MuggleCast 232 Transcript
[“Hedwig’s Theme” plays]
Andrew: Because JK Rowling has announced Pottermore, this is MuggleCast Episode 232 for June 23rd, 2011.
[Show music begins]
Andrew: This week’s episode of MuggleCast is brought to you by Audible.com, the Internet’s leading provider of audiobooks, with more than 75,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including fiction, non-fiction, and periodicals. For a free audiobook of your choice, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast.
And by Hypable.com, a MuggleNet for the rest of the fandoms in the world and created by MuggleNet staff. Visit Hypable.com for thorough and up-to-the-minute coverage around The Hunger Games, Glee, Doctor Who, The Hobbit, and many more. That’s Hypable.com, H-Y-P-A-B-L-E dot com.
[Show music continues]
Andrew: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. We are here live. It’s very early.
Andrew: I’m Andrew Sims. This is MuggleCast Live coming at you at 3:56 AM, West Coast time.
Andrew: Ben is just barely awake, sitting right in front of me. Good morning, Ben.
Ben: Good morning, Andrew. I feel rather zombie like here.
Andrew: I’m feeling quite fresh. I just ate some cantaloupe and egg white.
Ben: I know.
Andrew: I’m about to start some coffee.
Ben: I smelled the egg white when I walked in.
Andrew: Just wait until I start that coffee, baby. Also, on Skype, Micah and Eric. Hello gentlemen.
Andrew: And we all…
What Is Pottermore?: More Theories
Andrew: We are all anxiously awaiting the arrival of Pottermore. This is something we found out about, about a week ago, I think. Ben, what are your guesses? We have yet to hear your guesses. What is Pottermore?
Ben: What is Pottermore? I mean, I think the timing of this is pretty obvious.
Andrew: Really? What’s so obvious?
Ben: Well, I mean, the last movie is about to come out so people are going to be looking for something to cope with, all the movies being over, because the vibe I’ve been getting is a lot of people are pretty sad about the movies coming to an end.
Andrew: Yeah. So do you think this is going to be a supplement to the films or the books, or what?
Ben: I think it’s going to be a supplement to the books.
Ben: Because I think after – you know with the Lexicon trials, Steve Vander Ark?
Andrew: Oh, yes.
Ben: JK Rowling was like, “I’m emotionally exhausted, I can’t do an encyclopedia, I don’t have the energy to do that anymore because he’s already done something so close to that.”
Ben: And maybe this is something that’s more creative and along…
Ben: …those same lines.
Andrew: All right, fair enough. There have been a lot of rumors going around. People have been breaking down – people are thinking the word “more” is an anagram for something. They think it stands for something.
Eric: Well, funny enough, Andrew, I looked up “more” in the dictionary and tried to come up with – I looked up ten definitions of “more” trying to discern if any of them had anything to do with something that could be related to Potter. So yeah, I’m on that bandwagon too. I’m looking it up. I smell conspiracy.
Andrew: So here’s what’s going to be happening: at 7:00 AM on the dot, East Coast time, we will be playing the audio. I have the YouTube channel up. We are ready to go. It’s just a matter of – we’re about ninety seconds away if we believe this owl countdown to be accurate. And from what I understand the video will be embed-able, so we will be able to post it on MuggleNet and [clears throat] Hypable as well. And… [laughs]
Ben: It’s a video.
Andrew: It’s a video.
Andrew: Yeah. And we’re going to be able to watch.
Eric: Can I just say, I hope these owls stay after the video. I hope they come back. I hope they don’t disappear for good. I am quite fond of these owls.
Micah: Are you going to clean up after them?
Eric: Well – okay, if I could take one of them home, though, I would take the one on the lower right, like almost the lower, lower right one but the one just above him, and he just bobs his head like a bobble head when you – the other owls shuffle and clean themselves off but this guy, the one I’m looking at, just bobs his head. It’s quite like A Night at the Roxbury to Haddaway’s “What Is Love?” He just – [singing] “Do do do do do do do.”
Andrew: 3,200 people right now, joining us this morning. We thank everybody for getting up this early. I did not think that many people would be up, but hey, it’s a JK Rowling announcement, so…
Andrew: It’s party time, baby.
Eric: My video says what, twenty-five seconds? That’s crazy.
Andrew: We’re about twenty seconds away now. We will be bringing you the video the moment it’s available.
Eric: What’s going to happen? Is this page going to just dissolve into a video?
JK Rowling’s Pottermore Announcement Video
Andrew: Okay! The countdown says zero seconds, so here we go.
Eric: Fade to white.
Andrew: This is it. And here is the announcement.
