Why We Need Another Pottermore Update
I have a love–hate relationship with Pottermore, the “digital heart” of the wizarding world. On the one hand, I love the concept of experiencing the Harry Potter books online, but on the other, I always imagined Pottermore much differently than its creators did. From my observations, I’m not the only fan who feels this way – and I’m certainly not the only fan who hopes for a third Pottermore update to be released in the near future.
Fans have witnessed two drastically different Pottermore websites. Launched in July 2011, the original site offered fans the opportunity to explore the Harry Potter stories with writing and quizzes by J.K. Rowling and interactive artwork. It also included a House Cup competition, spell-casting, and potion-brewing. The Pottermore we know today is more of a blog, featuring articles about the wizarding world by J.K. Rowling and “the Pottermore Correspondent.” It still includes the Hogwarts Sorting quiz as well as additional Ilvermorny House and Patronus quizzes – not to mention the recently added animated Hogwarts map for users to explore.
To me, the greatest strength of the original release was the House points competition – House Cups were regularly awarded to whichever House had brewed the most potions, won the most duels, and collected the most objects as a whole. There was a sense of community, teamwork, and House pride on Pottermore that was removed with the update. The original site wasn’t limited to only exploring the books. We had an end goal and a reason to go online every day. However, the 2011 Pottermore also had its shortcomings. While relatively entertaining, it didn’t provide much new material unless you searched tediously for hidden objects in the books and followed the stories as they were continually updated.
The current Pottermore also has its pros and cons. Additions to the site such as a variety of new quizzes, an explorable Hogwarts, and the inclusion of writing by J.K. Rowling give users plenty to do but lack fan-to-fan interaction. Gone are the days of dueling, potion-making, and point-earning, replaced with a dry attempt at the “encyclopedia” J.K. Rowling always promised. I’ve only read a handful of the articles that Pottermore puts out, and while some were insightful, they weren’t engaging enough to pique my interest. The minimalist blog-style Pottermore we know today offers easier access to material but compromises some of the original site’s strongest elements.
When Pottermore first debuted in 2011, I was hopeful it would be an outlet for fans to take their own journey through the wizarding world. Instead, it was the same Harry Potter story with a couple of additions. The artwork was beautiful, and the experience was even magical at times, but knowing how the story goes certainly caused me to lose interest. I would love to see a third Pottermore include the dueling and potion-making that allowed users to create their own journey at Hogwarts paired with even more interactive content – Quidditch, maybe? Or it could give us the opportunity to take Hogwarts classes as ourselves rather than reliving Harry’s story (like the Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery game, without the added plot).
We need a third Pottermore. It doesn’t need to be a complete revamp of the previous two versions. I only ask for a site that combines and builds from their individual strengths. Pottermore does not need to become a true online school. I can only hope it will become a way for fans to experience Hogwarts for themselves and look for answers to their Potter-related questions. Millions of fans created accounts when Pottermore was first released, but how many of them log on regularly? We could have an incredible “heart” to the Potter community, complete with games, competition, spells, and articles alike – Pottermore has a lot of potential.
If Pottermore is to claim the title of “digital heart” of the wizarding world, I expect it to not only meet but also exceed fans’ expectations. While no online experience could amount to reading the series for the first time, a website has the potential to keep the magic alive as time goes on. The perfect Pottermore is out there somewhere. Surely there is something greater brewing in J.K. Rowling’s mind, waiting to be brought to life on Pottermore someday in the future.