Coffee with Pottermore

The Way I See It

Michelle Kim/File

On July 15th, 3 a.m. you would have found me nestled in a Shattuck movie theater seat, breathless with joy, eyes twinkling in anticipation, a lightning bolt scar obnoxiously shining forth from my forehead. I’m going to make myself very vulnerable to you, dear reader, and reveal the absolute love I have for J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. When the last book came out, I read it 11 times in a row. I think that’s unhealthy; at least my mom thought so.  She had to hide it in a cupboard next to the laundry detergent to stop me from reading it.

The 15th is the release date of the very last Harry Potter film, part two of the Deathly Hallows episode. A day that marks the end of a ten-year span of Muggle versus wizard conflict. I really won’t care if the movie’s computer graphics are of lower-tier or if the actors don’t fully touch upon the true insight of their characters. This film is almost symbolic, and my loyalty to the Potter cult stands firm.

Whether you liked this series or not, Harry Potter defined a generation. Readers across the globe gathered in bookstores for midnight releases, and viewers stood in lines in Hogwarts gear at movie theaters for premiers. Children who normally didn’t read for pleasure would sit in shopping carts at Costco with thickly bound books of Hogwarts-induced enjoyment open in their laps — giving life to words such as “muggle” and “Quidditch.” The morals that saturated every story plot — loyalty, friendship and love — taught an entire generation of readers good values. The influences are endless.

And being the incredibly geeky Harry Potter fan that I am, I cannot help but feel an emotional twinge when I think about the fact that it’s over. Even those of you who aren’t fans must feel some sadness at the idea of no longer being able to see Emma Watson holding a wand — no sexual reference intended.

But Harry Potter 7 Part 2 — it’s the end of an era. Or is it?

Those in tune to Potter-related news will know that Rowling recently released a Youtube video revealing Pottermore, an online interactive site with e-books, new material on Harry Potter and room for the reader to interact with Rowling’s world. It is, in essence, a site that immortalizes the Harry Potter series in the digital world.

This continuation of Harry Potter material after the unprecedented popularity of the last film’s premiere strikes me as a bit strange, even as a delighted fan. Fans have prepared themselves for this ending; the actors and actresses have been asked, “How does it feel now that it’s all over?” in interviews countless times and it all seemed as if it was finally closing up. Then Pottermore comes into the picture in what looks like a last-ditch effort to appease heartbroken fans while simultaneously making money.

Pottermore, to me, is like having coffee with an ex too soon after the break up. Is that metaphor being stretched a little too far? It gives a good story a tinge of corporate takeover and drags on an ending just a bit too far. Just as I reached peace with accepting the end of Harry Potter, Rowling stepped in and teased Potter fans with a new site. Are we over or what? This site won’t even contain new material, just new methods of hashing out old things.

In her release video, Rowling attributes the creation of Pottermore to the insistence and creativity of her fans who are sad to watch the Potter era end. Truthfully, I’m sure the author did not want it all to end either. But even in breakups there has to come a moment in which the instigator must cut ties with the clingy ex, us being the clingy ex and Pottermore being the unnecessary cup of coffee.

Even as a huge fan, however, I cannot say I approve of the extended franchise of the Potter legacy. They were pushing it with the dolls, they were pulling strings with the Harry Potter amusement park and just when it was about to have a nice, clean ending, just one string is left untied.

Whatever happened to magic being left in books and in the imagination of the reader? I’m not completely against it, but corporate takeover sometimes goes a bit over the edge. Harry Potter is just one case in many. I’m all for digital makeovers, but the old-school eleven-year old reader in me insists that some things have a sweeter taste when left for the imagination, not computer programs.

So maybe I’m not a big enough fan to want Pottermore. Or maybe I am a big enough fan to know that all good things must come to an end. Whatever the case, I myself am watching the last film and calling it quits with Harry Potter — no coffee date, no Pottermore.