[Audio clip plays]
JK Rowling: Thirteen years after the first Harry Potter book was published, I’m still astonished and delighted by the response the stories met. Even though the seventh book and the eighth film have now been completed, I’m still receiving hundreds of letters every week, and Harry‘s fans remain as enthusiastic and inventive as ever. So I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you, because no author could have asked for a more wonderful, diverse, and loyal readership. I’m thrilled to say that I am now in a position to give you something unique: an online reading experience unlike any other. It’s called Pottermore. It’s the same story, with a few crucial additions, the most important one is you. Just as the experience of reading requires that the imaginations of the author and reader work together to create the story, so Pottermore will be built in part by you, the reader. The digital generation will be able to enjoy a safe, unique online reading experience built around the Harry Potter books. Pottermore will be the place where fans of any age can share, participate in, and rediscover the stories. It will also be the exclusive place to purchase digital audiobooks, and for the first time, e-books of the Harry Potter series. I’ll be joining in too, because I will be sharing additional information I’ve been hoarding for years about the world of Harry Potter. Pottermore is open to everyone from October, but a lucky few can enter early and help shape the experience. Simply, follow the owl. Good luck.
[Audio clip ends]
Andrew: So there you go. The announcement was just made, right on the dot. That was actually pretty well done. Beautiful video. Jo looked great, by the way.
Eric: She looked great. The CGI looked great. Or magic. Should I just say “magic”? The magic looked great.
Andrew: Micah, what do you think?
Micah: So in part, it is an encyclopedia.
Andrew: Yes. I think basically that’s what she just announced. She said there’s going to be a variety of new material available.
Eric: And material which she has been hoarding. [laughs]
Andrew: She has been hoarding over the years, yes. It’ll be available, she said, in the fall. It opens up in October.
Micah: Well, this is good.
Eric: And she said a lucky few…
Micah: We know hoarding is a problem, so…
Micah: …it’s good that she’s getting rid of all this.
Eric: She’s going to attack it.
Eric: So, a lucky few will be able to enter early? Follow the owl? It’s a shadow.
Andrew: Where does it say that?
Eric: That’s what she said.
Andrew: Oh, a few people will…
Eric: Yes, that’s what she said.
Andrew: Okay, so there will also be what appears to be a Beta period.
Ben: Yeah, but she said to follow the owl. I was just like…
Andrew: Well go, Ben! Go!
Ben: I know!
Andrew: Go follow the owl!
Ben: That’s exactly what I was thinking…
Ben: …as I was watching that. I was like, “Well, where is the owl going?”
Ben: I don’t have a computer this morning because if I trip over the firewire cable we’re going to lose the video. But I just want to say that this is absolutely incredible. That was a very awesome announcement and I feel like this shifts the online Harry Potter landscape to a certain degree.
Andrew: How so? How so?
Ben: Because she’s coming in and saying this is going to be the destination for all future generations to learn about Harry Potter. Online, anyways.
Andrew: The video was very well done. We saw a variety – the paper from the books kind of came to life and made shapes. Did anybody else notice that? That was really cool.
Eric: That was what I was referring to as the CGI or the magic.
Andrew: Oh. And Jo looked beautiful, by the way.
Eric: She did, she did.
Ben: What about the other announcements, the e-books? I think that’s pretty cool.
Andrew: Those are going to be available in the fall as well.
Eric: Now, what did she mean that we’re going to be able to add to the books? What did she mean by that?
Andrew: I guess by the new material.
Eric: But she’s – well, she said it was more of an interactive – much like something I’ve studied before in class was the relationship between the author and the readers both together, working together, forming meaning. And she said something about that early on, where we’re like, it’s going to be a new experience where we almost participate in writing the – rewriting the Harry Potter books. That’s what it sounded like at first. Can we replay the video?
Andrew: Yeah, absolutely. Let’s listen again. There was obviously a lot to say and, quite frankly, I was just staring at Jo.
Eric: Yeah, me too.
Andrew: I didn’t know what – what did she say? Somebody tell me.
[Andrew cues the audio clip]
Andrew: Here we go.
Andrew: Fullscreen, Ben?
[Audio clip plays again]
Andrew: So from what I understand – people in the chat are saying you have to click the owl to sort of head into this thing where you can then sign up for registration, I believe. Is that right?
Eric: Let’s see if it’s…
Andrew: Oh, here we go. Okay, so on Pottermore.com you can watch the video and you can also submit your e-mail. “Leave us your e-mail address now and we’ll notify you when registration has opened.”
Ben: I don’t think that’s “following the owl.”
Andrew: Well, I think on Pottermore.com it kind of…
Ben: That’s “following the owl”?
Eric: Well, you know how on YouTube…
Andrew: Ben, how could you possibly follow a virtual owl?
Eric: Hang on.
Eric: Do you know how on YouTube, you can click certain – there’s like embedded in the video – like I clicked the owl, but it just paused the video. I must be a Muggle. It’s not letting me in.
Andrew: Something – well, just go to Pottermore.com and it has all the answers.
