The new Pottermore: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Nowadays, Pottermore is a serious topic of discussion. After its big overhaul and complete makeover, Pottermore became so much more and so less than it used to be.

I tried to love the new Pottermore, I really did.

My efforts, however, proved to be in vain, because the more I visit it, the more I grieve the wonderful site it used to be. Of course, the new Pottermore isn’t all bad – believe me it could’ve been worse, however, the ugly parts are definitely in the forefront of this sad and confused site that is the shadow of its former self.

In my article, I’ll discuss the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the new Pottermore.

Please note, that this is a personal opinion.

Without further ado, I start with the more optimistic side of this discussion:

The Good:

The availability of the site. While the site’s design is questionable at best, you can’t deny that the fact that you can reach  the site from any device is a good thing. This way, a larger audience – one that might prefer tablets or phones over PCs – is being drawn into Pottermore.

The wand, House and Patronus selections. It’s nice to see that the developers are listening to the complaints of the site’s users. Indeed, it is good that you can log into your new account, get a wand and get sorted not only to your Hogwarts house, but to an Ilvermorny house as well. I also adore the Patronus feature. It is the one feature that is exclusive to the new Pottermore that people have wanted since forever and now it’s here – brand new and super gorgeous.

Alas, with those minor good things in Pottermore, we have even more bad ones. So, here it is, ladies and gents. The list of:

The Bad:

Oh boy, where to start. There are so many things bad with this site that it’s just hard to pick. Okay, I’ll start with the first thing that comes to mind – the fact that the “Writings by JK Rowling” section is a complete mess. Sure, it will display the few articles that Rowling had written about since the site’s remodeling, but if you want any older content – it’s not there. Believe me, sometimes I want to revisit the Celestina Warbeck article and listen to “You stole my Cauldron” one more time, but I can’t. I have to click the discover button to search for her.

What?

Instead of a simple click to the “Writings by JK Rowling” and searching for Celestina’s article, I have to rely on the search bar to find what I want. You’ve got to be kidding me. Here is another of my Peeves – the search bar itself. Would it really be so hard to  add some sort of filtering system? Celestina is pretty easy to find, but let’s just say I try to type “Harry Potter” and I get this:

EXPLORE THE STORY

Family ties in Harry Potter, Harry Potter, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

And that’s just the EXPLORE THE STORY part of the search results. All I wanted was an article on Harry friggin’ Potter. Please allow me to exclude things from the search to make my life easier. Also, the titles of the search results are misleading at best. Let’s go with the “Harry Potter” example. When I click on the link, I expect to see some sort of basic info and an article (or a collection of articles) on Harry Potter by JK Rowling. What I get is film stills, posts like “8 adorable Harry and Ginny moments”, quotes from the book and maybe if I’m lucky a link to the info on the Potter family or broomsticks or whatever articles that have nothing to do with Harry himself (although they can still be a fun read). Search for minor characters seems to be far simpler and the results far more accurate. Here’s another bad thing. Articles like the mentioned “8 adorable Harry and Ginny moments”. They are opinion pieces that are better left in the blog of whoever the “Pottermore Correspondent” is, instead of an official Harry Potter site that’s meant to enrich and expand the universe millions around the world have grown to love. The last bad thing I’ll mention is the lack of interactive elements. Where is the Potions brewing, spell casting? Where is the commenting feature that made Pottermore so attractive? It’s not in the new Pottermore that’s for sure. A Death Eater did it? Frankly, I don’t care. I want them back. Also, what happened to the charming articles by Rita Skeeter and the classes such as Duelling and Potions? I’d also like them back please.

I could go on and on, but I believe there are far more things to say in:

The Ugly:

The site’s design. Tiles, really? Those might work for Windows tablet interface, but on Pottermore they’re just butt ugly and they take up space. They’re just taking the whole “metro” craze a bit too far. Speaking of ugly design choices, can someone explain the site’s unexplainable case of MPD? Back in the day, Potermore was a pleasure to navigate. Yes, the interracive elements were there, but they were both intertwined and separate to deliver one of the best site designs ever. This headcase of a site is a royal mess. What is it supposed to be, anyway? A merchandise selling hub? A cheap HP fan site? A place to expand the fandom? A way to promote upcoming movies and plays? It tries to be all that and fails. Miserably. It delivers inaccurate info *cough*Lavender Brown *cough*, ridiculous content (I mean honestly, who needs to know the ways Harry messed up the Dursleys’ day.) and fails to deliver new and fresh content from JK Rowling. It seems that everything the site stood for took a back seat for all the things I frankly don’t care about. I don’t care about the limited edition cover designs. I care about learning about the Black family. I don’t care about info on the Cursed Child, a play I will never see as it is not being performed in my country, but I’d like an article on Colin Creevy or an article explaining what happened to Sally-Anne Perks.

