04 October 2011

Pottermore

So there are definitely plenty of newsworthy events that I could blog about today. Amanda Knox, free to go? Occupy Wall Street? Which-hurricane-are-we-on-anyway? But you know, other people are doing WAY better jobs with those than I would anyway (including our own Tart, who nailed down the salient points of the Wall Street protest just yesterday). However, there is one reasonably topical topic that I CAN talk about...

For anyone who's got Harry Potter on their radar, it was pretty hard to miss all the fuss earlier this year when JKR announced her new project, Pottermore. (Especially for Tami, since it was announced on her birthday. ;-) ) And the news that 1 million fans would be able to enter early, to "help shape the experience" - yup. We got pretty excited. Solve clues? No problem. Find the Magic Quill? Yeah, we can handle that. Chances every day for an entire week? Sure thing.

Day 1 - well, I overslept, but since the clue went up at 4 AM in my time zone, I probably would've missed it anyway. Day 2 - I was determined to stay awake, but crashed about 20 minutes before the clue went live. D'oh! Day 3 - I was going to get it this time or die trying, so I set my alarm for 5 minutes before 6 AM, and sure enough, after hitting reload a few times, there it was! (Okay, so I needed a little help from my friend Leah - on Day 3 you had to levitate the quill, and I for one have no brains at all at 6 AM, so was trying stupid things like "swish and flick!" with the mouse {in my defense, that IS the wand movement for the levitation spell in the books}. Turned out you just had to waggle the pointer underneath the quill. Ugh.) The site generated a handful of possible usernames to choose from, so of COURSE I picked the one with a newt in it (I love newts...). And then... the waiting.

And waiting.

And WAITING.

Something I am NOT good at, may I add.

But finally, finally, I got my welcome email and signed on for the first time. And you know, while I'm not going to go completely gaga over it and say it's the best thing ever, it's pretty fun. Some of it is a little random - is there a point to "collecting" Harry's alarm clock or some slimy seaweed? Some of it is amazingly awesome - wand shopping and trying on the finally-for-real-JKR-official Sorting Hat (and yes, of course I'm in Ravenclaw...). The artwork is beautiful, the new information (on topics as wide-ranging as McGonagall's backstory and three linked Ollivander essays) is, for a dedicated digressionist like most of us around here, engrossing and worthy of some great discussions (Quirrell liked to press wild flowers, did he? Did he also put on women's clothing and hang around in bars? *snort*), and the discovery that the house cup rivalry, at least so far, is between Slytherin and Ravenclaw (not Gryffindor - they're WAY behind, and the poor Hufflepuffs can't catch a break) is quite interesting too - we've been neck and neck for weeks.

There are also some major glitches. Dueling, which was how some people who got in on the first day racked up massive scores, has also been "down for maintenance" since day 1. Potion making, the only remaining way to earn house points, can be mindbogglingly infuriating when you've waited 95 minutes for something to "brew", only to lose it in a Flash-crash or similar. And there's the PSOD - Purple Screen of Death, the dreaded "Sorry, we're busy, call back later" which tells you that, once again, the servers are overloaded RIGHT when you need to finish your Forgetfulness Potion.

As for those of you who are still waiting for the site to open to the general public - well, you might be waiting a while. And the release of the (supposedly long-awaited) ebooks is delayed until next year (frankly, I was so disappointed that JKR finally gave in on the ebook thing that I almost didn't do the quill challenge... ALMOST). And since we're only permitted to play around in the first book right now, there may be all kinds of goodies waiting as subsequent volumes open up. Will we discover our Patronuses? Fight off dementors? Solve the Triwizard Maze? Who knows... oops, gotta run, my potion is ready!

5 comments:

Sarah Allen said...

So jealous! I didn't make it in on any of the early days, because I was out of town :(

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

ViolaNut said...

Oooh, that sucks! Still, theoretically you'll get the bug-free version when it opens for real, so that's a good thing. :-) Meanwhile, I just got hit with about 9 friend requests after successfully brewing a Sleeping Draught...

Cold As Heaven said...

It's good that people take action against the Wall Street jerks, who make a hell of a lot of money on just moving money around.

I missed Hart's post yesterday, but went back to read it now >:)

Cold As Heaven

leelikestea said...

I have to say, I thought Pottermore was a bit disappointing, and it pains me to say this. I guess a lot of it is actually my own fault because I expected it to be a little different to what it actually was.

From the beginning I knew it was going to be an online reading experience with a twist, but I guess I just thought it would be a little more interactive. The early quizzes, the wand-shopping and the sorting process was, admittedly, very exciting and exceeded expectations (O at O.W.L level, I'd say!), but after I was sorted and dabbled a little bit in Potions (which, I agree, can be extremely infuriating at times), there just wasn't very much to do. I expected far more of a Hogwarts experience, if you know what I mean? An insight, almost role-play like replica of what day-to-day life at Hogwarts is like. A website like that would be my absolute dream!

I also think there should be user forums, where all the houses can just get together and chat and start threads about anything and everything, Harry Potter related or not.

I, surprisingly, was sorted into Gryffindor. I didn't expect this at all - I was betting I'd be sorted into ANY of the other three, but definitely not Gryffindor! But JK herself wrote the questions and answers, so I'll take her word that I'm a Gryffindor at heart. :P

Chary Johnson said...

Leanne,

I deserve a spanking. I did not have any idea that Pottermore was going on and so I missed an awesome opportunity to check out the Beta. However, I am awaiting the end of the month for open registration. I hope I get in within a few days. Thanks for the update on the Potter universe. I've been out of the loop lately. :D