The Lost Civilization of Pottermore

great hall Pottermore

When Pottermore was little more than a rumor on the internet in June of 2011, no one knew what it would be. An encyclopedia? Another book? A smartphone? Was “MORE” an acronym for “Multiplayer Online Roleplay Experience?” 1 Or did the title simply mean that there would be “more” Harry Potter related content for the fans to enjoy now that the series had been concluded? Bingo. Add to this that it would be the official place to buy Harry Potter digital audio books and ebooks and you are beginning to understand the intended purpose of Pottermore.

Pottermore contained new original content to read (including information on backstories and the writing process), but one could also submit artwork and there were activities like potion brewing and dueling. These activities were never intended to be the addicting, time consuming, and site-crashing features that they turned out to be. The houses fiercely brewed countless potions and dueled their hearts out.

To meet the demands of this unexpected gusto, Pottermore responded by making invisible changes that took extra time and contributed to the later release date. The activities were only mildly fun, and even tedious–so why did everyone spend hours upon hours devoted to them? The answer is that without the competition for the house cup there would have been little allure. House pride, relationships between allies and friends, and a thirst for competition drove fans to making brewing a priority.

Along with beautiful artwork, a sorting ceremony, and “moments” that let fans relive the adventures of their favorite lightning-scarred wizard, the site looked promising. What could go wrong? Clearly something could because four years later the website went through a complete overhaul, leaving the games and chat behind despite the protests from fans all the while boasting that its new and improved design would appeal to a more mature audience.

But what about the Old Pottermore–where did it go? The answer to that question can be found by looking no further than this response found in an article on the New Pottermore site:

“Ah, website heaven? We’ve held the ultimate House Cup, postponed Potions class, and shut down the original pottermore.com. The honest-to-Merlin reason for doing that? We have so much more to give you; writing, movies, plays, books, characters, places, backstories, and it’s rumoured that discovering your very own Patronus is also in the works.” 2

The mention of the Patronus test here is significant because it is something fans had been hoping for since the beginning, and something that was sorely missed at the release of Order of the Phoenix on Pottermore. It is an attempt to please the fans and give them something to truly look forward to–but it may not be enough. As one post states on the confessionspottermore page of Tumblr, “The only time I will be visiting pottermore is when the patronus quiz comes out. Other than that this site is dead to me.” 3

Pottermore confession #2There are conflicting opinions when it comes to the new website, but people who became attached to the Old Pottermore generally agree that the change was sudden and extreme. Here is another anomymous confession that shows mixed feelings:

 “I love the new design but I think they should have kept the other design too… It seems such a waste and we have lost a lot…” 4

This third confession from a Tumblr member in response to the major change may come as a surprise to those who were not a part of the Old Pottermore culture: “I sobbed when the new pottermore was released.” 5

Why are people so emotional about a website? Pottemore is brimming with story information, articles, and news, but it has lost a lot of magic that set it apart from other fansites. The recent return of the Sorting Hat and wand quizzes had been expected, as they too had been mentioned by the Pottermore Correspondent. The same cannot be said of the commenting system. Without any type of communication being supported on the website whatsoever, Pottermore’s culture is gone, and many have found it to be a lonely experience.

It used to be that, on the Old Pottermore, a user would navigate the site alone until the second moment of the seventh chapter of Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone. That was when they finally put on the Sorting Hat, and were placed into a house. From then on, they belonged to a group. Here is a quote from one blogger who was sorted in the Old Pottermore during beta:

“So, I’m in Gryffindor. It’s fun knowing that, and while it doesn’t change the experience of Pottermore, suddenly I’m a part of something bigger than just myself along on this little island in the midst of the seemingly great Pottermore.” 6

On the New Pottermore people are being given the choice to be sorted or to reclaim their wand and Hogwarts house, but instead of it being a transitional phase they are still trapped on their personal island (and it remains to be seen if that shall ever change).

The resilient community that had shaped Pottermore in its own image is gone and the changes have allowed the site to assume its true form. Pottermore was never meant to be a community, even though that is what the fandom demanded. The Pottermore that was has been crushed and built over. All that remains of it are screenshots, memories, and the multitude of fan websites that it gave rise to–some of which still carry on without it.

When chat was removed from Pottermore on April 14th, 2015, everything changed. Friends were cut off from each other. The site became quiet and stagnant. Five months later, the New Pottermore took its place. To make a study of the culture of the lost civilization of Pottermore, let’s turn the pages of history back to the very beginning.

Pottermore: A History

In the beginning there was silence. With the last Harry Potter movie finally marking the end of their beloved series, fans held their breath for something to fill the hole. When J.K Rowling said that she had an announcement to make, the hype grew uncontrollably. The webpage existed, but it only contained owls who gathered there mysteriously. No one knew what Pottermore would be, but every hypothesis was more grandiose than the last, putting everyone at the risk of disappointment and confusion.

Excitement mounted until at last, June 23rd, 2011 came and J.K Rowling herself revealed what it would be:

Pottermore 'Announcement' Trailer

“A safe, unique, online reading experience…built in part by you, the reader…and also the exclusive place to purchase digital audio books, and, for the first time, ebooks of the Harry Potter series.” 7

The beginning of this statement said a whole lot of nothing (especially since the background images did not reveal website stills), while the latter part of her statement was largely under emphasized, framed as secondary. This was (and continues to be) a marketing campaign to sell ebooks. Today, after all, the Pottermore shop looks the same as ever, but the community and all it built is gone.

Pottermore Ebooks Shop
After all the changes that Pottermore has gone through, the shop still looks the same.

Even after Pottermore opened for beta testing, it was difficult to describe exactly what it was. Some beta testers understood its intended purpose after seeing the layout: it was meant to be explored as a companion to the books. As one beta tester said,”I’m enjoying the idea of reading along to the “moments” in the book that are highlighted on the website, so it’ll take me a while to get through it all, but it’s allowed me to rediscover the wonderful storytelling in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.” 8

Others wanted so badly to explore and play that they consumed all the content at a pace faster than it could be produced:

“I was so impatient and excited to read JKR’s new content, but more importantly, to put on the Sorting Hat, that I forgot the promise I had initially made for myself: that I would re-read Sorcerer’s Stone alongside Pottermore. That I would take my time and really savor the experience. However, this didn’t happen. Once I started exploring Pottermore, I lost the willpower to stop.” 9

Others still were lost when it came to what the big reading experience was supposed to be:

“So, what is the real ‘reading experience’ on Pottermore? Well, it’s obviously not Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. There is that wonderful extra information from JK Rowling, and some fascinating information about wands but other than that the “reading experience” seems to be the sale of the eBooks which are hardly free. If you want your youngster to have the real reading experience, I suggest you go straight to the bookstore for the books.” 10

It was because Harry Potter fans had been waiting in anticipation with such vastly different expectations, and because the nature of the website was so hard to define, that they determined to make Pottermore into the community they wanted, even though it was not set up to be one. After all, J.K Rowling had said when announcing the beta testing, “a lucky few can enter early and help shape the experience.” 11 That is not to say that they irreverently tossed aside the reading experience, only that they believed Pottermore could be and should be…much more.

They could read the books they loved without the website, but the website offered opportunities to share their love for the books with other fans in an official setting that drew people from all around the world who could experience the website in a multitude of languages. Limited opportunities, yes, but opportunities they almost could not help but expand. When people come together, no matter the circumstances, culture grows, and Pottermore was one of the most inhospitable places that it has ever grown.

Identity

On January 28th, 2016 the ability to sign up for the New Pottermore website became available. One is asked for one’s name, and there doesn’t seem to be anything keeping you from providing a pseudonym instead. When one made an account for the old child-friendly Pottermore, however, the name one entered first appeared in a book with the names of familiar characters, all written by a magic quill, congratulating one on joining the magical world. After that, one would be given randomly generated usernames to choose from—combinations of fantastical words with a number at the end. Not exactly a unique identity. What one COULD do, however, was friend other people, and then assign them a nickname which would appear instead of their username when they posted.

Magical Book on Pottermore
After making an account on the Old Pottermore, one’s name would be written into a book of magical folk, but that would not be one’s username.

So what does one do when one is given limited choices? What if the choices were AccioWombat145, NimbusOwl130, WolfAsh3000, or HowlSword1493? These names are arbitrary but typical of the word mashup style Pottermore utilized in the username creation process. One must try to choose the name that suits one best. Or that one hates least. Beta testers had little choice. Once beta ended and Pottermore had its universal opening on April 14th, 2012 it was possible to generate new names after refreshing the page several times (and after inputting all of your information once more) for a new account. Still, the options were limited.

Having selected a name, one might become truly attached to it—embrace it—own it! Or one might give oneself a nickname and sign each post with it until it catches on. Being called by one’s nickname was very gratifying, and it was one way that stronger relationships formed and people became more distinct and memorable. During beta it was possible to see the common room full of people whom one had assigned nicknames. Because only one million emails had been assigned beta access, of course, it was easier to keep track of everyone in the conversation.

Nicknames could replace usernames that way, allowing others to call them how they preferred. It was inappropriate, however, to call someone by their nickname if they did not sign with it and you had not met properly. For instance, if someone told someone else their nickname while someone else was “lurking” in the Great Hall, it would be seen as weird if that other person greeted them by that name weeks later.

But one’s identity on Pottermore was also wrapped up within the house that one was sorted into. Which would it be? Hufflepuff, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, or Gryffindor? Fans attributed more authority to the Sorting Hat quiz on Pottermore than to any other that had ever been written because it had been designed by J.K Rowling herself. That meant that the house it assigns them must be the house they are meant to be in. While this can be a boost to one’s identity, affirming those qualities they value most, its results can still be disputed. Many claim that they have be sorted into the “wrong” house. That is to say, the house they did not expect or the house they did not want.

Here is a typical story of identity crisis: To be placed into Slytherin as a beta after years of identifying with Gryffindor—years that were spent collecting memorabilia in scarlet and gold. Oops. The fear of that happening was and still is shared by many fans, and inspired the song “Pottermore” by Youtuber Alex Carpenter in August of 2011.

