Pottermore unveiled its new website today. Even though I will so completely miss Pottermore in its “original and best” form, there are many things that I’m loving so far about Pottermore in its newest iteration.
1. Mobile accessibility (but with less to do on the desktop version)
Finally, I can access Pottermore on my smartphone and my tablet. But is the tradeoff worth it? Despite its mobile inaccessibility, the original version of Pottermore was far more interactive, and that’s something that I’m going to miss. I didn’t brew potions that often, and I almost never challenged a friend to a duel, but I loved how much the original Pottermore felt like an RPG. Granted, you very distinctly followed Harry’s story through the chapters and moments, but you also were sorted into your own house and a wand chose you. Those things are no longer a feature on this new website. However, the first “News” article on this new website—Welcome to the new Pottermore—states this exciting news:
So glad you asked! We will bring the Sorting Hat back, so you can find out if you’re a Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, or Slytherin. Soon, you’ll be able to find out the form of your Patronus and ponder on what that means, you’ll be able to get a wand and who knows what other magical things we’ll conjure up.
2. Some Pottermore artwork was retained (but film images were added)
Before the old Pottermore website was closed, I took pictures of every page that I could, because I was worried that the artwork—which is hands down the best Harry Potter artwork anywhere ever—would simply just go away. Thankfully, many images were kept. When I say images, though, I mean static images. Gone are the layers. Gone are the sounds. Gone are the context of the moments. Gone is the motion. Well, the new Pottermore does feature some motion. When you hover over images that are links, they slowly zoom in and out. Honestly, watching this movement makes me nauseous.
Additionally, I do not like how much the images and videos clips from the movies have been featured on this new website. Pottermore was never meant to be a website for the movies, but that is what this website is becoming, especially now that J.K. Rowling is a screenwriter for the upcoming Fantastic Beasts movies. It is what it is, but I don’t care for it.
3. A lot more writing has been added (but most is not by J.K. Rowling)
Pottermore has gone from an interactive website for the books to a news website for the movies. I’m not kidding. Clicking on the “News” page, there is an article all about Fantastic Beasts and another about movie screenings at Leavesden. While there aren’t many news articles on the new website yet, there are far more “Features” to read. Looking at those articles, I feel like I have stumbled from the Pottermore platform onto the Buzzfeed train. Check out these titles:
- 7 reasons to love Luna Lovegood
- 15 times Harry Potter ruined the Dursleys’ day
- 11 times Professor Snape was the hardest teacher to please at Hogwarts
- 9 times when Muggles probably should have noticed magic, but didn’t
- 8 adorable moments between Harry and Ginny
I decided to take a leaf out of their book with the title of my own article: “5 things to love/hate about the new Pottermore”. I should give the Pottermore team (or rather, the Pottermore correspondent) more credit: I came across some writing on this new website that made me LLOL (literally laugh out loud—because I never write LOL unless I am literally doing it). On the “Explore the Story” (let’s face it, encyclopedia) article all about Hogwarts, you can find this sarcastic remark:
4. J.K. Rowling’s writing is easier to access (but not as easy to find)
Congratulations! Everyone is able to read everything new that J.K. Rowling has written. You don’t need to create an account. You don’t need to search for random objects in the moments (or brew any complicated Polyjuice Potions) to access the new writing. All the articles (I assume—I haven’t looked) from the old website are searchable on the new one.
But that’s the key word: searchable. There’s no sitemap. There’s no index or table of contents. As much as this new Pottermore appears to be transforming into an encyclopedia (I have officially lost hope of ever owning a printed version), this updated version has actually made it harder for die-hard fans to read every new backstory and every new tidbit of information that JKR has ever written about the wizarding world. On the old Pottermore, by clicking through every moment with the red quill icon, you knew you weren’t missing anything new. Now, unless you keep an eye on the “Writing by J.K. Rowling” page often (which, I assume, is Pottermore’s goal in doing this), you might miss something new. Don’t worry, though: mainstream news media has a knack for picking up Pottermore exclusives (and somehow getting them totally wrong).
By the way, my Pottermore Index is obviously absolutely useless now, though I might update the links to create the Index page that Pottermore currently lacks. Unfortunately, doing so takes time, and I don’t much time at the moment.
5. Pottermore still exists (but it simply won’t be the same)
We can certainly be thankful that Pottermore (in some form) still exists. It is still a great website. I am excited to see what is in store for it and I hope that the new Pottermore does well. But still I mourn the loss of what once was. I feel lucky to have been a beta tester and to have seen Pottermore grow from what it was in the beginning. I feel lucky to have written about Pottermore as much as I have (and more than anything else) on this website. I feel lucky to have been able to explore Hogwarts and the other magical locations in the wizarding world on the website, as well as on PlayStation Home. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to fill up every “status bar” before the old website closed. Doing so gave me some, well, closure (even though I collected probably a thousand galleons that ultimately went to waste).
But I feel more sorry for the “unlucky ones”—those who didn’t get to experience the interacive, magical and truly awesome Pottermore that I did. I felt the same way when J.K. Rowling’s official website did away with its interactive desk and locked door and relaunched with an information-only website: lucky to have found out the book six title in the way that I did, but sorry for those who wouldn’t experience the magic after the website was gone.
Bonus: the quality comparison between the old announcement video (with the book art) and the new announcement video (with Jo’s voice) is laughable
Old video (Pottermore’s official video has now been set to private—this is a copy)
New video (which, let’s face it, is not nearly as good—what’s up with the text?)
Upset about the changes or excited about what’s to come? What do you think about today’s update to Pottermore? Share your thoughts in the comments below!