Please, is it too much to ask for the developers of the site to return to the drawing board? I’m not saying that the new Pottermore sucked entirely. They did some good things with it. There is potential. So why not take that potential and turn it into something magnificent? Why not return some things from the old Pottermore to improve the website? Please, Pottermore, I’m begging you. Fix yourself.

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The Dark side of Albus Dumbledore

In the Harry Potter series, Albus Dumbledore is known as a brilliant mind, a mentor to Harry and an overall supporter for all that is good and great. He is also viewed the same way in the Harry Potter fandom. I was also in the ‘Dumbledore can do no evil’ camp firmly until I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

To my horror, that view was firmly shattered only to never return.

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, there is a chapter called The Life and Les of Albus Dumbledore. In this chapter, we are given a letter written from Albus Dumbledore to Gellert Grindelwald, the Dark Lord that came before He-Whose-Nickname-Must-Be-Hyphenated and the one whom, according to his chocolate frog card, he had defeated.

The letter, which I will give below puts an entirely different perspective on the seemingly benevolent Headmaster of Hogwarts.

Gellert —

Your point about Wizard dominance being FOR THE MUGGLES’ OWN GOOD — this, I think, is the crucial point. Yes, we have been given power and yes, that power gives us the right to rule, but it also gives us responsibilities over the ruled. We must stress this point, it will be the foundation stone upon which we build. Where we are opposed, as we surely will be, this must be the basis of all our counterarguments. We seize control FOR THE GREATER GOOD. And from this it follows that where we meet resistance, we must use only the force that is necessary and no more. (This was your mistake at Durmstrang! But I do not complain, because if you had not been expelled, we would never have met.)

Albus – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowilng

Now, this letter is horrifying by itself. It completely destroys the image projected by the earlier books – that Dumbledore had always been a supporter of the non magical. Apparently, it was not the case, as he plotted domination over muggles and muggle raised alongside one of the most twisted maniacs in all of HP universe history.

The deeper implications are far more horrifying than that. Apparently, Grindelwald didn’t know how to proceed with his agenda of world domination if the line “This was your mistake at Durmstrang!” was accurate. Also, this whole letter became the Dark Lord’s inspiration as we see that after this article Hermione remarks that “For the Greater Good” was Grindelwald’s slogan and was apparently on the entrance of Nurmengard (the prison Grindelwald built for his enemies).

Now, this would be bad enough if we didn’t remember the horrors that Gellert Grindelwald did. For those unaware, Gellert Grindelwald wasn’t just your run of the mill Dark Lord. In the HP universe, he was the reason for the entire World War II with Hitler as his front on the muggle side.

That’s right, Albus Dumbledore was the inspiration for a war that had claimed the lives of a whopping over 60 million people (according to wikipedia. To put it in perspective, it is about the same number as the population of Tokyo and Jakarta combined (according to this site). Also, this war gave us concentration camps, atomic bombs and other horrors that people have nightmares about. In my book, this makes any efforts of atonement Dumbledore attempted in later life completely cheap and meaningless. How does one atone for the lives WWII stole, for those lost in Auschwitz and camps similar to it? I am quite astonished that Harry even trusts Dumbledore after that. Didn’t he have some sort of history class after that or did they not study WWII at school?

I am further astonished by the frankly weak argument Hermione states in that very chapter:

“He changed, Harry, he changed! It’s as simple as that! Maybe he did believe these things when he was seventeen, but the whole of the rest of his life was devoted to fighting the Dark Arts! Dumbledore was the one who stopped Grindelwald, the one who always voted for Muggle protection and Muggle-born rights, who fought You-Know-Who from the start, and who died trying to bring him down!” — Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowilng

The only thing I have to say to that is “Nice try, Hermione, but no dice.” I am frankly revolted at how Hermione was willing to brush off the horrendous acts that Dumbledore was responsible for and frankly, I am sick and tired of that attitude.

Albus Dumbledore fans, I beg of you wake up!

Albus Dumbledore is no hero!

Sure, he might dish out sage advice like it is his precious lemon drops, but the evidence is undoubtable!

And to anyone willing to follow Hermione’s example I have one thing to say to you: “I hope you enjoy your swim in denial.” Just please realize the magnitude of Dumbledore’s actions and don’t try to brush it off as a “youthful mistake”. Getting drunk in prom is a youthful mistake. Getting a silly tattoo is a youthful mistake. Writing letters that promote muggle subjugation “for the muggles’ own good” is NOT and NEVER WILL BE a youthful mistake.

Please understand, I didn’t intend to write this article as a Dubledore bashing article. I intended to change the minds of all of those clueless people who still think that Dumbledore is the personification of good.