Andrew: The e-mail submission does seem to be down. That’s probably just because it is so busy right now with people trying to sign up. That is honestly not too big of a surprise.
Ben: Andrew, did you get submitted?
Andrew: No, I can’t submit my e-mail.
Before we continue with today’s episode of MuggleCast, we’d like to remind you that this episode is brought to you by Audible.com, the Internet’s leading provider of audiobooks, with more than 75,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature and featuring audio versions of many New York Times Bestsellers. For listeners of this podcast, Audible is offering a free audiobook to give you a chance to try out their great service. One audiobook to consider is The Hunger Games, the first in a trilogy of the same name. The series is hotter than ever right now because filming for the movie adaptation recently got underway. It’s one book and film series you are not going to want to miss. So, for a free audiobook of your choice, such as The Hunger Games, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast. Again, that’s AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast.
News: Scholastic Issues Press Release on Pottermore
Andrew: Oh wait, breaking news. Breaking news just coming into the MuggleCast studio. We have a statement on JK Rowing’s Pottermore announcement from Scholastic. Scholastic says:
“Scholastic is proud to be a key partner in the Pottermore project, including connecting teachers and parents from our school and online channels directly to e-book sales via Pottermore, and providing marketing and promotion support. We’re excited about the new content from JK Rowling to go along with the books. This will surely inspire more interest in the series and bring a whole new generation of readers to ‘Harry Potter’. We’re pleased to support Pottermore because we know the power of the ‘Harry Potter’ books to turn kids into lifelong readers, and we believe every child should experience ‘Harry Potter’ – whether in e-books or in print. In addition, Scholastic will receive a royalty on sales of the US editions of the e-books.”
Sony’s Logo on Pottermore.com
Andrew: So if you’ll notice on Pottermore’s website there is something interesting there. It says in the top right – and very honestly, this is very un-JK Rowling to me. It says “Sony” in the top right of Pottermore.com.
Eric: [laughs] Okay.
Andrew: So – yeah, that’s very – you know how in the Wizarding World theme park they’re like, “No Pepsi because this is a complete experience. We don’t want anything from the Muggle world”? This is kind of like not following that rule.
Eric: I think they probably had something to do with the technology that’s going to be released or utilized here.
Andrew: People are telling me to click the “Sony” and I’m trying to click it but again, the website is loading very slow right now.
Eric: I can click it. It goes back to…
Micah: Do you want me to read it?
Andrew: Okay, here – I got it. I got it, yeah. “Pottermore is an online reading experience. It will also be the exclusive place to purchase e-books.” Oh okay, note from Jo:
“I am delighted that Sony have chosen to support Pottermore and look forward to continuing to develop the experience in collaboration with them.”
Eric: That’s what I’m saying.
News: JK Rowling Issues Her Seventh Tweet
Andrew: We have a breaking news update as well: JK Rowling has issued her seventh tweet…
Andrew: …in the two years that she has had Twitter.
Andrew: It says – and it’s kind of a play on her previous tweets. It says:
“I can confirm this is also the real me…”
And she links to her YouTube channel.
“You can follow @pottermore for all the details.”
Eric: But she didn’t say what the pen and paper were.
Andrew: Well, I think this is absolutely pen and paper. She said, “New material.”
Ben: Yeah, there is a lot of paperwork.
Andrew: Yeah, there is a lot of paperwork here. And she’s got to make those deals with Sony. [laughs] No, but a lot of new material. Does anyone want to guess what kind of new material – the level of new material we may possibly see?
Eric: No. I don’t…
Ben: I mean, maybe some background – [laughs] you could hear a pin drop in here for a second!
Andrew: [laughs] I know!
Ben: It is early!
Andrew: What is it, 4:00 AM?
Ben: [laughs] Yeah.
Ben: I think some more of the backstory, obviously. Some more details about the characters. There are probably some questions that she’s been asked a lot that she hasn’t answered that people want to know. In the video, she said it’s built in part by you, so I’m not sure what that means. I think that means there’s this whole community aspect to it, so you interact with each other, because she said it would be a good place for people who like Harry Potter to share, participate, and rediscover the series.
Andrew: Micah, what ideas do you have about this?
Micah: No, I agree with what Ben said. I mean, there are so many different elements to this. And I’m kind of surprised. I mean, she seemed so hesitant with e-books prior to this point and now all of a sudden she’s embracing them. What do you think about that?
Andrew: Well, e-books are moving – e-books are the future. That’s – I’m not saying they’re going to replace books but that’s an important aspect, and if she wants to reach out to people who own Kindles and are only using Kindles, that’s the way to do it. And she can sell them for cheap.
Eric: Yeah. I’m not going to be critical, I’m going to say the Internet is probably the fastest way to reach everybody. So, there’s no better way to do it, especially something like this.
Andrew: So is everybody excited? I’m looking at the chat right now. There’s a lot of reactions. I noticed somebody earlier did say this is not as exciting as a book announcement.
