Navigating the Pottermore website is a process that takes at least a solid day of effort. With only a few minutes a day to progress through the Pottermore beta of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, I’ve finally managed to make it past the halfway point. After a slow start in my last blog article, we follow Harry into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where things become increasingly interactive, and in equal measure, frustrating.
The things I’ve learnt so far:
Clicking on pointless links is annoying
In an effort to provide plenty of wonderful things to click on for each chapter, Pottermore is repetitive and frustrating for fans who are only after new ways to get their Harry Potter fix. Understandably, the website has been designed for future fans of Harry Potter who may not have read the books. But there really is no reason to link to every character mentioned in each chapter, just to deliver the same few lines of information – particularly if you’ve already read it in previous chapters.
Making potions is ridiculously difficult
The potion-making process isn’t easy for the average adult, let alone the many younger Harry Potter fans. I’d say the main reason for this is lack of direction. For example, the instructions will tell you to “heat the cauldron to 250 for 10 seconds” without putting any kind of measurement on the thermometer. You also need to wildly click around the page just to work out how to do things like “crush into a fine powder using the pestle” and “stir cauldron”.
Casting spells is also difficult
While spell casting is kind of fun if you’ve got the patience to work out how to do it yourself – the Pottermore developers haven’t quite mastered the art of writing instructions for this aspect of the website either.
Frustrations aside, after pages and pages of reading things you already knew from the books and ‘collecting’ things you’re not entirely sure you’ll get around to using later on, it is genuinely thrilling to find a piece of new information straight from the mind of JK Rowling.
Learning of the original 40 classmates Rowling penned more than a decade ago and seeing the way some characters transformed throughout the story (Neville Sidebottom, changed to Neville Puff and then to Neville Longbottom) was a heartwarming experience.
As someone lucky enough to age with the characters, these moments took me back to my grade 6 classroom when our teacher read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to us for the first time. It makes you realise what a truly long journey it has been with the magical world of Harry Potter. However, that exhilarating feeling is immediately replaced by sadness that the only thing you have left is the Pottermore website that promised so much and delivered so little.
Thankfully the site is still in development. Pottermore has stunningly recreated the world of Harry Potter and has plenty of potential – kudos to the artistic talent behind it all. With just a few small tweaks and a large injection of content, it might just satiate a small part of the appetite JK Rowling has built in her fans. Until then, we can only hope our comments are taken into consideration.
Now just a few chapters from the end, keep an eye out for more on the Pottermore Beta website on the iiNet Blog.