A three-day standoff was ended when the Headmistress of the day, Eupraxia Mole, agreed to sign a contract allowing Peeves additional privileges, such as a once-weekly swim in the boys’ toilets on the ground floor, first refusal on stale bread from the kitchen for throwing purposes, and a new hat – to be custom-made by Madame Bonhabille of Paris.
Pottermore Presents… Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies, Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists, Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide
J.K. Rowling | 2016 | 71, 71, 79 Pages
Pottermore Presents isn’t really a narrative as much as it is an encyclopedia. Not the overarching Potterverse Encyclopedia that I desperately want, mind you, but a start nonetheless.
The collection, which is made up of three eBooks, pulls most of its material from articles penned for Rowling’s Pottermore website. The entries, which are organized more or less by theme, give background information on several different professors, events, and phenomena within the magical world. Again, the collection is by no means comprehensive, and the individuals or objects featured may not be the ones you’d like to read more about, but it gives me hope for future all-encompassing reference volumes.
The first book, which I’m just going to refer to as Hardship and Hobbies because the full title is exceptionally long, was my favorite of the group. It is broken into four sections, each headed by an entry on a Hogwarts professor. The McGonagall and Lupin sections were the best parts of the entire collection, and while most of that information was already published online, it was nice to get everything into one location.
The organized structure itself is well managed. A large entry heads up each chapter and smaller asides surround it to bring more depth to the theme. Rowling additionally inserts her own notes to several of the entries, providing insight into her creative process along with some real-world inspirations to her magical creations. It really demonstrates how much work she put into the into Potterverse, and how much thought went into the development of even the smallest things.
The one glaring negative to these books is that most of the material is old. I don’t have exact figures on how much text is recycled, but it is assuredly a hefty amount. If you are an accomplished Pottermore hunter, you’ve likely read most of these articles already, and may balk at spending $3 per book, regardless of the organizational structure.
My one other qualm is that some of the entries seemed unnecessary. In Power and Politics there were great features on Umbridge and on Azkaban, but then you get two paragraphs on Cauldrons which don’t really add anything of note. Only a handful of entries were going to make it to print, so it would have been nice for all of the articles to be on the same playing field in terms of information or entertainment.
Should You Read This?
Did you never bother trying to find all of the random snippets on Pottermore.com? Were you let down by Cursed Child and want a quick dive into Classic Potter? Does repetition not bother you (which clearly applies to me since I’ve read each book in the series at least 4 times a pop)? Or are you just a Rowling completionist who needs to buy and consume everything with her name stamped on it? If you answered yes to any of those, go ahead and pick these up. Each eBook is only 70-ish pages, and are fast little reads akin to Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beats.
If you are an experienced Pottermore explorer and already know the ins and outs of the life of Minerva McGonagall, or if would rather save your $9 for Fantastic Beasts movie tickets, then you can probably pass. The entries are interesting but are for the most part old-news. Let’s just cross our fingers and hope this paves the way for truely new content down the line.