In a great marketing act, three years on from launching the site with Sony, Ms Rowling posted a new Harry Potter story. Those 1,500 words brought the boy wizard to the cusp of middle age. He was shown as 34, married and graying. The lives of his former classmates were updated as well and the Potternama continued to enchant. (Who could have imagined, even though it does seem entirely appropriate, that Hermione would grow up to be Deputy Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.?)
Soon after the story went up, the site crashed. It’s a very secretive, hard-to-negotiate site anyway, so perhaps it already had bugs? But, there was also an undeniable surge in traffic, even from Port au Prince, or at least my little MacBook Air. A testament to the magical Potter narrative’s hold on the collective imagination? Or a collective prurience, the ‘reality show’ effect on a fictional cast of characters in a world that never existed?