Pottermore: Day 4 Debrief… and Share Your Pottermore Username!

Wow. That was intense. :)

This is the first time I’ve blogged live during the registration period, and wouldn’t you know that the Magic Quill site would have technical difficulties?

Here’s what we learned today:

They weren’t kidding when they said the clues would start to get easier on Day 4!

  • How many students take part in the Triwizard Tournament during Harry’s fourth year? It’s the same number as the Clue number! (My theory is that the reason they are making the clues easy is that now the books get so much longer).

The pattern of 7 books * number of days/chances remaining holds!

  • As predicted, we needed to multiply by 28. This means that tomorrow’s number will almost certainly be 21.

Pottermore seems to be partnering with a limited number of third party sites.

  • Today, we were supposed to be redirected to the Sony website (again), to click on the Magic Quill (again).

Pottermore does have a backup plan if something goes wrong with the Magic Quill.

  • This is the best news of all. The Magic Quill didn’t work – just as email verification didn’t work very well on Day 1. But this time, the Pottermore team was on top of the situation and quickly started redirecting people who solved the clue to the Congratulations page so that they could register. The Pottermore Tech team even posted information about the problem about 15 minutes into the registration period. I wonder if we’ll learn more about this technical glitch on the Pottermore Insider website this afternoon.

Catching the Magic Quill is fun. But what people really want to do is get registered.  And the Pottermore Tech Team made that possible. So Kudos to them for quick thinking in a high-profile crisis management situation.

So… now that the Day 4 challenge is complete, let’s share some usernames in the Comments thread! I’ll go first. :)

Note about the Comments thread: If you’re new to the blog and have never commented before, there may be a small delay in getting your comment posted.

Pottermore: Clue #4 Is Up!

UPDATE:
Registration is closed.

Man! North and South America took only about 40 minutes to close down Registration. But congratulations to everybody who got in on Day 4. :)

UPDATE:
The Quill is apparently not loading. I entered the number again, and this time it directed me to a Pottermore page saying “Congratulations, You have found the Magic Quill.”

So basically: TRY AGAIN. If you get a page telling you that you found the Magic Quill, click on the “Register Now” button.

Additional info: If you do get to the Quill page (someone did and showed it to me), it’s the same as the first day’s challenge. You’ll see a bunch of brown quills floating by. You need to click on the magic quill (it’s pretty obvious which quill this is).

If you don’t get to the Quill page, you should just be redirected to the page congratulating you and allowing you to register.

Day 4 clue
Can you find The Magical Quill?

  • How many students take part in the Triwizard Tournament during Harry’s fourth year?
    Multiply this number by 28.

I won’t give you the answer, but I will give you a clue: It’s one more than it should be.

Here’s what you need to do once you’ve figured out the clue and multiplied by 28:

Put http://quill.pottermore.com/

in your address bar, put the number you’ve derived from multiplying the clue times 28 after the slash, and hit enter.

This will take you to the Magic Quill.

I will go try the challenge myself right now (but not register), so that I can give you more information on what to do with the Magic Quill.

ETA:
This clue redirects to the Sony site. Apparently you need to find the Quill. I’m looking. If anybody has any hints, please add them to the Comments section.

Good luck!

Pottermore Update: Clue #4 Time Window

According to the Pottermore Insider (official blog of Pottermore), there is now an official time window for the Day 4 clue:

Q. So far, all the clues have appeared in the early hours of the morning in my time zone. Will this continue for the remainder of The Magical Quill challenge?

A. We know that Harry Potter fans around the world are taking part in the challenge, so we will be varying the times that the clues are revealed. We can tell you that tomorrow’s clue (Day 4) will be released between 2.00pm and 6.00pm BST.

For your convenience, here is the current time, BST.

Here is a short time conversion for those in the US:

  • 9:00am-1:00pm (US, Eastern)
  • 8:00am-12:00pm (US, Central)
  • 7:00am-11:00am (US, Mountain)
  • 6:00am-10:00am (US, Pacific)

Based on previous clues, you will have between 60-90 minutes to answer the clue, type it in to your browser address bar, do whatever you’re asked to do with the Magic Quill, and complete the registration process. Day 3 closed within 60 minutes, so it seems that you’ll have to be quick on these later clues.