POTTERMORE – Alex Carpenter

As of January 28th, 2016 the Sorting Hat was reinstated on the New Pottermore website. Once again, new users are being met with an identity crisis, only this time without the established group that would have eased the transition and actually made one feel excited about having found one’s true house. Returning users, meanwhile, miss the group they cannot return to. Even if they reclaim the house they once had, the actual people they knew are out of reach. Is there incentive to log in again if all the written material can be accessed without an account?

Of course, the group activity was alive and well on the Old Pottermore. In beta, one either accepted one’s house, made friends and collaborated, or waited for beta to end 10 months later to try again with a new account. After beta ended, it was not uncommon to make multiple accounts to take the quiz until one got sorted into the house one liked best. The downfall was that this also allowed room for spies to emerge as a new phenomenon. Spying was looked down upon by all houses because rogue players jeopardized a house’s reputation and sense of achievement.

So, how did each house play into members’ identity and relate the fandom to the Harry Potter Universe? Members developed unique cultures in each common room from the foundation they had to work from.

Hufflepuff common room backdrop
The Hufflepuff common room. Do you see Bob the Cactus there by the fire?

Hufflepuff:  The common opinion prevalent before Pottermore was that Hufflepuff was a house for people who weren’t brave, weren’t smart, weren’t ambitious… they were what was left over. The Sorting Hat says that Hufflepuffs are hardworking, but ironically it was because people sorted into Hufflepuff thought so highly of their work ethic that they did not want to be associated with the shame and stigma of their house. When Hufflepuff was first starting out in beta, they had a rough time because many people abandoned their accounts. One Hufflepuff spoke out against this practice on their blog:

“Now, I may seem like a pottermore freak to you. But its one addicting game, or well, ‘online reading experience’ . But, as most can see if you are in the beta, Hufflepuff is not doing so great…If you get into the pottermore beta, and you get sorted into Hufflepuff, dont be mad, and stop playing it and wait till the beta is over. I reccomend you try and learn more about your new home (like i did). I PROMISE you may change your mind about it!” 12

As Hufflepuffs came to recognize and appreciate the qualities that had brought them into this group of like-minded people, they became a house with more pride and support than had been believed to be possible and went on to win the house cup twice.

Remember the parody of a nature video released in early 2011 about Honey Badgers? “The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger” by Youtuber Randall (also known as “the Honey Badger don’t Care; Honey Badger don’t give a shit” video)? Though unrelated to Harry Potter, it was used by Hufflepuffs as reference material as they sought to define themselves. Gryffindor has the fierce lion, Ravenclaw the wise eagle, Slytherin the cunning snake. Adopting the honey badger brought them out of obscurity. It was their way of sending clear messages to the other houses–“we don’t care what you think of us” and “we are tough as nails.” Just as it would be a mistake to underestimate a honey badger, so too would it be to underestimate this group.

The badgers of Pottermore also created a mascot for their common room–Bob the Cactus. His story can be found on the Hufflepuff common room Tumblr page:

Once upon a time, on a dull night in the Hufflepuff Common Room, the Badgers, for some strange reason, took a particular interest in the backdrop of the common room. There they found, at the bottom right of the page, the most wonderful and magical:He didnt have a name before but because the only name Pottermore wouldnt put under moderation was Bob, he was called as such. Bob is now considered a mascot for the Hufflepuff Common Room” (anonymous, 2012).

Yes, he likes hugs. No, he won’t be found in the books by J.K Rowling. It is worth noting that the Hufflepuff pioneered the idea of creating a common room mascot. Bob the Cactus inspired the other houses to come up with one or more of their own.

Slytherin Common Room
The Slytherin Common Room.

Slytherin: While Hufflepuff’s undue shame came from the lack of development that their house was given in the books (which gave them a lot of freedom in establishing what they were all about), Slytherin suffered from the overwhelming focus the books had given their negative traits. Okay, they had some good guys their side. Severus Snape. Horace Slughorn. The point is that the books are told from Harry’s perspective. Harry didn’t have any Slytherin friends. Slytherins were bullies and death eaters. For many, to be sorted into Slytherin was to be told “you are a bad person.” Proud Slytherins were insulted by that but they tended to stick around. If they wanted a pristine reputation, they were going to have to build one.

Here is where Slytherins expanded upon the Harry Potter universe, seeking to redefine their house in a positive light. Still, they were often scapegoated when other houses were the targets of sabotage. In truth, there were spies across the board in all houses. The Slytherins won the house cup three times because they were organized, passionate, and just a little insane —not because they were a house full of cheaters.

Inspired by Hufflepuff’s extension of friendship from Bob the Cactus, they came up with their own mascot: Sid the (giant) Squid. He lives under the lake. They could see him through the windows of their common room as he went by (not really…but they had a good imagination), and they made sure to feed him treats.

Ravenclaw common room
The Ravenclaw common room.

Ravenclaw: In the beginning, there were more people in Ravenclaw than in any other house. They took great pride in this which suggested that people with Ravenclaw characteristics were well suited to pass the the magical quill challenge. 13 This challenge included a riddle that had to be answered before one was admitted as a beta member.

During beta, Ravenclaws and Slytherins had a relationship of intense rivalry. When it came to house points, they were always neck and neck, even though they were on polar opposites when it came to the number of members. This defied the expectation set by the series that it would be Gryffindor and Slytherin butting heads for victory. Since this was not the story of Harry, a Gryffindor, the direction was for the members to decide. The destinies of their houses was in their hands.

That first house cup was an exhilarating and exhausting marathon. No one knew when the house cup would be awarded because no one knew when beta would end. The universal opening date had extended from October 2011 to an unspecified date. So the only choice was to keep working as hard and long as possible at this whirlwind pace.

This compilation of screenshots from the Great Hall I took of the third month of the beta period shows the furious competition between Ravenclaw and Slytherin.
This compilation of screenshots from the Great Hall taken in third month of the beta period shows the furious competition between Ravenclaw and Slytherin.

It was such a close match that if one refreshed the page they might be tied, refreshed it again, one would be two points ahead. After that, it would be difficult for Slytherin not to respect Ravenclaw and visa-versa–and this mutual feeling was made possible by Pottermore. After the end of nearly 11 months (more than twice the length of the average house cup competitions that were to come), they lost the first house cup. Still, they would rise to the top and claim the house cup twice in a row before their time at Pottermore came to a close.

Ravenclaws developed a mascot beyond the animal of their house crest as well: Jimmy the Nargle–categorized as a public figure on Facebook. His “about” description there is short but sweet: “the awesome Ravenclaw mascot for Pottermore! mischievous AND awesome!” 14 Since nargles are invisible, just because he wasn’t a part of the background didn’t mean he wasn’t there. According to their common room Tumblr page they had also named their chandelier Herbert and their door knocker (the one who questioned them upon entering their common room) Riddle Rory. 15

Gryffindor Common Room
The Gryffindor common room. Gerald the Geranium can be seen under the right window.

Gryffindor: Gryffindor, contrary to Percy’s statement and common belief, was not necessarily the “best house” to be sorted into. Yes, Gryffindors belonged to the house of the protagonist as classmates to Harry Ron and Hermione, but because Gryffindor had the most development of the four houses, its welcome letter was the shortest. The other houses had long memorandums affirming their great qualities and giving them the warmest of welcomes. But Gryffindors, it was apparently assumed, did not need all of that. Even if Gryffindors didn’t need a lengthy explanation about what it meant to be a lion, that didn’t mean they didn’t feel slighted. And those who did not identify as Gryffindors needed a lot more to persuade them that they belonged than a list of main Gryffindor characters who were awesome.

Even if they had the shortest welcome letter, they did not waste any words in developing their story as a fandom. If one looks up the “about” page for Gerald the Geranium on Facebook, one can find the detailed lore that Gryffindors gave to a mascot of their own. Like Bob the cactus, Gerald was a potted plant found in the backdrop image of the Gryffindor common room. Below is a sampling of quotes from Gerald’s truly wonderful Facebook biography that begins to show the depth to which this new character was developed. More than a public figure, he became a legend.

Gerald was tied to the traditions of major life events. For instance, when it came to being sorted,”It’s said that if Gerald accepts you as a Gryffindor, that’s even more solid proof than the Hat sending you there.” 16 This is perhaps the most important of all the quotes, because it gives us a peek the support network Gryffindors had in place for those who felt they had been improperly sorted. He was also involved in marriage and funeral traditions. For instance “…every girl who graduates out of Gryffindor house….(carries) one of Gerald’s flowers in her wedding bouquet…”and “Whenever a Gryffindor dies a hero’s death, Gerald provides the flowers for the funeral wreath.”  17

Other descriptions of him give him a direct influence on events in the story, as if he wasn’t being made up now but had been present all along. It goes on to say that “Gerald was the direct inspiration for using a plant as the first guardian of the Philosopher’s Stone” and “Gerald was actually the one who took the list of passwords from Neville and gave it to Sirius.” 18 Besides friend and hero he was also a matchmaker, and “Among the couples he helped get together include James Potter and Lilly Evans…” 19. So there you have it–without Gerald the Geranium, there would be no Harry Potter.

What about their ambition to win the House Cup? During the first house cup, it was suspected by some that Gryffindor would win no matter what–in order to be faithful to the books. This was unfair to the Gryffindor’s efforts toward winning house points. They won the house cup once, which hopefully means that they spent a lot of time finding adventure beyond their computer screens.

Communication

owl post
Users had expected for Pottermore to include a type of owl post communication between its members, but there was no such thing.

Communication, absent from the current Pottermore, is vital to any culture. Without the ability to communicate one way or another traditions cannot be passed down, innovations cannot be shared, organization is not possible. The Old Pottermore provided users with the bare minimum to communicate in order to be safe for all ages.

