Dolores Jane Umbridge. Thestrals. Sybill Trelawney. Azkaban. The Ministers for Magic.
We learned more about these characters, places, creatures and more in the latest release on Pottermore today. Other online news sources have been hyping the Professor Umbridge backstory in particular, probably because her character is the most fitting for Halloween.
Why the words “new Harry Potter story” are misleading
I must say, though, that I do not appreciate the websites that promote the release of the character backstories that Pottermore has given us over the past three years as “new Harry Potter stories”. It’s, well, misleading. Maybe these other websites do it intentionally, because it causes more hype and therefore more traffic and more ad revenue for their websites, and maybe they just don’t know any better—copying from other sites that are doing the same. Either way, it’s misguided, because while the new character backstories and location details and character explanations do come from the Harry Potter canon, they do not in any way feature the boy wizard himself. Plus, they’re not really even technically stories.
Last summer during the Quidditch World Cup, Pottermore actually did release a new story featuring the main character from Harry Potter, and it was then that social media and—let’s face it—the entire Internet blew up. It was then that with each successive story, even non-fandom websites have found it newsworthy to report on anything new that J.K. Rowling writes on Pottermore. (Maybe I’m merely annoyed that I’ve been reporting about Pottermore for three years now and these other, much bigger websites are stealing my thunder? It’s entirely possible.)
What makes this Pottermore release different and… strange
Speaking of which, I’ve been saying for the past several months that Pottermore really only finds its worth in the new content articles by J.K. Rowling. The art (albeit beautiful) and collecting things (which is cool enough) do not hold a candle to the words written by Jo. The only other major draw to Pottermore, at least for me, have been the quizzes: the wand choosing, the house sorting, the patronus revealing… Oh wait… despite Rowling’s hint on Twitter, this Order of the Phoenix release did not include a patronus revealing quiz, as I had expected.
Don’t worry, you might be thinking, isn’t this just the first installment? That’s what makes this particular release so different and, well, strange. Normally, the previous house cup winners (in this case, the Ravenclaws) are given 24-hours early access to the next installment. The last time that the Ravenclaws won the house cup, I missed the 24-hours early access due to LeakyCon 2014, so I was really looking forward to seizing the opportunity to have early access this time. However, the early access wasn’t given. That’s the first strange thing.
The second strange thing is that Order of the Phoenix was not released in three separate installments like the past few books have been. It was released in one fell swoop, though I hope beyond every magical hope that Order of the Phoenix is not released in its entirety. Just take a look at the numbers that I added to the Pottermore Index page, along with the usual links to the new content articles:
Sorcerer’s Stone features 17 chapters, 43 moments, and 27 “new content” articles.
Chamber of Secrets features 18 chapters, 45 moments, and 15 “new content” articles.
Prisoner of Azkaban features 22 chapters, 39 moments, and 15 “new content” articles.
Goblet of Fire features 37 chapters, 39 moments, and 13 “new content” articles.
Order of the Phoenix features 38 chapters, 12 moments, and 6 “new content” articles so far.
Twelve moments?! From 38 chapters?! That’s utterly ridiculous, and, I must say, unacceptable. Yes, I know I just finished stating that the only real draw for Pottermore is the new content by J.K. Rowling and that the rest of it—the art, the games, the galleons and the Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans—doesn’t really matter as much, but that doesn’t mean that you abandon the rest of it! At least not in favor of being able to say, “Half the Order of the Phoenix moments have new content by J.K. Rowling!” While this is technically true, gosh 12 moments (especially from 38 chapters!) is disappointing. I mean, this is the first time we’ve had fewer moments than chapters in a book.
I’m sincerely hoping that Pottermore is simply trying a different approach to releasing its installments. Rather than releasing the beginning, middle and end in three separate installments, they have, for some reason, chosen to release twelve moments from throughout the book, then hopefully another twelve moments from throughout the book, then hopefully a further fifteen more moments (for a total of 39, like the previous two books) from throughout the book in three installments that way. We’ll just have to see what happens!
Once again, don’t forget to check out FictionRow’s always up-to-date Pottermore Index, found with the other pages at the right. Which of the six new articles are your favorites? Share in the comments below!