Caption: Scholastic Kid Reporter Andrew Liang brews a potion on Pottermore
As a devoted Harry Potter fan and enthusiast, I was extremely excited about the announcement of the website Pottermore this past summer by author J.K. Rowling. She was finally going to reveal secrets we had wanted to know for so long and was going to lead us through an interactive experience like never before. The pages were going to come alive and tell their own stories about everything in the Harry Potter universe.
My first wish was to get exclusive entry onto Pottermore by entering the Magical Quill Challenge that was announced on the website before access was granted. The task was to look out for a question on the Pottermore website and to answer it as quickly as possible since only 1 million lucky readers would be granted early access. After answering the question, I was to find a Magical Quill (like the one that finds magical students in the book series) and sign up. I checked my email many times during the months of August and September, hoping that one day the confirmation would come to me.
And it did! I was confirmed to enter Pottermore early; now they had to set me up with a special time to enter Pottermore since the demand was so high that people all around the world with early access were already indulging themselves in the fantastic storyline of Pottermore. Finally, at the end of September, I was able to log on myself to have a first glimpse of the website. From the first moment I deeply enjoyed it, reading extras written by Rowling herself and explanations on just about anything, from the history of the Hogwarts Express to the types of wands.
I retraced Harry’s route from the Dursleys all the way to Diagon Alley, then started my own little adventure. There, in the wizarding community of Diagon Alley, I virtually entered Gringotts Bank, purchased necessary materials, bought myself an owl, and even visited Ollivander’s Wand Shop. A questionnaire helped the wand choose its master and now in my possession is a beautiful beech dragon core wand that is 13 inches long. Just as exhilarating was the ride to Hogwarts and the moment I was sorted by the Sorting Hat.
Another questionnaire was used to tell my true personality and I was very nervous — the house I would be sorted in today would be the house that I would keep for the rest of my journey through the seven books. The virtual Professor McGonagall warned the first year students to take it seriously and that “its decision would be final.”
In the questionnaire, I wished to be a trustworthy and kind person to others and someone who was not boastful of their own accomplishments. The hat quickly decided and announced that I was a... HUFFLEPUFF! I had always thought of Hufflepuff of being the weaker house, but my prefect seemed to have read my mind and my welcome letter from him said, “First of all, let’s deal with a perennial myth about the place, which is that we’re the least clever house. WRONG. Hufflepuff is certainly the least boastful house, but we’ve produced just as many brilliant witches and wizards as any other. Want proof? Look up Grogan Stump, one of the most popular Ministers for Magic of all time. He was a Hufflepuff – as were the successful Ministers Artemesia Lufkin and Dugald McPhail.”
Did you know that Newt Scamander was a Hufflepuff? See, there are loads of information you will love on Pottermore. Also, the entrance to the Hufflepuff common room has been so well concealed that in a thousand years of Hogwarts school history, no outsider has ever seen it!
I am still only on the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and I’m having a blast exploring Hogwarts, visiting Hagrid, brewing potions for Professor Snape, and making new online friends. Whether you’re looking to collect chocolate frogs online or you would like learn more about how the Dursleys met each other, Pottermore is just right for you. I encourage you to sign up and with one swish and a flick you’ll be ready to begin your expedition through the mind of Harry Potter!
—Kid Reporter Andrew Liang