The Future of the Harry Potter Companion

To all of my wonderful readers:

I want to begin by saying an enormous Thank You to all of you. I have been working on this project for three and a half years, and to see it come to completion is a gratifying, exciting, and yes, relieving day. I wasn’t always sure I’d make it here, but you all have stuck with me and for that I will forever be grateful.

I also want to take a moment to thank a few readers in particular; I know not everybody reads the comments on this site, but for those who do, some of these names and the commentary they have written have become as indispensable a part of the site as my own writing. So to hpboy13, Anna1, Natalia, Kim, Grace has Victory, Jose Lopes, elizabethauthor, Billie, rtozier, kim, Andrea, Irene M. Cesca, and the many many others who posted less frequently but just as eloquently: thank you, so much, for all that you have added to this experience, for me and for the many others who have visited. Many of you have been here since very nearly the beginning, and I’m honored to have had such thoughtful, interesting, and friendly people along for the ride. And I know that for each person I named there are many more lurkers out there who have been coming just as long and feel just as much a part of the site, even if they’ve never left a single comment or e-mail. And while I don’t know your names, please know that I’m exceedingly grateful to you as well.

Now, of course, I need to address a question I’ve heard many, many times in the past few weeks: What’s Next?

The answer isn’t a simple one. I started this project with a feeling of unfinished business; many of you know that I was a member of the Harry Potter Lexicon staff for several years but left when things veered in a direction I couldn’t agree with (and rather publicly and dramatically, at that). That site still sits unfinished. So I now have a profound sense of satisfaction with seeing Harry through to completion that I desperately wanted back in 2007. My life has also changed substantially since then; my son was born and is now nearing his second birthday and needing more time from me, and I have a job that I love that is taking up more and more of my time as well. The hours I once spent cataloguing Harry’s world seem to dwindle more each month.

At the same time, however, I still see a void that I would love to fill. The old guard of Harry Potter websites – which were built as the books were being released – are falling off, and very little has yet sprung up to take their place. I suspect as a new generation grows up, never having seen a midnight release party, the fandom will change dramatically and more sites like this one will come into being. In the meantime, there are things I would like to see that don’t exist anywhere else, and I see a fit for them here. It’s also exciting for me to think about doing something a bit different, yet still for the site. Things I’d like to still see through include:
–Finishing several more ‘Off-Camera’ pages;
–More character portraits;
–A guide to the Harry Potter canon beyond the seven books;
–A more robust essay section, including essays penned by folks other than me;
–And possibly a few other small additions, depending on how long certain other sites remain available.
There will also, of course, always be new fan art and new fan artists too, and I would love to continue incorporating those into the site as well.

There’s another wild card that’s sprung up in the past twenty-four hours, too (I have such timing, don’t I? And you all thought I was coordinating with the movie release…). Many of you are probably aware by now of what is apparently J.K. Rowling’s new site, pottermore.com. It’s appearing as thought it might open to the public today, and at this point I have no idea what it will contain or how it might affect the content of this site. I have long considered one of the strengths of this site to be its perspective – I didn’t even begin on it until we had basically stopped getting new information about Harry’s world. If we do get lots of new information now, I will likely take some time to really consider the best way to integrate it before making any changes to the site’s current format.

So the short answer is that I expect to continue updating things for some time; however, it will probably not be with anything like the regularity I have generally followed over the past couple of years. Once the projects I list above are finished, I expect I’ll drop off even more and just stop by from time to time to check in on the comments and perhaps add a few new pieces of art. But my hope is to keep it operating, updated, and relevant for a very long time, even as its actual growth slows.

I hope that you all will continue to make comments, to comment or e-mail me with suggestions for the site, and still check back from time to time (or keep me on your RSS or Facebook feed) to see what’s going on over here. Writing 199 pages about Harry Potter wasn’t always easy, but my overwhelming feeling is that it has been a heck of a lot of fun. And I’m more grateful to you all for that than I can say.

See you at Hogwarts!

Josie

~ by Josie on June 16, 2011.

27 Responses to “The Future of the Harry Potter Companion”

  1. wow, Josie, thanks for all those kind words! I have enjoyed this site so much, and I was actually pretty afraid that you would stop completely after the last chapter got posted last week, but I’m glad to see that you aren’t completely done. I think that with great projects, things are never really finished, though it’s of course a great feeling that you finally posted all the chapters! Please keep updating this site with all the wonderfull fanart that you’ve collected and the insightfull comments and essays you have written. More than once was there something in the “something you may not have noticed” section that I had overlooked, which, for me, after reading these books so many times and apparently still missing things, brought the magic of the series back. On behalf of this Dutch HP-fan: Thank you very, very much.

