Confessions of a Recovering Ravenclaw

I never got around to joining Pottermore the first time around, so the new Sorting Hat Test is the only official sorting test I’ve ever taken. I don’t know what the old test would have given me, but I was just as befuddled by my result as the people who were finding themselves suddenly re-sorted.

Gryffindor? Seriously? That was third most likely. The only less likely house would have been Slytherin—not so much because I have anything against potentially hanging out with Dark Wizards, but more because my utter lack of ambition is at marginally dangerous levels.

On the other hand, who knows? I don’t think this particular test is very accurate, but it’s not impossible for me to be Gryffindor. I do have a tendency to jump to other people’s defense whenever someone needs defending. Maybe I’m like Neville Longbottom, all my Gryffindor energy pent up inside until I grow up enough to embody it.

I wonder if the real Sorting Hat, in the universe where it really exists, does take the course of a person’s entire future into account. I wonder if it sees the ultimate end of one’s life philosophies, or if it takes the average of one’s philosophies over the course of one’s life. A friend of mine wondered what would happen if Hogwarts students got re-sorted each year. “Wouldn’t it be interesting? As people change, and grow, and develop, so might their Houses change. Because who we are when we are eleven is not (so I devoutly hope) who we will be the rest of our lives.”

I am positive I am not who I was when I was eleven. Continue reading Confessions of a Recovering Ravenclaw

Social Identity: Why It’s Not Silly To Be Upset if Pottermore Changed Your House

Tentatively, I clicked Log In. At every response, I questioned whether this was the true response I wanted to give. I wanted my answers to be right. It wasn’t life and death, for sure. Still, it mattered. It mattered immensely to me. I’ve identified as this for years. Somehow, it became part of my sense of self. I watched the little pinwheel spin as the new Pottermore algorithm worked behind the scenes.

Then, the result. I might have held my breath a bit.

As the air rushed out, I saw the conclusion: You are a Ravenclaw.

I breathed a sigh of relief.

Continue reading Social Identity: Why It’s Not Silly To Be Upset if Pottermore Changed Your House

Brand New Harry Potter Story on


The first installment of J.K. Rowling’s new story about the Quidditch World Cup went up on in March, but today Rowling released the next chapter in the QWC story–and it reunites an adult Harry, Ron, and Hermione (and Neville and Luna).

This installment is told by Rita Skeeter, and it is full of gossip and snarkiness about our favorite wizarding trio all grown up and in their mid-30s. I particularly loved when Skeeter referred to Hermione as the “femme fatale of the group,” and the idea of Harry introducing his kids to Viktor Krum made me smile. Also, check out the last sentence of the fourth paragraph. Foreshadowing?! I nearly fainted reading that.

Potterheads who are already members of Pottermore can check out the story there, but according to Yahoo! it already crashed that site. Rowling exclusively shared the new chapter with the Today Show, and you can read it in its entirety there.

Wonderbook: Book of Potions & Walking With Dinosaurs

Wonderbook Titles © SCEE
Wonderbook Titles © SCEE

It’s been a year since Sony released its Wonderbook alongside the Potter-verse centred game Book of Spells. The peripheral wasn’t quite the success they hoped for. The mixture of requiring expensive accessories (the Wonderbook requires a Playstation Move system as well as the physical book for games to work) and a distinct lack of advertising or at least advertising to the right people, kids, doomed it to failure. By January, shelves were loaded with unsold games.

Now, one year on from launch, Sony has finally provided some new titles for those of us with a Wonderbook gathering dust at home.

First up is the second in the Harry Potter range, Book of Potions. The game follows almost exactly the same premise as the original Book of Spells but there are some new features included too, such as placing the Move controller beside your book when instructed, which magically changes your wand into a wooden spoon, tongs, garden shears, or other tools you might need to brew your potions.

Once again you are given the option to link the game with an existing Pottermore account, thus bringing in your selected house and wand from the platform. If you’re not a member, you get to choose both. As the book progresses, players are gradually introduced to the character of Zygmunt Budge, an accomplished potioneer who helps you learn to brew your own potions.

My son playing Book of Potions © Sophie Brown
My son playing Book of Potions © Sophie Brown

When I looked at Book of Spells last year I was impressed with the game and Book of Potions gave me the same positive impression.

However, it is not without issues. I invited my nephew (a few weeks shy of turning seven) over to play and he found it exceedingly difficult and grew bored fast.

Creating a potion requires a large number of steps and with the slow progress of a child, there can be a lot of waiting before any potions are actually brewed. Even with three children taking turns, they all got bored of chopping the onions required for the initial potion and I ended up taking over to get them through that process and onto something new.

The new tool, switching mechanism, was also a point of frustration, even my husband and I found it difficult to position the Move controller in the exact spot on the floor required for the game to pick it up and make the transformation.

The game as a whole seems a little confused with gameplay clearly aimed at a younger audience—the potion making process reminded me of Nintendo’s Cooking Mama—but dialogue, back-story, and a level of precision aimed at those much older for whom the actual game would be a little tedious.

