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Monday, October 31, 2011

Muggle Monday (18): Pottermore Review

It's time for Muggle Monday, in which I post a quote, a video, or a significant piece of news from the Harry Potter franchise. This is somewhat inspired by the Mundane Monday posts by The Mundie Moms.

But let's be real as to why I made up this meme: I just want the opportunity to post something about Harry Potter.

This week, I'm posting my review, the pros and cons, of Pottermore, the interactive online reading experience.

Let's start with the good then, shall we?


1. The new exclusive content written by J.K. Rowling. This is by far the best part of the site. Jo has written 18,000 words of new and fascinating information, all written with her signature wit and whimsy. Though I am pretty disappointed that it seems as though we will never get a comprehensive, printed encyclopedia, I am happy that this information is being made available for free online.

2. Getting Sorted. There are a ton of fan created sorting quizzes, but this is the first that Jo has created herself. It's pretty cool to find out officially what house I would be sorted into after years of speculation (Hufflepuff! No surprise there). I am a bit dubious as to the legitimacy of the quiz though... it seems suspicious that there would be an almost even number of students in each house (at the moment, approximately 165,000 students across the board). What are the chances?

3. Getting a Wand. This is another fun quiz that you take to find the best wand for you. Jo has written up descriptions of the qualities of each wand core and every wand wood that is available. Incredibly interesting. The descriptions of the personalities of my core (Unicorn Hair) and my wood (Rowan) sound very much like me, which is cool.


1. There is no replay value. And I know a lot of people agree with me on this. Once you've completed all the chapters, you're done, and there's not much to keep you coming back afterwards or reviewing the chapters again. It was exciting going through it all the first time, but I won't be returning to Pottermore until Chamber of Secrets is released.

2. I think I'm too old for this. This is very surprising to me because I have a pretty immature personality for someone my age. I'm usually very much into the sort of games that are available on Pottermore. If Pottermore had been released years ago, I probably would have been very much into brewing potions and wand duelling, but I think I've reached my limit now. I'm a proud Hufflepuff, don't get me wrong, but I just don't care about earning house points. And I especially have no interest in waiting 80 minutes for my friggin potion to finish brewing!

3. No music or sound effects. The new pictures created to represent each chapter are truly gorgeous but there is a noticeable lack of any sound. I think it would have added a bit to the experience.

Overall, I recommend Pottermore to people who are more than just casual Harry Potter fans, as you would probably have no interest in getting sorted and getting a wand otherwise. If you are a big Harry Potter fan, I do recommend going through each chapter (or "moment" as they are called) at least once just so you can read all the amazing new tidbits from Jo. You can probably get through the entire site in about 4 hours. You can try your hand at potion brewing and wand duelling a few times and I'm sure that'll satisfy you.

So yeah, pretty disappointed. I just want my encyclopedia!! I can't believe Twilight got its encyclopedia before HP. Like I said, I won't be returning to Pottermore in any great capacity until Chamber of Secrets is released, but if you want to add me as a friend, my username is FlightOwl209 (Also, let me know in the comments what your username is if you're sending a friend request or else I won't know who you are!).


  1. It's so much fun reading your thoughts on this Aylee! I haven't tried Pottermore yet, but I love the idea of it and what it can offer HP fans as a whole. I can honestly say even without visiting the sight that I would appreciate music or sound effects, normally they bother me on most websites, but for something interactive like this I know it would add to the feel of it for me. When does Chamber of Secrets release?

  2. I haven't jumped on the Pottermore band wagon, but 18,000 words of new info? Kinda exciting and tempting. But that is a booger about feeling that you are too old for it (because I feel that I would probably feel similarly, despite having a kinda immature personality)...

    Thanks for the great review Aylee!

  3. I've been wondering about it since I never tried it. Thanks for the review and your honesty.

  4. First off, you should add me! I'm SilverAsh204

    Second, I agree with the things you have said.
    Further more, I was one of the lucky ones to get 'early' access but it wasn't much so. My Email got in about a month ago only, and if I managed to log in and use the site five times since that's a lot.

