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In July of 2007, J.K. Rowling published the final book of her Harry Potter series. It was amazing conclusion to a fantastic series, but it was also difficult for fans to come to terms with the fact that the series was now over. Four years later, Rowling brought new hope to her fans with the launch of Pottermore – an online database of her never-before-seen writing about characters, places and plots.
As Lev Manovich points out in The Language of New Media, databases are typically thought of as a radical departure from the narrative form, as they are searchable and arbitrarily organized. However, the original Pottermore site brought narrative form to the database by requiring users to move through a Hogwarts storyline to unlock database objects. For example, if you wanted to know more about where Rowling drew inspiration in creating Professor McGonagall, you had to attend transfiguration class and click on McGonagall rather than simply searching for her. To unlock further levels and progress through the site, you had to get sorted into a house and play flash games. This created a more stimulating user experience than simply clicking through a collection of wiki entries containing Rowling’s thoughts.
While many younger people found this organization of the site entertaining, adults often found the simple flash games a nuisance that stood between them and immersion in the real lifeblood of the Harry Potter universe, Rowling’s writing. As such, Pottermore has since been reorganized into a more traditional, wiki-style database, albeit a beautiful and extremely well designed database.
Posted from DIG101 Blog by Noah R.