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May 12, 2012

Weekend Reviews: Pottermore offers lots more Potter

Daily Star

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I'm not typically someone who looks for the biggest sensations on the Internet. Frankly, I usually have way too much going on to be able to sit down and "surf the 'net" as the kids call it these days.

Recently, however, a friend recommended a new website to me that I fell in love with, for obvious reasons.

The site, Pottermore, is one that I'm sure anyone who knows me would not be surprised to hear that I use. Pottermore is an online community that was created in part by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. As I wrote over the summer, when the last Harry Potter film was released, I was unsure how to move on from it.

The end of an integral piece of my childhood did actually have an impact on me (and for all of you rolling your eyes and writing me off as an uber-nerd, I'll bet you 10 bucks you have a weird love for boy bands or SpongeBob SquarePants. And hey, at least mine has cool British accents).

So when I heard about Pottermore and all of the features it would possess, I could not wait. A website that allows you to view never-before-seen information and material from Rowling's series, as well as match you with the perfect wand (with more than 30,000 possible combinations) at Ollivander's and sort you into one of the four houses at Hogwarts, all based on a series of questions designed by Rowling sounded like paradise to me.

When plans for Pottermore were announced in spring 2011, we only had a few months to wait for the last film, so it did not seem too long until it premiered that fall. However, when October rolled around and the debut was pushed back until December, I started to become anxious.

And when the premiere was postponed yet again until April, I grew whiny and obnoxious. Despite my love for the series, I'm not one of those in-your-face fans that forces you into conversations like "Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff?" or calls you a "filthy mudblood" if you admit your dislike for the series. But I grew into one around this time.

And it was just a few weeks ago when I received a Facebook post that changed my life: "Pottermore is open!!!!!!!" my friend excitedly announced.

Immediately I ran to the nearest Internet source with Flash Player and signed up. Once you "apply" to be put on the waiting list, they send you a confirmation email so you can officially register on the site.

You then fill out a number of questions so they can customize your profile to fit you, including creating a username for you.

In this regard, I was very impressed at the lengths the staff at Pottermore go to in order to protect the identities of those using their site and to ensure the safety of any member, but especially children.

Once I finally got onto the site, I began my exploration with wide eyes, and it certainly did not disappoint.

You can travel chapter-by-chapter through all seven Harry Potter books and uncover information that J.K. Rowling did not include in the books. You can also play games and interact with friends.

All of the game points you rack up go toward winning the House Cup at the end of the school year.

With millions of fans playing all over the world, that is a pretty exciting Cup to win.

Not only is this a great site for avid fans of the Harry Potter franchise, but this is also something that I would recommend you show to younger siblings, perhaps if they have not yet read the books.

Then they could travel through each chapter and develop a clear image in their head while they read along in the book.

In the end, you don't even have to be an avid fan to appreciate the quality of the Pottermore site.

With amazing graphics, detail and games, Pottermore is something anyone can truly enjoy.

Maggie McVey is a senior at Oneonta High School. 'Teen Talk' columns can be found at