J. K. Rowling unveils Pottermore
23rd June 2011
J. K. Rowling has unveiled her new online venture, Pottermore, ending weeks of speculation about what the website will constitute.
In an announcement at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London today, Rowling revealed that Pottermore will be an online resource dedicated to 'enhancing the Harry Potter experience'.
Fans of the boy wizard and the media had speculated that the unveiling could be a new Harry Potter book - the eighth in her worldwide, bestselling series - but the author shot down rumours before revealing the new resource would be 'just as exciting' as a new novel.
She confirmed that the website will be free to use and act as an accompaniment to the Harry Potter books, providing additional information for people reading the novels for the first time and fleshing out many characters' back stories for those who have already read the books.
So far Rowling has written over 18,000 words covering subjects such as how the Dursleys met, the life of Professor McGonagall and the composition of wands, as well as more information about the Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff houses at Hogwarts.
The author, whose books have sold over 450 million copies since 1997, said she felt it was time to give something back to the fans who had supported her and followed Harry on his journey.
'I had more than half of the new material already written or in note form. I literally dug some out of boxes,' Rowling explained.
'I generated more material than ever appeared in the books. I thought "who would ever want to know the significance of all the different wand woods?" Now you can go and see. It's such a rich experience to do it this way,' she added.
As well as providing additional information to accompany the novels, the website will be highly interactive, giving people the opportunity to have questions answered and be 'sorted' into houses, before embarking on their own virtual journey through Hogwarts.
To begin with, users will be able to view new illustrations to accompany the first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, as well as accessing over 40 interactive 'moments' which play out key scenes from the novel.
After the site is officially launched on July 31st (Harry's birthday in the novels), this feature will be extended to the other six books in the main Harry Potter series, ending with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Rowling had previously teased she would create 'a kind of encyclopaedia' to accompany the Harry Potter books and it seems this is a culmination of her efforts, though the author promised to continue adding more content in the coming months and years.
She also revealed that the Harry Potter books will soon be available in eBook form, available to download from the website.
Summing up Pottermore, Rowling said the readers are the real reason she embarked on the project and they will benefit the most from it.
'Just as I have contributed to the website, everyone else will be able to join in by submitting their own comments, drawings and other content in a safe and friendly environment. Pottermore has been designed as a place to share the stories with your friends as you journey through the site.
'This site is a fantastic way for fan creativity to continue. It's amazing for me to be creative in this medium, which didn't exist back in 1990,' she added.