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.

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Pottermore teases phase 2 of the site: New design, logo, and more content

Pottermore will relaunch in the coming weeks with this new logo, written by J.K. Rowling, at large.

Pottermore will relaunch in the coming weeks with this new logo, written by J.K. Rowling, at large.

Following a previous message issued to the Pottermore community, on Friday the site formally announced plans to relaunch pottermore.com, along with a new design, logo, target audience and more content.

According to their press release, Pottermore will revamp the site in the coming weeks, commencing the second phase of J.K. Rowling’s project. The new Pottermore will house more original content from the Harry Potter author than ever before, indexed and searchable for the first time on browsers. The new design enables author J.K. Rowling to more easily contribute to the site, adding broad-ranging new content that focuses on all aspects of the Wizarding World.

From Susan L. Jurevics, Chief Executive Officer of Pottermore:

J.K. Rowling is continuing to expand her magical universe beyond the Harry Potter stories, and as the Wizarding World expands, so do we. We are excited to provide a new digital destination with an authentic voice, which will delight everyone interested in exploring this world. The new enhanced Pottermore is continually evolving, and is tailored to unlock and stimulate the imagination of our audience like never before.

Searchable content gave way to the elimination of mandatory site registration, so the site will be accessible to all visitors. In further terms of accessibility, the site fits mobile-devices first, so you can carry Harry’s world in your pocket. Though the site is made for smartphones and tablets, an online version will continue to exist.

The Pottermore Correspondent, a professional journalist hired by Pottermore, will replace the Pottermore Insider blog, which closed last spring. The Correspondent will write timely news articles and commentary on the happenings in Potterworld, including updates on the upcoming Warner Bros. film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and the stage production Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, both premiering in 2016.

Click for high-res

Pottermore has been redesigned to complement the mobile focused world. Here is Pottermore on an iPhone.

All of these changes are part of an effort to move beyond Hogwarts, and address the evolving Harry Potter brand. First launched in 2012, Pottermore began as a virtual Hogwarts experience focused on Harry’s story — with House Cups, dueling, potion brewing, etc. This era is over now to make room for a site to satisfy fans of all types — from fair-weather to hardcore, young and old.

However, by the look of new stills released by Pottermore and the Bookseller, it appears that the new, sleeker design appeals to older fans — specifically those that grew up with Harry, and now want more Potter at their fingertips. Pottermore: Part 2 is all about aesthetic, and comes with a new logo from the hand of J.K. Rowling. The site blends the old with the new, combing 15 years worth of Harry Potter history.

The new site will incorporate all developments of Harry Potter since its first publication, including the films, as shown above.

The new site will incorporate all developments of Harry Potter since its first publication, including the films, as shown above.

We are skeptical of the extent to which this new site will be successful in the long term, but one thing is for certain… Pottermore might be stepping away from its original concept, but nevertheless, it stays true to its name with the promise of more Potter.

What do you think of Pottermore’s plans? Are you excited? Tell us in the comments below.

Read more in-depth from the Bookseller magazine: Pottermore readies radical relaunch

Pottermore to enter next phase of the site

Image courtesy of Pottermore

Image courtesy of Pottermore

Pottermore announced last week that they will be closing the current site and relaunching pottermore.com completely. 

Though a major overhaul has been hinted by the site for months now, the team confirmed the news with fans via Twitter and Owl Notification. According to the message, part one of Pottermore, focusing on Harry Potter’s story and life at Hogwarts, will soon end. This conclusion will make way for a new site, focused beyond Hogwarts and on the broader wizarding world created by author J.K. Rowling.

From Pottermore:

Soon, Pottermore as you know it will transform into a new and reimagined website, giving you the opportunity to discover even more about J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.

Part one of Pottermore’s story, in which you have enjoyed the depiction of Harry’s story through illustrated ‘Moment’ artwork and experienced life within Hogwarts, is ending. We are now preparing for part two of Pottermore’s story to begin. As J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World expands, so too will Pottermore, becoming a place to imagine more and share in a world beyond the seven book series.

Presumably, the expansion the notification mentions alludes to Fantastic Beasts as well as the upcoming stage play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Its a message that’s open to much interpretation and nothing else is known about the site’s prospects.

Pottermore assured Twitter followers that the site will still feature artwork, but the Moments themselves will change. J.K. Rowling’s exclusive content will still be available, but we suspect the presentation to be different. Nevertheless, Pottermore promises the new site will be packed with new features.

Pottermore is also making available a Certificate feature for fans as a memento for their time on the site. It encapsulates the Pottermore experience, listing the user’s membership anniversary, username, their wand, house, and house points. It is printable until 1:00pm BST on September 16.

The site unveiled the final Moments of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in June, but otherwise had an unusually mum summer, besides the addition of a wizarding timeline. It seems they were hard to work on this new site. We’ll wait and see…

As a reminder, Pottermore will announce the winner of the last House Cup this week, on Wednesday.

Fantastic Beasts begins filming, casting news announced

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has begun principal production at Leavesden Studios, Warner Bros. announced today.

