On August 25th, Pottermore released this announcement:
Duel bravely, brew well and help lead your house to glory in the last House Cup, which will be awarded on September 9.
Soon after the final House Cup is awarded, prepare for a new journey to begin. As J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World expands, so too will Pottermore. We’ll bring you news of these changes shortly.
You read that correctly, friends: the last Pottermore House Cup. Pottermore as we know it—the interactive, immersive platform that millions of fans used to follow Harry’s (and in a way, our own) journeys, moment by moment, to its conclusion—is coming to an end. Something new and different is taking its place, but I certainly am feeling nostalgic for Pottermore’s beginnings right now. I loved (and truly miss) the excitement over Pottermore at the start.
Back then, Pottermore was partnered with Sony, so there were Sony companion products. There were the two games: “Book of Spells” and “Book of Potions”, then there was Pottermore at PlayStation Home, which I loved! I bought a house in Hogsmeade and decked it out with furniture, then I bought a Dark Wizard’s Mansion on Halloween 2013 and did the same. Pottermore at PlayStation Home effectively died after that, as there were no more updates after 2013.
However, I was contented with the Wizarding World locations that had been released up to that point: Diagon Alley, Hogwarts Express, the Great Hall, the Common Rooms, Charms Class, Hogwarts Library, and more. I loved periodically going back and visiting each location and just walking around in it. Of all the video games and movies, the Sony-Pottermore partnership finally got it right: this is the closest to what I pictured when I read the books. I wished more of the castle existed, but like I said, I was content knowing that I could fire up my PlayStation 3 and revisit existing places.
Until that, too, was taken away from me.
PlayStation Home (the entire entity—not just the Pottermore section) died on April 1st, 2015. It wasn’t an April Fool’s joke, despite my most wishful thinking. No longer could I go back to the Hogwarts Library or the Ravenclaw Common Room. Not anymore could I visit the Great Hall or run the length of the Hogwarts Express. Gone were my purchases of the House in Hogsmeade and the Dark Wizard’s Mansion. Just a few pictures. That’s all I have to remember.
Granted, I didn’t open PlayStation Home that often, so I shouldn’t be as disappointed as I am. It’s not like I opened it every day and walked about as though I lived in these places. Truth be told, I would go many months between visits. But still, knowing that I can’t go back anymore is what gets me the most. Knowing that those purchases (though minimal) of my virtual spaces are wasted gets me even more. If only there were some way of downloading everything to my personal console before it all went away online. Too late now, because it’s highly unlikely that it will ever come back (despite my desperate wishes that Pottermore would create an MMORPG for PC based on its artwork).
And that’s how I feel about Pottermore.com. I certainly don’t visit that often. I only ever find my way back when there’s a new release, new information from JKR, new notifications and the like. I never duel. I never brew potions. I really couldn’t care less about the House Cup. The last time I reread Sorcerer’s Stone (two years ago—don’t judge), it was on an airplane, so I didn’t have Pottermore available to journey through the Moments while I read. In the beginning, we all believed that Pottermore was originally intended to be just that—a reading companion to the books—but I would venture a guess that less than 1% use it for that purpose today. I certainly don’t use it as a reading companion, and in truth, I never have.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to, if I ever had time (and a much shorter reading list of other books). Maybe that makes me selfish and perhaps in some ways a hypocrite. I certainly can’t ask the Pottermore producers to leave well enough alone so that I can go back and relive the Moments that I want to relive while I’m rereading the books years from now, but then never visit Pottermore between now and then. It’s the equivalent of putting advertisements on my website to help offset server and domain costs, but then using an ad blocker when I visit other websites. It’s just not viable for Pottermore as a company to keep the website as it is, never changing, because in the end, it would result in zero traffic and zero profits (though I’m not quite sure how they make money anyway, with no advertisements).
Today (September 3rd), Pottermore released this latest announcement:
Soon, Pottermore as you know it will transform into a new and reimagined website, giving you the opportunity to discover even more about J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.
Part one of Pottermore’s story, in which you have enjoyed the depiction of Harry’s story through illustrated “Moment” artwork and experienced life within Hogwarts, is ending. We are now preparing for part two of Pottermore’s story to begin. As J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World expands, so too will Pottermore, becoming a place to imaging more and share a world beyond the seven book series.
As a memento of your Pottermore journey so far we’ve created a personalised, printable certificate, which is available for you to print until 1:00pm (British Summer Time) on 16 September. Thank you for your dedication and sharing the Pottermore experience with us so far. We hope you like what’s next…
So my fears are realized. According to this announcement, it seems very clear that the illustrated Moments are going away. Apart from the Pottermore quizzes and the new information that JKR periodically released, these illustrated Moments were my favorite part about Pottermore. Again, change makes business sense, but my nostalgic heart doesn’t like it.
Will I boycott Pottermore? Certainly not! Two weeks from now, I want to see what this new website has in store, just as much as anyone else. It seems fairly obvious to me that this “world beyond the seven book series” actually refers to the Fantastic Beasts movies coming out starting next year. So let me rephrase: I definitely will be back in two weeks!
Will I revisit every Moment between now and then? I’d like to, if I have time. I certainly have a few favorites that I’d like to see again before they’re gone. Will I take screenshots? Maybe? But then, probably not. These Moments were more than pictures. Sounds and movement cannot be captured in a screenshot, not to mention the two-three layers that many Moments featured. They were interactive and immersive—an illustration that was more than an illustration.
As a consolation, Pottermore is offering “certificates” to all its users as a reminder of their Pottermore journeys so far. It’s a nice little certificate, but honestly, it only makes me even more concerned that the two big things featured on the certificate are going away too: my house and my wand. What was the point of creating these two major quizzes for Pottermore, J.K. Rowling, if you’re just going to delete them four years later? I thought that this was supposed to be a website geared more towards the next generation of Harry Potter readers? How will they know where they belong at Hogwarts?
And furthermore, WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PATRONUS QUIZ YOU PROMISED US?
Do you have any thoughts (read: fears) about what’s to come? Share below!