from the monotonous tone of the Pottermore Insider.

On the other hand, the feature section displays listicles on the Wizarding World, like “5 Friendship Lessons We Learned From Dobby” and “The 5 Death Eaters You’ll Never Forget”, along with behind-the-scenes insights into the making of the Harry Potter films. This is light-hearted content but there inclusion is questionable when BuzzFeed does the same thing. The purpose of having an authoritative voice on this content is unnecessary.

At the heart of the site remains exclusive content from J.K. Rowling, discoverable in “Writing by J.K. Rowling”. The site launched with all the previously added content available, with more to come. To mark the beginning of the new era, Pottermore published a history of the Potter family, by J.K. Rowling, tracking their pedigree from the 12th century.

An audio message from the author also appears on the site upon the first visit, transcribed below:

Welcome to Pottermore. This is my magical corner of the internet, a place where you can explore my writing, both familiar and new, and where you can read features, articles and news from the Pottermore team. New information will be revealed about the characters, places, and magic you’re familiar with, as well as introductions to a few new characters, places, and notions. Pottermore is a place where you can unleash your imagination, and allow it to lead you on adventures. If you need a little magic in your life, you’ve come to the right place.

With this, J.K. Rowling redefines her project as the digital heart of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Pottermore was always meant to be just that, but in the long run it turned out to be more of a reading experience than anything.

Reactions to the site have been mixed; a lot of people praise the site for its accessibility, and others feel as though The mixed feelings are understandable; its very difficult to react to this because it is an extremely drastic, seemingly unreasoned change.

Pottermore 2.0 is “cooler” with its contemporary tiles, visual-heavy layout, and infinite scroll, but ultimately less imaginative as that idea of cool becomes generic and more visible across the web. By deviating from Harry’s story, going beyond Hogwarts, Pottermore became much less magical and all the more real. Its corporate, to say the least, and a visit to their “About” page will prove this point.

Pottermore’s Director of Product, Creative and Content, Anna Rafferty, in a Bookseller article prior to launch, discussed one of our issues with new Pottermore, teasing: “There are going to be hundreds of thousands of landing pages [on the new site].”

Indeed, there are a ton of landing pages covering nearly everything you could possibly think of in Harry’s world. But it’s too much to consume at once. Information is not presented in a succinct, organized manner. There’s no order in the content, no listed index, so visitors are left to click until they find something interesting, unless they know exactly what they want, in which case they can search for it.

Positively, the site is incredibly mobile-friendly. It works well on all devices. All content is searchable and shareable, which means more people can actively get involved with the community. Of course, J.K. Rowling’s new content continues to be the best part of the experience.

For now, Pottermore is still a work in progress. There is no registration function on the site, and the signature features of the site, the Sorting Hat and Wand questionnaire, are noticeably absent. The Pottermore team explained that they are actively working on incorporating these capabilities into the site, along with the long-anticipated Patronus test. Thankfully, Pottermore stays true to its original promise: more Potter.

Advertisements

J.K. Rowling takes on homophobic Westboro Baptist Church on Twitter

Screenshot 2015-06-10 at 09.33.30 AMIn today’s edition of “Who’s J.K. Rowling Fighting With (and Winning) on Twitter?”, J.K. Rowling takes on the infamous Westboro Baptist Church, the homophobic, racist and misogynist organization based in the U.S.

The interaction started when J.K. Rowling tweeted in praise of Ireland’s landmark event of legalizing same-sex marriage in a popular vote. She tweeted to fellow author and friend Val McDermid, “May the next generation never go through what some of my friends went through. A victory for love and human rights!”

Hilariously, Jo tweeted this picture as well, which thus caught the attention of the Westboro Baptist Church.

The Westboro Baptist Church’s tweet and Jo’s epic response:

And finally, J.K. Rowling’s kind defense of gay (LGBTQ+) youth…

All hail to Queen Rowling, the true gay icon!

Calling all Pottermore users: The Pottermore Guide App is right for you!

The Potion page as it appears in the app.

The Potion page as it appears in the app.

A handy app for Pottermore players who demand 100% completion rate

In November 2013, Pottermore was made available for tablets and smartphones. The mobile version added a whole new level of excitement for fans who can’t get enough of the game and want to play while on the bus or taking a little break from work.

With the release of Pottermore for mobile came the development of a simple game guide for players. It’s not an official release by J.K. Rowling or Sony but it’s a pretty good app for those who want to fill their progress bar in the game quickly. For those who do not have a lot of time to search for every spider or dust cloud in the game, here’s the Pottermore Guide app for you.

The Pottermore Guide App

Finding items in the game can sometimes be exhausting, as players of Pottermore need to explore every nook and cranny in order to find things that will fill up their progress bar. Thankfully, the Pottermore Guide App is there for players who are stuck in the game. All players need to do is select a book and a chapter in order to find the information they’re looking for. Screenshots of in-game items and the locations where players can find them are also included in the app for easier hunting. Apart from being a handy item checklist, The Pottermore Guide also gives players hints on how to progress further in the game, whether it’s finding hidden Hinkypunks or solving gnome problems in the garden.

