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.

Content

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.

Artwork

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!

Overall

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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Hype for The Casual Vacancy; Pictures of printing surface online, HuffPost boasts about receiving their copy

Excitement for J.K. Rowling’s new book is at an all-time high as millions of fans, readers, and booksellers count down to the publication of the most anticipated title of the year. Today we have a new batch of pictures to make your mouth water even more.

First off, pictures have surfaced of a German factory where thousands of copies of The Casual Vacancy are being packaged to be distributed across the country. The pictures are a first to give us an idea of the size of the novel, even though the German edition is nearly 70 pages longer than the English editions. Check out the pics below!

In related news, HuffPost Books seemed to be on a mission today to get us angry. They were boasting on Twitter about receiving their copy of the book, and uploaded a few Instagram pictures of the book and the hand-delivered package. Check out that story here on our Tumblr.

The Casual Vacancy hits store shelves this Thursday, September 27.

The Pottermore Alliance

Many of you may recall that we have been communicating with ElmBlade43 and SamGibbins07 on Twitter. We have become great friends over the past few months, sharing together some major events in Harry Potter history together including the announcement of J.K. Rowling’s new book and the launch of Pottermore. We have literally shared every scrap of news together. Now, we are taking the power of our friendship to the next level; an alliance.

We have been teasing it for a couple of weeks now at the mysterious Twitter feed, @lockedusername. We have now “unlocked” the username with the promised announcement of a new exciting project: The Pottermore Alliance. The Pottermore Alliance is the collaboration of fans to create exciting new projects and functionalities for other fans to communicate and use. For the record, let me just say now that I wouldn’t want to be working on this with any other people than Sam and ElmBlade43.

Out of the collaboration we plan to bring out ways of communications so fans can connect with each other, discuss the books, films and Pottermore, and other exciting projects. Today we have for you one introductory product for fans: a Pottermore forum. We have two other projects that we are working on, but they aren’t ready just yet for release. They will be here very soon, so you won’t wait very long. We can promise one of them by the end of the month.

The Pottermore Forum is something we have been promising for awhile. With the help of our friend Sam, we are able to bring it to you with some really cool features. Together, me, Sam, and ElmBlade43, have created an amazing method of communication – The Pottermore Alliance Forum – where fans will be able to discuss everything from The Casual Vacancy to Pottermore. You have the option to be sorted into one of the four houses and enter a house-only common room, just like on Pottermore.

With the Pottermore Alliance, being a reader of our blogs and a participant of our forum will become much more exciting and easier. We have now brought on Sam (SamGibbins07 on Twitter) as a contributing reporter and writer. He will be writing under the name SpellWizard24. ElmBlade43 will also be contributing to my site, as will I on her site, as a contributing writer and reporter.

The Pottermore Alliance Twitter, @ThePMAlliance, will be the place for fans to read news stories and other articles, from all of our sites. Instead of having to visit multiple sites, you will be able to follow one feed for all the stories. If we haven’t reported on a story yet, you can refer to this feed to see if another one did.

Although this is an Alliance and a collaboration of a few fan sites, we must stress that our individual sites will stay separate. While we are doing the Pottermore Tutorials on YouTube and the Pottermore Guide, ElmGoesToHogwarts (ElmBlade43’s site) will still be doing the Pottermore 101’s as tutorials. We have no plan to combine sites.

Unfortunately, with all the time and work spent on the Pottermore Alliance, we will not be able to produce the collection of Head Canons book as promised. We will however be releasing the updated Pottermore Guide. Hopefully by the end of the year or early 2013, we will have the Head Canon book available.

The forum is only the starting project of our alliance; the partnership will produce more great things over the years. The launch of Pottermore and partnering projects between Sony and Pottermore like Book of Spells is only the start of this new stage in Harry Potter history; we still have a long way to go on the journey. We are so very happy we get to enjoy the exciting journey together with friends and readers like you.

You can visit the official site of the Pottermore Alliance and our Pottermore Alliance page for all further information.

Our Pottermore Guide: Take the survey

We are currently hard-at-work writing our guide to the first Pottermore experience, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. It will include in-depth outlines to every moment. The guide will give the locations to collectible objects, how to unlock JK Rowling’s new content, lists from-the-story descriptions and interactive experiences.

The guide is at an astounding 82 pages, and the current version is only a draft. We would like to reduce the number of pages. By doing this, we would take out some unnecessary content. Though, what is unnecessary to us may be needed by you, the reader. For this reason, we have written up a survey that we would like you to complete. The survey will help us decide on what to take out, keep in, and with further revisions.

No matter what happens, the guide will be released online on February 20, 2012 where it will be downloadable at the respective places. Please take the time to take the survey, as it will be very helpful for us and other readers.

If you cannot take the survey for any reason, you can always share with us your thoughts on here, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, or you can email us.

TAKE THE SURVEY BY CLICKING HERE!

Thanks so much for your feedback!

All You Need to Know

As you already know, we launched our new site yesterday morning. This post will tell you all you need to know, from the answers to the “7 Questions” to each of our site’s role change.

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