Eric: [laughs] Because that’s what specifically they said, right? That it’s not a Harry Potter book but it’s just as exciting as a Harry Potter?
MuggleCast 232 Transcript (continued)
News: Fan Site Press Release
Andrew: Right, right. Okay, more breaking news here. MuggleCast Live, it’s 4:12 AM on the West Coast, and I am downloading the fan site press release. I expect this to have images of Pottermore. People in the chat say that – oh, isn’t this sweet? It’s a picture of Jo shooting the announcement. That’s really nice. We’ll have that up on MuggleNet soon. So I got a preview of Pottermore a couple of weeks ago and last night I said, “Can we talk about what we saw?” And they said, “No.” [laughs] So…
Andrew: …that’s going to have to wait a little while longer. But I genuinely hope that Pottermore does continue the Harry Potter fandom in some aspect. Now, right now we just have to look forward to the opening of it which is not until the fall, so we do have quite a bit of time. And apparently in the meantime there’s going to be early access for people if we’re to believe what Jo said on the website. Of course, the only issue is now people can’t submit their e-mail address, so hopefully that’s going to start working once traffic dies down a little bit.
Ben: So Andrew, over or under – first day Pottermore comes out in October – or actually even before that. The people who are signing up right now, okay?
Ben: More or less than five million?
Andrew: I would say under five million people. There’s a press release available now which kind of reveals a few more details, and I’ll read it to you. Quote:
“In the new website, the storyline will be brought to life with sumptuous newly-commissioned illustrations and interactive ‘Moments’ through which you can navigate, starting with the first book, ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s (Sorcerer’s) Stone’.”
Eric: Woah, woah, where is this coming from?
Micah: Andrew is just making it up.
Andrew: This is a press release.
“On entering, you choose a magic username and begin your experience. As you move through the chapters, you can read and share exclusive writing from JK Rowling, and, just as Harry joins Hogwarts, so can you. You visit Diagon Alley, get sorted into a house, cast spells, and mix potions to help your house compete for the House Cup.”
Okay, so this is kind of sounding like almost a game experience which there were rumors about.
Eric: And it sounds like a lot of these scenes in the books – because she described going through in order by chapter and stopping for exclusive content. It sounds like there will be like extended scenes, perhaps, in the books, or this is where she’ll stop us and reveal more backstory as we somehow go along.
Andrew: Well, in this press release, it says you move through the book by chapter.
Micah: So you’re living the book. Or books.
Andrew: Yeah, and I think it sounds like it almost will serve as a sort of companion where you have the book open right in front of you or your e-book, and you’re in Chapter 1 on Pottermore and Chapter 1 in the actual book. You read Chapter 1 and then maybe bounce over to Pottermore, and then you see exclusive content, “Moments.”
Eric: So it’s like one huge video game where each chapter of the Harry Potter books are like levels.
Ben: Imagine it’s like…
[Andrew hums Super Mario Bros. level music, Eric laughs]
Ben: …the digital footnotes. If JK Rowling was to go back and do footnotes for the Harry Potter books…
Ben: …that’s what this would be except online and look awesome-er.
Andrew: AccioSarah in the chat says:
“My little siblings are going to love this!”
Now, here’s something interesting:
“…starting with the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s (Sorcerer’s) Stone.”
I don’t know – well, never mind. JK Rowling commented in the press release:
“I wanted to give something back to the fans that have followed Harry so devotedly over the years, and to bring the stories to a new digital generation. I hope fans and those new to Harry will have as much fun helping to shape Pottermore as I have. Just as I have contributed to the website, everyone else will be able to join in by submitting their own comments, drawings, and other content in a safe and friendly environment. Pottermore has been designed as a place to share the stories with your friends as you journey through the site.”
So there is kind of a social media aspect to it.
Eric: Wow, how are they going to moderate five hundred million comments? I do not want that job.
Ben: Five hundred million?
Eric: Yeah, just a number.
Andrew: Well, I don’t – I wonder what she means…
Eric: I mean, if everybody who visits is going to be able to comment, you can just imagine. That’s – I mean, we have trouble editing MuggleNet comments. And this is JK Rowling. I mean, she can’t do all that work herself, obviously, but – I’m saying, “Who would want to?” but also that’s quite a lot of people who are able to comment and collaborate.
Eric: It’s like a traffic jam. They need lights.
Andrew: Well, let’s see how they handle it, though. I imagine they know there’s going to be a lot of people using this.
Eric: That’s what I’m saying.
Andrew: I don’t think it’s going to be something like the MuggleNet comments board.
[Andrew and Ben laugh]
Eric: No, no, no. But there has to be a whole team of people, I’m saying. Like, that’s so fascinating.
Micah: Are you saying you want to go and sign up and…
Andrew: Do you want to work for Pottermore?
