J.K. Rowling Unveils “Pottermore”

For weeks, a cryptic website called "Pottermore," bearing the signature of author J.K. Rowling, has teased fans with a countdown timer ticking off toward an undisclosed "announcement."

Well, now we know what it's all about.

Rowling has announced that she has roughly 18,000 words of new Harry Potter material that will form the basis of a new interactive web site. The site will combine elements of gaming and social networking and hopes to give fans an immersive experience into the world of Death Eaters and house elves.

"[It's] a way I can be creative in a medium that didn't exist when I started the books back in 1990," Rowling said, explaining that she had a treasure trove of "stories, drawings, ideas, suggestions" that might not get used otherwise.

Rowling also insists in calling the project an "online reading experience" and not just a tie-in game.

Users will be able to "attend" Hogwarts School (they are even placed into houses by the "Sorting Hat"), shop in Diagon Alley, and travel on the iconic Hogwarts train.

Rowling also revealed that all seven of the "Potter" books will be available digitally on e-books for the first time ever.

The interactive Potter site goes live July 31 for the first 1 million registered users as a "soft launch." It will then open to the rest of the public in October.

The final film in the Potter series - "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2" - opens July 15th. Rowling admitted that the "Pottermore" project allowed her to remain connected to her creation.

"It is exactly like an ex-boyfriend," she said. "Finishing writing Harry — I have only ever cried in that way and that much when my mother died. I have never cried for a man the way I cried for Harry Potter."

Selected Reading: MSNBC, Time, The Guardian

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