Lev Grossman, author of The Magicians , responds to Pottermore, J.K. Rowling’s announced interactive Web site aimed at expanding the Potterverse. His analysis touches on the difficulties of incorporating reading and other media.
When publishers mix reading with other media, the way Pottermore does (or the way that The 39 Clues, another Scholastic creation, does), I find it confusing. Every time I see more of the Potterverse realized in other media, as video or audio or even still images, it undoes the work I did by reading about it. It takes away from the marvelous, handmade Potterverse I've got going on in my head and replaces it with something prefabricated. It was prefabricated by a super-talented artist, but still.
The issue here is probably less that a new interactive experience mixes reading with other media, but the way in which it goes about it. The Harry Potter books were not written with these other interactive forms in mind, and attaching other media after the fact, rather than integrating them into the reader’s experience as a fundamental part of the telling the story, can be gimmicky.
On the other hand, it could be an interesting experience to see the Potterverse realized through new media. We have a familiar story that has the potential to take advantage of other storytelling venues, a situation that will be familiar to readers of Queneau or other Oulipeans. This might offer interesting study for the narratologists, as we see the remixing of sjuzhet and the effects of retroactively adding agency to a linear narrative.