As you might expect, the site is done simply enough for the younger crowd… which I think is great. Not all sections are open for testers of course but I will take you along on my journey of discovery!
You walk through the story chapter by chapter highlighting several moments in that chapter. There are objects to collect, and tidbits to read, including details written by JKR that didn't make it into the books, like chacarater backgrounds and background plot lines. (I LOVE that you can add things to your favorites to read later and that favorites are divided by characters, places, objects, and so on.) For example, when I got to Diagon Alley, I had to find my shopping list before I got go to Gringotts to get my galleons in order to start shopping.
I purchased my supplies and books as well as a cute barn owl to take with me. I also visited Ollivanders for my new wand! I had to answer 7 questions in order to help Mr. Ollivander. Interestingly enough, none of them had anything to do with wands or magic… and were similar to Myers-Briggs personality quiz questions.
My wand supposedly has a couple of rare components so I am curious as to how it will work as I move along. (and whether it is just telling me they are rare to make me feel special!)
My 14 1/2 inch wand is made of spruce, with a phoenix feather core and the flexibility is ‘hard’. According to Mr. Ollivander, here is the description of my wand:
Spruce: Unskilled wandmakers call spruce a difficult wood, but in doing so they reveal their own ineptitude. It is quite true that it requires particular deftness to work with spruce, which produces wands that are ill-matched with cautious or nervous natures, and become positively dangerous in fumbling fingers. The spruce wand requires a firm hand, because it often appears to have its own ideas about what magic it ought to be called upon to produce. However, when a spruce wand meets its match - which, in my experience, is a bold spell-caster with a good sense of humour - it becomes a superb helper, intensely loyal to their owners and capable of producing particularly flamboyant and dramatic effects.
Phoenix: This is the rarest core type. Phoenix feathers are capable of the greatest range of magic, though they may take longer than either unicorn or dragon cores to reveal this. They show the most initiative, sometimes acting of their own accord, a quality that many witches and wizards dislike. Phoenix feather wands are always the pickiest when it comes to potential owners, for the creature from which they are taken is one of the most independent and detached in the world. These wands are the hardest to tame and to personalise, and their allegiance is usually hard won.
Most wands will be in the range of between nine and fourteen inches. While I have sold extremely short wands (eight inches and under) and very long wands (over fifteen inches), these are exceptionally rare. In the latter case, a physical peculiarity demanded the excessive wand length. However, abnormally short wands usually select those in whose character something is lacking, rather than because they are physically undersized (many small witches and wizards are chosen by longer wands).
Wand flexibility or rigidity denotes the degree of adaptability and willingness to change possessed by the wand-and-owner pair - although, again, this factor ought not to be considered separately from the wand wood, core and length, nor of the owner’s life experience and style of magic, all of which will combine to make the wand in question unique.
And without further ado, the most official Sorting Hat ever says… GRYFFINDOR! Here’s my welcome message from Percy the Prefect:
Congratulations! I’m Prefect Percy Weasley, and I’m delighted to welcome you to GRYFFINDOR HOUSE. Our emblem is the lion, the bravest of all creatures; our house colours are scarlet and gold, and our common room lies up in Gryffindor Tower.
This is, quite simply, the best house at Hogwarts. It’s where the bravest and boldest end up – for instance: Albus Dumbledore! Yes, Dumbledore himself, the greatest wizard of our time, was a Gryffindor! If that’s not enough for you, I don’t know what is.
I won’t keep you long, as all you need to do to find out more about your house is to follow Harry Potter and his friends as I lead them up to their dormitories. Enjoy your time at Hogwarts – but how could you fail to? You’ve become part of the best house in the school.
(It sounds horrible to say, but I was kind of hoping for a different house as I understand you only get extra details for your house - and we know so much about Gryffindor already. BUT - The hat knows best!)
Next, I have to practice potions and spells... I'll be back with a report soon!