    Usually the server was too busy and wouldn't log me in or would kick me out soon after I managed to it.

    Also I grew frustrated with the time and EFFORT that too to make potions or spells. :(

    It's fun exploring the chapters but beyond that there isn't that much to the site.

  5. This was super helpful! I was debating whether or not to try Pottermore out...but I think I'll skip it. I'm not a hardcore Potter fan (although I did love the story!), and I definitely wouldn't have the patience to wait 80 minutes for a potion to brew. :P

  6. How semi-disappointing! I didn't get into the Beta-trials and have had Pottermore up in a tab ever since, constantly refreshing to see when I'll be finally allowed access.

  7. Yes, to everything, but especially the potion brewing time. WTF? No thanks! I was really excited to get in and get sorted (Gryffindor!), but I've honestly lost interest since then... I haven't logged on in ages and I do wish there was more to it all. Woe!

  8. I didn't get into Pottermore and right now it's only open to beta-users so this post was really interesting. I'll probably check it out when it opens to everybody if only to experience it, get sorted into a house and get a wand, but I'm not big on playing games any more.

    Lol, you just brought up memories of Neopets for me.

  9. WTH? I can't fathom waiting that long for a virtual potion. Since I don't consider myself even a causal fan, just a film fan, I haven't visited the site, but it's fun to know the pros and cons.

    P.S. The Twilight encyclopedia isn't that great. There was a lot about it that disappointed me.

  10. I totally agree with all of your points. The potion brewing times are utterly ridiculous - especially if your users are young and impatient.

    And it is upsetting that nothing changes once you get through a chapter. Makes me think the whole thing will die off rather quickly, since no one will see the point in continuing after getting all of the info.

  11. Jenny: I definitely think sound and music would've added a lot. Just so long as you could have the option of turning it off if you wanted. CoS releases in February 2012, I think? But it wouldn't surprise me if they delayed that because they've been delaying everything else.

    Avery: For me, it was worth it to have to jump through hoops and play the games to get at the new information. But I have no desire to return now that I have all of this new info. In fact, you could probably read all this new info on some other website without having to do all of that.

    Juju: You're welcome!

    Alex: The server was really busy, I noticed that too. You would think they would have planned ahead for that to avoid all that trouble. It was sort of fun exploring the chapters the first go round. But I don't think I'll do it again.

    Lauren: Even as an extreme fan, I didn't have the patience so I think you're right to feel that way.

    Rachel: That would be frustrating. And especially because they keep extending the beta period. Hang in there!

    Stephanie: I wish there was more to it too. Something that would make me want to return again and again. I feel like you should be able to use the items you pick up or something. I mean, what would I want with a salt and pepper shaker anyway?

    Zahida: Neopets! lol, I used to be so into that in junior high. Spend hours on it every day. In a way, I think Pottermore needs something like that. Something that makes you want to return again and again.

    Missie: It's beyond ridiculous. Especially since I have no mouse and brewing potions and wand duelling with just a mouse pad is difficult. Sorry to hear about the Twilight encyclopedia!

    Alissa: Yeah, the games are too long for someone who is young and too immature for someone who is old. All around, they really do not work. And that's exactly how I feel about it: there's no replay value. People are just going to stick around to get through all the books and then never return again.

  12. I'm a Hufflepuff, too! Although, to be honest, I was a little surprised, but I've come around to the idea. I think that the poor Hufflepuffs always get dissed when people talk about Harry Potter, but I'm definitely a proud Hufflepuff, plus our common room is totally the coolest. :P lol

    I agree with all of your points! I love the new content, although we haven't seen much of it yet, and it would be nice to have it compiled still later on, once it's been released for a while, even just as an ebook.
    I loved getting sorted, although I don't think it's very accurate either. The questions were so random too. While some made sense and seemed to have real choices that showed what you were like, others were just so random, and it is weird that the break between houses is so even.
    Honestly, I liked some of the wand stuff, but my wand is really weird looking, seriously, yours looks cool...mine looks like it would give me a splinter, and that scares me. :P I did like the whole experience of picking one though. :)

