After a very long time of waiting, J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore was finally unveiled on April 14 to anyone who wanted to join. Being the nerd that I am, I was curious and wanted to join. Also, I will not deny that the Harry Potter series has had a profound influence on my writing over the years, and that it was one of my favorite series when I was in middle school.
Pottermore is essentially the Harry Potter series brought to life. You sign up, choose a username (mine’s DreamEye7027), and follow the same path Harry did when he found out he was a wizard. As you move through the chapters, you collect items, brew potions, cast spells, etc. You can be “sorted” into one of the four houses at Hogwarts by taking a quiz that asks some rather interesting questions. Oddly enough, I was sorted into Gryffindor, even though I have never characterized myself as brave.
What’s most interesting to me about Pottermore is the extra material from J.K. Rowling that’s scattered throughout the chapters. It’s explanations on the origins of some of the names she uses for characters and objects, backstories for some of the minor characters, additional descriptions of settings, etc. I would say that the worldbuilding in the Harry Potter series is some of the best in any books I’ve ever read. Everything makes sense and is so intricate that you could actually believe the magical universe exists.
I’d say that Pottermore is valuable to writers for that reason; we can get a more in-depth look at how well J.K. Rowling builds her fictional universe, and we can learn from that. Reading those short little blurbs about characters, items, and places inspired me to think about the worlds I have created in my own fiction – and how I might bring more depth to them.
So… check it out!