August 21, 2011
OMG! Okay, I know this actually happened about a week ago now, but I've been anxiously awaiting a good time to tell you all about it, and that time has now come. I have been one of the lucky few (and by "few," I mean 1 million people) who have won the famous Pottermore Magical Quill challenge. For those of you who are Harry Potter fans, but have also been living in a rolled-up newspaper under a bridge somewhere for the last few months, here's the run-down on Pottermore and the Magical Quill Challenge. J. K. Rowling, the lovely and talented author of the Harry Potter series, knew that all of us fans would be deeply in mourning, now that there will be no more books to read (supposedly) and no more new Harry Potter movies to look forward to. No doubt she also knew, as she is quite an intelligent woman, that her income was about to decrease sharply. Put that all together, and she and her publishers decided it was time to release "Pottermore," an exciting new on-line Harry Potter experience. Its exact contents have been kept rather hush-hush, but among other awesome features, Pottermore reportedly will provide periodic chat access to Rowling herself, a sorting quiz designed by Rowling so that we will each know OFFICIALLY to which Hogwarts house we belong (no more of those crack-pot quizzes on Facebook), and a house cup competition, just like the one featured in the books. We'll each be able to earn points for our respective houses! The "crack-pot quizzes" said I was a Ravenclaw; I hope that turns out to be accurate, because I've kind of gotten attached to my fictional British boarding school house.
Sorry; got sidetracked. So, free registration to Pottermore opens in October, but 1 million lucky early birds get the chance to go in early and be part of the Beta testing, to help craft the site, spot bugs that need to be fixed, and give feedback on elements that were just a bad idea to begin with. These coveted million spots were available only to those who won the "Magical Quill Challenge," a 7-day competition that involved being awake at 3:00 am when they finally updated the challenge each day, flipping through the books to find the most arcane information imaginable in answer to the daily Challenge question, being led to ANOTHER website if you actually got the correct answer, and playing a momentary video game in which you had to make the quill float in mid-air, as Hermione did in the first book and film. If you managed ALL THAT, you were officially informed that your name was down to attend Hogwarts. And yes, YOURS TRULY braved this labyrinth of slightly childish excitement to capture the Magical Quill and force it to write me a Hogwarts letter!
With 1 million people in the queue, the Pottermore crew had to stagger our early entrance to the site; otherwise it would quickly have crashed and that would have been the short life and quick death of Pottermore. In other words, I'm still waiting impatiently for it to be MY turn to enter the site, which is REALLY frustrating, =0) . It's like being in line for the most popular ride at a huge amusement park while wearing a blindfold--you can't even see how close you are to getting there or how many people are ahead of you! However, Pottermore Insider, the official blog of this mayhem, keeps reassuring us that invitation letters are continuously going out, and we have not been forgotten. I'll keep you posted the moment I get my invitation, and let you know how things look in the inner sanctum thus far.
AND FINALLY, a special note for those of who to whom all of the above made absolutely no sense: I found one of Willie Wonka's Golden Tickets in my chocolate bar (or the 1 million-strong equivalent thereof)! And if THAT cultural reference can't help you, then I recommend you ask your children, grandchildren, or other young relatives to explain it all to you. I'm sorry; I decided long ago that COMPLETELY growing up is highly over-rated.