Finally after 39 days, 21 hours and ten minutes, my Pottermore welcome email granting me access to the beta site finally arrived.
I logged on straight away and was immediately charmed by the beautiful artwork created for the site. Much of it is interactive, so that in Chapter 1, for example, when you move your mouse over Professor McGonagall in her cat Animagus form her tail swishes. The highlights of Book One on Pottermore have to be the choice of your pet avatar, Wand selection, and being Sorted into your Hogwarts House.
When the time came to choose my pet avatar I knew I wanted a cat, being a cat lover. I was torn between the tabby and the ginger, but the tabby didn't look like my Isis and the ginger had a similar look to Noah, so the ginger it was.
After purchasing my supplies at Diagon Alley, it was off to Ollivanders to be chosen by my wand. After answering a few simple questions I ended up with a spruce wand with unicorn tail core, ten inches, quite flexible. Apparently, spruce wands need a firm owner or they tend to do whatever magic they feel like!
Like many Harry fans, I had already strongly identified with one of the Hogwarts Houses – Hufflepuff. I believed that that House's attibutes of fairness, and a strong work ethic were most representative of me, so, it was with some trepidation that I entered the Sorting. J.K. Rowling introduced it in a video, and then it was off to answer the questions. I answered as honestly as I could, so I was astounded to be placed in Slytherin for the cunning and ambitious?!? Ah well, Slytherin House has gained a remarkable young wizard – me!
Another highlight of Pottermore is the additional background information provided by J.K. Rowling herself. I was particularly touched by Minerva McGonagall's story and amused by Neville's tussle with the Sorting Hat.
At this point the site is currently still in its beta incarnation. Wizard duelling is still unavailable, potion making is still a kind of hit and miss, and the site is regularly down for maintenance. Also, the e-book store is unavailable, one of the main draws of the site for me, so I cannot comment on the efficiency of e-book purchasing compared to Amazon. I suppose that is for a later blog entry.
I stand by my earlier comments – it is a fun site, but I believe the beta has been misshandled. Of the 1,000,000 beta early registrants expecting access before the end of the month there are only 330,714 currently activated and Sorted. That leaves a lot of people to go yet.