In general, links, swear words, numbers, city names, and anything that was seen as potentially harmful to our privacy was banned. To communicate members had to be sly. The mention of Facebook was forbidden so “book of face” was said instead. “This sucks” was replaced by “this inhales.” No one was supposed to be able to ask each other about gender but some got around this by asking “are you a witch or a wizard?”

Pottermore’s censorship system was fondly referred to as “Professor Umbridge.” Censorship began with one’s username, as mentioned above. The automatic moderating system learned to be less strict but at first every comment was trial and error until it approved of what you said. It was ridiculous. No, seriously. During beta, even saying “My moderated comment has been approved!” (in reference to a prior moderated comment) would have been moderated for reasons unclear. The worst part was that moderated comments would only post after they had been approved, and that could take days. Then, one’s comments would pop up in the middle of someone else’s conversation and draw weird looks.

Even in late 2013, users were still complaining about the restraints of moderation, and insisting that communication better suit the needs of the users. Here is an excerpt from an article where a blogger describes the love-hate relationship many users had with Pottermore:

“As a friend said, ‘Moderation allows you to post about eating babies but doesn’t let you say ‘nice to meet you.’ We want to be able to encourage others, send out duels with no glitches and get replies, brew potions with no glitches and not have them disappear, and be proud of what we as Harry Potter fans have achieved and the legacy that has come about from us.” 20

The desire to create a legacy is telling here. Being able to communicate wasn’t enough as many members wished to leave behind a written history that would preserve a record of their achievements and discussions. But there was no way to leave a record.

Overtime, censorship loosened up. Still, no one could say numbers–and even roman numerals were taken away at one point. The logic behind this was to prevent members from sharing phone numbers, addresses, and also perhaps to keep them from talking about other specific players when they weren’t around. But numbers are essential. One doesn’t notice how often one uses numbers until they become taboo. When someone needed to inform another of which chapter one might collect a certain item, one had to be creative. For instance, by rhyming: “Chapter won, chapter too, chapter tree, chapter fort, chapter hive, chapter sick, chapter heaven, chapter gate, chapter night, chapter tent.” Easy as that and others can extrapolate through context what is meant. One could announce point achievements the same way: “I just reached elephant ow sand points!”

Beyond what was said through written language, Pottermore fans found another way to communicate–and that was through the exchange of gifts. If one’s opponent succeeded in reaching the perfect elusive score of 145 for the Full Body Bind spell, one could congratulate the winner with a gift. This was the kind of good sportsmanship and encouragement from other houses that was very characteristic of the Pottermore community. One could send a Slytherin a “Salazar Slytherin” chocolate frog card after being impressed with a spell. Their opponent, equally impressed with them, could demonstrate their own admiration by sending them a copy of “Notable Magical Names of Our Time.” Sometimes, a member might send a Sleeping Draught instead. This could be taken as “Aren’t you tired of dueling yet?” (in a humorous way).

So how did members communicate, if not by private messaging, forum, or chat? Communication was done via the commenting system in place in the Great Hall, common room, and moments. The system in place went a little like this:

One comment stacked atop another comment

Stacked atop another comment

All as responses

To the previous comment

And yet posted entirely independently

Of that comment

In a pseudo conversation

That was impermanent

And where the older comments

That began the conversation

Would fade into nothing

At the bottom of the page

And yet, members insisted on treating these places like they were chat rooms because that’s what they wanted them to be.

Dumbledore's Army
In this picture taken from the New Pottermore site, members of the D.A, or Dumbledore’s Army, practice the complex Patronus spell in the room of requirement after Professor Umbridge forbids magic in class.

To make communication easier to manage, members set up websites elsewhere. That’s right. If they couldn’t fix what they found to be restraining about Pottermore, they could simply move beyond those restraints. People made blog posts and YouTube videos. Common rooms, confession pages, roleplaying, house pride sites, and even dueling clubs took to Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook. On those other sites, people could chat freely without fearing their conversations would be constricted or disappear. It was a lot like the D.A being set up in the room of requirement, to practice Defense Against the Dark Arts secretly right under Professor Umbridge’s nose.

These were not seen as alternatives to Pottermore by Pottermore users, but as secret corridors that led back to Pottermore, extensions. There, users often went by their Pottemore usernames and connected with friends they had made on Pottermore, deepening those relationships. They posted inspiring memes, geeked out about Harry Potter, and even coordinated mass complaints (we called “howlers”) to be sent to the Pottermore staff regarding those who had been wrongfully banned by trolls.

The Rise of Teamwork

Pottermore Quidditch Cup Gryffindor
This image taken from the Old Pottermore shows a moment of victory for the Gryffindor Quidditch team.

One close-ended question given to beta testers was very telling of the gap between the thinking of beta testers and website developers. It was something like, “How much time each day do you spend on Pottermore?” There was no answer to select that reflected the true amount of time that everyone was pouring into the website. With the house cup at stake, members were busy collecting potion ingredients and making as much as possible as frequently as possible. “Keep calm and brew potions” and “Just keep brewing, just keep brewing” were common mantras.

Beta testers were spending much longer than the highest predicted maximum that question had given users the chance to select. Some kept alarms on their phones specifically for potions they tended to throughout the day which could take up to 100 minutes to complete. This number would go down after beta, but a committed house member would be brewing potions as often as he or she could. And when people were not brewing, they were dueling or chatting.

It bears repeating: No one was expected to spend hours on this website. The mini-games were not that fun. The reason Pottermore users were so intent on playing the minigames was that they had house pride and they wanted to be valued by the members of their house and team.

Some members were alarmingly active or falsely accused of cheating by trolls, and they were punished as “bots” by being banned or stripped of their galleons. Cheating, however, was a very real deal. It was easy to become suspicious of others who did not perform up to standard, which meant to stay an upstanding member of one’s house required a display of loyalty through the accumulation of house points and proven success. Few wanted to gift potion ingredients to someone who did not have a good track record, and fewer still were interested in providing new cauldrons to those who chronically exploded their own. Cheating was done by joining the rival house and either intentionally failing at potions (an exploding cauldron would lose house points) or by challenging the house to which one was truly loyal and losing on purpose (winners of duels gained house points). If one caught another in this suspicious activity, the house blacklisted them. That meant no more items would be gifted to them, as a way of taking disciplinary actions into their own hands. They would soon run out of resources.

Resources. Specialization. The redistribution of goods. What do all these terms have to do with Pottermore? Scarcity of resources necessitated teamwork to “survive” or win the house cup. Specialization and the redistribution of goods were the economical results that made Pottermore even more into its own civilization.

In Pottermore, one received a grant of 500 galleons from Gringotts in book 1, and then an allowance with each book’s release. That meant that Beta users, forced to go almost a year between the first book and the release of the second, were the ones most likely to go broke. Galleons were needed to buy school supplies as the prerequisite to proceeding to the subsequent chapters. A telescope, scales, books, and a cauldron are a few on that list that come to mind. Most of that was for decoration. Of course, one could sell the potions they made to gain an income, right? Wrong. The only form of “income” between each book was whatever galleons or potion ingredients you could scrounge up in the “moments” by clicking around the scene.

Galleons were limited, but if users thought as a team they could come up with a strategy to get the most out of the group’s collective wealth. This was managed in the Slytherin common room through specialization and the redistribution of goods—trademarks of a growing agricultural civilization. Only, its members were not farming—they were collecting free potion ingredients from the “moments.” Slytherins identified their individual strengths, dividing the labor up between brewers and duelers, gatherers and leaders as they sought the most efficient way to win the house cup. Undoubtedly, a similar method was developed independently in the other houses because they all experienced common environmental pressures, shared the same resources, and were working to accomplish the same thing. Each house would put their heads together to create a strategy for reaching the coveted house cup.

What beta Slytherins noticed was that some members were more successful than others when it came to dueling or to brewing a certain potion. Dueling was free, but it was risky because spells had power caps. If one could not cast a perfect high power spell like full body bind then they would inevitably be beaten by someone who could. Potion making was an individual task that presented its own problems.

People were running out of galleons and expensive cauldrons were still exploding (it didn’t help that even a perfectly executed potion could still glitch and explode in one’s face.) One user arose with an idea: have some Slytherins collect and gift potion ingredients to him and a few others, and those people would take requests. He became the wise leader who rallied the Slytherins for much of the beta period, making sure the right items went to the right people.

People who could not duel well were coached on which spells yielded the most points and whom not to challenge to a duel. After beta ended, it was customary to inform the “baby snakes” about proper potion making and caution them to practice to proficiency before contributing as point earners for the house. That meant they would practice dueling each other with the full body bind, until being able to consistently score 142 or higher. As an added incentive for high achievement, daily point goals were established and named in honor of Malfoy, Snape, and Merlin.

Many members of the Old Pottermore toiled away at potions like this one--the Sleeping Draught.
Many members of the Old Pottermore toiled away at potions like this one–the Sleeping Draught.

People who could not brew the more difficult potions were commanded to only brew the easier ones. People who could make the sleeping drought, a highly complicated potion, were encouraged to do so for it allotted their house the most points. Galleons were important when it came to buying potion ingredients, but even more so when it came to buying new cauldrons. Trustworthy individuals would be given new cauldrons donated for free by wealthier users after explosions. The lack of galleons actually proved to be a catalyst to strategy, rather than a weakness.

The Roleplay

The Great Hall somehow became the central gathering point for roleplay–in fact, during beta, roleplay was largely confined to the Great Hall. Those uninterested in roleplaying gave up the Great Hall, ever so slightly, in order to keep roleplay from cluttering the common rooms. It makes sense that roleplay would develop there, where “characters” from all houses could interact within the castle. It was also of course the place where Pottermore users expressed their excitement as the house cup challenge heated up. Roleplay in the Great Hall began innocently enough. Potterheads would proclaim that the Yule Ball was approaching, and there would be excited chatter about it in the common rooms. This wasn’t a Pottermore event. This was a cultural phenomenon.

