It's been more than eight years since author J.K. Rowling published the last Harry Potter novel, and four years since the final movie adaptation, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2, hit theaters. Ever since then, fans have been getting their Harry Potter fix through the author's website Pottermore.com, which features news about the franchise plus brand new stories written by J.K. Rowling and others. Today, the site launched a brand new redesign, with the author sharing new essays that shed light on several different aspects of this magical world.

J.K. Rowling's first essay, entitled The Potter Family, offers insight into the magical family's background, revealing that they were always suspected of having "muggle" origins, although that isn't necessarily the case. The Potters are actually descendants of a 12th Century wizard named Linfred of Stinchcombe, whose affinity for pottery earned him the nickname "The Potterer." The nickname eventually became "corrupted" over time to the surname Potter. This story also reveals the origins of Harry Potter's famed Invisibility Cloak, which came from a beautiful young witch named Iolanthe Peverell, who inherited it from her father. Lolanthe ended up marrying Linfred's eldest son, and many years later, Harry's father James Potter inherited the cloak, before passing it on to his son.

Another essay, entitled Chamber of Secrets, reveals more insight into why the Chamber was located in one of the Hogwarts' bathrooms, along with a rather disgusting practice wizards used to perform. As it turns out, the Chamber was in place before that particular room was turned into a bathroom, which became necessary after wizards apparently stopped this practice. Here's an excerpt from J.K. Rowling's essay which outlines the Chamber of Secrets' history.

"When first created, the Chamber was accessed through a concealed trapdoor and a series of magical tunnels. However, when Hogwarts' plumbing became more elaborate in the eighteenth century (this was a rare instance of wizards copying Muggles, because hitherto they simply relieved themselves wherever they stood, and vanished the evidence), the entrance to the Chamber was threatened, being located on the site of a proposed bathroom. The presence in school at the time of a student called Corvinus Gaunt - direct descendant of Slytherin, and antecedent of Tom Riddle - explains how the simple trapdoor was secretly protected, so that those who knew how could still access the entrance to the Chamber even after newfangled plumbing had been placed on top of it."

Pottermore.com now includes more content than ever before and is designed to be consumed in a completely different way to the original site, which was launched in 2012. The new site contains entertaining features, commentary and articles about the Harry Potter series and the wider Wizarding World. Being designed first for mobile also helps users to easily share on social media as they go.

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For the first time ever, there will be reporting and features by the Pottermore Correspondent, a journalist dedicated to reporting on all the latest updates going on in the Wizarding World. In the months to come the Pottermore Correspondent will report on the forthcoming Warner Bros. feature film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, based on an original J.K. Rowling screenplay, and the stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, written by Jack Thorne, which is set to open in London in 2016.