Eric: Yeah. I want to be a Pottermore moderator, yeah.
Andrew: Well, if anybody is just joining us, it’s now close to 4:20 AM in the morning, West Coast time, and we’re just learning about this new announcement that JK Rowling has made concerning Pottermore. JK Rowling was looking – I’m sorry, I’m just going to be frank – as beautiful and sexy as ever on the YouTube video. And I’m going to make a poll right now on the live-stream asking people, “What do you think of Pottermore? Does it excite you?” And I’m going to type up this poll right now. Eric, tell me a reaction you had while watching that video of JK Rowling.
Eric: I love that this is content coming straight from Jo. And the way the video opens up, with her talking about how devoted the fans have been and how she wanted to give something back. Like, she doesn’t owe us anything. She gave us the Harry Potter books. But this notion that she is giving us this new thing is just so gracious, and she is awesome and this video is great. This announcement really excites me.
Andrew: We now have a poll on the Ustream: “Is the Pottermore announcement exciting?” And you can access it…
[Andrew and Ben laugh]
Andrew: Simple enough for you?
Ben: [laughs] Yes.
Andrew: You can access it. I don’t see results coming in yet, but…
Ben: I think it’s pretty exciting. If anybody is up at this hour for this, particularly if you’re on the West Coast, you know.
Ben: What does this mean for MuggleCast?
Andrew: [laughs] I don’t know what it means for MuggleCast. I mean, we’re at least going through the fall.
Ben: Now, what about MuggleNet and the fan sites?
Eric: Yeah, we just send all our viewers to Pottermore. Is that what you’re saying, Ben?
Andrew: Well, I think it’s very exciting because this new information means new stuff to discuss on podcasts like MuggleCast. We’re going to be posting all the new information on MuggleNet. It’s definitely a very exciting time, I think. Again, I genuinely hope this is going to re-ignite the fandom.
Ben: Andrew, so if we’re doing this at 4:00 AM, can we pretty much guarantee that in October we’ll go into it together on Skype on MuggleCast…
Ben: …when it happens?
Andrew: [hums “Chariots of Fire”] It’s going to be like a grand entrance into the mysterious world that is still Pottermore.
Eric: If the content on Pottermore is divided by chapter, on MuggleCast will we be doing Chapter-by-Chapter-by-Chapter focusing on Pottermore?
[Andrew and Ben laugh]
Andrew: Yes. Yeah, we’re going to be going moment by moment.
Andrew: Yeah. I’m trying to create a poll, but it doesn’t seem to be working on the Ustream right now, and I will blame that on Ustream because I am doing everything right.
News: JKRowling.com Updated with Pottermore News
Micah: Oh, Andrew, another news update here. JKRowling.com has actually been updated [laughs] to…
Andrew: No way.
Micah: The Daily News section now has a piece on Pottermore.
Andrew: Oh my goodness, you know this is big news when that happens.
Eric: Does it say – is it different, is it different?
Andrew: People keep telling me there are pictures. If somebody could link me to them somewhere else other than Pottermore, I’d appreciate that, because I keep trying to go on Pottermore and so far, I’ve seen nothing.
Ben: This is a very active day for JK Rowling.
Ben: She has a tweet, a website update, and this giant online interactive community that changes the way people are going to be able to experience Harry Potter.
Eric: Yeah, which one of those do you think is the most…
Ben: I think that is why it’s such a huge announcement, though.
Andrew: It is.
Eric: Because she tweeted.
Ben: Because… [laughs]
Andrew: Well, we haven’t gotten a new announcement from JK Rowling in about four years. So that’s part of the reason why everybody…
Andrew: …is so excited. Eric?
Eric: Dumbledore being gay was the last one, right?
Andrew: [laughs] Yes!
Eric: “You may have recently -” okay, here is what it says on the JK Rowling site:
“Pottermore. You may have recently noticed a number of owls on various websites leading you to a YouTube film, where I have announced my latest, exciting piece of news. Pottermore is a new web site, where you can enjoy an online experience based around the ‘Harry Potter’ books, which includes exclusive new information from me. If you would like to see the announcement film please click here. Whilst you’ll hear more from me on pottermore.com at the moment, jkrowling.com remains my own personal website for various content such as updated biography and bibliography, and links to relevant organisations, including the charities I support.”
Andrew: And new book announcements. I mean, eventually she’s going to use that to announce future books, right?
Eric: I guess.
Andrew: How could she not?
Eric: Or she’ll start another Splash page somewhere owls will gather and people will wonder how to clean up with them. Did she say she updated the biography?
Andrew: I don’t know, who cares. On Pottermore.com, it says: “Come back on July 31st to find out how you can get the chance to enter Pottermore early.” So by submitting your e-mail today, you’re not actually getting on the guest list. July 31st seems to be the date where Pottermore will actually be – you’ll be able to get in.
