There have been more whispers surrounding Pottermore, the newly-announced Harry Potter-themed social network, than those surrounding “He Who Must Not Be Named” himself, the books’ evil baddie Lord Voldemort.
Even now, with the site officially outed by series creator JK Rowling, we’re still a little unsure as to what to expect when the it goes live in October this year. It will be interactive, there will be social networking aspects and there will literary titbits unavailable elsewhere, but in terms of specifics, we’re one lumos charm short of illumination.
So it got us thinking about what we’d want to see from such a site. Here’s what the Muggles over at Tech Digest hope Pottermore will conjure.
Crowd-sourced new novels
You’ve got all the series’ fans collected in one place, all crying out for more stories that Rowling isn’t willing to write. The web is full of fan-fiction, so why not harness that? Sure, fan-fiction is mostly rubbish, but what if there was the chance for one of the more skilled fan-fiction writers to collaborate with Rowling on a new adventure starring some of Potter’s supporting cast, with perhaps plot developments chosen by the network users? That’d seriously be giving something back to the fanbase, and offer a new writer a shot at publication too.
Web episodes from the world of wizardry
As well as the culmination of the series of books, the Deathly Hallows also obviously marks the end of the popular Harry Potter movie adaptations. Though they’ve not always been stellar films, they certainly nailed the feel of Rowling’s universe well. How about if Pottermore offered bite-sized chunks of video of plot developments cut from the movies, or fresh video altogether. A “Hagrid’s Guide to Hand-Rearing Dragons” starring Robbie Coltrane would be great fun.
A “Second Life” style Hogwarts to explore
This one’s probably a bit of a long shot, but the Harry Potter world is so rich visually, it’d be a shame to have its online presence merely a predominately static social network. Why not turn Hogwarts into a “Second Life” style online game? Even a limited MMO browser game can look great these days, and with the “freemium” model employed by the likes of Lord of the Rings Online, everyone could play for free, while die-hard fans could pay a little extra for premium content. Being able to meet up with some pals online and take a stroll around the Chamber of Secrets would be pretty awesome.
Safer security from Severus Sony
Now we know this one isn’t based on Pottermore content, but it’s an important one nonetheless. With Pottermore you’d imagine aimed predominately at children, Rowling’s “safe” network isn’t in the most reliable hands at the moment, what with it being in partnership with Sony. Sony’s security measures over the past few months have proved to have more holes than the Leaky Cauldron. After the PlayStation 3’s PSN hack, lets up Pottermore doesn’t fall foul to Secrecy Thief Death Eaters, or “computer hackers” as they are known in the Muggle world.
Interactive Harry Potter eBooks
One of the biggest announcements to go along with Pottermore was the news that it would be the sole portal for downloading official Harry Potter eBooks. Which is great for newbies to the series who want to load them up onto a Kindle or other such ereader. But what about those who already own the books, and still want an digital copy? While an e-ink ereader can’t really offer much more than words on a digital page, tablet editions of the Harry Potter books, in some sort of app format, could be superb. As well as having built-in audiobook support, they could have illustrations, animations, interactive games, spell casting, creature sounds; the works. There’s the opportunity here to make the digital books the definitive magical reading experience, if some time and effort is put in.
What do you think of our Pottermore suggestions? Do we deserve a butterbeer or are we waving our wands in the wrong direction? Let us know in the comments below or via our Twitter page, @techdigestnews.