Though the film starts out in New York City, production kicked off in England at the same studio where the Harry Potter series was made. The movie brings together the same key people who worked on Potter, with David Yates directing and David Heyman producing. Author J.K. Rowling, who also helmed the screenplay, is overseeing production with some creative control.

Though not too much is known about the plot, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will follow magizoologist Newt Scamander as he ventures throughout the wizarding world encountering various magical creatures, the experience on which he will base his book, Fantastic Beasts. The movie will serve as a prequel of the Harry Potter story, starting out 70 years earlier than Harry, in the 1920s.

Warner Bros. also confirmed the actors who have been cast in the production. In addition to Eddie Redmayne as the lead Newt Scamander, Katherine Watson will star as Tina Goldstein, Newt’s wife; Alison Sudol as Tina’s sister, Queenie; Dan Folger as Jacob; Ezra Miller as Credence; Samantha Morton as Mary Lou; Jenn Murray as Chasity; Colin Farrell as Graves; and newcomer Faith Wood-Blagrove as Modesty.

Fantastic Beasts will be the first in a trilogy, hitting theaters November 18, 2016.

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Celebrate J.K. Rowling’s 50th birthday by donating to Lumos

In April 2015, J.K. Rowling launched Lumos in the U.S. in the lobby of the Empire State Building.

In April 2015, J.K. Rowling launched Lumos in the U.S. in the lobby of the Empire State Building.

Our favorite author is turning 50 this year, and you know what that means…

For three years, the Light Up Jo’s Birthday fundraiser has brought together J.K. Rowling fans during her birthday month to raise money for the author’s charity, Lumos, which aims to end the institutionalization of children around the world. As always, the fundraiser runs throughout the month of July; it ends July 31, Jo’s (and Harry Potter’s) birthday.

Lumos works everyday to save children from institutions around the world. Children living in orphanages and likewise institutions are more likely to suffer mental illness, be malnourished, and are less likely to survivie. J.K. Rowling established the charity in 2005, and the organization just inaugurated the opening of a U.S. branch this year. Light Up Jo’s Birthday chose Lumos as the best way to honor the author because it is very near and dear to her heart.

Donating to Light Up Jo’s Birthday is simply the best way to give back to the woman who has given her fans so much. In the past, J.K. Rowling has called the gift “one of the best birthday presents I’ve ever received,” so who wouldn’t want to apart of it?!

As a thank you gift for your donation, the organizers are offering a chance to win a number of great prizes, including signed books by J.K. Rowling and George R.R. Martin, work from MinaLima, the graphic designers from the Harry Potter films, as well as a signed DVD of The Casual Vacancy. Donations of any size will enter you into the prize drawing.

To date, Light Up Jo’s Birthday has raised £7,000 for Lumos, and as of now, they’ve earned£660.50. However, they’ve still got a long way to go until their goal, £2,434.03.  If you’re able, help them out by donating and to benefit a worthwhile cause. At the end of the month, this amount will be donated to Lumos as a birthday present to J.K. Rowling, and the author will be notified of the donation amount.

To find out more about Lumos, click here. Visit this site to donate to Light Up Jo’s Birthday.

Official: ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ London stage play announced

J.K. Rowling and co. finally revealed details about the long-awaited Harry Potter play, first announced in late 2013.

cursedchild

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will premiere next summer in London at the Palace Theatre. According to J.K. Rowling, it is not a prequel, but will follow Lily Evans Potter and James Potter prior to their murder by Lord Voldemort. J.K. Rowling worked closely on the production with director John Tiffany and scriptwriter Jack Throne. The play will be produced by Sonia Friedman Productions, Colin Callender’s Playground Entertainment and Harry Potter Theatrical Productions.

The Daily Mail reports tickets will go on sale this fall, with huge pre-sales expected. Details about ticketing will be revealed later next month, in July.

First reported by the Mail, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling confirmed the news this morning on Twitter. In long form, she said:

I’m very excited to confirm today that a new play called Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will be opening in London next year. It will tell a new story, which is the result of a collaboration between writer Jack Thorne, director John Tiffany and myself. I don’t want to say too much more, because I don’t want to spoil what I know will be a real treat for fans. However, I can say that it is not a prequel. To answer one inevitable (and reasonable!) question – why isn’t #CursedChild a new novel? – I am confident that when audiences see the play they will agree that it was the only proper medium for the story. I’ve had countless offfers to extend Harry’s story over the years, but Jack, John and Sonia Friedman are a dream team! It has been a huge please to share with them (and soon, with you!) this untold part of Harry’s story.

Judging by the Daily Mail’s reporting, it appears that the stage production will follow the Marauders in addition to Lily and James, with the couple at the focus. For fans who have sought a Marauders-based story for years, this might be your answer.

The Cursed Child delves into what happened to Harry’s parents — Lily Evans Potter and James Potter — before they were killed by Lord Voldemort, forcing an infant Harry to be raised in miserable circumstances by his mother’s sister, Petunia, her horrid husband Vernon and their spoiled son Dudley.

Snape helped Lily refine her magical powers, and through the course of the seven Harry Potter novels it became clear he carried a torch for her. But though she cared for him, she did not love him. Instead, she fell for James Potter — a student she had once loathed for his cockiness.