Eric: Maybe it broke already. We broke it already.
Andrew: I asked people on the chat to send me a link and – oh, here we go, okay. People are Tumbling pictures of it already. Pottermore – here, I’m going to try to show this to you, at least, Ben. Unfortunately, this is not going to show up for other people, but there is a look at some of the pictures from Pottermore and it looks very detailed. The art looks very fine.
Andrew: Guys, if you want to look in the chat, people do have links there in the chat. If you’ll notice the picture of the Hogwarts Express, it doesn’t look all cartoony, sort of like the material on JK Rowling’s website does. So this lends a lot of authenticity to it, if you ask me. And then at the top of Pottermore.com, you can see a sort of navigation bar with a variety of links up top. But the images are so small you really can’t get a look at the detail, at least not right now.
Micah: You can’t make out what they say?
Andrew: No. Can you?
Micah: Yeah. The one that I’m on, I see “Diagon Alley,” “Gringotts,” “Great Hall,” “Common Room” on the left-hand side, and then on the right, “Spells,” “Potions,” “Trunk,” “Friends,” and “Favorites.”
Andrew: So, those are all pages you’re going to be able to access.
Micah: It looks like it, yeah. It’s probably your home base, I guess, in case you need to go really quickly to one spot or another.
Andrew: Yeah. Okay, I’m looking at the big links now. And you can also – this is a – we’re looking at a user profile, and the specific user can get house points as well as – you can see total house points as well as what house you’re in. And then there’s an owl that has a little “40” next to it, which seems to indicate new messages or something. So this is a bit of a social network which is interesting, but there’s also going to be this original content spin to it as well, with all the exclusive material.
Eric: Wow. Yeah, the Facebook page has this chess scene and that’s where you’re on, the chessboard chamber, when you first enter the site.
Andrew: Okay. So we should probably start to wrap this up. Again, JK Rowling…
Ben: How many people are in the chat right now?
Andrew: 4,400 people tuning in today for – tuning in this morning for MuggleCast Live.
Eric: Just like old times.
Ben: That is a good number of people.
Micah: It was over 5,000 at one point.
Andrew: Uh oh. Okay, and – so these – the images – you can take a look at the images. They’re going to be on MuggleNet soon once the podcast is over. And we’ll soon – we’re going to have more information. [laughs] There’s still a lot to digest here. Some people are kind of unsure of things because we haven’t really gotten a look that probably everybody was expecting. Micah and Eric, was this something that you guys expected?
Micah: You mean…
Andrew: I mean, were you expecting more, or were you disappointed?
Micah: Not necessarily. I think it was clear that it was going to be an announcement, and I think [laughs] that’s exactly what it was. I wasn’t looking forward to anything in particular. It looks like we’re going to get a pretty good sneak peek from these photos, and who knows? I mean, in the next several weeks leading up to July 31st we may get more of a look at it.
Ben: Hey, is there a press conference going on right now?
Andrew: I believe so, but it’s not being broadcast or anything.
Ben: Oh. Because I saw a tweet.
Andrew: Yeah. JK Rowling – and we did post this yesterday. JK Rowling was expected to do a press conference. I understand there’s not supposed to be any video or pictures, but I imagine there’ll be reports from the press who actually were invited. So we’ll have that information once the reporters get their stuff up.
Ben: Somebody from the Twitterverse here:
“I love how JKR still has so much power over this. I woke up voluntarily at 4 AM for a one-and-a-half-minute video, and so did everyone else.”
Andrew: See, that’s why I think some people are a bit disappointed right now.
Andrew: Because there was this buildup to an announcement for a ninety-second thing.
Eric: Well, the announcement did what it had to do, and it was actually beautiful, too, the video. And Jo was beautiful, as you said. I think what I’m surprised about is that she’s using – she’s going to be using the books to expand them, and you can focus more on them. And that’s just awesome. That’s just absolutely awesome. I’m really excited.
Ben: JK Rowling just does a great job of just giving a little taste just to wet our appetites, you know?
Ben: So there’s going to be even more people and then even more hype surrounding it, come October.
Ben: They’re good at building it up.
News: One Million Pottermore Beta Invites To Go Out
Andrew: Okay, so here we go: “On July 31st, an online challenge will be launched on pottermore.com. One million of those successfully completing it will be granted early access to the Beta version of the website…”
Eric: I hope it’s easier then the WOMBATs. Those were intense.
Andrew: [laughs] “…enabling them to help put finishing touches before it opens to all in October.” Okay, so one million Beta invites going out.
Ben: One million.
Andrew: One million! I…
Ben: So was my five million estimate…
Andrew: Way under.
Eric: Well, what about my 500 million?
Andrew: But still, one million.
Eric: I mean, you think they are going to have to moderate that many comments?
[Andrew and Ben laugh]
Ben: Yes. I mean, 500 million comments? I mean, you could probably do 500 million comments in a year.
