"The experience of reading requires that the imaginations of the author & reader work together to create the story." -- JK Rowling
If you're a Harry Potter fan like I am, then you're probably feeling a bit drained right now. The last few days have brought waves of mounting excitement coupled with the fear of possible disappointment as if the Chudley Cannons had made it to the World Quidditch Cup. But not only were we anticipating, we were participating. It was as if Jo had twirled her time-turner and returned many of us to the last days before July 21, 2007 when we feverishly scoured her work for clues as to what was forthcoming, sharing possible finds with each other, building our own theories.
That's always been the beauty of Jo's work -- reader involvement. Like no other author I know of, she understands how to fully engage her reader, from picking out which house they would be sorted into, to scouring old myths in the hunt for possible clues to the Potter plots. We engage because she weaves mystery into everything she does, and leaves a delightfully hidden trail of clues to follow. She plays with her reader, and we join enthusiastically in with her game.
And so today's announcement arrived. We waited online together with collective baited breath. As one, we watched the video presentation with its fanciful animated words on a page coming to life. And then we rushed in unison to click the link on the partially opened site to register our e-mail, hoping that come Harry and Jo's birthday, we could apply for the golden early entrance ticket.
Afterward, some were elated, even with the malfunctioning website. Others disappointed that it was not what they'd hoped for. Some gobbled up every news bit that was released like a hungry hippogriff gulping down tasty, dead ferrets. Others meandered on to their regular lives, let down that there's still a long wait to know what Pottermore truly is...to enter those Hogwarty gates.
The final tidbit Jo left with us was her direction to "follow the owl," with a lone owl shadow soaring over her printed page, across the scene in Philosopher's Stone of Harry entering the restricted section (as pointed out by sharp-eyed ShannonAshley). And as Ron worried about Hagrid's direction to follow the butterflies, we now question how we are to follow the owls.
Are we on a new clue hunt for whatever will get us in to Pottermore early? Or are we to await instruction from Jo when registration opens on July 31? Have clues already been hidden, maybe even many of those we excavated while searching out what Pottermore would be? Or are they yet to be revealed, perhaps hidden in the pages of her books, or among her fansites that hosted her owlery images?
I expect that more information will be forthcoming in the next few days to help clarify things a bit, but knowing Jo, who like the Pied Piper loves to lead us on a merry chase, the whole mystery will not be cleared up until the Pottermore doors are fully open. Because as much as we like to grouse and complain, a little mystery goes a long way to fully engaging the reader and exciting the imagination...the source of true magic.
P.S. - As a community, we covered a lot of theories, but I believe we hit the heart of what Pottermore appears to be. We said it did not seem like JKR's style to do some sort of massive MMORPG game, and it wasn't. By following her clues, we believed that Pottermore would be a combination of encyclopedia, gaming, and social media -- and it is! We guessed there would be backstory and fanfiction and reader involvement, and it seems to have that aplenty.
So hold onto those owl counts, number theories, and possible coordinates. There's a quill missing from the Pottermore entry desk, some loose quills floating somewhere from the YouTube owl tree, and some shadowy owl gliding across the page into a darkened library of hidden knowledge. I think the mystery has only just begun!