The play may also look at the complicated relationship between siblings Lily and Petunia. A muggle like the rest of her family, Petunia was always put out by her sister’s magical prowess.

There is also dramatic fodder in the friendship between Lily and Severus Snape during their schooldays at Hogwarts (both were members of the Order Of The Phoenix).

Another of their friends — Remus Lupin — may also figure in the story.

Fans can register for further ticket information at http://www.harrypottertheplaylondon.com/, the official website for the play.

Pottermore reveals new Moments from Deathly Hallows

Moment depicting Dobby's funeral at Shell Cottage

Moment depicting Dobby’s funeral at Shell Cottage

Today, Pottermore unveiled Moments from the last Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

The new set of artwork depicts 15 scenes from the nearly 800-page manuscript. Fly off into the summer night with the Seven Potters, escape Gringotts on dragonback, witness the killing of Severus Snape and much more on pottermore.com.

Insights on the book by J.K. Rowling are scattered throughout the Moments. In this release, the Harry Potter author revealed her thoughts on Alchemy, and shared new information about the Sword of Gryffindor and Extension Charms. Rowling also added to the existing entry on Vernon & Petunia Dursley, as well as Hatstalls.

From Rowling’s entry on the Sword of Gryffindor:

I am interested in what happens when cultural beliefs collide. In the Harry Potter books, the most militant of the goblin race consider all goblin-made objects to be theirs by right, although a specific object might be made over to a wizard for his life-span upon a payment of gold.  Witches and wizards, like Muggles, believe that once payment has been made, the object belongs to them and their descendants or legatees in perpetuity.  This is a clash of values without a solution, because each side has a different concept of what is right.  It therefore presents Harry with a difficult moral dilemma when Griphook demands the sword as payment for his services in Deathly Hallows.

To read the whole essay and explore all the new Moments from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, visit pottermore.com.

Though Pottermore confirmed they will not be adding new Moments to Deathly Hallows, the release of the final book is not the end for J.K. Rowling’s project. Fans still expect a Patronus test sometime soon.  As Pottermore promised in March, “…it’s certainly not the end – in fact, far from it.”

Stick with Pottermore News with all the latest on J.K. Rowling’s pottermore.com.

Pottermore adds “History of Magic” timeline to the homepage

On Tuesday, Pottermore unveiled a new “Timeline of the Wizarding World”, a feature on pottermore.com that traces the History of Magic through noteworthy people and their accomplishments from antiquity to the 20th century.

As a mark of the new timeline, an icon of a book, with the title “History of Magic” was added on the Map homepage on Pottermore.

The Timeline is filled with familiar names, like Ignatia Wildsmith and Celestina Warbeck, as well as the not so well-known, like Leopoldina Smethwyck, the first British witch to referee a Quidditch match. The names are connected with lightning bolts of lineage tracing wizarding history all the way up to the boy with the lightning bolt scar.

Screenshot 2015-06-10 at 02.47.59 AM

Users are encouraged to use the timeline to discover unfamiliar characters from the wizarding world, from the inventor of the Sneakoscope (Edgar Strougler) to the first landlady of the Leaky Cauldron (Daisy Dotteridge), as well as build up their knowledge on the history of magic. In their announcement, Pottermore implied that the timeline will be updated over time.

As one would expect, the list features Newt Scamander, the famed magizoologist and author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. However, his listing reveals that the wizard is still alive today. Previously, his status was unknown and he was assumed deceased by fans.

Screenshot 2015-06-10 at 02.48.34 AM

This revelation is significant in relation to the upcoming film trilogy based off of Fantastic Beasts. Will elderly Newt Scamander make an appearance? We’ll have to wait and see to find out!

Visit Pottermore.com to explore the Timeline of the Wizarding World, to read new information from J.K. Rowling, and so much more…

 

Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Hollywood to open Spring 2016

Universal Studios Hollywood announced today that the upcoming Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction will open in the spring of 2016.

Initially announced in December 2011, the park will feature the signature attractions from the Orlando and Japan locations, including Hogwarts Castle, the Flight of the Hipogriff ride, and the shops at Hogsmeade Village, with Honeydukes, Ollivanders Wand Shop, the Three Broomsticks, Dervish and Banges, and much more.

Promotional image released today via Universal Studios Hollywood on Twitter

Promotional image released today via Universal Studios Hollywood on Twitter

Hogwarts Castle will house the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride, which will immerse guests into the storyline. Guests will meet Harry, Ron, and Hermione as they soar above Hogwarts, partake in a Quidditch match, and narrowly escape the Whomping Willow. This version of the Wizarding World’s signature ride is new and improved from the Orlando version and will utilize Quidditch-inspired 3D goggles.

Ahead of the park’s opening, visitors to Universal Studios Hollywood can purchase Harry Potter merchandise, including wands, robes, and other collectibles, in their on-site stores.

More details will be revealed later today with an online video announcement at 1:00 p.m. EST/ 10 a.m. PST. Universal encourages fans to join in the conversation on social media using #WizardingWorldHollywood.

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!