Obviously, they've learned from past releases of clue-games on JKRowling.com and the SecretStreeView site just how quickly the answer to whatever they post will spread like wildfire throughout fandom. They know that we're going to sit here guessing at and entering any possible answer combination until we hit on the right fit.
Pottermore has a great challenge in order to try to make this fair for everybody. As we had been discussing on this site for weeks, the early entry clues had to be done in such a way that it's not over as soon as it starts, like what happened with SecretStreetView. Fans shared those letters as soon as they found them, figured out how to find the rest, some before they were even released, and turned what was supposed to be a 2-day challenge into a 2-hour frenzy!
We figured that the quill quest challenge must involve some sort of skill on the fans' part and would have to be fair to people across the world with various translations and editions of the text. As pointed out by Brian in the comment trail, that is why the numbers work so beautifully. Words within the text will not be the same in foreign language editions. However, numbers are universal (as long as the translations have remained true to the original and listed the exact same number of owl breeds! :-)
Still, with two days' release of clues, maybe we can find some pattern to go on.
Clues so far:
1) Number of owl breeds in Eeylops Owl sign multiplied by 49
2) Chapter number in which McGonagall cancels the Quidditch match between Gryffindor and Hufflepuff multiplied by 42
3) Number of points Gryffindor was up in the match against Slytherin when Harry caught the Snitch, multiplied by 35
If the Pottermore team can take numbers from the listing of items in a sign to the number of a chapter, then seeking out number mentions in the upcoming books probably isn't going to be much help. Numbers can come from virtually anywhere!
However, I do see just a small hint of a pattern. Look at this:
Here are the formulas and final numbers used for entry so far:
sample: 7 x 10 = 70
1) 5 x 49 = 245 (7 x 7 = 49)
2) 14 x 42 = 588 (7 x 2 = 14, 7 x 6 = 42)
3) Today's involved two sets of problems. First, you had to do the math to figure out how many points Gryffindor was up (80 - 20 = 60), then multiply by 35 (7 x 5) for 60 x 35 = 2100
4) Tomorrow, we can anticipate a factor of 28 (7 x 4)
Our biggest hint, then is 7. A multiple of 7 was used both days as the factor. And as noted by Tricia in the comment forum, the factors also seem to be counting down. 7 the first day, 6 the second... Yay Tricia!
Times released so far:
1) 4 am Eastern, 9 am British
2) 5 am Eastern, 10 am British
3) 6 am Eastern, 11 am British
I doubt very seriously they will keep this pattern of only one hour apart!
I'm wondering, as are many others, if Pottermore will continue releasing clues within a narrower time-frame than anticipated due to the demands of needing to have it w/in their British working hours to have staff available to assist with problems. If so, we can probably expect to have several more early mornings in the western hemisphere.
Location of Magical Quill:
1) on a place within Pottermore where various quills floated, or "flew," around and we had to catch one like Harry on the broom in the underground challenge at the end of PS/SS
2) hidden within a picture on a page of WarnerBrothers
3) on an ad placed in the top right column of a page at The Guardian with an article on Pottermore. This time, you had to swish and click your cursor over the quill to make it levitate to the top.
It seems that we can expect to find these quills hidden on pages of sites that are important to JK Rowling.
If you still haven't gotten in, my best advice:
- keep the remaining books right by your computer (or wherever you check online from)
- keep tabs open to Pottermore, Twitter, Facebook, this site, or whatever trusted source you know will update as soon as a clue is released
- have a calculator handy
- as well as the url: http://quill.pottermore.com/
- learn your 7s time table!
- and above all, CLICK QUICKLY
- then, come back here and share with the rest of us
- One prediction -- I expect that the numbers highlighted within each book will increase as the factors decrease. (Notice that today's was 60, the largest thus far.) Otherwise, people could try to simply click through the 7s time table before the next clue posts. Though I'm not sure it would work.