Harry Potter transmedial
Autor: Vera Cuntz-Leng
[erschienen in: IMAGE 20 Themenheft (Juli 2014)]
Harry Potter is a phenomenon of immense cultural and economic impact. It is defined by a texture of various media representations and adaptations: the novels, three spin-off books, a movie series of eight instalments, board and computer games, audio books, toys, other merchandise products, etc. However, these manifestations have not been strictly transmedia in the way Henry Jenkins uses the term. He defines transmedia as a combination of radical intertextuality and multimodality. Further, Jenkins highlights the relevance of the consumer as an active participant, as hunter, gatherer, and world-builder. With the launch of the online platform Pottermore in April 2012, the Harry Potter franchise performed the transition towards transmediality in order to keep the product adjusted to the expectations of the participatory culture. Pottermore simultaneously provides an interactive literary, audio-visual, gaming, and social experience that both submerges the users in a narration they already know and constantly expands their knowledge of Harry’s magical world. This sounds fantastic; there is only one problem: Pottermore does not deliver what it promises. The aim of this paper is the brief presentation of the mechanics of the Pottermore digital environment and their critical discussion in terms of realization of the transmedia concept, focussing on the regulating and moderating mechanisms of Pottermore in particular that rather alienate than engage long-time fans and new audiences alike—resulting in strong feelings of frustration and betrayal on the part of the fan-base and in Harry Potter’s decreasing impact to the next generation of potential readers.