Remember that Clue 4 will involve Goblet of Fire. It will involve a number. And if the pattern from previous rounds holds (i.e., 7 books * number of days remaining), you will need to multiply the number by 28… so be sure to have a calculator handy.

For complete details on the process, see this post – which recounts my own process of getting in to the Beta test group for Pottermore.

I also provided speculation in a previous post on what numbers you might need for Clue 4. Since Clue 4 is supposed to be easier than the others, I think you would do well to brush up on numbers related to the TriWizard Tournament, the Quidditch World Cup, and the scene with Voldemort and the Death Eaters at the graveyard. I made a list of specific numbers I’d make note of towards the bottom of the linked post. Remember: This is just my opinion. I do not have inside information. :)

Notes from the Pottermore Insider:

Here’s a new, and important, notice from the Pottermore Insider:

Q. I have seen people offering to register early access accounts for others. Is it safe to give my personal details to someone who is offering this service?

A. Absolutely not. You should never share personal details online unless you are certain how they will be used and protected. Also, please note that the transfer of Pottermore accounts is expressly prohibited in The Magical Quill promotion Terms & Conditions.

I have personally seen people exchange personal details with strangers on a fan forum. Don’t risk it!

Also, don’t buy or sell early access accounts. See the bottom of my previous post for a list of reasons why!

For those of you braving the Day 4 challenge: Good luck with Clue 4 and with gaining early entrance into Pottermore!

Pottermore Debrief: Day 3

We have now completed Day 3 of the Pottermore Magic Quill challenge.

Here are the approximate times that the clues have been posted so far:

Day 1: 9am BST (4am US Eastern, 1am US Pacific)

Day 2: 10am BST (5am US Eastern, 2am US Pacific)

Day 3: 11am BST (6am US Eastern, 3am US Pacific)

As you can see, the clues so far have been posted roughly one hour later than the clue was posted on the previous day. It is not known if this pattern will hold. In fact, we should probably assume that it will not. Pottermore does not want to become too predictable concerning the times of the Quill challenge.

Confirmed: Tomorrow’s challenge will take place between 2.00pm and 6.00pm BST, so it will not fit the previously established pattern.

Here are paraphrases of the clues that have been posted:

Day 1: Find the number of owl breeds listed on the sign of the Eeylops Owl Emporium and multiply by 49. (Book 1: PS/SS)

Day 2: Find the chapter in which McGonnagall calls off the Gryffindor-Hufflepuff Quidditch match and multiply by 42. (Book 2: CoS)

Day 3: Find the score Gryffindor was leading by in the Gryffindor-Slytherin match before Harry catches the Golden Snitch and multiply by 35. (Book 3: PoA)

As I have already noted previously, each day will focus on a different book. Clue 4 will come from Goblet of Fire (GoF). It will be some sort of number. And it will almost certainly be multiplied by 28 (7 books * 4 days/chances remaining).

In addition, the Pottermore website says that the clues become easier starting on Day 4. I think that the only clue thus far that has been remotely challenging is Clue 1. So if it’s going to be getting easier, expect it to get very easy. They are probably making the clues easier because the books get so much longer and more complex starting with GoF.

Here are the challenges involving the Magic Quill:

Once you have solved the clue, multiplied it by the required number, and entered the solution into the address bar of your web browser (after the slash in the following address: http://quill.pottermore.com/ ), you will be redirected to another site to do something with the Magic Quill. The site you will be redirected to has some sort of a relationship with the Harry Potter series. I mention this so that you will not freak out when you suddenly find yourself redirected to some third party website.

Here is what you’ve had to do with the Quill so far:

Day 1: Catch the Magic Quill. (redirected to the Sony website – the creative team behind Pottermore)

Day 2: Find a picture of the Magic Quill. (redirected to the Warner Brothers website – the studio behind the movies)

Day 3: Levitate the Magic Quill. (redirected to The Guardian, UK – on an article concerning Pottermore)

Once you have accomplished this part of the challenge, you will be redirected to registration.

Here is some speculation concerning the Day 4 clue:

Here are some numbers that I would have on hand before the release of the next clue:

Day 4: Goblet of Fire:

  • How many students enter the TriWizard Tournament?
  • How many schools participate in the TriWizard Tournment?
  • How many challenges are there supposed to be in the TriWizard Tournament?
  • What age is a student supposed to be in order to participate in the TriWizard Tournament?
  • How many Death Eaters arrive at the graveyard?
  • How many Death Eaters are missing from the graveyard?
  • How many murdered people emerge from Voldemort’s wand when his wand is locked with Harry’s?

