The PotterMore/Wizarding World Merger

The Leaky Cauldron, the Sauron’s Mouth of Rowling, Inc., for fandom announcements, has announced in an “EXCLUSIVE Statement,” i.e., a press release vetted and redacted by Warner Brothers, that PotterMore is being folded into the movie goliath’s franchise.

So what? Well, it seems there will be a subscription fee to get all the content though much of it will be free to all viewers. This ‘Gold’ level membership will create access to things that those unwilling or unable to pay won’t have. I’m not sure why this upsets fandom; they pay for books and for movie tickets to gain access to entertainment they wouldn’t have otherwise, not to mention the fees paid for entry to the internet.

The bad news? The “collaboration” thing is a joke. Warner Brothers has “engulfed and devoured” (Mel Brooks fans will get that reference?) PotterMore which is now no longer a Rowling property and responsibility. I’m not sure that’s bad news if all it comes down to is one less distraction for The Presence and one more channel for Warner Brothers to market their franchise (“fan servicing”).

The good news? If you read all the way down to the bottom of the “EXCLUSIVE Statement,” you’ll find this note:

Neil Blair said in an initial statement to The Booksellerthat the new venture between Pottermore and film rights-holders Warner Bros. means that now ‘the only limits will be our imaginations and what technology is available’ when it comes to crafting digital experiences for fans. The excitement of Pottermore originally was the promise of new J.K. Rowling content, and one main question fans seem to have is how involved J.K. Rowling is at this point. The new venture is run by a collaboration between Warner Bros. and Pottermore, so in a sense this is no longer her venture, but run by a collaboration between Warner Bros and Pottermore.

We were assured that the content written for Pottermore by J.K. Rowling (including the Sorting and Patronus quizzes, etc) will all remain free to fans. The aim, we were told, is not to take away from fans — ‘if anything we’re trying to put everything in one place to give bigger and better experiences’, our spokesperson told me.

If true, then the only thing I want from this membership site (and would be willing to pay for access to) will still be available for the cost of my internet hook-up. All good. It is hard to believe, of course, that they won’t be adding EXCLUSIVE Rowling content behind a Gold membership firewall to encourage subscriptions at that level, but we’ll see.

What do you think? Though Warner Brothers denies this is a profit-taking or money-making exercise, is this “adding insult to injury,” an expression one reader used in sharing this official-via-Leaky announcement? Share your thoughts by pressing ‘Post a Comment’ up by the post’s headline and writing what you think in the comment boxes below.


  1. Brian Basore says

    Well, we’ll see how it goes. There is an expression in Doric Scots, JKR’s area, ‘gane tae potterlowe’.
    potterlowe n a broken or ruined condition, smithereens, pulp NE
    Pottermore gaed tae potterlowe? Maybe aye and maybe hooch aye.

  2. David Llewellyn Dodds says

    Aw, I can’t place that Mel Brooks ref – but a Yes Minister one springs to my mind: “the Minister’s just gone walkabout. Yes, yes, AWOL.” “Do you mean he’s loose in the building? Why didn’t you warn me?” We don’t want JKR going walkies and adding unvetted content, dear me, no! The Presence might harm the vastly more important Product! Short leash, that’s the ticket, and muzzle of course!

    We can’t have her wrong-footing so wide a spectrum of consumers by spouting her true opinions…

    Why, she whomps like a willow – topiary, that’s what we need.

  3. Joanne Gray says

    I think this is the first real (albeit *indirect) communication that we have received about what was going on behind the curtain between Rowling and Warner Brothers after the rather disappointing results of Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
    (*not directly from JKR)

    We were given press reports of the the filming of FB 3 being moved from summer to fall 2019. Then came the subsequent moving of it’s premiere from 2020 to 2021. But we have yet to hear about the situation with the screenwriting. Will JKR continue to write them or not?

    There’s a hint to the answer for that question in this “Exclusive Statement” of the new consolidation between Pottermore and Warner Brothers, which gives the impression that JK Rowling is to have somewhat less direct input. This makes me think it’s possible they have handed the screen writing off to an outside screenwriter. They would of course, have JKR provide the overarching story and details and have final approval–but have (I think) given the actual screenplay writing to another.

    I’m afraid as far as the combining of Pottermore and Warner Brothers goes I am of a pessimistic bent. When it comes to large corporations–especially large media corporations–taking over something and telling you that the “vast majority” of what was once free will remain open to people–its been my experience that the money side of things always wins out in the end. Whatever wall originally separates the free from the paid–gets thinner and thinner until cracks form and eventually open into a river that only flows towards the paid side. I would love to be proved wrong in this case. It is true that you get what you pay for and it probably will be a win in quality aspects–but it’s also true that the haves keep getting more and more while those with less keep getting left further and further behind.

    I think the one really optimistic outcome from this news will be if it frees up more time for JK Rowling to work on her novels.

  4. In Mel Brooks’ ‘Silent Movie’ the film company is purchased by the multi-national corporation ‘Engulf and Devour,’ Brooks’ not very subtle reference to ‘Gulf and Western.’

  5. Beatrice Groves says

    I did the ‘Luna Lovegood’ quiz on Pottermore recently and noticed there was a movie only question (‘what colours were the shoes that Luna lost in the film?’) which I don’t remember happening before – while Pottermore have always promoted their site through asking questions about their Pottermore-exclusive JKR content in their quizzes. It seemed to me a tiny nod in the direction this merger will take things….

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