Andrew: Hold on, am I crazy? One million. Do one million people use the – okay, one million people obviously…
Eric: [imitating Dr. Evil from Austin Powers] One million.
Andrew: …use the Internet.
Andrew: But I’m thinking, are one million people actually going to even be interested in Pottermore before July? Or before October? Does that seem really big to anyone? What I think this means is anybody who is listening to this chat right now will have no problem getting a Beta invite. [laughs]
Micah: Well no, Kevin Steck, we’re going to have him build a bot so we can take up all the usernames.
Andrew: [mocking Kevin Steck] He can secure some invite codes.
Ben: [laughs] We’re going to start selling Beta invites.
Micah: It’s actually – I mean, I don’t think it’s a lot. Seven million people, eight million people live in New York City alone. I’m not saying they’re all Harry Potter fans and going to jump on Pottermore, but think about throughout the world. One million is not a lot.
Ben: Yeah, I mean, the books have sold – in the United States alone – how many copies did Deathly Hallows sell that first night? Like, ten million or something?
Andrew: Something like that. But does this being an online experience somewhat affect the total number of people who are actually going to experience it?
Ben: What do you mean?
Eric: To some extent, but you’ve got to draw the line somewhere, and 500, 600 million is a safe line.
Andrew: My personal opinion is that not as many people have access to the Internet as they do to books, or – right. Yeah, not as many people have access to the Internet as they do to books, so will that kind of hurt Pottermore?
Ben: No, because global Internet usage has continued to rise and is only going to continue to increase. So in terms of preserving the Harry Potter brand, this is the best move for JK Rowling because now she’s going to have all of these Harry Potter fans in one place experiencing her stuff, and whatever she wants to – if she wants to do another Harry Potter related book, or any other product related to Harry Potter in the future, she’ll have the perfect place to reach everybody. And whatever she wants to send everyone to next, whatever her next work is, then this is a great platform to launch that.
Andrew: I’m looking at one of the stills from Pottermore and how it looks – like the press release said, you kind of go by chapter. And if you look at the red still – I’m sorry I can’t put it up on Ustream, but if you look at the red image – this person is in Gryffindor – there’s dots. And it looks like you’re slowly moving through a sort of timeline on the dots using this, through the Sorcerer’s Stone book. So there’s still a lot of questions to be answered here. I genuinely hope everybody is excited. Can I just get some reaction in the chat? That would be good.
Micah: I’m just interested to see how she’s going to release all this content. She obviously has an endless supply of it. And just to see – is it stuff you’re going to be able to unlock over the course of the time that you use Pottermore? It kind of makes it, in a way, never-ending if she just has countless things that she can share with us.
Eric: Oh, I hope we don’t have to unlock it. I hope we don’t have to work hard for this stuff.
Ben: Oh, you know we will.
Eric: No, I really hope we don’t.
Andrew: This is definitely a real opportunity for JK Rowling…
Micah: But isn’t that the fun of it, though?
Andrew: Unlocking stuff? Oh, absolutely.
Eric: No, no, no.
Andrew: That’s what made JK Rowling’s website so great back in the day. You had to tap the bricks to get the clue…
Eric: Okay, tapping the bricks was fun. You’re right, you’re right.
Andrew: …about the Half-Blood Prince and whatnot.
Ben: The only time they ever messed up was the Sorcerer’s Stone DVD. Remember the games on there?
Ben: How impossible those were?
Andrew: That was very annoying.
Andrew: You had to hit the bricks in a certain order to see the deleted scenes.
Eric: Those were not JK Rowling’s fault. A lot of the comments that I’ve been reading, “Excited,” “Excited,” “Really, really, really excited,” “Excited, but cautious.” “Kind of want to know how it’s going to come out.” This is stuff – I agree, I wonder how – but I’m just totally excited to have new content.
Ben: Is this just laying – sorry, go ahead.
Eric: And the idea that it’s these same old books but with a new interactive way to view them and stopping points and home pages that reflect what chapter you’re on. This is all good stuff.
Andrew: I’m sorry – somebody in the chat pointed this out to me. I missed her name. But the red screen that I just mentioned before, that’s actually all seven books and it shows you kind of an overview of your progress through the series. So that’s something to keep in mind. That’s not all the chapters. But like the press release said, it does appear to be somewhat of a [laughs] Chapter-by-Chapter – quoting the MuggleCast segment – move. But we’ll find out more in due time.
Listener Feedback: Pottermore App?
Micah: Hey Andrew, some people…
Micah: …are asking about, “Will there be an app for Pottermore?”
Andrew: Good question. I mean, it wasn’t announced, so – but I could see this being very cool on an iPad.
Ben: Yeah, I think there definitely – there has to be an app at some point.
Andrew: Yeah, if JK Rowling wants to move into the digital revolution right now with the iPad and stuff, just to do e-books would kind of be a couple of years behind.