Don’t worry about running the app on the background all the time, as it doesn’t take a lot of juice out of the battery. The Pottermore Guide is only available for Android phones and that means programs that don’t close automatically. Gaming site Pocket Fruity warns first-time Android users to keep their apps in check since many of them drain the battery very quickly even when they’re only running on the background. Thankfully, this isn’t the case with this app.

The Pottermore Guide App has a complete checklist for the first 5 books, and is currently up to date with some Moments for book 6. This is a contributed post. Though our fan website, Pottermore News, endorses the Pottermore Guide App, the app has not received official endorsement from J.K. Rowling, Pottermore, or all related companies and peoples. 

Cover revealed for fully Illustrated version of ‘Philosopher’s Stone’

The publishers of Harry Potter revealed today the cover for the fully-illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Illustrated by award-winning artist Jim Kay, the cover features the Hogwarts Express stationed at Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. With owls flying overhead, a young Harry Potter stands in the corner of the picture, in awe of the scene around him.

The U.K. cover for the book, to be published by Bloomsbury:

Kay_Bloomsbury

U.S. Harry Potter publisher Scholastic simultaneously released their version of the cover, donning the iconic logo of the Harry Potter brand.

HarryPotterJimKay_resize

The first ever illustrated Harry Potter book will hit store shelves around the globe this year on October 15th. Preorder the edition from Bloomsbury here and Scholastic here.

‘J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography’ offers new insight into the Harry Potter books

The cover of J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography (1997-2013) by Phillip W. Errington.

The cover of J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography (1997-2013) by Phillip W. Errington.

Last week, Bloomsbury Publishing’s Academic imprint published Phillip W. Errington’s J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography (1997-2013), offering fascinating insight into the publishing of Harry Potter.

Chronicling the literary history of J.K. Rowling’s works, the book features every edition of Rowling’s books, from the first edition of Philosopher’s Stone to The Cuckoo’s Calling. Along with descriptions of the individual editions, the bibliography includes edits and corrections made by Rowling and her editors, as well as extensive quotes from Nigel Newton, founder and chief executive officer of Bloomsbury Publishing.

The author of the bibliography, Phillip Errington, spent five years gathering the information that fills the 544-page volume. He spent time in Bloomsbury archives, speaking with anyone involved in the series from the early days until today.

Bloomsbury’s website advertises the book with the following synopsis:

This is the definitive bibliography of the writings of J. K. Rowling. In addition to complete bibliographic details of each edition of all her books, pamphlets and original contributions to published works, there is detailed information on the publishing history of her work, including fascinating extracts from correspondence, and information on Rowling at auction. This will be the first source on Rowling consulted by textual scholars, book dealers and collectors, auction houses, critics and researchers. The aim of the book is to record fact and dispel rumour on the fascinating publishing history of the Harry Potter series.

J.K. Rowling herself praised the book, saying, “As someone who respects comprehensive research, I am in awe of the level of detail and amount of time Philip Errington has dedicated to this slavishly thorough and somewhat mind-boggling bibliography.

The Guardian offered highlights of the book in their review, including J.K. Rowling’s revelation of alternative titles for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire — Harry Potter and the Death Eaters, Harry Potter and the Fire Goblet and Harry Potter and the Three Champions. In addition, Errington shares many notable stories in the book, like the handing over of the manuscript for Order of the Phoenix. 

[Christopher] Little [J.K. Rowling’s agent, 1997-2011] summoned [Nigel] Newton [C.E.O. of Bloomsbury] to The Pelican pub in Fulham for a drink, he told Errington – Newton knew the meeting could be significant, as the location was where Little had delivered the previous book to Bloomsbury. “So I drove to The Pelican, a pub off the Fulham Road not far from Stamford Bridge, in a state of high alert. And I went in and there was a massive Sainsbury’s plastic carrier bag at this feet … he said nothing about that and I said nothing and he just said ‘Drink?’ and I said, ‘a pint, please’. So we stood at the bar and drank our pints and said nothing about Harry Potter. But when we left I walked out with the carrier bag. It was a classic dead letter drop,” said Newton.

For likewise stories, purchase J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography (1997-2013) from Bloomsbury Publishing today, £67.50. The book will be available from April 23 in the United States, $128. If you are interested, pre-order the book here.

Don’t forget! Next month, Little, Brown will publish Very Good Lives, the text of J.K. Rowling’s 2008 Harvard Commencement Address in book form.

