Pottermore Presents

October 7, 2016 at 6:00 pm (Reads)

heroismPottermore Presents by J.K. Rowling

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The Pottermore Presents series is made up of three “short story” collections: Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous HobbiesShort Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists (do you have any idea how hard it is to not force the Oxford comma into those titles?); and Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide. I was a little disappointed that the third one didn’t have an alliterative title, but let’s be honest — the third category in those first two were a bit forced anyway.

powerI put “short story” in quotes up there, because what’s contained in these collections aren’t really stories as much as they’re summaries; there are no plots, no dialogue, and no narrative here. All we get are characters notes from Rowling’s development of the larger story. It’s still interesting to learn a bit more about the characters’ backstories, but what we get for some of them is just the barest excuse for background. Remus Lupin and Minerva McGonagall get the kind of background one would expect for their prominence in the series, but Sybill Trelawney gets short shrift, and Silvanus Kettleburn feels more like an afterthought here. I’m not even sure why they included characters who didn’t get more than five pages of development, especially when the space could have been devoted to some other characters who have more relevance to the universe. In fact, some of the entries in these collections are just a handful of paragraphs.

hogwartsThe collections are broken up to focus on heroes, villains, and Hogwarts itself, accompanied with some of Rowling’s thoughts on how she came up with the characters or devices found in her books. I think these collections are more for people who just can’t get enough Harry Potter and simply have to know more. Having read these and The Cursed Child, I’m not sure that I would count myself among those readers. I did like reading how Rowling came up with character names, though; I already knew she put a lot of thought into the meanings of names, but it was neat to see the specifics.

What The World of Ice & Fire is to A Song of Ice and Fire, these collections are to the Harry Potter universe. That is, they’re not necessary, but they give a bit (small bit) more information on some of the background. Given that these are all available to read for free on Pottermore, and that they don’t go into enough additional detail to justify paying for these collections, I wouldn’t recommend them. If you have to read these, skip over these editions and go straight to the website.

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