We've seen him grow from a bespectacled small boy who lived in the cupboard under the stairs to a married father of three, head of the Auror department and conqueror of Lord Voldemort. This autumn, Harry Potter will take the final step to maturity as he waltzes into the digital arena withthe launch of Pottermore, interactive website and home of the Potter ebooks.
I'm a bit old, really, at 32 to be excited about the launch of a website dedicated to a series of children's books, but I appear to have signed myself up for access to Pottermore regardless. I first realised Potter was something special in the summer of 2000, when my cousin spent an entire night obsessively reading his new copy of Goblet of Fire. The next morning, exhausted from sleeping on an airport floor, collapsed in our tent, my brother and I went to sleep but my cousin just kept on reading. Such dedication: I decided I had to check them out, and although I've never actually stayed up all night reading one of them, I will confess to a midnight trip to Asda when the Half-Blood Prince came out, and to locking myself in the bathroom to finish Deathly Hallows: stupid family, distracting me from my books.
It's not something I readily admit to in adult company, but I've not only read all the Harry Potter books, I also reread them on occasion: they're the ultimate comfort read for a bad/sad day. With the final book published four years ago though, and the final film released in July, it was looking like rereads and rewatches were the only thing left for Potter fans. Until Rowling's revelation last month that, just as we'd always suspected, she had written thousands of extra words about the Potterverse, and was going to share them with her fans on her new website.
No longer will we have to wonder about the past lives of Dursleys and McGonagalls, about the secrets of Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin houses or the details of wand wood. I caught a glimpse of a few of the Pottermore pages at the press conference launching the website last month – I was scribbling furiously, but a young Professor McGonagall's love for a Muggle was the only bit I managed to get down on paper – and it looks like the appetite of even the most obsessive of fans will be satisfied by what's going to be on offer.
With 18,000 words already written, and more to come, Pottermore will first be restricted to the world of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, but new material around events, places and characters from all seven books will be added in due course. I think I'm most looking forward to Rowling's detailed explanation of Quidditch. "The number of geeky men who come up to me to argue about Quidditch – well, I'd be a lot richer if I got a quid for every one," she said at the conference. "They just think it's illogical. It's not. I had a speech by Dumbledore in the first book explaining why it's not illogical, but it never made it in. It will do at some point." You show those geeks, JK.