Partner: An Interview with Bryony Evens – The Woman Who Discovered Harry Potter

Our friends at Always J.K. Rowling recently interviewed Bryony Evens, “the woman who discovered Harry Potter.” Bryony worked as a reader of “unsolicited manuscripts” at Christopher Little Literary Agency, who represented J.K. Rowling through the publication of the Harry Potter novels until 2011. On the job, Bryony came across J.K. Rowling’s submission and pushed for the agency to sign the new author, even though they did not represent new children’s book authors. That was 18 years ago, and we now have Bryony Evens to thank for the Harry Potter phenomenon.

Here are some excerpts from the interview:

What stood out about J. K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” manuscript?

Two things – the book arrived in a folder, which had a clamp binding, which I’d never seen before. This caught my eye and made me look at the synopsis and standard three chapters which had been sent in. I started reading the manuscript and loved the tone of voice. When I got to the line about how Mrs Dursley had called to tell Mr Dursley that Dudley had learned a new word (“Shan’t!”) I giggled and realised I was on to something good! It took me back to a time when I was a kid, reading Diana Wynne Jones’ Charmed Life ‘illegally’ under the bedclothes with a torch, long after lights-out time, and giggling at the scene in the church when all the stained-glass windows and stone statues come to life! Once I’d read the whole thing, it ticked all the boxes for the sort of books I enjoy: detective story, school story, magical excitement, the fairy tale discovery that someone’s family background is not what they thought it was – and of course there was a train in it too!

How has Harry Potter & J. K. Rowling personally affected you?

Thinking about it, it’s probably getting on for 20 years now since that first envelope arrived on my desk (20 years? Blimey! Where has THAT time gone?!) I’m immensely proud of my small part in the story of J. K. Rowling and Harry Potter, as it proves I know a good thing when I see it! Over the years since then, I’ve met Jo 4 times, and have had lots of lovely opportunities to do exciting things which would never have happened without me playing my part in the story…

To read the full interview with Bryony Evens, visit Always J.K. Rowling. You can also watch Bryony present her story here.

 

J.K. Rowling on Gilderoy Lockhart: Full clips revealed on Pottermore.com

Image courtesy of Pottermore

Image courtesy of Pottermore

As we previously announced, Pottermore released three new audio clips and one from the archives, of J.K. Rowling speaking about Gilderoy Lockhart.

According to the Pottermore Insider, listeners can “learn more about Lockhart’s family background, his failed business idea and where the Sorting Hat nearly put him during his time at Hogwarts.”

You can discover these audio clips and refresh your memory (no pun intended) on Gilderoy in book two, chapter 13 on Pottermore.com.

The Harry Potter Journey has been published!

The Harry Potter Journey: Volume One has been published.

The Harry Potter Journey: Volume One has been published.

Back in January we asked our readers to donate to the Harry Potter Journey fund, which would make the Harry Potter Journey website a book. With your help, that dream is now a reality, and The Harry Potter Journey: Volume One – The making of ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’ is now published.

The Harry Potter Journey is an in-depth, page-turning narrative that traces the roots of Harry Potter, from the moment of conception to present day. Not only are readers exposed to the transformation of a manuscript, but also a person: a struggling single mother with a big idea, J.K. Rowling. Through the interviews of key figures and detailed research, the author takes us on the magnificent journey that is the making of the first Harry Potter novel. The book tells a really amazing and unforgettable story about the making of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and it is a must read for all Harry Potter fanatics.

If you want, you can purchase it at http://www.theharrypotterjourney.com for $10, using a credit card or pay pal account.

This first volume covers the story of the first book, and the second volume will focus on Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban. A release date has not been announced yet for the second volume.

About the Harry Potter Journey:

For the past two years, the Harry Potter Journey has been an online visual history of the writing of the Harry Potter books. It shared the complete history behind the Harry Potter books, with different editions and collector’s items, and more. In 2013 it was published in the form of a book, and is available in e-book format.

Pottermore on PlayStation Home adds new Hogwarts locations

Hufflepuff Common Room on Pottermore on PS Home.

Hufflepuff Common Room on Pottermore on PS Home.

The Pottermore Insider has announced the release of new locations on Pottermore on PlayStation Home.

With this release, users can explore Hogwarts, and all that entails with it. According to the Insider, if you’ve been sorted into one of the four Hogwarts houses on Pottermore.com and you’ve linked your account with your PSN ID, “you can now step inside the Great Hall where you will be able view your own Sorting Ceremony beneath the enchanted ceiling and floating candles.” Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?!

Along with this, users can now enter their House Common Rooms and meet and socialize with other members of their house. A new mini-game has also been introduced; with Charms, players can “master the art of levitation”. In the game, players will “levitate a feather and guide it through maze after maze of enchanted obstacles.” You have to beat the clock for maximum points!

Finally, users can now purchase their very own house in Hogsmeade and choose from a wide collection of furniture items to decorate their “wizarding abode” in their own unique way. Unfortunately, these items have to be purchased with Muggle money, not galleons (no word on any exact prices just yet).

These all sound like very fun new features, and we hope players enjoy!

What do you think about the new capabilities? Do you play Pottermore on PlayStation Home? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below.