As the final installment of the Harry Potter films hits cinemas across the UK, fans may be forgiven for experiencing some mixed emotions. For over a decade, the Boy Who Lived has ruled the literary and cinematic charts and his grand finale in The Deathly Hallows (Part II) signals the end of an era.
For the die-hard Potter-lovers, this will be a bitter blow, but thankfully one that may be softened by the digital community. The popularity of the books and films has spawned an online world of Potter-ridden fanzines, blogs and websites, all working hard to keep the magic alive.
THE AUTHOR - J.K.ROWLING
J.K. Rowling; the marvellous muggle behind the magic. Her official website is imaginatively made, and appropriately convoluted in its design; a certain degree of exploratory zeal is required to sniff out all that it has to offer. With features such as NAQs (never asked questions) and the Wizard of the Month Archive, this site is an enjoyable combination of fact and fiction relating to both J.K.Rowling and the Harry Potter books.
THE OFFICIAL SITE - WARNER BROS
The film goes on general release on July 15th, but until then, you may have to content yourself with heading to the Warner Bros official website. Here you can build up your excitement levels by watching the trailer (don't worry, it looks good) or by purchasing some of the official merchandise, such as posters, digital wallpaper and screensavers. Sign up for the newsletter, browse through the photographs and before you know it, the gap between now and the 15th will have closed.
THE PUBLISHER - BLOOMSBURY
Deserving of an Outstanding O.W.L. in Publishing, Bloomsbury spotted the potential in J.K.Rowling and her young protagonist. All of the published editions of Harry Potter are available to buy on the site; whether hardback, limited, seasonal, adult or childrens. It may also be worth having a look through the site to see what other literary gems Bloomsbury have had the foresight to put out on the shelves.
THE FANSITE - THE LEAKY CAULDRON
The Leaky Cauldron is one of the oldest Harry Potter fan sites, having been in operation since 2000. Comprehensive in its content, join in with the discussion forum (the leaky lounge), get involved with the Chamber of Chat or tune in to the weekly podcast, or ‘Pottercast’. Of course, there are also pictures, interviews, articles, videos and much, much more for the frenzied fan to feast upon.
REFERENCE - THE HARRY POTTER LEXICON
The Harry Potter Lexicon is like a Schott’s miscellany for the magical world, Can’t remember the rules of Quidditch? Need the recipe for a Polyjuice Potion? Wish to examine the Black family tree? Find the answers to all your questions on this encyclopaedic site. in fact, so complete an archive is the HP Lexicon that Rowling herself admits to having availed herself of its services! Need we say more?
WIZARD SHOPPING - ALIVANS
This may be a stage of muggle madness one too far, but US Company, Alivans offer magic wands, as well as brooms, staffs and other spellbinding paraphernalia for young aspiring witches or wizards. The website is constructed very much in the spirit of Pretending with a capital P, and its creators hope to encourage children in the imaginative arts, but are very clear that their wands are to be used for good magic only.
JOIN THE FIGHT AGAINST EVIL - HARRY POTTER ALLIANCE
An imaginative organisation that uses ideas from the Potter books to fight the so-called ‘Dark Arts’ that exist in the real world. At the core of Harry’s story is always the battle between good and evil, love and hate. The H P Alliance takes these basic themes and harnesses the power of popular culture to engage young people in the continuing struggle for human rights, literacy and equality (amongst other things). A magical idea.
COMING SOON - POTTERMORE
Pottermore is an online reading experience due to officially launch in October. A lucky few will get to sign up early (find out how on 31st July) and play a fundamental role in shaping how the website works. This will be the exclusive place to buy the Harry Potter audiobooks and e-books, and Rowling will be revealing additional information about the characters and storylines that she has thus far been holding back.