    About your cons...so true about the replay value. Once you go through it the first time, it's pretty much pointless to do it again. I did it twice to try and find things that I missed, but the things I missed were so trivial that it was basically pointless. I found maybe 2 galleons and a chocolate frog card on the second run. :P
    I don't think I'm too old for it. I honestly think they need to do some tweaking. The potions take way too long, and the dueling hasn't even worked once since I first got on. I'm really sad about not getting to duel yet. :( But, the potions are just kind of ridiculous, fun while you're doing it, but they just take so long, and it has so many bugs during the potion part. I've had it restart my potions from scratch when I'd just finished waiting like an hour and a half to do the next part...I was not impressed. :(
    I wanted sound too! They could've at least had some of the scores from the moving playing in the background, but maybe they're waiting to introduce sound...who knows. I heard it'll be a while still until they release it to the public anyways, so who knows what they'll change after getting the survey answers back.

    I'm going to add you right now. :) I'm DreamPixie100 :)

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Aylee! :D

  13. Wow, longest comment ever! Thanks Ambur :)

    I've always thought that HUfflepuffs get the short end of the stick. It's commonly thought that Hufflepuff is the house that you get stuck with when you're not "good enough" for the other three houses, because Helga Hufflepuff wanted to include everybody at Hogwarts. Screw that! I kind of feel like Hufflepuffs have a little bit of each house within them and that's what makes them special.

    I would settle with an ebook summary, but I would absolutely pay to have a physical, bound copy to sit on my shelf!

    Some of the sorting questions were a little suspect, indeed. My memory is a little hazy, but I recall that one of the questions was, "black or white?" Uh, is black supposed to be evil and a Slytherin colour then, or what?

    Ha! I'll have to check out your wand. Surely if you had a physical copy, you could sand it down so as to avoid getting any splinters :)

    I noticed a few bugs during potion making too. How frustrating is it to go through all that trouble only to have your potion not turn out due to a site problem? I'm not sure that I'm too old, necessarily. I just don't have the patience to play these long, drawn out games that are buggy. Also, because I don't have a mouse, I find it difficult to brew potions and duel with just a touch pad. Maybe they'll add sound later, you're right. I'm hoping A LOT of changes will be made to this beta version, actually.

    Your username is so cute!

  14. I was pretty disappointed with Pottermore. I really thought there would be more to it. All that hype for a few hours just didn't really seem worth it.

  15. You have summed up my feelings exactly! I agree with all these points - the exclusive content was definitely the best thing about it and I loved reading it all (especially the stuff about McGonagall), but I agree that there's nothing to really do once you've completed it. Plus, the times you have to wait to brew potions are ridiculous! I can never be bothered. I'm still really glad I got early access though, it was fun!

  16. No sound effects? Boo!
    Thanks for reviewing Pottermore. I didn't try it and I've been curious about it ever since.

  17. Kathy: There was way too much hype surrounding it unfortunately. But why shouldn't we expect a lot?

    Liz: Loved the stuff about McGonagall too. I think I heard that Jo is planning on focusing on one character for each book release. I bothered enough to make one potion. And then I was good. I am also glad I got early access though, just to say I did!

    Jessica: Sound effects would be neat for performing spells and such. I think it would have really added to the interactivity of the experience, which I thought was the point.

  18. No replay value - my thoughts exactly on Pottermore! I haven't been back in weeks and honestly, I can't even force myself to be motivated to earn house points. What's even sadder, I don't get my ebooks :( I flew through the whole site in one night and now I'm disappointed that there isn't much else to do. I hope they add more mini-games or people will get bored really fast. The art, though, is breathtaking.

    I felt exactly the same way about the sorting hat. Did I REALLY get sorted into Gryffindor or did they just need an extra student? Or maybe that's how it happens in the books and we just don't realize it. The houses in the books are probably evenly sorted as well.

    I'm SeeCentaur37!