After beta was over, it wasn’t long before roleplay began to be a focus in common rooms as well. Perhaps it was because there were so many people, which meant an influx of roleplayers but, at the same time, not enough space to chat. This is what the beta members had feared–it wasn’t that they selfishly didn’t want to share Pottermore with those anxiously awaiting the universal opening, it was just that they bitterly knew things were about to get very cramped and Pottermore had shown no inclination that it would provide a better means of communication despite urgent feedback.

How this transformation took place may be uncertain, but three things can be said about it: One, that many resented roleplayers for “taking over” the space that belonged to all, two, that roleplaying eventually became more violent and sexual despite automated censorship, and, three, that even though roleplaying was not inappropriate as a rule it was the last straw. Pottermore banned trolls and roleplayers when they were reported, but they kept coming back. Eventually, Pottermore stripped everyone of their means of communication. This marked the beginning of the end for the Old Pottermore and the beginning of the New Pottermore, where it has yet to be restored.

Now, before blaming the roleplayers for “killing” the Old Pottermore, one must remember Pottermore’s flaws when it came to communication. There was no forum. That meant that if one had something to say, one dumped it where everyone could see it, regardless of whether or not others wanted to follow that “thread.” There was no private messaging system. If someone had something to say to someone, it was heard by everyone. There was no privacy so even when people were out of character they might be having violent arguments or making flirty comments that were not meant for others’ eyes. There were no live moderators present in the room to ban members or at least kick them out of the discussion. The automated moderating system was lazy and truly never worked because it could not counter human ingenuity and could not detect context. And, as with the numbers, people found new ways to express vulgarity. “Mudblood” was not blocked. The description of one’s rigid wand flew right under the radar. Unicorns would have been aghast to see the way their horns were being used to illustrate lewd concepts. Indeed, if one blames unruly roleplay for the fall of Pottermore, it is not unfair to say that Pottermore simply collapsed under its own inflexibility to facilitate healthy discussion.

The Future of Pottermore

Pottermore page

Currently, the link to send feedback has been removed from the bottom of the site, so the Pottermore team must have all the feedback that it needs for the new site and is ready to move forward. Its removal has not gone unnoticed by Harry Potter fans, who have grown accustomed to submitting their opinions. From the beginning of the beta period, Pottermore users have been trying their best to submit helpful advice about how to make the site better. Pottermore is free to use, so fans do not have much entitlement when it comes to determining its future. Interestingly enough, the frustration Pottermore users have felt—that their opinions about the direction of Pottermore have been undervalued—have been shared by those actually working for Pottermore. On Glassdoor, the company rated 1.7 stars out of 5 when referenced February 5th, 2016 with only a couple perfectly happy reviews claiming absolutely no dissatisfaction. When given the opportunity to include a list of cons to balance their long list of pros, this current employee said in their post, “Nah. I can’t really think of anything, to be honest.” 21 Not very many of the reviews could say the same.

One Glassdoor review provided an interesting look into how ideas were not receiving proper consideration:

“Yes-men are everywhere and constructive feedback is deemed to be negative and destructive. For the most part these ‘negative’ comments turn out to be correct in the long run, however this are passed off as the ideas of others. The junior team is completely ignored in favor of expensive consultants and inept agencies that regurgitate the ideas of the established team with a hefty price tag.” 22

This feeling of being ignored is a common theme found throughout the employee reviews. Take these three separate posts from Glassdoor addressing the management on how to improve the negative work environment:

“Advice to Management: Improve your bonus scheme. Try harder to involve, value and reward your staff in order to fix the negative atmosphere. Be transparent and open about the state of the company. Stop being afraid to involve J.K. Rowling.” 23

“Advice to Management: They do not seem to care about what other says, so, no advice.”  24

“Advice to Management: I doubt they would listen…..certainly didn’t to mere mortals when i was there.” 25

These quotes express an overwhelming futility which indicates that Pottermore is not likely to have a change of heart, and they raise the question of what creative ideas these former Pottermore employees might have been able to contribute. What might Pottermore have been? For Pottermore users, however, a major plea has always been for there to be a better system of communication, but because this request was at odds with the original Pottermore vision it was just as firmly pushed aside. The quote below comes from Pottermore’s Facebook page in response to two users on the touchy subject: 26

Pottermore Facebook Response 1

A blogger on Peepso.com made a case study of Pottermore as a social networking site (a label it could not escape, despite original intention) where she pointed out why it floundered compared to other smaller fansites:

Bringing the entire Potter fandom together in a single space without roping off sections for role play, chapter discussions etc (ie, having everyone in the same place) was always going to cause problems – if people are in a space (or a sub-space) where they understand and agree with the rules, you’re less likely to be overwhelmed by reports from users who aren’t okay with what’s happening around them.” 27

Exactly. A forum with guidelines (and perhaps a form of parental control) has the potential to make both sides happy. Will Pottermore learn from its mistakes and revive the means for fans to interact with each other? Despite petitions on change.com 28 and Ipetition.com 29 it isn’t likely. Pottermore is strongly apprehensive to the notion, seeing it as something it cannot control, and therefore cannot endorse without jeopardizing its values of security and privacy. This response by Pottermore to Facebook users does not beat around the bush when it comes to the fact that Pottermore has already determined the impracticality of chat and is moving on to other things: 30

Pottermore Facebook Response 2

Pottermore is still evolving. “Exploring the moments” alongside the books has been ditched in favor of the extra written content, which is actually what many users had wanted, just not at the cost of interaction. The chapters are gone—nothing to collect and no games to collect them for. The house cup is gone—no way to earn points, and no visible groups to compete against each other. It may yet benefit the New Pottermore to integrate forums, private messaging, and/or moderated chat into the new site, if only to smooth things over with fans. Either way, things will never go back to the way they were. While not shopping for ebooks, fans will likely replace their love for Pottermore with fanwebsites like “Hogwarts is Here” or “Hogwarts Extreme” where the Hogwarts experience is unofficial but flourishing, and where they can once again become a part of an online community. That type of fan culture is what the New Pottermore has shut down and so it is fitting to deem the ruins it has left behind “The Lost Civilization of Pottermore.”

Works Cited

  1.  Henry, Alan. “Is JK Rowling Planning a Harry Potter MMORPG?” Geek.com. N.p., 17 June 2011. Web. 06 Feb. 2016.
  2. The Pottermore Correspondent. “Pottermore – Welcome to the New Pottermore.” Pottermore. N.p., 22 Sept. 2015. Web. 06 Feb. 2016. <https://www.pottermore.com/news/Welcome-to-the-new-Pottermore>.
  3. Anonymous. “The Only Time…” Tumblr. N.p., 29 Dec. 2015. Web. 06 Feb. 2016. <http://confessionspottermore.tumblr.com/post/136224721545/requested-by-anonymous>.
  4. Anonymous. “I Love the New Design But…” Tumblr.com. N.p., 29 Dec. 2015. Web. 06 Feb. 2016. <http://confessionspottermore.tumblr.com/post/136223892080/requested-by-anonymous>.
  5.  Anonymous. “I Sobbed When the New Pottermore Was Released.” Tumblr.com. N.p., 25 Oct. 2015. Web. 06 Feb. 2016. <http://confessionspottermore.tumblr.com/post/131858701545/requested-by-anonymous>.
  6.  Carroll, Paul. “A Pottermore Experience.” Blogspot.com, 28 Aug. 2011. Web. 06 Feb. 2016. <http://paulcarrollwriter.blogspot.com/2011/08/pottermore-experience.html>
  7.  Gamezone. “Pottermore ‘Announcement’ Trailer.” YouTube.com. N.p., 23 June 2011. Web. 6 Feb. 2016.
  8. Carroll, Paul. “A Pottermore Experience.” Blogspot.com, 28 Aug. 2011. Web. 06 Feb. 2016. <http://paulcarrollwriter.blogspot.com/2011/08/pottermore-experience.html>
  9.  Andrew. “Pottermore: Step This Way.” Fictionrow.com. N.p., 16 Aug. 2011. Web. 6 Feb. 2016.
  10. Skeeter, Scarlotta. “Warning! Before You Trust Your Kiddies to Pottermore!” Blogspot.com. N.p., 4 May 2012. Web. 06 Feb. 2016.
  11. Gamezone. “Pottermore ‘Announcement’ Trailer.” YouTube.com. N.p., 23 June 2011. Web. 6 Feb. 2016.
  12. GlowFeather176. “The Common Misconceptions about Hufflepuffs.” WordPress.com. N.p., 17 Dec. 2011. Web. 6 Feb. 2016. <https://glowfeather176.wordpress.com/2011/12/17/the-common-misconceptions-about-hufflepuff/>.
  13. Anonymous. “I find it amusing…” The Nest. p.14., 2013. Web. 06 Feb. 2016. <http://pottermoreravenclaws.tumblr.com/page/14>.
  14. The Nargle, Jimmy. “About.” Facebook.com. N.p., 2011. Web. 6 Feb. 2016.
  15. The Nest. “Riddle Rory.” Tumblr.com. p.287., 2012. Web. 06 Feb. 2016. <http://pottermoreravenclaws.tumblr.com/page/287>.
  16.  The Geranium, Gerald. “About.” Facebook.com. N.p., 2011. Web. 6 Feb. 2016.
  17. The Geranium, Gerald. “About.” Facebook.com. N.p., 2011. Web. 6 Feb. 2016.
  18. The Geranium, Gerald. “About.” Facebook.com. N.p., 2011. Web. 6 Feb. 2016.
  19. The Geranium, Gerald. “About.” Facebook.com. N.p., 2011. Web. 6 Feb. 2016.
  20. Lilys. “A Dedicated User’s Love/hate Relationship with Pottermore.” Hypable.com. N.p., 19 Oct. 2013. Web. 6 Feb. 2016.
  21. Anonymous. “11 Employee Reviews.” Glassdoor.com. p.1., 2015. Web. 6 Feb. 2016. <https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Pottermore-Reviews-E574443.htm>.
  22. Anonymous. “11 Employee Reviews.” Glassdoor.com. p.1., 2015. Web. 6 Feb. 2016. <https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Pottermore-Reviews-E574443.htm>.
  23. Anonymous. “11 Employee Reviews.” Glassdoor.com. p.1., 2015. Web. 6 Feb. 2016. <https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Pottermore-Reviews-E574443.htm>.
  24. Anonymous. “11 Employee Reviews.” Glassdoor.com. p.1., 2015. Web. 6 Feb. 2016. <https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Pottermore-Reviews-E574443.htm>.
  25. Anonymous. “11 Employee Reviews.” Glassdoor.com. p.1., 2015. Web. 6 Feb. 2016. <https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Pottermore-Reviews-E574443.htm>.
  26. Pottermore.”We’ve Made Some Updates to Pottermore.com.” Facebook.com. N.p., 14 Apr. 2015. Web. 6 Feb. 2016.
  27.  Murphy, Jo. “Pottemore, Fandom and Social Networking: A Case Study.” Peepso.com. N.p., 8 Aug. 2015. Web. 6 Feb. 2016.
  28. Pottermore Fans. “Bring back the old Pottermore.” Change.com. N.p., September 2015. Web. 8 Feb. 2016.
  29. ThestralSnidget. “Bring Back Comments and Status on Pottermore.” ipetition.com. N.p., 14 Apr. 2015. Web. 06 Feb. 2016. <http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/bring-back-comments-and-status-on-pottermore>.
  30. Pottermore.”We’ve Made Some Updates to Pottermore.com.” Facebook.com. N.p., 14 Apr. 2015. Web. 6 Feb. 2016.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