The second game we looked at was Walking with Dinosaurs, obviously adapted from the hit BBC series.

This was the one I was really looking forward to and the main reason for inviting my nephew over to play. As with most children of his age, he’s more than a little bit keen on dinosaurs. The book takes on the form of an illustrated encyclopedia of dinosaurs, with each page focusing on different aspects of their lives and the environment.

The mini games are far more varied than Book of Potions too. An early game requires you to sit perfectly still and quiet to stop a large gorgosaurus from finding you in the bushes. Of course, as my nephew decided instead, there’s always the option of shouting to make it come over, much to the disquiet of his four-year-old sister who was desperately trying to make him shut up! Other games included using a hammer and brush to uncover fossils, placing bones into a skeleton to form a dinosaur, and finding a selection of creatures in an animated 360 degree 3D picture.

Totally Enraptured by Walking with Dinosaurs © Sophie Brown
Totally Enraptured by Walking with Dinosaurs © Sophie Brown

Progressing through the book unlocks collectable cards, not of any interest to my four year old who was mostly enamored by the big dinosaurs stomping about in our living room, but brilliant for kids of a certain age for whom collecting cards and stickers is an obsession.

My nephew was completely enraptured by the game and didn’t want to take turns with the other kids, even when there were a few difficulties such as figuring out why a puzzle wasn’t unlocking or pointing the controller at a very specific point on the screen.

Unlike Book of Potions, Walking with Dinosaurs really knows its target audience and works at their level. The game is also being released to coincide with Walking with Dinosaurs 3D hitting movie screens, and characters from the film—Patchi, Juniper, and Gorgon—make regular appearances.

Wonderbook is still a dubious piece of technology, if only from a cost perspective. The requirement of a Move in order to play makes buying the technology cost prohibitive, and now with the release of the PS4, the PS3 is already taking its first steps toward the dusty shelf of retirement.

Are parents really going to want to fork out $50-80 (only the original Book of Spells can be bought packaged with a Move—both new games are only available standalone or with a Wonderbook) for the system? For those already in possession of the system then both games are genuinely good experiences—especially Walking with Dinosaurs if you have a dino lover in your home—at a fairly low cost.

Worth $80? Sorry Sony but no, not at this time.

GeekMom received both games for review purposes. 

Harry Potter and the Dead Best Friend


It’s hard to imagine the Harry Potter series without the presence of Ron Weasley throughout the whole seven books and eight movies. But it has come out today that J.K. Rowling thought about killing Ron halfway through the famous series of books.

It is hard to imagine a world where Ron Weasley is dead but apparently he was once on the chopping block. This news is shocking, of course, and has the whole internet buzzing.

For me, it feels like when J.K. Rowling announced that Dumbledore was gay, which seemed, as this does, as a way to grab a little more of the spotlight. I am interested in the secrets behind the well loved stories, but I thought that was what Pottermore was for.

What do you think about the news that Ron nearly snuffed it? You can read more about this story at Yahoo Movies.

Chance for Early Access to Pottermore Launches TODAY

Just like many of you, we here at GeekMom are anxiously awaiting our chance to explore Pottermore, the new online Harry Potter universe. Well, beginning today we can all take a shot at gaining early access. With the 7 Books, 7 Days, 7 Chances promo, fans are invited to

…find The Magical Quill, and then submit your registration details. Each day, from 31 July to 6 August, a clue will be revealed here. Solve the clue and you will be taken to The Magical Quill.

Each clue relates to one of the books in the Harry Potter series and the difficulty of the clues will vary. Note that just finding The Magical Quill and solving the clue does not assure you early entry. Space is limited, so if you want a sneak peek you’ll need to think as cleverly as Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

Pottermore Details Released

Harry Potter, JK Rowling, Pottermore

GeekMom Melissa Wiley recently wondered about the “mysterious new website” coming soon from author J.K. Rowling called Wonder no more, Melissa. The Wall Street Journal reports that Rowling has created a “Harry Potter universe” for her fans that will include an online store offering – among other things – the Harry Potter series available as e-books for the first time ever.

Whether fans are reading the book in print or on a screen, a bigger draw may be the chance to join one of Hogwart’s four houses and explore the first Harry Potter book virtually. Me? I’m anxious to read some of the extra material that Rowling promises to share at Pottermore, including the story behind Professor McGonagall.


Let the Speculation Begin: Pottermore Is Coming

I actually gasped when I saw the words onscreen. Pottermore. Coming soon…

The Guardian reports that J. K. Rowling has launched a “mysterious new website” called

No other details about the new project have yet been revealed, but an editor at the fansite HPANA said they had seen a “sneak preview” of Pottermore “and it is breathtaking in scope, detail and sheer beauty”.

Rowling’s people aren’t spilling the details yet, but already the @Pottermore Twitter account has more than 35,000 followers.

What do you think? More books? A theme park? Personally, I’m hoping for an MMO. According to at least one gaming site, that’s a strong possibility.