question of the day: What the heck could J.K. Rowling be up to with Pottermore.com?

Apparently it will happen tomorrow: J.K. Rowling’s new Web site Pottermore will go live with… something.

The only link on the page goes to a YouTube account called JKRowlingAnnounces. There’s also a Twitter feed, @Pottermore.

What might be going on? The Guardian wraps up the gist of the fan speculation at the moment:

• An online game. This idea has gathered steam after it was discovered Warner Bros registered the Pottermore trademark two years ago, describing it as “providing multiple-user access to a global computer information network”.

• The long-awaited dictionary of the Potterverse which Rowling has been promising for years.

• The launch of the seven Harry Potter novels as ebooks (the site notes that Harry Potter and Pottermore publishing rights belong to Rowling).

• A social networking fansite.

• A new book, which is most wished for among Potter fans.

And there’s also this:

An editor at the fansite HPANA said they had seen a “sneak preview” of the site “and it is breathtaking in scope, detail and sheer beauty”. Andrew Sims at Mugglenet agreed: “[I] can tell you that it is fantastic. I’d say more but I had to make an unbreakable vow concerning its secrecy.”

We’ll know tomorrow. Till then, let the conjecture run wild. What the heck could J.K. Rowling be up to with Pottermore.com? What do you wish she might be up to?

I wonder if Rowling isn’t about to launch an online environment for Harry Potter fan fiction. She has been a supporter of fan-written stories set in her universe, and this would give her a level of control — benign control, I would imagine — over her own fandom. And if she’s not interested in writing more Harry Potter novels, perhaps she might be interested in squiring the novels of other writers out into the world. Imagine a new Potter novel not written by Rowling but approved by her… and with her taking a hefty chunk of the profits.

It would make this line, down at the bottom of the Pottermore splash screen, make a helluva lot more sense:

Harry Potter and Pottermore Publishing Rights © J.K. Rowling

She’s claiming the rights as author to whatever appears on Pottermore. Which would go without saying if the site’s content were going to be her own derivations of her own work. She may well be claiming ownership of material others will create in her universe.

Or not. We’ll see.

What do you think?

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