Posted on by
I studied creative writing and sociocultural anthropology at Cal State East Bay. These are the kinds of essays that I've always wanted to write!

Want to write about Literature or other art forms?

Create writer account

114 Comments

  1. Adnan Bey

    I’m shocked. Pottermore went down? Are you serious? I was an early beta tester myself, made Hufflepuff. So, is my account gone, now? Did they destroy it cause they got tired of what made it awesome? That’s a pity. There I was thinking I should return and now I’m rethinking that.

    • Candice Evenson

      Your account isn’t gone necessarily! You can still “reclaim” your house and wand if you meet their requirements (I believe you must meet an age requirement and provide the email address attached to your former account.)

  2. laure
    0

    I’m a 76-years-old hard-core fan–enjoyed each HP book as it was published, enjoy the Jim Dale audiobooks, own all eight films. Was delighted/astonished when Pottermore opened to the world back then.

  3. choi
    0

    As part of the Potter generation I can say that while reading the books I longed for such a world that I could escape to, create spells in and run amuck. Ah, the imagination of a youngster. Although older, and hopefully somewhat wiser, I can see that it was fanciful at the time, I still look back on those imaginings with fondness.

  4. Niki Rubio
    0

    I was one of the first million. Joined on a bit of a whim when I was lucky enough to able to grab one of the early clues. Felt a bit guilty, especially after universal access kept getting put back, that I was depriving some hard core fan of their chance. So thought I’d better make the most of it (well that’s my excuse). The pretty pictures were nice and the stuff by Rowling on where she got her ideas from were great (as a bit of a writer myself, that’s really why I joined.) But the interactive stuff was terrible. Making potions in particular was so difficult and frustrating, even for an adult – I can see kids having much fun with it. Once I’d gone through the story there was nothing else so I’ve not looked at it in ages.

  5. Kiyoko
    0

    I’m not that big a fan of Potter, but the animations in the introductory video were amazing. If as much work went into the rest of the site as those animations it is sure to amaze others as well.

  6. Europe
    0

    Interesting to think that so many young people will soon know more about this sequence of not very good children’s books than about history and science. That’s if they don’t do so already.

    • Katheryn

      Why does enjoying the Harry Potter universe equate not learning about other subjects?

  7. DClarke

    What a thorough and well researched article. You presented this amazingly! it makes me want to protest the take-down/changes that have occurred.

    • Candice Evenson

      Thank you so much! I’ve had this article about the culture of Pottermore in my head for a while, but only after recent events did I feel compelled to finally put it into words.

  8. Emily Deibler

    Excellent article. It’s incredibly comprehensive. I never went on Pottermore that much, despite enjoying the HP books a good deal, so it’s cool to read about the fandom happenings that went on there.

    • Candice Evenson

      I’m glad that I could create a window into the fandom for you! We had a lot of fun and that deserves to be remembered.

  9. What a well-researched article! I am very impressed with all your work.

    I’m also a little shocked — what is there now? I was one of the early users of Pottermore (Ravenclaw!). Is my account there? Has it changed dramatically? I had better go find out…

  10. Katheryn

    This is one of my favorite articles I have read on this site. Very interesting! I Love Harry Potter, and got involved with Pottermore before it changed over, but truthfully I was a bit bored. I guess I wasn’t looking in the right places. Side note: I have been sorted into Hufflepuff in every quiz I have ever taken, but Pottermore sorted me into Slytherin – about as opposite a house as you can get. Strange.

    • Candice Evenson

      Wow, that means a lot to hear! Thanks!
      And I don’t know if Slytherin is reeeallly the opposite of Hufflepuff. They both stress loyalty. I myself thought I was a Hufflepuff before the Potermore sorting.

      • Katheryn

        Oh, I guess you’re right! Two halves of a whole, maybe. Where did you get sorted instead of Hufflepuff? (Sorry if you said it up top – I’m dashing off to bed!)

  11. Katheryn

    One more thing – if you have a LiveJournal account, there is an EXCELLENT Potter community called “hogwartsishome” that has everything mentioned in this article – community, sorting, etc., and is user driven. You answer questions in long form about particular topics and the users themselves sort you. It’s not a Sorting Hat, but it does tend to be correct (and if you don’t like where you wound up, you can make an appeal, and do the process over again). You can also answer other long form sequences that can match you up with a magical creature, a wand, and so on. The communities are active and vibrant, and there are not only PM systems, but also group chats for the different houses. There are weekly/monthly competitions, including House Cups, and you can work toward being a moderator for different arenas if you wish. For anyone mourning Pottermore, I highly suggest looking it up – it’s definitely worth creating an LJ account just to be a part of that (but they won’t admit you if your account is super new, so you might have to feel your way around for a bit first).
    (Oops, is this somehow promoting a personal agenda? I’m not affiliated in any way with the creators or maintainers of the site – I just want to let others know that there are alternatives to Pottermore, especially since the format has changed and it sounds like it wasn’t very easy to navigate in the first place).

    • Candice Evenson

      (Don’t worry. I mentioned Hogwarts Is Here and Hogwarts Extreme after all)
      That sounds like a great community!

  12. Sean Navat Balanon

    Great article~ I joined Pottermore when it first launched, but couldn’t really get into the swing of it due to the lack of interaction with other users. It became boring really quick. I did appreciate the illustrations and new reading material though.

  13. Cameron
    0

    I think this whole thing came down to money. Sony had huge dollar signs in their eyes at original development, thinking that Pottermore was going to be some kind of cash cow for their new e-reader. But they came into the game way too late. So when profits didn’t appear, their support and backing dried up. It then became a rush to get the book moments out ASAP and abandon ship. The site just didn’t live up to original plan or expectation. I will admit I quickly went anytime new moments appeared, savoring all the wonderful artwork and new info. But I certainly wasn’t hanging around dueling or brewing potions (real life; real job) or chatting in the anonymous common room. I just don’t think the site fulfilled whatever its original vision was. I was sorely disappointed by the limited moments in the longest books. I think I’m still missing JKR’s original web site more…

  14. Hellraiser
    1

    I’m an old old Pottermore user and I miss the old site. I loved the fact that it was so interactive and you really felt like you were participating.

  15. Suzann
    0

    My 9 year old was really getting into Pottermore. She loved finding the beans and frog cards.

  16. Issac
    0

    I have written my opinion on the new Pottermore site on their Facebook page several times now, but they keep deleting or hiding my comments… The thing is, Pottermore started out as a gift from JKR to her readers – young and old. It was meant as a BOOK experience. The moments were there for young readers to walk through them as they read the actual literature, and to interact with the world of Harry Potter, thus making it even easier to dive into the wizarding world and the story and its characters… There was an obvious reason for the characters’ faces not being visible in the illustrations – this was a BOOK website, so it wasn’t meant to slap a certain face on the character for you… Literature doesn’t work that way. Creating your own visual images of characters is part of the fun in reading. Which is why so many people hate book covers inspired by film adaptions – they are limiting and commercial…

  17. MountOvere
    0

    I loved the exploring of the scenes, the brewing of potions, everything.

  18. Dillon
    0

    I don’t even know how to sign in or sign up anymore.

  19. Roy
    0

    Horrible, they took all of the fun and interactive gaming out of it.

  20. Caswell
    1

    What the hell happened to my Pottermore? I might as well just use the Harry Potter wiki now. There’s literally no difference other than the wiki being more organized and easier to read.

  21. Amparo
    1

    Back when Pottermore hadn’t even come out yet, I got to do the Beta testing thing where you could get into Pottermore before it officially came out. I remember staying up late and getting to play on Pottermore for the first time. It to this day is one of my fondest memories.

  22. cool
    0

    I used to be on Pottermore every day. I barely go on nowadays.

  23. Shot
    0

    This website is such a disappointment. My daughter has just finished book three and I promised to finally let her get on Pottermore and now it’s gone. I will not be allowing her on this new Pottermore, she can spend her time reading worthwhile articles or actually reading the books. I hope to find they bring back the old Pottermore just as all the others on here seem to wish for. At 28 I didn’t want a grown up listicle site. I wanted the magic of the HP world, not this dribble. I am incredibly disappointed.

  24. TiLi
    1

    Best article I’ve read for a while. I joined Pottermore in 2012, and loved the atmosphere. Yes, it had flaws. But it was magical in its own way, and interesting to explore. And you felt this Hogwarts’y air. I’m 27 now.

    I remembered about this site today, and decided to check out new chapters – only to find that everything is gone. I never got any e-mails about this. I’m very disappointed with the new site, because the old feelings are completely gone. There’s nothing for me to do there, TBH. Another thing dear to my heart just… dead. I find this to be very sad and frustrating. Why couldn’t they just combine the two?

