J.K. Rowling's website Pottermore is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the first “Harry Potter” volume with a new online book club.
The Wizarding World Book Club launched on Monday with the goal of uniting fans of the British boy wizard from across the globe. The club's first reading assignment is, fittingly, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone," originally published in the U.K. in June 1997. The book is published in the U.S. under the title "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."
Discussion of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" will last for five weeks on the Pottermore website and on Fridays on Twitter.
In a news release, Pottermore's global digital director, Henriette Stuart-Reckling, said the book club was started "in response to a strong demand" from Harry Potter fans.
"The Wizarding World Book Club provides an exciting opportunity for Harry Potter fans to share their thoughts about key scenes, plot points, motivations and characters from the series with a vast global community," she said.
The weekly discussions will have different themes, with the first week serving as an introduction of sorts, with readers sharing their stories of how they first discovered the "Harry Potter" books.
The themes for the following weeks include "Magic and the Muggle World" ("Is the wizarding world as well-hidden as it likes to believe?") and "Friendship" (“Do you agree with Hermione’s belief that friendship and bravery are more important than books and cleverness?").
Members of the book club, which is free to join, will get first access to "curated articles, video and other content" on the Pottermore site, according to the news release.
On Twitter, the reaction to the club from Harry Potter fans has been ecstatic, with some readers barely able to contain their excitement:
The book club will next read the other volumes of Rowling's seven-book series in the months following the discussion of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.”
For fans hoping that J.K. Rowling herself will participate, there is no official word that she will. But as the writer has an active presence on Twitter, where she regularly tweets about writing, books, politics and her children’s charity to her 10 million followers, those Friday book club discussions would be a good place to look for her.