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As many Harry Potter fans would know, Jo Rowling had previously announced that she would start a new site where the experience of reading the HP books would be enhanced on an online platform. Starting from Jo’s birthday (and Harry’s), which was the 31st of July, until the 6th of August, the site had a Magical Quill Challenge meant to allow around 1 million fans to gain early access into Pottermore.

The challenge was spread over 7 days, with the site displaying a question on each of the 7 days pertaining to the 7 books in order (like The Philosopher’s Stone on July 31, The Chamber of Secrets on August 1 and so on). It was also difficult to find out when the questions were displayed on the site as they appeared for only a short time – and the challenge for that day ended when a selected number of fans had answered the question and had been allowed registration.

I was lucky enough to get my registration done on July 31. After going to the Pottermore site shortly after having lunch, I saw that the question for Day 1 of the Magical Quill Challenge was already up. After a bit of searching, I managed to answer the question. I then found the magical quill after being redirected to the Sony site, where a number of feathers were floating around in a flash animated sequence.

I then got my mail which I activated. Pottermore told me that I would be informed when I would be able to access the site (before the people who could not get registration during the Challenge). Pottermore opens to everyone in October.

On August 25, after dinner, I finally received a mail telling me that I was allowed to visit the Pottermore beta site (which only a very small percentage of fans can access currently). I excitedly rushed to see what this site looked like.

I have a few screenshots here. This is what the site looks like once you sign in.

I must say that the graphics on the site are beautiful. Right now users can only read through the first book and also find some additional information on the characters, places, creatures and objects. The subsequent books will most likely appear when the site will go live in October.

Once you get past the magical gateway notice, you’ll find the real thing (the gateway I mean). And it is stunning. Check this out:

You are treated to some brilliant artwork that is actually slightly animated (you’ll figure out when you move your mouse or click around). The first part features Privet Drive (and Jo Rowling actually wrote some new material to explain the inspiration behind the name). I won’t reveal that right now. Here is some of the artwork though – seen in the first three parts of the first chapter.

Notice the delightful artwork. Apart from this, you get some great background information. Do you also see a cute owl perched on top? That’s supposed to be the notifications link and in case someone sends you a message or if someone from Pottermore adds you as a friend, you’ll get to know. Can’t wait to see how that works. Once you have friends on Pottermore, it will be like a super-cool social networking site for Harry Potter fans where you can brew potions together and play games.

Apparently the Sorting Hat is already up as well and will be sorting people out into Houses. I’m a bit to scared to see which House I’ll be put in, so I haven’t tried it yet.

I’ve gone through 5 chapters and I particularly loved the new background information about Vernon and Petunia which you will find in Chapter 2. You can also collect small objects as you go from one chapter to another.

Here are some screenshots from the other chapters I’ve gone through. I’m currently exploring Diagon Alley but I want to stop for now because soon in the story, I’ll be going to Ollivander’s for a wand. I want to save that for another day.

I’m completely excited to see how this site turns out when it goes live. So far, I love the beta version. It’s great to live out these wonderful stories once more.

Pottermore couldn’t have come at a better time. The books ended years ago but the movies were still there to look forward to. Now that the movies are over, a lot of fans can’t get over the fact that a part of their lives is over. Well, they needn’t worry now, because it looks like Jo Rowling is also holding on to Harry for a lot longer than we expected her to. And isn’t that great news, because somehow, somewhere, we don’t want to let go either, and Pottermore will most likely pull us back into the Harry Potter universe once more.