    • Candice Evenson

      I’m glad you like the article!
      Yes…I heard about the changes on Facebook after they had already happened.

  25. Winter
    1

    I am an older fan of this series and I quite enjoyed dueling and potion making. I miss the original intent of the pottermore site which allowed fans to interact with wizarding world and each other in such an engaging and enriching way. Does purchasing the interactive books allow us back into the interactive Potter world that seemed to be so thoughtfully and lovingly created as a celebration of these stories and their fans? If so I understand it, we live in a consumer driven world.

    I just miss the heart of the original manifestation of the site. I appreciate the interactive glimpse into J.K. Rowling’s world while it was accessible to us.

  26. Moon
    0

    I had a girlfriend who looked a lot like J.K. Just as cute.

  27. Christen Mandracchia

    Excellent article. Well crafted. It makes me nostalgic!

  28. Jaye Freeland

    Really, really loved this article. Thank you for writing it! I had long been apart from Pottermore, but I think, it may be time to check it out again.

  29. JeeR
    0

    I was shocked.

  30. Minor
    1

    I loved clicking around and finding stuff on the old version. I feel they removed comments because, the moderators could not handle it. This was a giant red flag for the site. I enjoyed the fan art yet that also went away when they removed comments.

  31. Rosario
    1

    I wanted to use the old Pottermore for my schoolwork and reasearch to show how magical it could be and then the magic is gone.

  32. Jeffery
    1

    The reason why I and many others were so deeply in love with Pottermore, was purely for the reason that we could feel involved and act as if we were The Hogwart crew, NOT muggles.

  33. Brendon
    1

    I loved the interactive features on the old Pottermore. Between college, work, church, and derby practice, I haven’t been on for a few months.

  34. lebrow
    2

    J.K., if you see this, I speak for myself and anyone who agrees, please bring back the magic.

  35. Essex
    2

    I’m sorry. I really am. I am so, so disappointed in the way they got rid of all those beautiful, lovingly worked out, multi-layered, interactive moments, and replaced them with… that.

    My brother, who is dyslexic, adores Harry Potter. He was half way through the moments when they deleted everything, and he was devastated. He nearly cried.

    They way they just removed it all was just – so cruel. What about the children, like my brother? It was a way to really be a part of the HP world, to experience what Harry experienced, to live it. Now it’s just articles; there is no way my brother’s going to be engaged with that.

    Sure, the old Pottermore could have done with some sort of index for easier reference. Sure, it would have been nice to hear the latest news about the Fantastic Beasts movie. But to sacrifice all the fun? No. No.

    It’s not even as though the new site is properly indexed either. You have to search keywords to find information. Plus, as an experiment, I tried searching ‘Celestina Warbeck’, to see if the new site still contained other media like the recording of her song – you know the one you could listen to on the old Pottermore? But no. No song, just the content.

    Mind you, at least we can still access that content (though not without a manual search). But what really made the old site was all the little fun, exciting ‘easter eggs’. Every so often there was something really engaging and different, like the song, or a game, or the way you had to find a key in someone’s hair or something to unlock something else.

    I could actually live with the way they removed the comments feature. Yes, it was sad, but I could see why they did it, so they didn’t have to moderate a million comments every day. By doing that, the site could stand alone without much in the way of staff.

    So, then, if the old pottermore didn’t need much moderation – WHY? Why remove it all? Couldn’t it have just been left for people to enjoy?

  36. Dunning
    1

    My son, 10, asked to go on to Pottermore today as we on now reading The Half Blood Prince together. He hasn’t been to the site in a while and wanted to try potion making again. He could not believe his wand and potion levels and everything were all gone. He has asked for everything Potter for Christmas (including a trip to Universal) and he is so so sad about this. I cannot believe they couldn’t leave the old content up and add a new section for all the articles.

  37. Egan
    1

    Who ever thought it was a good idea to remove all the magic from Pottermore? What kind of adults do they think they’re catering to?

    I joined because it offered some of the magic found in the books I was immersed in. Wish I could have my wand and everything back.

  38. Chi
    1

    …I never finished exploring the story. I was somewhere by the fifth book. Jeez. I hope the moments will return.

  39. Malka
    1

    This article absolutely brilliant.

  40. Tiffany

    I knew of Pottermore and was briefly a part of it, but never got into it too much. This is a very interesting timeline of its evolution (the part about the numbers/censorship is just fascinating in particular), and I’m sad to hear that the magic of it is gone. Here’s hoping that the powers that be notice the drastic fall in participation and make some changes.

  41. SnitchSeeker27111
    2

    Thank you for this brilliant article! I’m so very sad to see what the site has transformed into. It’s not the most terrible site in the world- but to know what it was and to see what it is now is just…disheartening, to say the very least.

    I was a proud and dedicated Hufflepuff brewer on the old site. I’d mostly be found in the Common Room trying to help new “badgers” find their way around the castle, haha. That place was like a little magical sanctuary of my own. The brewing and dueling weren’t the most entertaining of games, but the House pride and teamwork made it exciting like you mentioned. I really felt at home there among fellow fans. I miss the sunny, cheery Hufflepuff Common room and Bob. It truly was a thriving little community, even with the restrictions. Now that once cozy home feels like a drafty, empty room with freshly painted white walls.

    I recently went back to Pottermore to reclaim my wand and House and it still felt just as bare as the day it was rebuilt. None of the previous excitement was there, sadly. I really wanted to be excited again- to see a glimmer that maybe -just maybe- some of that same magic might be returning…but no glimmer was to be found (this coming from a Hufflepuff who naturally tries to look on the bright side).

    I’ll probably return to take the Patronus quiz when it’s released. I imagine that will be fun to finally discover but I can’t help but think how much better a quiz like that could have been with the old format and the same style of art and interactivity. I can just imagine everyone’s personal page having a little patronus icon next to their wands 🙂 Maybe a Defense Against the Dark Arts class moment where you get to use the said patronus (even if just a short click animation) too? So many ideas…

    I think what upsets me the most is that I didn’t even get to finish the last two books and moments. I’ve been searching for the old artwork this week trying to see what I had missed out on.

    I don’t see the current staff of Pottermore bringing back the things I (as well as many others) miss… but a part of my heart really hopes something changes and that one day there will be a new, official and interactive source of magic all of us Potter fans can tap into with that same excitement once again.

    • Candice Evenson

      😀
      You’re welcome!

      Yes, I definitely am interested in the Patronus quiz (I’m hoping that there will be hundreds of possibilities to increase variety– though that may be far-fetched. ) And you bring up a good point! That would have been a much different experience in the Old Pottermore because the common rooms would have all been abuzz with people discussing their patronus and creating art.

  42. per
    1

    I grew up reading these books, played the gameboy version, the x-box version, and Pottermore. Now however, I am left out of the amazing world that I quite enjoyed. Call me childish if you will, but I loved revisiting my favorite moments from the books through J.K. Rowling’s personal view.

  43. Pham
    1

    I liked it for the activities; the potions class, the House cup, the duels.

  44. Whalen
    1

    When J.K.R. heard that the fans of the HP series grew up disappointed that they never got their acceptance letters to attend Hogwarts, she responded by saying that we were all accepted. We were all there on that journey together when we read her books.

    That’s what the old Pottermore felt like.

    We all felt like we were a part of not just a fandom, but a family. Not just a reader, but a character all our own. We had our own houses, our own wands, our own experiences, which is what made us love the books so much in the first place; because we could see ourselves there as a part of that world.

  45. Shakia Yoo
    0

    I miss pottermore…
    That’s not fair.. i want it back..

  46. Scotz
    1

    Harry potter has been apart of my life sense I was able to read. I remember the first time I ever got on pottermore and it was the happiest day ever picking my wand, making potions, getting sorted into a house, reading about all of the characters and looking at the map.

    Everything about it was magical and it let my imagination run wild after reading the books. It made it seem like harry potter and his world was real, something I could continue to dream about. Obviously I grew out of that but today less thank 30mins ago I got a sudden urge to go back onto the website pottermore and look through everything again, to see if they had added anything new…. well oh boy was I in for a surprise literally every single little thing is gone.

    All that is their is news about her and her books, which Is awesome to hear about, but that should not be the entire website. it should be its own little category that you have to click on. knowing that something I use to do as a child is now completely gone is heart wrenching. it is purely horrible.

    The fact that they keep dragging on everything is making it seem like harry potter did not even exist. with all of the news about the new movie coming out “Magical Beasts and Where to Find Them” they should at least incorporate some of the old characters in them instead of having an entirely new set of lines. This new movie is too much, and is taking away from the magic that harry potter was and still is for now. This movie has nothing to do with the old books or movies, why not give us something interesting like a book or movie leading up to the first book she wrote. Explain how everything happened, tell us about Harrys parents, and the old order, and about serious and snape and all of them.

    Tell us about how everything came to be. Because their was still a lot of information that was never told or at least never well explained. I have watched so many interviews of all of the characters and the way that they talk about the movies and how they grew up doing it and how they are all family, unless they are putting on a show it seems like they would be more than willing to partake in another movie that has them in it. Even if she did not want to make it into another movie at least write a book. quit putting small scripts on the website pottermore. actually put it in a book with some ink something that we can turn the pages to and put a dog ear down to save the place. it doesn’t even need to be a series, even if it were some short stories thrown together people would buy it up in a heart beat no questions asked. J.K. Rowling has such a fan base it is ridiculous. People would buy garbage from her as long as her name is on it and harry potter is their it will be sold and she will make money off of it. she is suck a talented writer she could do it.

    Seeing how long this is no one is probably going to read all of it, I tend to get into rants and just continue ranting until their is nothing left to rant about so I will quit now. Thank you all for reading.. if you actually did read all of this. it is a little jumbled up my apologies

    • Candice Evenson

      Oof– I’m sorry you only just now found out about the New Pottermore. It must have felt abrupt.

