Pottermore: J.K. Rowling Announces New Reading Material And Online Destination

The speculation is over, muggles: Pottermore has arrived, and as we guessed, it's an online experience featuring brand new "Harry Potter" material.

That's right — brand new. They aren't calling this Pottermore without a reason (even if we're already giving you more Potter with the Harry Potter World Cup)!

J.K. Rowling finally unveiled the full extent of her newest project in a press announcement today, revealing Pottermore as a free-to-use website that will feature "extensive new material about the characters, places and objects in the much-loved stories," all written by Rowling. It sounds like the vast majority, if not all of this material, is intended to supplement the "Potter" stories as they already exist, rather than create brand new stories all unto themselves. In other words, this appears to be Rowling's long awaited "Potter" encyclopedia, but in an online and interactive form.

But there are other features on Pottermore besides new reading material, including an online shop (where registered users can purchase exclusively the "Harry Potter" eBooks), new illustrations, and interactive "Moments," which allow users to "move through the chapters" and experience places like Hogwarts and Diagon Alley firsthand. Exactly how those "moments" are experienced remains unclear just now.

“I wanted to give something back to the fans that have followed Harry so devotedly over the years, and to bring the stories to a new digital generation," Rowling said of Pottermore in a statement. "I hope fans and those new to Harry will have as much fun helping to shape Pottermore as I have. Just as I have contributed to the website, everyone else will be able to join in by submitting their own comments, drawings and other content in a safe and friendly environment – Pottermore has been designed as a place to share the stories with your friends as you journey through the site.”

Pottermore fully launches in October 2011, with registration opening on July 31, Harry's birthday. That day will also feature an online challenge rewarding the first million people to register with early beta-testing access to Pottermore. So wands at the ready, aspiring wizards and witches — there's plenty more "Potter" coming your way, long after both "Deathly Hallows" and (shameless self-promotion alert) the Harry Potter World Cup have ended. Who knows exactly what Pottermore will entail, but we certainly have our wish-list of things to include.

Find out more about Pottermore by reading what our World Cup expert commentators and friends at MuggleNet and The Leaky Cauldron have to say.