Ben: It’ll be selling herself short.
Andrew: Well, here’s one problem: this site must be very Flash heavy, so you’re not going to be able to load this up on an iPad and just…
Ben: Oh, this is true.
Andrew: They will need a special app.
Ben: Do you think that this might be laying the foundation for a Harry Potter virtual reality?
Ben: Like, one day we’re all going to get special goggles that like suck us into Hogwarts…
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Ben: …and all that good stuff.
Andrew: So this is a step in that direction? I’m not sure.
Eric: It could not come a day too soon, I’ll tell you that.
Listener Feedback: Pottermore vs. A Physical Encyclopedia
Andrew: Somebody in the chat says, “Does this mean no encyclopedia?” Little Lady asked that. I guess so.
Eric: Yeah, I think that’s what that means.
Andrew: Yeah, which – I don’t know what to think of that. It would be nice to have a physical copy of an encyclopedia to page through and read. Does that disappoint you guys at all?
Eric: Not really.
Ben: I mean, paper is so…
Andrew: So ’90s.
Ben: Yeah. [laughs]
Andrew: No, no, a physical encyclopedia would be very nice to have, I think.
Eric: Well, I think we’ll be compiling through our news postings some of the information that’s released, and it will definitely be very easily accessible. Even if it’s like one of those things where it’s like when you read through the books and you’re collecting these extra facts. If there’s then a little box on the right-hand side that says “Inventory,” and you just open up your bag and there’s all the stuff you’ve collected, and it’s like these extra tidbits, that begins to add up to where you can easily find all the extra bits. And then it’ll be like having the encyclopedia because it’ll be a quick reference, it’ll be everything you need that you’ve seen.
Andrew: All right…
Ben: JK Rowling has killed more trees than…
Ben: Her work has killed more trees than any book on the planet.
Andrew: So by doing Pottermore, is it kind of helpful?
Ben: Yeah, I would say it’s like balancing out.
Andrew: Yeah, it is.
Andrew: No, it’s cool. I’m glad – and we saw, with JK Rowling making her first official YouTube and Twitter account. She’s stepping towards the digital age, finally. So it’s good to see, and now with the Harry Potter books finally being converted into e-books, millions of people – I guarantee, millions have illegally downloaded digital copies of the Harry Potter books because they haven’t been available!
Eric: I wonder…
Ben: And what do you think…
Eric: Go ahead, Ben.
Ben: Oh, I was going to say if you think this means anything for a YouTube career for Jo. [laughs]
Eric: I was going to say.
[Andrew and Ben laugh]
Eric: What do you think it will take for her eighth tweet? [laughs] If it took Pottermore to make her tweet for the seventh time, when do you think she’ll next tweet?
Andrew: I don’t know.
Ben: Probably October when it comes out.
Andrew: Do you think by the whole YouTube video thing she’s going to start releasing new videos, and then at end she’s going to be like, “Hey guys, don’t forget to like and subscribe my videos!”
[Andrew and Ben laugh]
Andrew: “Sub for sub!”
Eric: JoTube. [laughs]
Andrew: Well, this has been a very eventful morning and the sun isn’t even up yet on the West Coast, so we thank everybody for tuning in.
Ben: Oh, show’s over?
Andrew: Well, Micah and Eric have got to go.
Ben: Oh, okay.
Andrew: Yeah, we’ve got to keep things moving. We’re going to be updating MuggleNet throughout the morning with the latest Pottermore developments as we dig into the press release and find little, little hints and details, as many as we can find.
Ben: Andrew is over here working his sources on his iPhone.
Andrew: Yes, I’m going to try to figure what’s going on with that iPad app for everybody. I’m also going to figure out if one million people are actually going to be joining the Beta of Pottermore. [laughs] I really don’t think they’re going to hit a million, but okay. So it’s been a fun show. Ben, thanks for being up. You didn’t sleep last night, so…
Andrew: …I appreciate it and goodnight!
Ben: No man, I was working on other stuff.
Andrew: All right.
Ben: But I’m here.
Andrew: Micah and Eric, have a good day. This will be available – see, now I feel bad because there are 63 – oh, that may be total views. I can’t tell how many people are actually listening live right now.
Ben: What do you mean?
[Show music begins]
Andrew: Well, it says 6,300 people, but I don’t know if I believe that number. And now it says zero.
Andrew: So, who knows what…
Ben: Oh my.
Micah: Everybody just left.
Eric: It’s time to stop.
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, everybody left at the same time. So, thank you everybody for listening. It’s been a lot of fun. More coverage throughout the day on MuggleNet.com. This podcast will be available for download very soon. Goodbye!
Eric: You’re Andrew Sims, that guy’s Ben Schoen, I’m Eric Scull, and with me right here is Micah Tannenbaum.
[Show music continues]