Pottermore: First Impressions
I told myself when my Pottermore owl arrived that I wouldn’t have time to explore the site until Sunday at the earliest. After weeks of waiting, my welcome letter chose the most inopportune time to show up. Pottermore would have to wait.
Of course, it didn’t work out that way, curiosity got the better of me, and I ended up on Pottermore yesterday. So much for that!
What do I think of the site so far? What are my first impressions of this highly anticipated venture? Here are a few things that immediately struck me:
1. Pottermore: Explore in Silence
I don’t know what I expected when I first signed on, but I’m positive it involved some kind of sound. The imagery is beautiful and there really should be something audible to go with it. Let’s hear the crickets chirping and owls hooting in the late night hours on Privet Drive. Gives us a chance to experience the noises of Diagon Alley. If they change anything from the beta phase to the public launch, I hope they add sound.
2. Pottermore: Just Click Everywhere
J.K. Rowling’s site has spoiled me. I’ve come to assume there are easter eggs hidden everywhere on Pottermore, even though the items you are meant to click are very easy to find. There’s no need to click every surface on the screen. There’s no point in double and triple checking to see if you missed something. If I had known that sooner, I would have saved my poor laptop some aggressive clicking.
3. Pottermore: Have the Book Handy
For some reason, I thought you were going to be able to read each book online in its entirety. While that would be exciting, it’s probably far too much to assume any publisher would freely post full manuscripts online. Instead, we are greeted with “just the basics”, assuming anyone exploring the site has already devoured the books years ago.
4. Pottermore: Nicknames Abound
I’ve taken on the daunting task of nicknaming all my “friends” who I recognize from this blog so I can keep everyone straight. This is proving way more complicated than I originally thought and it makes me a little itty teensy weensy bit annoyed with the lengths at which Pottermore is child protected. I completely understand the reasons behind the wizard names, the profile security, etc., but it sure does make it difficult to sort things.
5. Pottermore: I Want a Profile Picture, Too!
Of all the things to confuse me about Pottermore, I was befuddled by the fact that everyone else seemed to have a profile picture and I was left with the Pottermore logo. I spent way too much time on my profile trying to fix this. There had to be something I was missing! What was I doing wrong? This is a site for children; it really shouldn’t be confusing me this much. Eventually, I gave up, which is good since your profile picture is based on the pet you purchase at Diagon Alley. Since I didn’t have a pet yet – I wasn’t even a wizard yet – I was clicking around my profile in vain. Epic Pottermore fail.
6. Pottermore: Shop Till You Drop
I have no idea if the other Diagon Alley shops open during this book or if we have to wait until each shop is introduced throughout the series, but I am thrilled by the prospect of playing Supermarket Sweep down Diagon Alley. However, I’m aware of my tenuous financial situation in the wizarding world and curious how one earns additional galleons if one was to, for instance, buy everything in site. Right now, I only have the basics required for my first year at Hogwarts, but I have my eye on a few upgrades. I may end up blowing my fortune before my second year!
7. Pottermore: Let Me Read My School Books
If you’re traipsing around Pottermore, you probably enjoy reading. I know I do. So I was pretty disappointed when I realized you can’t actually read the school books you buy for Hogwarts. I’m not expecting J.K. to produce dozens of text books to entertain Pottermore fans, but a few pages here and there would be nice. I’d also like to be able to look at my Chocolate Frog Cards a little closer. If this is possible, I haven’t figured it out yet.
8. Pottermore: A Little More Interactivity Required
Maybe I’m asking Pottermore to be too much like a computer game, but it would be excellent if instead of randomly learning about characters as we progress through chapters, we could click on them in the scene and learn about them through conversation. Otherwise, I’m not really compelled to read the information I could find in the books.
9. Pottermore: I’m Becoming a Hoarder
What do I do with all this stuff in my trunk? I’m assuming a lot of this will come into play when I’m making potions, but there’s no way all of this will end up in a cauldron. My hope is that these items (the Prefect’s badge, the Hogwarts Express postcard) are necessary for other books. They could really complicate things by making them a requirement to advance through later chapters. Fail to collect something in Book 1? Sorry, you can’t make it through Book 4. This makes gifting your belongings a lot riskier, no? I don’t know about you, but I refuse to part with anything just yet.
10. Pottermore: Wildly Addicting
It’s an easy site to maneuver (once you realize you don’t have to click everything in site) and you are immediately rewarded for your efforts with beautiful pictures, new info, and thoughts from the author herself. For this reason, Pottermore is incredibly, ridiculously, shamelessly addicting. Even though I can’t imagine there’s much to do when you’re done exploring besides make potions, duel, and try to win the House Cup, I can see how this site can grow with each book into its own little online world.
At this point, I’ve shopped at Diagon Alley, purchased my pet, received my wand, and I’m just about to enter the Sorting. This is what I’ve been looking forward to, so I don’t want to rush it. Why wait so eagerly to get on the site if you’re going to fly through it in two days? There will be plenty to discuss leading up to the Sorting (I’m particularly interested in how my wand might indicate my ultimate Sorting fate) and I would like to continue with the re-read (Chapter 4 is just itching for some blog time). So stay tuned for all of that.
And let me know: What are your first impressions of Pottermore?