Recently, I spent some time in London. One of my favorite things was having the opportunity to go to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter. Before my friends and I went, however, I, as the resident Potter-fanatic, insisted that everyone be Sorted through the official Pottermore Sorting. For the first time in a long time, I actually visited Pottermore. I, like a lot of die-hard Potter fans, have become a bit disenchanted with the site over time. After a round of new chapters, there was nothing for me to go back for; I had all the new information. As I watched some of my friends explore the site for the first time, struggle with spell casting, and sit through class waiting for potions to mature, the idea popped into my head: what if I went back and explored Pottermore again? And further, what if I went back through it the way it was designed, as a companion to the books?
So the idea was born: In this series, I will be exploring Pottermore as I reread the books. I’ll be looking for details from the writing they included, as well as my own thoughts on the moments. I’m trying to go through with fresh eyes, to see if we, as the fandom, may have given Pottermore an unfair judgment.
A note: I am creating a new account to start this journey. I was going to use my previous accounts (one beta, one made when the site opened to the public), but I decided a fresh slate was what this project needed. I’m also using both the UK editions of the books and the site.
With that, let’s dive right in to chapter 1 of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: The Boy Who Lived
Before I can begin the actual chapters, of course, I had to register for the site. Somehow, there was still a rush of giddiness when I saw my name on the list of “Magical Folk”. I chose the username QuaffleWitch4492; appropriate, I think, as if I played Quidditch I would be a Chaser, and of course, I’m a girl.
I love how the site now gives you a summary of the book you’re about to begin, as well as a background featuring all the different covers. It reminds me a lot of what the team on Alohomora! does when they begin a new book. It also reminded me of just how widespread this story is. Lovely.
Moment 1: Number Four, Privet Drive
I enter the first moment, which shows Vernon Dursley driving away from his home and the strange cat he noticed looking at the “Privet Drive” sign. When I first read these books, I imagined the street sign the way they are in the States, placed on tall poles. As I learned, and as this moment shows, a lot of signs in the UK are actually closer to the ground and larger. I guess the cat didn’t have to crane her neck as much as I had imagined her to!
The new information on Number 4, Privet Drive was nice as well; I love how JKR shared some of these “behind the scenes” tidbits with us!
The gray tones in this moment just shout how boring life was at the Dursleys. Let’s hope we can find some more color soon!
Moment 2: Something Peculiar is Happening
Well, here’s some color as we move to the second moment! There’s something so beautiful about the enormous moon and the way the light going into the Put-Outer was made to look like it is dancing. If you wait long enough, there are even shooting stars in the sky, as Vernon heard on the nightly news and McGonagall mentioned.
However, I’m not sure why the Measurements information was included with this moment. There is no mention of weights and measures at this point in the book.
Moment 3: Harry is Delivered
The biggest thing in moment three is, of course, Hagrid on the motorbike. And… that’s basically all. We get a bit of a glance of McGonagall and Dumbledore on the street, a bit of a shooting star…but honestly, this moment is a bit of a disappointment. Couldn’t the bike have landed? There must have been something else that could have been included here.
With that, we finish Chapter 1. There’s so much more to come!
Feel free to comment here on the blog with anything you like or dislike about this chapter or any suggestions you might have, and to follow along with your own Pottermore account. What upcoming moments are you most looking forward to?