A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Wizarding World, the new version of the Pottermore website, features several quizzes to determine Harry Potter book elements kids might identify with. They no longer need to join the Harry Potter Fan Club separately. That can be a little confusing, since it's listed as a separate section on the site. But signing up for Wizarding World automatically makes them a member. They should have a safe experience on the site, although creatures like ghouls and trolls do pop up from time to time, which could scare younger kids. There's also a fair amount of commerce options. The site links to a merchandise store, and a subscription is offered that provides Harry Potter ebooks, pins, online and retail store discounts, priority ticketing for events, excusive content, and early access to merchandise releases. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
WIZARDING WORLD is a site that expands on the world of Harry Potter. Kids who've always wanted to step into Harry Potter's shoes can discover their Patronus (a magical animal that protects you from harm), answer a few questions and have the sorting hat determine which house they'll live in, select a wand, and choose their six favorite items from the popular J.K. Rowling series. They can also read thoughts on various book elements, such as characters and plot points, and peruse other stories by the author.
Is it any good?
The fall 2019 redesign of this beautifully illustrated site focused the content on question-based activities that offer more engagement. On Wizarding World, kids can find out what house the sorting hat would place them in, for example. They can also answer questions that will determine their Patronus, a defensive spell introduced in one of the books that takes the form of an animal guardian. After seeing a glowing stag gallop through a clearing, kids are taken on a three-dimensional journey, zooming past branches and trees with each question.
While the activities are both stunning and fun, there aren't too many of them -- in addition to Patronus and house selection, kids can also determine their best wand and identify six of their favorite characters and places from the series. Less dynamic quizzes, illustrated with photos, are available in a separate section. Much of the other site content -- such as an archive of J.K. Rowling's writing and blog posts comparing two characters' paths, what one woman learned by re-reading the books as a parent and other topics -- mostly involves reading. Fans will likely still enjoy checking those items out. And the site mentions, more new sections will be coming. It's free to sign up for a wizarding passport account. Until additional dynamic activities debut, though, kids may feel motivated to register for the $74.99 annual Wizarding World Gold subscription, which promises to supply exclusive content and other goodies. Given there's a cost involved, that's a prospect parents might not be enthusiastic about. But as more activities appear, kids may be able to find enough free content to keep them busy -- and it's possible parents could decide the Gold subscription features are more than worth the fee, once they see them in action.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what's a reasonable amount of time to spend online each day or week. Shouldn't you spend more time reading the books of J.K. Rowling than reading the online site of her work? Why or why not?
How do the Harry Potter books, movies, games, and websites offer different perspectives on J.K. Rowling's stories for audiences of different ages? Is there one type of Harry Potter media that you like more than the others? Why?
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