Thursday, June 23, 2011

Harry Potter

Fans lamenting the end of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series and the subsequent movies can rejoice.
The boy wizard's creator, at a news conference in London this morning, announced that she will share extensive new material on the Potter saga on a new website, Pottermore, that will go live in October. The site will launch in English, French, Italian, German and Spanish, with more languages to follow.
"No author could have asked for a more wonderful, diverse and loyal readership," Rowling told fans in a YouTube video also released this morning.
"I'm thrilled to say that I'm now in a position to give you something unique, an online reading experience unlike any other. It's called Pottermore. It's the same story with a few crucial additions. The most important one is you. Just as the experience of reading requires that the imaginations of the author and reader work together to create the story, so Pottermore will be built in part by you, the reader."
One of the biggest announcements related to the website is that the Potter books will for the first time be available in e-book form.
"Digital generations will be able to enjoy a safe, unique online reading experience built around the Harry Potter books," Rowling said. "Pottermore will be the place where fans of any age can share, participate in and rediscover the stories. It will also be the exclusive place to purchase digital audio books and for the first time e-books in the Harry Potter series. I'll be joining in too because I will be sharing additional information I've been hoarding for years about the world of Harry Potter."
The new material will include more details on the characters, objects and places in her beloved series.
"Fans are really excited," says Andrews Sims, editor of the fan site. "It's a pretty big day for Potter fans to hear so much from J.K. Rowling and see this project that's going to be coming out later this year."
Pottermore, Sims says, "is a step toward a Potter encyclopedia that fans have wanted for a long time. The exclusive content is definitely going to get a lot of people using this. It's a cool way to reveal all this new information that she's been quote unquote hoarding."
On Rowling's equally big news that her books will now be available in digital form, Sims says: "Fans have wanted Harry Potter e-books for a long time. I'm glad they're finally doing it because this is obviously one of the greatest book series of all time, and now it's available for a lot of people who want to experience it through an e-reader."
Edward Drogos, senior site editor for, another fan site, says he'll be first in line to buy the e-books and read them on his iPad. "This is an amazing addition to what Jo (Rowling) has already created for us."
Of Pottermore, Drogos says, "Jo has come up with something fans are simply going to love. We all want more information about Harry Potter. Seeing all this extra information and material that she's had in her head for the past 13 years -- that's what I'm most excited to read and experience."
Pottermore, it was also announced, is being developed in a partnership with Sony and will be an outlet for Sony products designed for Potter fans.
A news release distributed after the news conference explained that on the Pottermore website "the storyline will be brought to life with sumptuous newly-commissioned illustrations and interactive 'Moments' through which you can navigate, starting with the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's (Sorcerer's) Stone. On entering, you choose a magic username and begin your experience. As you move through the chapters, you can read and share exclusive writing from J.K. Rowling, and, just as Harry joins Hogwarts, so can you. You visit Diagon Alley, get sorted into a house, cast spells and mix potions to help your house compete for the House Cup."
Key features of the website, according to the news release, will bring to life both theSorting Hat and Ollivanders experiences from her books "by revealing the questions asked by the Sorting Hat — which places newcomers into their Hogwarts houses according to their characteristics — and the magic behind the Wand Chooser — which finds the right wand for each user from over 33,000 possible combinations."
Beginning today, fans can submit their e-mail addresses on in order to be contacted by the site following the opening of registration on July 31, Harry's birthday. On that date, an online challenge will be launched in which the first million people to complete their registration will gain early entry into the website.