Remember, this is all speculation. But basically, I think the numbers you will most likely need to focus on are associated with either: The Quidditch World Cup, The TriWizard Tournament, or Voldemort’s return at the graveyard. And since this clue is supposed to be easier, I’m guessing that it will involve the TriWizard Tournament. And of course, I could be completely wrong about any of this!

Once you have the number required for the clue, you will need to multiply that number by another number. If the pattern holds, that number will be 28.

Here is some information on technical issues:

I’m not Tech Support, and I don’t represent Pottermore, so anything I say here I’m just saying as someone who has been through the process and has an opinion about it. :)

But… there has been a known issue with Yahoo Mail. Here is what Pottermore Insider said earlier about the Yahoo problem:

Q: I registered for early access yesterday with a Yahoo email address and have yet to receive my verification email. What’s happened to my email and will I still be able to verify in time?

A: There is a delay with verification emails going out via Yahoo! Mail and related providers (such as BT Yahoo!), which means that, while emails are being sent out, they are being delivered at a greatly reduced rate.

We are currently talking to Yahoo in order to resolve this problem and will update this blog post with new information as we get it.

More recently, this issue has apparently been resolved. Here’s the latest update:

Q. Is there any update on the Yahoo! Mail issue?
A. This has now been resolved and everyone who registered with a Yahoo! Mail account on Sunday or Monday should now have received their validation email.

If you still don’t want to chance it with Yahoo, you can always set up a non-Yahoo account for your Pottermore verification email. Gmail seems to have been the most reliable service so far.

In addition to the Yahoo issues, some people are finding it impossible to complete the registration process. This may or may not be a technical issue. It’s possible that Pottermore registration has closed down for the day before you finished registering. If that happened, you are not registered and will have to wait until the next Clue is posted on the next day. Sorry. :(

If Pottermore registration is still open, though, you might want to try again – perhaps in another browser. The Pottermore website and the Pottermore Insider will indicate when registration has closed.

Here is what you should know about selling and buying Pottermore accounts

Don’t do it! It’s not worth it!

Pottermore is free, and everybody will be able to register once the Magic Quill contest is over. Even people who complete the Magic Quill contest are not guaranteed immediate entry, just early entry.

None of us knows right now exactly when we will receive our Welcome email. For some of us, it could be on the day after the Magic Quill contest ends. For others of us, it could be 3-7 weeks later. And for some of us, it could be as late as the day before Pottermore opens to the general public.

Pottermore will be open to the general pubic at the beginning of October. That is only two months away. It is not worth spending as much as $800 on eBay for something that you will be able to gain for free in just a couple of months – particularly when none of these Beta test accounts guarantees immediate access.

Here is what Pottermore Insider has to say about buying and selling early access Pottermore accounts:

Q. I have seen Pottermore early access accounts being sold online on places like eBay. Is it okay to buy or sell Pottermore accounts?

A. No. Please do not buy, sell, or transfer Pottermore early access accounts. Obtaining Beta registration for Pottermore with the intent of selling on those registration details for monetary gain not only deprives genuine fans the chance to gain early access, it is also expressly prohibited in The Magical Quill promotion Terms & Conditions.

We have the right to terminate any Pottermore accounts that are sold online.

Access to Pottermore is, and always will be, completely free so please don’t be tempted by people selling Pottermore accounts online. You will only be wasting your money – and there are still more clues and chances to come!

Basically, if you try to sell an account, they are probably going to go after you. If you buy an account, you are being very foolish. And anyway, it’s really not that hard to pass the Magic Quill challenges successfully! So have fun with this. Experience it yourself, and don’t try to buy the experience!

I will be posting an update later today if Pottermore Insider posts a time window for Day 4. Good luck to those who want to give Day 4 a try!

‘Never – Never Tell’

In Defense of Albus Dumbledore, Part 5

(continued from Part 4)

By forcing Dumbledore to give him his word that he will “never – never tell,” Snape ensures that he will be mistrusted, even hated, by the same people who will gain most from his protection of Harry Potter. Let’s look at a few passages that illustrate the consequences of this secret.

