Last week, "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling revealed a brand new website for her wizarding franchise, "Pottermore," a page shrouded in secrecy with promises of a future revelation. We had a few guesses as to what could be up her robe sleeve, but all guesses were exactly that. Pure speculation.
This morning, a recorded message from Rowling popped up online (along with a press conference across the Atlantic) announcing the true nature of "Pottermore:" a hub for all things Potter, old and new. Rowling explained in a whimsical introduction video that the site, "will be the place for fans of any age can share, participate in and rediscover the stories" and that it will feature "the same story with a few crucial additions -- the most important is you."
Rowling stresses that "Pottermore" will be something of a collaboration between her and her fanbase and promises that she'll be on hand to delve further into the world of "Potter" with "additional information [she's] been hoarding for years." At the press conference, Rowling revealed she's written over 18,000 additional words that build on characters and experiences from the books, which she'll share with her rabid fans through "Pottermore."
But this isn't simply a "Harry Potter" wiki page -- beyond being a compendium and forum for all things Hogwarts, Rowling also promises interactive games based on moments in the books. "Pottermore" users will be able to answer the Sorting Hat's questions to find their proper house or head to Ollivanders to pick a wand from over 33,000 combinations. For those who can't trek to Florida for the Wizarding World theme park, "Pottermore" is the next best thing.
Slipped subtly in was one last major announcement: the debut of "Harry Potter" e-books. "Pottermore" will be the hub for both new audio books and the first ever e-versions of the "Potter" series -- a move long-anticipated by fans.
Registration for "Pottermore" begins on July 31 (for an October launch) but Rowling announced that the site will launch "an online challenge" later this summer that will allow the first one million registered users through the gate early. Always a good idea to start racking up those house team points early.
Whatever "Pottermore" sounds like on paper, it's the beginning of something innovative and unprecedented, the continuation of a franchise through the online medium. The site may not offer a brand spankin' new 800-page book to run home and read under the covers of your bed on a rainy day, but it does give eternal life to the series and open up the possibilities...to anything.
Finally, the world inches closer to a Neville Longbottom spin-off.
Check out J.K. Rowling's announcement below.