Fans pumped for Pottermore

Only one word has been lighting up the eyes of eager fans worldwide since the premier of the final “Harry Potter” film this summer: Pottermore.

At the July 7 London premier of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2,” book author J. K. Rowling announced that the magic may not be coming to an end yet after all.

In a tear-filled speech about the awesomeness of Harry Potter, she ended with what is now quite possibly the most popular quote of the summer (among Potter fans, at least): “Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”

The crowd went wild.

Hardcore Potter fans already knew about Rowling’s new surprise, for it had been announced online through a series of geographical coordinates in a challenge called Secret Street View. If there’s one thing to be concluded about Rowling, it’s that this lady never does anything the simple way.

She designed a website – SecretStreetView.com – and released one set of coordinates on a different Harry Potter-related website every day for 10 days. When a user entered the correct coordinates into the site, it would come up not only with a location, but with a letter. At the end of the 10 days the users unscrambled the letters to come up with a brand new word for their Potter vocabulary: Pottermore.

Until the announcement this summer, many Potter fans were faced with simultaneous joy and sorrow as they saw the final film of the series come to the big screen at last.

Until the release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2,” they consistently had a new book or film to look forward to. The announcement of the new website, though, allowed fans to relax.

In the days, weeks and now months since the Secret Street View puzzle, Rowling has released more information about Pottermore to Harry’s avid fans.

She said the website was going to be like nothing the Internet had ever seen before in a Youtube video she released on June 23. All she was willing to give away, however, was its description as an “online reading experience.”

The Pottermore website was finally launched on July 31 – both Rowling’s and Potter’s birthday – when the “Magical Quill Challenge” began.

For the challenge, the site released a different clue regarding the Potter series every day from July 31 to Aug. 6. Fans then had to provide answers for the clues, all specific information from Rowling’s seven books, and add them to the end of a Web address.

Once they got to the correct address, users had to locate the magical quill (a glowing feather) on the page and click on it. If they got there in time – the clues were only up for a maximum of 20 minutes – this got the user onto the list of 1 million people who would be allowed to enter the beta site before Pottermore’s public release in October.

Megan Davis, a freshman psychology major at Gannon University and enthusiastic Harry Potter fan, said she did not participate in the challenge, but she wishes she had. “I am looking forward to the opening of the site,” she said. “I can’t wait to see what all it will offer.”

Users who successfully completed the “Magical Quill Challenge” started gaining access to the beta site on Aug. 15. Users were picked at random, and some still have not gained access.

The free site will be open to the public in October of this year. An official date has not yet been released, but it’s rumored that the only “Harry Potter” e-books in production will also be available for purchase on the site at that time.

Regardless of when the site will officially open, Davis said, “I do think Potter fans will enjoy this site, because it’s a new way to experience the beloved books and it also just looks like fun.”

KELLY MORELAND

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