  2. Congratulations on finishing the project, Josie! I am particularly interested in the essays and character portraits. Thank you for being so committed to this site. I look forward to finding new updates in the future.

  3. As a long-time lurker, I just wanted to send out a heart-felt “thank you” for all your hard work and dedication to this site.

  4. I wouldn’t say that is going to open today, there’s a hidden link to youtube which shows a countdown (6 days at the time I wrote this message):
    http://www.youtube.com/JKRowlingAnnounces

  5. I am glad to have been a part of the Harry Potter Companion. It’s been a great site for me from the moment i discovered it. :)

  6. (if you’re wondering how I get to that link the answer is simple: I still keep a dinossaur browser on my computer and sometimes it shows very different results from the pages shown on more updated versions of IE or Firefox)

  7. Josie,

    Thank you for not only creating this website, but for persisting with it over the years. I’ve been following the blog since it was in the middle of Goblet of Fire, and your many insights, with the essays in particular, have permanently enriched my understanding and appreciation for the series.

    Finally, given the events of the last 24 hours, I have to say in admiration that your timing is impeccable.

  8. Thanks everyone!

    Re: the timing – kind of hilarious, isn’t it? I mean, I’ve been working on this for almost four years, what are the odds that I’d hit it to the day? Maybe Jo’s been following us too and was polite enough to wait until we finished….

    Jose Lopes, it looks like you caught the link to the countdown just before it went public. I’d heard something yesterday that made me think it would happen today, but apparently we’ll have to wait. The timing is odd, though, isn’t it? 6am in Britain, I believe, and 1am on the US east coast?

    ETA: Discovering with a friend in another time zone that the countdown clock has been misprogrammed in some way. It’s showing her a different countdown from mine, but if you visit the non-flash version of the site, it says 12 noon on the 23rd, which would be 6am here in Chicago (and which would make a lot more sense).

  9. Thank you Josie, for this amazing website and for all the work you have put into it! And thanks to everyone who commented, I loved reading your comments as well. What I’ve missed the most since the release of DH was the discussion and the speculations, and so this site full of people just as “nerdy” as me discussing and analyzing every little bit of each chapter has been a great addiction for a long time now.

  10. Again, thank YOU, Josie, for taking the time to put this site together! I have loved being part of the enriching discussions and friendly debates and frequently refer to people on this site in “real-life” conversations because this place feels so very much like a community. Can’t wait for all the other parts of the site to be developed (especially the character portraits and off-camera moments) and I wish you luck with all the wonderful developments in your own life. Just visit us once in a while! :)

  11. Thanks so much, Josie! It’s been fascinating to follow the development of the HPC and read your insights on each chapter. This site continues to be such a great outlet for me to explore some of my favourite books. Thanks for interacting with all of us, and keeping the conversation going!

    Thanks also to everyone who has contributed to the discussion. I’ve really enjoyed reading other’s thoughts and appreciate the input my comments and questions.

    I’m glad to know that the site will continue to grow. It’s been a joy! Congratulations Josie Kearns!

  12. Josie, thank you for this amazing site! I only found this site about a month ago, but I have to say that it is fantastic. After reading this guide, each new chapter felt like I was reading it for the first time again. It really brought back all of the magic of Harry Potter, and reminded me of the midnight book releases and late nights spent poring over online theories. I just really appreciate getting the chance to read everyone’s insights and ideas, and I’m glad I found this site when I did.

  13. Josie, thank you so much for this site and for everything – and for the shoutout! This has really filled a void in my life…just when I felt like the canon debates were dying down, this came along. This is the first of the “new generation” HP sites that I followed with the voracity that I used for Mugglenet (still do) and Leaky and Lexicon in their prime.

    Your timing is absolutely impeccable. Or do you just have a crystal ball stashed somewhere?

    I can’t wait to see what else you cook up for this site. Personally, I’d love an illustrated version of the Black Family Tree, if such a thing were possible? In any event, you are staying very firmly in my RSS feed for a long time to come!

  14. Thank you Josie, for this site. The images have been lovely and the essays are so insightful and the discussions have been so much fun. I’m looking forward to your future updates. :)

    And thank you to all of you who have commented –it’s been great reading your fascinating insights and observations and for your thoughts on things I had to say and vice versa. :)

  15. Talk about timing!

    I only discovered this site 3 days ago when googling “Mirror of Erised”. I think the format of the site is amazing, and much easier to traverse (than say, Mugglenet).

