1. Get on the list
Invitations to Pottermore don’t come by owl post like those to Hogwarts, but they are just as coveted. If you’re one of the million fans who got an early golden ticket — or, in this case, quill — you can come on in. If not, you’re going to have to wait until it opens to everyone in October. But hey, if you’re a Potterphile, chances are you’ve gotten quite good at dealing with anticipation.
2. Interact with your favorite scenes
The site revolves around a series of interactive tableaux, multilayered images of key scenes from the books that you can explore. Right now you can experience only the first book, but the other six are on their way.
3. Learn more about the world of Harry Potter
J.K. Rowling has larded the site with additional information about the universe she created, including background profiles of favorite characters and ”ghost” side plots that never actually made it into the series.
4. Save up your Galleons
If Pottermore ends up ensorcelling you and making your hours disappear like a reverse Time-Turner, it’ll probably be because, as with FarmVille, there’s an addictive economic system in place. You start with 500 Galleons, but with school supplies and the recession (it hurts wizards, too), that money won’t last long. Track down the golden coins to keep your Gringotts account in the black.
5. Grab a wand
Just like in the real (fake) world of Harry Potter, each person’s wand is unique. Will yours be made of elm or ash, contain dragon heartstring or phoenix feather? Stop by Ollivanders to find out.
6. Stock up in Diagon Alley
The bazaar of the bizarre known as Diagon Alley is where you can purchase a plethora of magical materials, including your pet owl (or cat or toad), books, cauldrons, potion ingredients, and even a Remembrall, just in case you forgot to pick up something even more important.
7. Get sorted
Once you make it through the gigantic doors of the Great Hall, you’ll be placed into a house by the Sorting Hat. Based on your answers to seven questions, you’ll end up in Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or, yes, even Slytherin. Be forewarned: Unlike the original Sorting Hat, this one does not take preference into account — and there are no do-overs.
8. Make friends
Pottermore is at heart a social creation, so don’t be afraid to accept friend requests. Remember, nobody likes a loner at Hogwarts — even Neville Longbottom had his own coterie of pals.
9. Make enemies
Everyone knows the best part of online games is challenging an 8-year-old to a battle to the death. Using a keyboard-based spell-casting system straight out of Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, you can shoot fiery bolts from your wand at your opponent to rack up points in the ongoing House Cup.
What’s the fun of getting early access to Pottermore if you can’t boast about it? Sure, eventually it’ll be the more, the merrier, but for now there’s no harm in bragging a little.