      As far as Fantastic Beasts is concerned, I have high hopes for it. Although the characters we know don’t seem to be a part of it I think it will add to the scope and depth of the magical world by focusing on new characters and locations. The whole no-mage thing kinda bothers me…(since Americans still say “muggle” because they learned the word from the books. That does seem to be a paradox 0_0 . I’m not sure if no-mage will catch on.)

  47. Smart
    0

    Jo is a living national treasure.

  48. Elmer
    1

    I just went on today and was pleasantly surprised by the new pottermore page, thinking it was a beautifully designed new page for JKR herself. then I tried to find the log in page to do some exploring like I used to, and discovered the horrible truth. the old pottermore was really gone!! I can not understand the reason to delete such a wonderful resource and an excellent extension of the world she created for fans to revisit and feels as if they were wandering the halls of hogwarts and the pages of the series. extremely disappointed and I really want to fight to bring it back. websites don’t just get destroyed, they just get taken down. we’ve got to get the old pottermore back.

  49. finn
    1

    A lot of us have speculated on the real reasons Pottermore reconfigured the site, and none of those reasons resemble the reasons PM told us. Personally, I suspect that the effort to keep the old site going was just too much for them. I miss the old site and rarely look in on the new one.

  50. Etsuko
    1

    I was re-reading the series last year alongside doing the related activities on the old Pottermore for each chapter. It was fun and had that quintessential Potter-esque atmosphere we all love. When I saw that the site was going to be updated, I was excited; I thought they would finally add more chapters to explore, as well as the later books that were still missing. But instead we got a “hip” makeover.

    The site is so cluttered now and Flash-heavy, trying to navigate it is infuriating. It lacks the insider, close-to-the-source feeling of the old Pottermore, which is what attracted so many people beforehand. And the listicles… At first I thought I had fallen into some weird off-shoot of Buzzfeed.

    This new website has stripped Pottermore of the whimsical and magical feelings people associate with Harry Potter, and has instead tried to jam it into a different niche all together. The result: a cluttered mess that removed the things that people loved and replaced them with questionably informational and definitively non-interactive “articles”.

  51. Gale Rauch
    1

    I was a part of the beta team for Pottermore way back 2011, experiencing the whole Magical Quill Challenge and all the amazing stuff the site had to offer afterwards. I loved every bit of the original Pottermore, I was still a student back then and it really took out a lot of stress because it was like online Hogwarts.

    Now I’m employed and feeling stressed again, I wanted to revisit online Hogwarts… but it’s gone. I got my username, my house and my wand back but what’s the use if I can’t make potions and conjure spells anymore?

    I understand that change is a constant phase in the cyber world, it’s just very disappointing that they saw the need to completely abolish the magical feel of Pottermore which is actually the heart of the site.

    Now I just log in and stare at my profile because the house logo stayed and it makes me feel like the magic is still there… even though it’s not.

  52. Lacroix
    1

    Amazing article. Sheds great light into what on earth that happened to Pottermore!

  53. Delgadillo
    1

    Could we have Potterless now?

  54. Logue
    0

    The Harry Potter films were made because they had to be made. The potential revenues were simply too big. The best thing you can say about them is that at least British actors got a chance to star in them and they were a good advert for the British film industry.

  55. Arce
    0

    I loved the Interactive part of it. All of us still have an inner child in us.

  56. Parede
    0

    I wish we could still have access to the former features. I hate the new site and no longer have any reasons to visit.

  57. Yeager
    0

    A few years ago I discovered Pottermore by accident and I loved it!

    I had to stop though as I’d just started college. Now that I have a much lighter workload and now that I’m on holiday, I thought I’d go back to Pottermore; but I was sorely disappointed.

    I felt like we were one big family in our respective common rooms, and I felt like I was contributing something when we were competing for the house cup. The year I joined was the year my house (Slytherin) won and I was never prouder of a game I played as I was just then. I know it sounds ridiculous but it felt like I was part of something bigger.

    Now the new Pottermore is like a site for teenage girls. I mean ‘8 of Draco Malfoy’s meanest Muggle mockeries’? F-ing seriously? What else? ‘Top 10 spells to make your menses fun’?

    C’mon J.K. Rowling; just because you killed off a bunch of our beloved characters in the last few books doesn’t mean you have to kill a site we loved, too. Get your act together.

  58. burden
    0

    I haven’t been on pottermore in an age I am still on the prisoner of askaban from the last time I was on it.

  59. Gabriel
    0

    Pottermore is surely aimed at those who want to take their interest in the storyline further, and interact beyond the books. It is purely for fun, and imaginations sake surely.

  60. Marcie Waters

    Very thorough article. The portion about the employees’ reviews on Glassdoor is an interesting perspective. Good job!

  61. scloser
    1

    I loved all the interactive storytelling and lovely concept art they had going! Why couldn’t they just have different sections for newer things? Granted there were a few aspects I didn’t like about the old version (such as not being able to choose your own username and the profiles etc generally being a bit restricted), but it was still miles better than that random soulless slab of web 2.0 they got now.

  62. Argelie
    1

    I just noticed they changed their art style. At the first pottermore site they only showed the back of characters so you could still use your imagination, like in BOOKS. Now they use the faces of the actors. Personally I hate this. Ofcourse I love all the actors from the Harry Potter movies, but it feels weird to have everything on a plate for me, I liked using my imagination. It just feels like promoting the movies or another fansite.

  63. Freedman
    1

    Its like going back to the home you grew up in only to find its been knocked down and replaced with a a gas station.

    These days I just search through the comments sections of web sites to listen to all the other old users complain about their loss. Like a wandering band of gypsies we’re all we have now.

  64. Kory
    0

    Rowling enriched our imaginations, and got people reading, whether you agree with the content or not, and Pottermore is surely/purely an extension of this imagining.

  65. Machelle
    0

    I was lucky enough to gain early entry to Pottermore when it first opened. I remember being so excited to get to explore the magical world of Harry Potter, and explored every single moment as soon as it came out! Harry Potter was my childhood and Pottermore really was incredible. However now this new Pottermore is merely a blog style website, rather than an interactive way to relive the stories and I am so disappointed. The new content is still interesting, but not at the extent of losing the old content. they should have added the new material to the old website. Also, I explored every single moment and was waiting patiently for the 19 years later scene to be released, and when I checked to see if it had been released, this new version had taken over. Needless to say I was gutted. Bring back the old Pottermore!!!

  66. Maile
    0

    This is just depressing. Why put the sorting hat back when you can’t even interact with your fellow members? I was so looking forward to catching up with the chapters but now, it’s just like Buzzfeed. Sure some of the articles are pretty interesting but it gets boring after a while. I really wish they could bring back the old Pottermore site. This sucks big time.

  67. ARIAL
    0

    Earth to JK Rowling (and I say this as someone who loved reading the books with my children) stop flogging this (flying) horse.

  68. RUDY
    0

    I consider myself among one of the “Harry Potter generation”, the generation who were teenagers (approx Harry’s age) when the books came out, although I got into it fairly late, having read my first book when I was 11 (after Goblet of Fire came out) and the last one when I was 19. I had read several books before I picked up Harry Potter (my favourite among are/were Treasure Island and Sherlock Holmes), and I read several books while Harry Potter series was in works (my favourite were books by Fredrick Forsyth and John Grisham) and I have read several after the series finished (I mainly got into science fiction after that). But, Harry Potter books were the only ones I was truly “obsessed” with. I was one of those who spent several years on internet message boards trying to figure out how the series would end it. I was one of those who got into writing for the sole purpose of writing Harry Potter fanfiction for fanfiction competitions on various Harry Potter fansites (that did not last long, I sucked at writing), and I cannot believe the amount of research I did into various mythologies just to figure out the hidden symbology in Harry Potter (there is lots and lots of it). There are Harry Potter conventions where people read out papers on stuff like this (never attended, but I had collaborated with people who had attended them). It is suffice to say, my childhood was enriched a lot due to Harry Potter, and this is before I even get to the point that I was lucky to meet a lot of other Harry Potter fans in a bunch of countries, most of whom are very nice people, some of whom I am still in contact with after all these years.

  69. Goad
    0

    The worlds JK Rowling has made up make children’s eyes twinkle and their minds race and whir. A belief in magic is a belief in ‘what if?’ Asking that question is the bedrock of all innovation and creativity – the bedrock of industry, self-sufficiency, making society a better place.

  70. Erwin
    0

    Signed up my 9 year old son for Pottermore back when it cam out and I sincerely regret wasting so much time on the registration process and his time on such a convoluted and complicated site. The adult oriented language is perplexing to him and the activities are mundane. It is sad that JK Rowling has not tailored the website to children. It could have been done so much better with more interactive content and better use of Flash.

  71. Glowriver
    3

    Reading your excellent essay has brought back all of my memories of my time as a Beta. Even with all of its imperfections, Pottermore was very important to me as a means to celebrate not only these books, but also the creativity of others who loved them. I so miss it, and will always.

  72. Rikk
    1

    I had joined in 2012, and played a little around, loving it so much! (I was already twentysomething). Had to stop because of many issues, now I got back for the first time in years and found it all changed… I don’t like it. It feels less like exploring and more like another wikia. Too bad. I wanted to play all the books while getting ready for the cursed child! Mixing book and film is not a problem, provided that the sources made clear each time.

  73. I really hope that the recent controversy surrounding J.K. Rowling’s bit of cultural appropriation doesn’t have too much of a detrimental effect on Pottermore. I also hope she fixes her misstep.