    I do hope you continue to do this great work for a while. I intend to contribute as much as I can, I think I can make a difference as I believe everyone brings something new to the table.

    There can never be enough essays, the way you do them is great. You dont have to limit it to one per book. I would love to see, in addition to the main essay, smaller articles to describe you opinions on side plots .

    Keep up the great work, and remember your job is never done, and you will never run out of support!!!

  16. I also want to say thanks a lot. I am one of the long-time lurkers. I joined the site in the middle of GOF, and I’ve only posted a couple of times, but I check the site almost daily and I sincerly hope that you continue to post new stuff. It has always been a delight to read your opinion as well as the opinion of all the other regular posters. I love the format of this site, which is so well thought-through and it’s the perfect place to really explore the Potter Universe as closely as is possible.

  17. Another long-time lurker here – been watching since somewhere around PoA, and have loved every update along the way. Thank you for doing it, and thank you for the essays and thoughtful remarks (and thank you to all the commenters for their discussions, too). Very glad it will continue to grow in some form or other!

  18. Having only found this site a few weeks ago (I believe I was looking for essays on Harry Potter), I’m sad to have come to the end of the books again!

    I love the format of this site, and I’ve really enjoyed reading all the insight, both from Josie and from other commentors.

  19. Josie, this site is absolutely amazing, and I am so glad I stumbled upon it while you were still in the process of completing the books. Every time I talk to one of my HP loving friends I recommend the site. congratulations on completing it.

    You have done an amazing job helping me discover and even deeper look into the world of Harry Potter, and I think JK herself would be proud of this site should she see it. You have done amazing and I can’t wait for whatever you decide to do next. Thank you for all the time and dedication you’ve put into creating this wonderful site. I truly got excited each day I checked in and saw the banner had changed.

    – Kloe

    And for the record, the countdown I get in Ontario gives me a time of 7am on the 23rd.

  20. Wow! I discovered this site maybe a year ago, and I’ve been following ever since! It is amazing and has really been entertaining and I’ve gained a lot of insight in the series! Now I’m going to read the books all over again while thinking of all you have written about it! Looking forward to more updates and I’m going to check in often! :) I’m sure you have put a lot of time and effort into this, and I’m gratefull that you did! It has been very fun! Thank you! :)

  21. I’ve been waiting to post, as the finality of it has kind of overwhelmed me.
    Thank you again, Josie (and for the mention — I feel so honored!). This has been a lot of work for you, esp. as your son was born and you had a lot less time to work on it. :)
    Any future essays would be wonderful. And of course, the Pottermore timing is…shall I say…magical?

  22. Thanks Josie, for all of it, all that has gone before – but i’m still looking forward to the off-camera pages (hoping artists did a lot of interesting after-the-books stuff), and especially any upcoming essays, not to mention whatever else you may have in mind. As nice as the artwork often is, it has always been your commentary that i’ve clicked that link every day looking for.

    Thanks again.

  23. This is the only Harry Potter website that I visit and I absolutely love it! Thank you and congratulations! I am a very latecomer to HP. I started the first book when all seven have already been released. Thank you for providing a website that I was able to use for further insight on the series throughout my reading. This website made HP a much richer experience for me, so thank you!

  24. Thanks a lot guys, your comments mean a lot to me.

    Kloe, they’ve fixed the Pottermore clock problems. The site is opening at 12 noon UK time (7am Eastern, 4am Pacific for Americans) on the 23rd, and the clocks all reflect this now.

  25. Just echoing the other Thank You’s! I discovered this site at some point during HP 7 and only wish I’d have found it sooner. Thoroughly enjoyed all I’ve seen so far and am still reading posts on the earlier books!!
    I’ve really enjoyed the discussions here. Thanks again! :)

  26. I do hope the pottermore announcement will be about another book instead of a game like I read somewhere…

    I can’t remember exactly when I discovered this website but it’s a long time ago, and I enjoyed every piece of art, all the insightful remarks and all the comments since than. Even though I didn’t comment very much myself, I enjoyed reading the very insightful discussions. Thanks everybody for that, and Josie for giving such a wonderful platform to do that. This site also introduced me to the wonderful world of fanart. So much talent!
    Thanks Josie, artists and all the people who contributed to his site.

  27. Thanks Steve! It has been specifically stated by Rowling’s people that Pottermore will *not* be a book; however, they claim that whatever it is will be “just as exciting.” For what it’s worth. :-P

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