www.pottermore.com (new window)
It's been in the news, it's been on the mind of every Harry Potter fan, and after months of being delayed it's finally open to the public! So it's time to sit down and get ready to relive the books in a new, interactive way that's never before been seen.
After submitting all your details, such as name, age, where you live and your email address, you're sent a confirmation email. Normally this comes straight away. After that there's a second confirmation email. This is when you may start to see the first of a few issues Pottermore has.
In my case, that second email took around a day to reach me and, being impatient, I created a second account to see if I would have the same issue. I received my second confirmation email as soon as I signed up with no waiting whatsoever, so it seems like it's the luck of the draw. Granted, the whole thing is still quite new and so many people are signing up, so this can be forgiven.
The other problem is not being able to choose your own username. You're given a list of about five pre-chosen names that are just combinations of words with some numbers on the end. This can be a bit problematic, as it will be extremely difficult to remember. It also makes adding friends a little more difficult than it should be. Once you're past that, though, you're in the world of Harry Potter.
The website is broken up into chapters, each of which give you the chance to explore key moments in each chapter of the Harry Potter series. Currently only the first book is available, and it doesn't take too long to get through.
What makes you come back and take a closer look at the chapters, though, is the collectable items. You can collect a range of items seen in the books, from Wizard Trading Cards to spell books that you can't buy in the stores. You can even find a wide range of potion ingredients for the potions minigame.
Unfortunately, when it came to the potions minigame I encountered another glitch, as it refused to load for me. I'm not sure whether that's an issue with the site, the browser or just the traffic the site was receiving at the time. Coming back to it the next day, though, I was finally able to get into it.
The potions minigame gives you a recipe and a method to put the potion together. Some potions need to be done in a specific order. Others will have time limits placed on them, so you need to add everything within a certain time. The potions are left to brew, in some cases up to 40 minutes. Yes, 40 actual minutes. The theory is that you go off and do something else while your potion is brewing up.
Successfully brewed potions earn you house points. So do items you find throughout the story and in the wizarding duels. Unfortunately I wasn't able to try out the wizarding duels as they refused to work for me full stop. This may not be the case for everyone who signs up, though.
Easily the most exciting part of the Pottermore experience is being sorted into your house and getting your wand. Both work on a system of questions gauging who you are physically and mentally, then matching you up with the house and wand that best suits you.
Although Pottermore is new and has a lot of bugs at the moment, these will hopefully be fixed over time. The site is really only for hardcore Potter fans, though. Anyone else will most likely quickly lose interest after being sorted. For an interactive website, it really seems as though they've just done the bare minimum.
Pottermore is an entertaining concept, but a lot of work needs to be done on its execution.
3 out of 5.
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