    • Candice Evenson

      Uh oh. Rant time. History of Magic in North America has opened up a whole new can of worms………I felt uneasy reading it, and went looking to see if anyone else had felt the same discomfort. As you might know by now, several articles have been written on the subject– not only criticizing the mystification and generalization of Indians, but also the whole story of how the brief witch trials contributed to magical immigrants avoiding North America for much of history. Not only that, but the MACUSA predates the continental congress and even the concept of “The United States of America”–suggesting some connection or inspiration. My main quarrel with it, which I haven’t really seen addressed anywhere yet, is the portrayal of wizards and witches. They are basically spared any blame by history unless they were scourers. The message she makes is that English witches and wizards were not involved in the bloody westward expansion of Northern America. The question remains that if they were so good and powerful, why wouldn’t they stand up for their Indian “brethren” and fight back with magic? Because History, of course. Their innocence is what gives the articles that feeling of a bad textbook that is trying to sweeten history so that it doesn’t make the wrong people look bad. Even though I know it’s fiction, I can’t help but read with that same skepticism. Examples: “skin walkers,” she asserts, are actually animagi who have been falsely accused of evil. The bad wizards and witches were really fraud No-majs. Some wizarding folk were fleeing persecution in Europe and would often hide among the No-maj settler and Native American population. Witches in Salem were utterly innocent (while some of the judges were evil scourers!). In that last instance she would have done better to focus on the No-majs who were caught up in the hysteria instead of saying “a number of the dead were indeed witches” and then going on to describe the No-majs who had suffered. As though by necessity to spare the magical folk of blame and to make them these misunderstood good guys, they must be contrasted by the blatantly evil scourers. I have spent a lot of energy pondering how it could have been done better, but it is difficult to articulate my feelings about it, especially with everyone yelling “Relax, it’s only fantasy!” Basically, it feels too much like a rewrite of history than a parallel, magical history. As it has all been published on Pottermore (and since they promote a movie which likely draws directly upon the same historical concepts) I suppose they are “canon” now and cannot be taken back.

  74. Gosh! It never even crossed my mind that Pottermore would have become weaker and not as entertaining as originally anticipated! I mean J.K. Rowling promised something very special with Pottermore, but I never knew that in the long run, there would be both upsides and downsides to it! Perhaps some people just got addicted to wanting to identify as either a witch or a wizard and NOT a muggle! That may have been the reason why some people chose to engage in Pottermore. Perhaps some people thought that Pottermore would bring them back to their Harry Potter childhood roots! In any event, I found this article on the lost civilization of Pottermore to be quite enlightening as well a informative! Thanks to reading this article, I’m now informed that Pottermore went downhill in more ways than just one!

  75. Viera
    3

    I’m really disappointed in the new Pottermore update. I logged on to check if there were any new chapters available (and to replay the old ones, because why not?) but after 30 minutes of desperately searching through the website I let myself accept the fact that all of the enjoyable parts of the site (dueling, exploring chapters, participating in the community) were gone. An even sadder fact is that they replaced it with content that every harry potter site already has. I really wish they would have at least kept the old site available instead of completely replacing it. I don’t care what they say about age either; I’m 20 and I still get stupidly excited about finding galleons in the forbidden forest and whatnot. They took away the entire atmosphere of the Wizarding World I fell in love with when the site first opened.

  76. This is a great article, and it makes me want to learn more about Harry Potter fans and their social-cultural structure. This was a well researched article, and it makes me sad that I missed out on something that sounds like it was wonderful at one point and time. I think I may have caught it at the tail end of it’s life, because I was sorted into Slytherin (and my SO is a Ravenclaw), and decided to try the aspects of Pottermore at a later date…except that date never came, because the changes took place.

  77. This is such a well written and researched article. I love how you included the different views on the houses, and how the incentive of the House Cup made us all addicted to figuring out potions and wand duels. I haven’t checked into Pottermore in a few months, but I hope it changes to benefit everyone at any age. Fingers crossed!

  78. This was great. Loved how in-depth you got.

  79. Yes very in depth and valid reasoning.

  80. Andrew
    1

    This is a very well written article.
    There’s just two things I’d like to add.

    First: initialy, there were only 5 comment boards on Pottermore. The Great Hall and the 4 Common Rooms. But, at a later point, Pottermore added comment boarda on every chapter and article. Which resulted on more chatrooms being made, which is almost imposible to moderate. I’ve witnessed a sexual roleplay on the Durmstrange page, and there were only 2 people roleplaying, nobody interfering. With that many comment boards to manage, it’s understandable why all these “chatrooms” got closed.

    Second: at a certain point, Pottermore added Profile Statuses. They had a character limit, thwy were public, and they had the same Umbridge Rules as posting in the comment boards. But the fans took advantage of it by sending letters to each other. They wrote a message in their status, then send a gift/duel to another user, and then that user read the status and received the message. That was the Pottermorian analogy of Private Messages. Only instead of being private, it was like sending a letter, but knowing that anyone could read it. Still, people used thia feature for personal conversations, which made a lot of friendships grow stronger

    • Candice Evenson

      Ah! Thank you Andrew. I’d forgotten about the statuses.
      And, as you say, with a “chat room” on every page I can see how the Pottermore staff would have seen that as uncontrollable.

  81. Mally
    1

    Thank you for the great article. I got really nostalgic when you mentioned ‘my comment was approved by moderation’ and the hilarious ways how we users had to adapt our communicate with each other. Oh how I miss the roleplay chats in the great hall and in the Slytherin common room. Sure, there were spies, but it somewhat made it fun.

    I left about 2 years ago and I recently logged on, only to find that our beloved forum changed forever. It saddens me that the site has come to this. It’s lacks the social aspect with other potterheads.

  82. I really enjoyed the original pottermore when I thought about it. But it didn’t really click with me. Once I finished the first book and had to wait I forgot all about the site. Even still with this new pottermore I barely think about it until its trending that new information has been added by J.K.

  83. Yet another example of a modern-day “classic” as I’m sure that the HP stories (books, audiobooks, and films) won’t be going anywhere any time soon!

    My childhood bedroom which I shared with my brother was redecorated with an HP theme (my mum had an amazing interior design friend who did a slightly larger than life 3.5feet tall charcoal sketch of Dobby on our wall – way too cool!), as well as HP wallpaper, sticker-decorated door, bedsheets – you name it. In short, we were obsessed!

    HP will always be a childhood and lifelong favourite of mine. It is the first series of books I remember completing – AND voluntarily reading again…and again…and again! I’m sure many know, but stories were done about the significant influence the JKR had on encouraging young individuals to read. I can’t remember the facts, but google! The numbers of children who read solely because of her HP books is truly staggering.

    This article is clearly well-researched and clearly still on about a strongly-loved topic and series. HP is one of the few modern day series/films that I can see becoming “classics” that future generations of children (and adults!!) could enjoy.

    Bravo to the writers, editors, and researchers on this extensive article!

  84. This article reminds me of the old days- in fact, I left Pottermore when at what you rightly reference to as ‘the beginning of the end’, so this was a bit of a bittersweet read for me. Another thing- it was very well written. A lot of information and lacking the rigidness of the traditional essay. You clearly know what you’re doing!

  85. Thank you for this great article! As someone who missed out on the old Pottermore, it’s interesting to look back and see the civilization the users made, but even more so it’s great to look at this and see what the fans could still create if only given the proper medium.

  86. birdienumnum17

    Wow! What an in-depth walk through Pottermore! I joined the site several years back when the old format was there. I enjoyed the games, but I was so bad at them! I actually like the new format better, and I would agree that it suits a more mature audience. The articles are very insightful and the art work is beautiful. Wonderful writing!

  87. As a Potter fan (with my prefrence in the books ) I found that Pottermore wasn’t able to fulfill this obsessive feeling that the books had given me, perhaps because I longed less to be apart of the Potter world and more to know more about the charactors Rowling had created.

  88. Lauren Mead

    Reading the books was always my favourite Harry Potter experience, but I liked the original Pottermore site too. I was sad when it changed over. Great article, by the way. I enjoyed all of the detailed information!

  89. Didn’t know about this, haven’t visited in years but always thought it was a way to re-engage fans with the universe and the interactivity was key to that. Definitely won’t be checking it out now.

  90. I was absolutely ecstatic when I discovered the immersive experience that Pottermore offered to its users. A few years ago, I had asked a friend which Harry Potter character she liked the most to which she promptly replied: “More than anything else, I like the world of Harry Potter and not the characters.”
    Now, I’m not saying this is a universal opinion. AFter all, who doesn’t love Hermione’s wits and Harry’s bravery? But she had a point – as much as we fell in love with the characters, we also fell in love with the Harry Potter universe – one where we could go to a school that taught us to do things not scientifically possible, where we could make friends and have owls as pets. Pottermore provided a taste of that fictitious, wonderful world to all Harry Potter devotees, which was what made it both a beautiful site and yet frustrating in the limited mobility it provided its users in the ability to explore the world even more.
    This being so, I was still very upset when Pottermore was changed for what it is now. The international community that shared their passion for this world was now forced to disband, left to go back to the books to explore through their mind’s eye. There was nothing tangible left for them – for us – to share. That was quite a depressing realization.

  91. I hate to admit it, but Pottermore feels like a scam. I was one of those fans who stayed up all night for my chance to join the beta and Pottermore, and I let my excitement control my disappointment. Even back when it first opened, it was clear to me that the only “fun” was being sorted, and even that felt cheap: being sorted into one house if I choose “left” and another if I chose “right” feels like a cope out. In fact, I feel like everything Post-Potter has been a disappointing scam, from Pottermore to Cursed Child to Fantastic Beasts. I’m hoping the movie doesn’t disappoint, but with the track record, it’s hard for me to have high hopes. JKR, sometimes, you just have to give up and let it go. Somethings deserve to be left in the nostalgia of the past.

  92. emmagrace
    0

    i hate that pottermore has been changed. in the first version you could duel make potions etc. why won’t they bring it back?????

  93. emmagrace
    0

    i hate that pottermore has been changed. in the first version you could duel make potions etc. why won’t they bring it back? it was SO much more fun

  94. What I find interesting is that since J.K. Rowling is well known for connecting with fans, why would her site choose to stifle that same communication from fan to fan by closing down the chat feature. Pottermore was once a place where fans could connect with each other about the world of the series while being able to participate in it as well, which is a unique opportunity. While I understand that websites change, but what I do not understand is why the minds behind Pottermore changed systems that did not seem to be broken.

  95. loved this, thank you

Leave a Reply