At the end of Philosopher’s Stone/Sorcerer’s Stone:

“Quirrell said he [Snape] hates me because he hated my father. Is that true?”

“Well, they did rather detest each other. Not unlike yourself and Mr. Malfoy. And then your father did something Snape could never forgive.”

“What?”

“He saved his life.”

What?

“Yes…” said Dumbledore dreamily. “Funny, the way people’s minds work, isn’t it? Professor Snape couldn’t bear being in your father’s debt… I do believe he worked so hard to protect you this year because he felt that would make him and your father even. Then he could go back to hating your father’s memory in peace…”

Dumbledore has to know this is a lie, that Severus Snape feels no debt whatsoever to James Potter because he believes that James was only trying to avoid being expelled for his role in Sirius’ prank. But because he’s given his word, Dumbledore can’t tell Harry the real reason Snape has been trying to protect him. And the lie actually does damage to Harry’s future interactions with the Potions Master. When Harry reveals to Severus that he knows Snape is in his father’s debt, it just intensifies the row already brewing between them.

In the “Pensieve” chapter in Goblet of Fire, Harry sees in Dumbledore’s memories the fact that Snape had once been a Death Eater. After Dumbledore assures Harry that Snape has never again been accused of “any Dark activity,” the Headmaster finds himself once again bound by the conditions of his agreement with Snape:

“What made you think he’d really stopped supporting Voldemort, professor?”

Dumbledore held Harry’s gaze for a few seconds, and then said:

“That, Harry, is a matter between Professor Snape and myself.”

In fact, the matter is so much between Professors Snape and Dumbledore that when Harry tells Remus Lupin that he had overheard Snape question Malfoy, Lupin’s only defense for Snape is to pass the question of trust off on Dumbledore:

“It’s Dumbledore’s business. Dumbledore trusts Severus, and that ought to be enough for all of us.”

Lupin has no idea why Dumbledore trusts Snape. He just knows that he does.

In Half-Blood Prince, when Harry finds out that Snape was the eavesdropper who heard part of Trelawney’s prophesy, the best explanation that Dumbledore can come up with is:

“You have no idea of the remorse Professor Snape felt when he realized how Lord Voldemort had interpreted the prophecy, Harry. I believe it to be the greatest regret of his life and the reason that he returned – ”

“But he’s a very good Occlumens, isn’t he, sir?” said Harry, whose voice was shaking with the effort of keeping it steady. “And isn’t Voldemort convinced that Snape’s on his side, even now? Professor… how can you be sure Snape’s on our side?”

Dumbledore did not speak for a moment; he looked as though he was trying to make up his mind about something. At last he said, “I am sure. I trust Severus Snape completely.”

A few hours after this conversation, Dumbledore will die from Severus Snape’s killing curse. Is he trying to decide whether or not to let Harry in on the secret Snape made him swear to keep? Or perhaps to let Harry know that he has arranged for Snape to kill him? We will never know. What we do know is that Snape’s secret has reverbations far beyond even Dumbledore. After Dumbledore’s death, the other members of the Order absorb the information that one of their own killed the Headmaster:

“Snape,” repeated McGonnagall faintly, falling into the chair. “We all wondered… but he trusted… always… Snape… I can’t believe it.”

“Snape was a highly accomplished Occlumens,” said Lupin, his voice uncharacteristically harsh. “We always knew that.”

“But Dumbledore swore he was on our side!” whispered Tonks. “I always thought Dumbledore must know something about Snape that we didn’t…”

“He always hinted that he had an ironclad reason for trusting Snape,” muttered Professor McGonnagall, now dabbing the corners of her leaking eyes with a tartan-edged handkerchief. “I mean… with Snape’s history… of course people were bound to wonder… but Dumbledore told me explicitly that Snape’s repentance was absolutely genuine… Wouldn’t hear a word against him!”

Well, Dumbledore did have an ironclad reason to trust Snape. And Snape’s repentance was absolutely genuine. But because Snape’s role is as a spy, the secret of how and why he turned away from Voldemort is probably best kept… well, secret. A few trusted people like McGonnagall could possibly have been let in, had Snape allowed it. But Snape himself chose the path of absolute secrecy.

And that fact alone should be enough to quiet down those Snape partisans who bemoan the fact that the Potions Master got so little recognition and reward from his colleagues.

But, of course, it won’t.