Pottermore Moments Revisited: First Day of School!
Chapter 8: “The Potions Master”
Chapter thoughts: It’s Harry’s first day of classes at Hogwarts, and already he’s getting more attention than he ever wanted. Not to mention that fact that Hogwarts is quite the confusing and dangerous place. Really, no one is going to help these eleven year olds out with a map or something? In any case, we get our first look at classes, including Snape’s Potions. Once again, it hits me just how cruel Snape can be (especially to Harry). We also get to visit Hagrid, which is a nice break. My standout scenes include Snape’s dungeon and the visit to Hagrid’s.
Moment 1: Harry’s Early Days at Hogwarts
This is a nice moment; there are actually students on the stairs, and the voices in the background sound suspiciously like Dame Maggie Smith (Professor McGonagall) and David Bradley (Argus Filch). Of course, this may just be my imagination, but I like to think it’s them! This scene, though a nice look at what the inside of the castle may look like, just seems so narrow to me. Of course, it’s an ancient castle, but for some reason, the proportion just seems wrong.
Moment 2: Harry’s First Potions Lesson
This too is a new moment. Previously, this is where you found out that you could brew potions on the site, and you could practice one here. Now, it is a scene from the actual lesson. Obviously, Snape is testing Harry at this moment, as Hermione’s hand is in the air. There’s a plethora of potion ingredients to collect. We also see the gargoyle that serves as a tap and wash basin; it’s an impressive detail, as this is not mentioned until another book!
Moment 3: Hagrid’s Wooden House
Fang barks and growls, and bird calls out, and we hear the refreshing sounds of the great outdoors. Though nice visually, there just…really not much to this moment. Yes, you collect potion ingredients and a Chocolate Frog card and yes, you can read the Daily Prophet article, but that’s it.
This whole chapter seems to be lacking in any real connection to the user. Whereas before you would at least brew a potion, now, you don’t do much at all. This seems to be a problem throughout the new site. Pottermore seems to have become two different things: following Harry’s story and a stab at a video game. They are no longer linked, and I think that is a weakness for the site. I personally liked it better when you would get to do these activities as you followed Harry’s story. It created a better connection to the book, and made you feel like you were really part of the story.
In any case, since Harry is learning to brew his first potion, I felt like I should do the same.
I started with the basic practice cure for boils. It’s been a long time since I brewed a potion, and I was never very good at it. At the same time, this small potion is fun. It’s simple, it doesn’t take too long, but it still takes a certain amount of finesse to do correctly. I like that you have to move all the ingredients around, crush them, and heat the cauldron. The one thing that always confused me was why you had to wave your wand. Of course, from a gaming perspective, it starts the count down for the time you have to let it brew, but I’m not sure why that was chosen, as I can’t recall anywhere in the canon that we learn you must wave a wand to complete a potion.
Now that our first week of everyday classes are done, however, it’s time to start getting back into the action. Soon, we’ll find some friends and enemies that will change Harry’s story entirely!