One of my favorite books when I was younger was Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith. It had everything a girl with my interests could have hoped for: a plucky heroine, rebellion, a fantasy setting, court intrigue, epistolary romance… I adored it. When I got to the end of the book, however, I discovered something strange.
The last ten pages of the book promised a never-before-seen addition to the story. Excited to read more about Mel and Danric and the rest, I eagerly turned the page… to discover that the addition was a trite and honestly embarrassing epilogue. It was tooth-rottingly saccharine, and turned the kickass protagonist into a wilting flower too nervous to talk honestly with her husband. I didn’t have much of a critical eye at age eleven, but even then I knew it was a shitty writing decision. So why are so many authors going the way of the epilogue now? It’s terrible in so many ways, and it needs to stop.
While Boomer-controlled media offers a non-stop critique of the millennial generation, from our supposed laziness at breakfast time to our scorn for the classics, there’s really only one thing that unites millennials: we were raised on Harry Potter. Which is why we were all so excited to see the wizarding world expand into Africa, Asia, and the Americas, as J.K. Rowling returns to the series almost a decade after the last novel.
Remember back a year or two ago when everyone was clamoring to join Pottermore and almost every post on every social media outlet was bragging about where they got sorted and asking people to friend them? Remember how great it felt to finally get into this digital Hogwarts, get sorted, get your wand, and finally traverse Diagon Alley in a way Harry Potter fans never thought would be possible? Remember how all of this got really boring after the first day because, after doing all the preliminary assigning, there really wasn’t anything to do except duel and brew potions ad nauseum? I remember, and there’s a pretty good chance a couple of you, dear readers, do too. So maybe Pottermore wasn’t everything we Harry Potter fans were waiting for, but what can I say? We have high expectations. Honestly, probably nothing would have been able to live up to the things we were imagining and had been imagining ever since we came to terms with the fact that we would never be getting our Hogwarts letters. However, all may not be lost.
Pottermore was, at its core, more about the books than the wizarding world it created or even the school it made so popular. Which is fine; expected, even. However, today’s web crush takes a more intensive approach to the Harry Potter universe, especially concerning Hogwarts. Harry Potter fans, hold onto your wands, because I have an important announcement: Hogwarts is here.
Almost a year and a half ago, we explored the curious fact that the Harry Potter series doesn’t seem to include anyone who practices a religion. There are plenty of Christian elements in the story, from celebrations of Christmas and Easter to inscriptions on gravestones to christological figures. Rowling seemed to make the conscious decision to not include characters who practice a religion. Considering the other Christian elements, I have to wonder if this was by request of her editors, who had her make other changes (like censoring Ron’s swearing) to make her story more palatable for parents of young children. Regardless, with the advent of Pottermore, we’ve discovered that religious practice is indeed compatible with the Harry Potter universe.
Remember that thing called Pottermore? No? Well, maybe there is a reason for that.
That reason being it is boring as… the most boring thing you can think of. Watching paint dry. Watching a kettle boil. Like those, but on the internet. Now, the internet is not supposed to be a boring place. I guess Pottermore got it wrong.
Now, why do I think Pottermore is so boring? Because all you do it click to the next page with limited interactions with the story. Are you supposed to be Harry, or some random student? The game has a really hard time defining that, because it treats the player like s/he is a combination of the two.
Now I understand that the website is supposed to be super safe for kids, but that doesn’t explain the lack of interaction with the chapters of the book itself. I feel like I go through the chapters each time they come out hoping that something exciting will happen, but nothing ever does. It’s a total letdown every single time. And while I do get some enjoyment out of casting spells, the user interface for that feature is convoluted to say the least. And don’t even get me started on potions. It’s so difficult to use and time consuming that I get no enjoyment out of it.
And speaking of chapters coming out, when does that happen? How long has Pottermore been public? A year and a half? And how many chapters do we have? Forty two? That’s sad. I guess it is faster than the rate the books came out, but come on. A year and a half in internet years is a century. And I’m sorry, but that’s just too long to hold anyone’s interest in something that is boring to start with.
I had really high hopes for this site. I don’t think I’m wrong in saying a lot of people did. But the rate at which chapters are released is way too slow and the game play is too dull to hold anyone’s interest.