Well, I didn’t expect to try to get in to Pottermore as a Beta tester. I expected that getting early access would be really difficult, but when I read the Pottermore announcement shortly after midnight July 31 (UK time), I could not help but get caught up in all the excitement.
There wasn’t, as rumored, going to be some crazy round-the-Web scavenger hunt, and there were going to be 7 Days to get in to the Beta test group!
Naturally, I decided to give it a shot. And I decided to give it a shot on Day 1. I mean, how cool would it be to get in on Harry’s birthday – the day Harry got his own letter to Hogwarts?
Since I was already hanging out on a fan site, I got a little bit of insider information. I learned that the first clue would be posted sometime after midnight Pacific time (8am in the UK), and that we would need to go to Diagon Alley.
The contest information had already indicated that the first day’s clue would focus on PS/SS. So Diagon Alley was clearly a reference to Chapter 5 in the first book. So of course, I skimmed the chapter and made notes before taking a nap and setting the alarm for 3am (US Eastern). It appeared that we would need to do some sort of calculation, so I particularly noted numbers in the Diagon Alley chapter.
Before taking my nap, I also made sure that I had the address I needed (http://quill.pottermore.com/) already typed in to the address bar on an open tab and that I had a calculator handy for the calculation. I didn’t want to be rushing around in excitement making mistakes if I figured out the clue.
The clue didn’t arrive within 20 minutes of 3am, so I went back to sleep and woke up after a Pottermore dream at 4:30am. When I refreshed the Pottermore website, I saw this…
That was one number I had not written down!
But I did know where to find the Eeylops Owl Emporium because I had made a specific note of it. It was one of the first things Harry saw when he entered Diagon Alley! Five. Five breeds of owl. 5 * 49 = 245.
I couldn’t believe it had been so easy! I was pumping adrenalin as I opened up the tab with the address for the quill, typed 245 after the slash, hit Enter, and found myself trying to catch the Magic Quill!!!
(Note for anyone who wants to get into Pottermore: you have to do something with the Magic Quill. What you have to do has been different in each of the three challenges so far. But it is not hard to locate the Magic Quill).
Everything after that is a bit of a daze. After I clicked on the Magic Quill, I found myself on the registration page, then I saw my name on a list of magical people, and then I found myself having to choose a username. All the while, I was racing against the clock because I needed to get the registration completed before registration closed down for the day! Otherwise, catching the Magic Quill would not have mattered!
Anyway, I received a set of 5 possible usernames. They consisted of random Harry Potter words, coupled with a series of numbers. My choices, compared to a lot of people’s, actually seemed very good. I was ready to select one of the names at the top of the list when I found something in the middle:
Seriously?!?!? I could have Asphodel and Phoenix in my username?
Asphodel is one of the ingredients in the very first question Severus Snape ever asks Harry:
“Potter! What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?”
(Answer: the Draught of Living Death)
And the Phoenix has been one of my favorite magical beasts since well before a wand with a Phoenix tail feather at the core chose Harry… or before Dumbledore befriended Fawkes or started an Order of the Phoenix!
All of my Top 4 characters are implied in that name. AsphodelPhoenix ties together Snape and Dumbledore, Harry and Riddle, and even (because there’s a plant involved) Neville! Just subtract Riddle from the list, and you know who my absolute favorite Harry Potter characters are!
Well, the choice was obvious, wasn’t it?!? And when I finished the registration process, I received a lovely piece of parchment confirming my name.
I wish I could say that the rest of the process went just as seamlessly, but I was one of the unfortunates who got caught in Yahoo Mail Limbo. It took me nearly 10 hours to get my activation email!
But hey, at least I didn’t have to wait as long as poor Evanna Lynch! (Luna in the Harry Potter movies). It seems that she had to wait about 18 hours!
So now, after recounting my own journey into Pottermore, I have something to pass on that I hope is useful to somebody.
The Numbers and the Books
It’s pretty obvious that the solution to the clue will always be a number, and that the number will be multiplied by something.
On Day 1, we had to multiply the solution by 49. Note that Pottermore is framing the challenge in terms of 7 Books, 7 Days, 7 Chances. 7 Days = 7 Chances, so we don’t really need to consider the final number. However, let’s look at the numbers so far…
Day 1: 7 books, 7 days (7 * 7 = 49)
Day 2: 7 books, 6 days (7 * 6 = 42)
Yes, it’s my understanding that on Day 2, the solution to the clue needed to be multiplied by 42. I predicted this, based on Day 1 using 7 squared. And if the pattern holds true, here are the rest of the numbers:
Day 3: 7 books, 5 days (7 * 5 = 35) – ETA (8/2/01): confirmed. The number was 35.
Day 4: 7 books, 4 days (7 * 4 = 28)
Day 5: 7 books, 3 days (7 * 3 = 21)
Day 6: 7 books, 2 days (7 * 2 = 14)
Day 7: 7 books, 1 day (7 * 1 = 7)
Note also, that on Day 3, the clue will focus on the third book, etc. So here are the remaining books you need to consider for the remaining days of the Beta test challenge:
Day 3: Prisoner of Azkaban
Day 4: Goblet of Fire
Day 5: Order of the Phoenix
Day 6: Half-Blood Prince
Day 7: Deathly Hallows
Pottermore Implications for the Expecto Patronum Blog
Once Beta testing is over and the entire public is allowed in to Pottermore, I will be re-focusing this blog on the Pottermore experience of re-reading the Harry Potter series.
Between now and then, I will re-read (and write about) some random chapters in the series. If anybody has any suggestions for favorite chapters to read, please let me know in the comments!
And with that, I’ll just say “Good luck on gaining early entry!”