  19. I completely agree. I'm a sucker for quizzes and always want to be 'really' sorted so that aspect really appealed to me. Beyond that it's definitely not something I find myself coming back to, as each book is released yes, on the daily? No so much.

  20. Jessica: It's ridiculous to me that they would keep pushing back the beta period, pushing back the ebooks. What's taking them so long? I doubt they'll get around to improving it all that much. They should just give people their ebooks already. I completely agree about the art: I especially love that you're not able to see any of the characters' faces so that you can keep your picture of them your own. I've always gotten the impression that students were evenly sorted in the books, but not due to any arbitrary choice. Perhaps it's just too hard to come with a legitimate quiz to test that in real life. Cute username!

    owlandbell: Heh, I love quizzes too! Even for the most inconsequential things. And yeah, I won't be returning really until CoS is released... I believe in February next year? Who knows.

  21. Great to get the skinny on Pottermore--but mostly I'm just excited to find a blog by another HP fantatic! Love it! :)

  22. Hi, you said "Jo has written up descriptions of the qualities of each wand core and every wand wood that is available. " I had a look round on the site and could not easily find it. I was wondering if you could tell me where to find that???

  23. Heh, no worries. Here are the links:

    Wand cores:

    Wand lengths and flexibilities:

    Wand woods:

  24. OMG I agree with this 100%!!!! While the new content is interesting, I agree with the cons of no replay value. I definitely expected more and maybe I'm too old for it, too?

    Plus, yeaaaah, I totally don;t buy there being an even number of people in each house. I'm in the group of people who firmly believe we've been mis-sorted, and that's something else I wished the site offered: if the hat in the books takes into consideration your house request, why not Pottermore?

    Thank you for letting me know I'm not alone in my disappointment!


  25. From what I understand, the hat on Pottermore sort of takes into account your choice, at least if you're a hatstall. People who are hatstalls are give the choice of choosing one of the two houses the hat is undecided about sorting you in. Unfortunately, I think if you were given any more of a choice than that, than everyone would choose Gryffindor and the house points would be terribly unequal. Who knows, maybe they really have created a sorting hat that actually equally sorts people perfectly.

  26. I love how you've broken this down. For the longest time I didn't really have a handle on what exactly Pottermore was, but now I feel like I know what to expect. I'm not a game player, but I still want to check this out now because of all the new information written. And I want to find out my house and wand :)

  27. Yeah, I'm really not into the games and the hoops to jump through but I will participate if it means new never-before-seen content from Jo. I would do anything for that. And the personality quizzes for your wand and house are cool too.

  28. I agree with everything you said...and the sorting was definitely suspicious! I kind of wish there was music too, I was surprised that were wasn't any.

    I'm still holding out hope that JK will give us an encyclopedia one day :D

    Just added you, I'm HexWolfsbane42

  29. Well, who knows. Maybe the sorting process is very legitimate and that's why everything is so even. And maybe they're working on introducing music and sound effects (hopefully!). And maybe she will give us our encyclopedia! Must remain optimistic on all fronts :)

  30. I did read recently that they are adding sound. Though I was surprised they hadn't initially because JK Rowling's website has always had sound (and I felt like her website had a similar feel to Pottermore the way it was kind of like a pretty painting you could click on and find hidden objects).

    I totally agree that Sorting and Wand Selection were the coolest aspects of the sight. I was super disappointed that all the books weren't up yet because I'd love to read exclusive content about the Marauders.

    I was only on Pottermore for about a week before I got tired of it (and it's glitches). I'll probably go back at some point to see the improvements and exclusive content, but I agree with you about it being a bit of a letdown. (Though we were betas, and it wasn't the final product, but still...)

    1. Yeah, I heard about the sound and music too. I thought the same thing as you - they had sound on her website, so why the heck not on Pottermore? They're different companies putting it together, but it was still strange.

      Eep, yes I need to learn about the Marauders! Better yet, I'm still holding out for an HP prequel book. Please!!

      I am hopeful that the finished product will be a definite improvement. However, I just feel like I am finally too old for this sort of thing. I'm not sure they could ever make it perfectly to my liking.