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Pottermore

"No author could have asked for a more wonderful, diverse and loyal readership. I'm thrilled to say that I'm now in a position to give you something unique, an online reading experience unlike any other. It's called Pottermore. It's the same story with a few crucial additions. The most important one is you. Just as the experience of reading requires that the imaginations of the author and reader work together to create the story, so Pottermore will be built in part by you, the reader."
-- JK Rowling introduces Pottermore

Pm: Pottermore

Pottermore was a website by J. K. Rowling intended to become the permanent online home for Harry Potter. The site opened for a limited beta release in September of 2011 and for the general public in April of 2012. The website as originally conceived was to be a free online companion to the books.

The site is also intended to be the source for electronic (ebook) versions of the Harry Potter books. Several books of essays from Pottermore were published in a series called “Pottermore Presents.”

The site underwent several revisions during its existence. It was replaced by WizardingWorld.com in October of 2019 which was designed to encompass not just the original Harry Potter books but also the films, the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and the Fantastic Beasts film series.

Original version (September 2011-September 2015)

The Hogwarts Express on PottermoreIn its original format, each chapter of the book was divided into individual scenes which were represented by multi-layered artwork with some limited interactive elements. Links on the page led the user to additional information about the characters, settings, and other details in that scene. A few details also linked to additional material written by Rowling to provide background information not previously revealed, such as biographical details and histories of characters.

The artwork for each scene represented the story as it is described in the books, which often did not agree with the one presented in the film version of the story. Character’s faces were carefully hidden in each image. The artwork was created by AtomHawk Design Ltd.

The final segments of the last book were added in the spring of 2015.

Changes to the site in 2015 included:

  • elimination of the Inside Pottermore blog, which had been an ongoing source of information about Pottermore
  • elimination of comments and uploading of fan art
  • scaling back of the number of moments presented for books
  • addition of a “timeline” which was actually a re-publication of the Famous Wizard cards originally created in 2001 by Rowling for the video game series.

Second version (September 2015-October 2019)

pottermore_newOn September 22, 2015, the site was completely redesigned to be a visual blog documenting all the new developments in Harry Potter franchise: the Fantastic Beasts film, the upcoming play, and so forth. Some canon information was retained, but the “wall” between book canon and the films was completely discarded. The design changed to accommodate the wide variety of screen sizes on everything from monitors to phones, and to be touch-friendly.

Artwork no longer separated itself from the film version. Images from the films are freely mingled with story-specific images, reflecting the site’s change in emphasis from exclusively exploring the books to advertising the various other products in the franchise. The tone of the site also changed to become more of a news site, with reports from the set of the film and from the rehearsals for the play. New material from Rowling was also included, notably the History of Magic in North America, but most of the site was devoted to fansite-style writing.

The site ceased to exist in October 2019 to be replaced by WizardingWorld.com.

Canon found on Pottermore/WizardingWorld

Most of the material which was included on Pottermore and is now found on WizardingWorld.com is not considered to be canon, since there is every indication that Rowling is not the source. Material which was written by Rowling is clearly identified as such on the site, and we have included those essays in the Lexicon.

Because the artwork for the original version of Pottermore was specifically approved by Rowling, it provides the most accurate representation of scenes from the books possible. Many of the scenes show characters and settings differently from the way they are portrayed in the films, but a careful reading of the books will show that the Pottermore versions fit much more accurately to what Rowling wrote. For that reason, the Lexicon considers the artwork on Pottermore to be tertiary canon (correct unless contradicted by higher levels of canon).

The Lexicon includes material from each version of the Pottermore/WizardingWorld website, even though some sections are not accessible in the current version. Of particular interest are the extensive Quidditch World Cup sections published in the summer of 2014 and the spell details found in the various spell books users found while playing the duelling game.

Index of essays by Rowling from Pottermore and WizardingWorld.com

Characters Introduced

Other canon
Pottermore
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Abbreviation Pm: Pottermore

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Timeline
The Harry Potter Canon