Today is an important day for all of us who grew up with Harry Potter and spent the majority of our adolescence pretending — or in some cases, actually believing — we were witches and wizards. September 1, 2017 is the day that ends the seventh and final book of J.K. Rowling’s originally series. In the epilogue, which takes place on today’s date, it’s nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts, where Harry defeated Voldemort. This last chapter is all about Albus Severus Potter, Harry and Ginny’s youngest son, boarding the Hogwarts Express for the first time. In honor of us reaching this milestone IRL, Pottermore released a digital tour of Hogwarts Castle, so from the comfort of our desk chairs, we too can visit the place that Albus is about to call home for the next seven years.
Starting today, with this new digital tour of Hogwarts, anyone with a Pottermore account can explored 100 different hotspots around the castle and grounds. Simply click on each glowing orb floating on the outside of the castle to read quotes from the book that correspond with different spots and learn more about the history of the school. Pottermore’s Global Digital Director Henriette Stuart-Reckling told Deadline, "This new feature on our website marks the first time fans will have the opportunity to explore the famous wizarding school any time, any place and at their own pace." Sounds cool, right?
I can attest, this new Pottermore feature certainly is cool, especially since I’m always down to learn new fun facts about the beloved fictional world — for instance, did you know that the Hogwarts Express was created because Ottaline Gambol, who was Minister of Magic from 1827 to 1835, was interested in the Muggle innovation? Before that, students traveled to school any way they wanted. As interesting as that is, I had one serious problem with this so-called “tour.” You can’t go inside of Hogwarts!
Just like most Harry Potter-lovers, my obsession with the series goes well beyond just reading the seven original books. I have engaged with my fair share of fan fictions in order to keep myself connected to the characters, and of course, I've thought long and hard about what Hogwarts house I’m in — Slytherin — what my Patronis is — a mongoose — and what my career after graduating would be — reporter for The Daily Prophet, obviously. Because of all of this, I’ve always felt like I was part of the fictional world of Harry Potter. Today, however, Pottermore rendered me unable to even cross the Hogwarts' threshold, making it very clear that I am not actually a witch. How fitting that on the day when Harry’s recorded journey officially ends and a new generation goes off to the magical school, I finally realized I'm an adult, non-magical, wand-less human living in the real world. I guess the bright side is, at least now I can be an outsider who can literally look in, thanks to Pottermore.