Harry Potter is undoubtedly the most famous orphan ever. Over the course of about seven years, he repeatedly foiled multiple, more intelligent adults, cheated on death so much it was like life was a hot new secretary, avoided therapy, deciphered countless secrets that apparently couldn’t have been Googled, tamed several magical beasts, became a hero to many, hooked up with his best friend’s sister, and finally, and most importantly, brought the world Emma Watson.
Thank you, Harry
Oh, Emma. I’ve been a casual fan of the series since I read the second book, “Chamber of Secrets”, and was disappointed to find that it was not a euphemism, but an actual chamber filled with secrets. And a somewhat phallic snake demon thing. I went on to read and enjoy ’em all, catch the flicks, and bittersweetly move on with my life. Sometime in April, something called “Pottermore” went live. Being cynical, I naturally assumed it was just a really indirect way to give J.K. Rowling some extra cash. Turned out I was right, but I didn’t know that at the time. Over the day today, I spent a bit of time there. Logged in, made an account, got sorted by an anthropomorphic hat, and then wrote this.
Please feel free to click on any of these screengrabs to enlarge ’em.
This is the first thing you see on Pottermore.com, a giant banner asking if you’re magical, with no real way to answer other than signing up. It’s an odd question, isn’t it? Remarkably philosophical. There’s a kind of magic to just being human, what with all the organs and orifices and electrons and stuff that makes you tick. So in that case, I guess we all are. But that can’t be true, can it? If everyone was magical, then being magical becomes normal and being normal becomes exotic and unique. Even by the rules of the Potter universe, not everyone should be magical. Could it be? Could this be a website that actually excludes people it doesn’t like arbitrarily? Like a country club? Or the suburbs? So I pressed on and clicked, “Sign up”, fingers trembling in anticipation. Not trusting Sony (kinda takes you out of the fictional world when there’s a fat logo at the top) with my real name, I decided instead to become someone else. Someone better. The hero Pottermore deserves, but not the one it needs right now. I became Morgan Freeman.
With trembling fingers, I filled out the rest, got an assigned username (PumpkinSpirit1942), and began my Pottermore experience.
I soon realized there wasn’t really a whole lot to do. At least not right away. The site assumed I was reading the books simultaneously, since they were so readily available at the online shop Pottermore graciously provides you with. Already own physical copies of Potter books? Why not go digital? It’s like…the same story, but it’s totally digital now. So it’s better. Your friends will think you’re cool. That hot girl in the club will sense that you have Potter on your Kindle and…well…let’s just say someone’s wand will be getting a work out tonight. I dove into the first chapter.
I was reliving the horrible child abuse of Harry Potter by his cartoonishly mean relatives. How wholesome. Just like Harry, I was suddenly living underneath a staircase, feeling the asbestos in my lungs, the mold in the crack of my anus, and the seething resentment for humanity that would fuel me for seven books. How immersive. I clicked quickly through the first several chapters till I got to Diagon Alley, which is basically the wizard version of Amazon.com. Instead of wondering why wizards and other magic folk seem to just completely ignore technology beyond the mid-forties, I pressed on and received my school supply list.
My soul wept, as I realized that I was buying virtual school supplies. I was buying. Virtual. School supplies. For a digital semester. At a fictional school. For Morgan Freeman. Not stopping to re-evaluate my life, I also bought a cat. A black one. Because it was black, and rhymed with bat. And I really wanted to keep this Batman motif going as long as possible. With such symbolism and thought behind each purchase, surely I would do well in Hogwarts. With my mighty wizarding GPA, I would be able to graduate and get a good job totally not helping starving children worldwide with my magical powers, just like every wizard ever. But more realistically, I would just be unemployed, because even the magical job market sucks.
Soon, it was time to buy a wand. I was asked for my relative height, eye color, whether I was born on an odd or even day, my fears, and what abstract quality I most loved about myself. Being Morgan Freeman, I selected, “Morgan Freeman” for each question, and eventually earned myself a Black Walnut wand with a Dragon Core. That means I win, right? On a side note, I just thought this was funny. One of the questions asked which magical artifact I would choose in a chest filled with curiosities. I totally pulled an OJ and chose the Old Black (presumably bloody) Glove.
Finally, I got to the Sorting Ceremony. What House would the immortal Morgan Freeman belong to? Could it be the delightfully emo Slytherins? The generically good Gryffindors? Or the other two? These are a few of the questions I was asked, and the reasons for my responses.
Question 1: Which of the following would you most hate people calling you?
Being a black male, there were quite a few things I would hate for people to call me. But the options were pleasantly limited. Eventually I settled on “Ordinary”, because that seemed to be the most offensive, non-racist thing you could call Morgan Freeman.
Q2: You enter an enchanted garden. What would you be most curious to examine first?
There were a few silly choices, including one oddly unsettling one (a statue of an old wizard with a twinkling eye), but I settled on the most obvious answer: “fat red toadstools that appeared to be talking to each other”. The rationale for this being, if you found yourself in “an enchanted garden” filled with tons of odd, weird things, you’re either: a) extremely high, or b) in a Tim Burton film. I went with the first option because Johnny Depp wasn’t there, and assumed that the talking mushrooms were probably what got you high enough to imagine every other thing in the first place. And so, it made the most sense to examine them first, because they were most likely to actually be real.
Q3: What is the most difficult thing to deal with?
Hunger and cold seemed like good choices. They genuinely suck. But I figured that Morgan Freeman would be lost if he was ever ignored. And so I chose that. Because, as a near mythic figure, Morgan Freeman subsists on the attention and worship of millions of people worldwide, much like Kim Kardashian. Unlike Kim Kardashian, however, Morgan Freeman is actually useful outside of a brothel. Her career literally began with a sex tape. To her credit, she parlayed that into a six million dollar settlement, so…good job.
Q4: Which magical creature are you most likely to study?
There were seven options, but really only one clear choice. Vampires and werewolves have been forever ruined by Twilight. Trolls by Shrek…and the Internet, I guess. Centaurs (hilariously and NSFW) by Tyler the Creator. Ghosts by Paranormal Activity, Merpeople by that last extremely awful Pirates of the Caribbean movie. That just leaves goblins. Not even a personal choice, really.
The moment of truth came, and Morgan Freeman was placed in…
Yep. Honestly, after that, I really…really couldn’t do this anymore. You can duel other people, collect trading cards…go to class…technically. For no credit. It was like World of Warcraft but you wouldn’t tell your friends about it. And so, I logout of Pottermore never to return. But know that, once upon a time, for a moment, Morgan Freeman attended Hogwarts.
And he was in Slytherin.