If there was ever a time the world needed a little magic in their lives, it's during a global pandemic. Luckily, there are now several different Harry Potter websites popping up to help fans in quarantine, bringing the magic of Hogwarts directly into their homes during these social distancing times. Forget about waiting for that Hogwarts letter that never seems to come — admission is open to all wizards and muggles alike, offering the perfect way to take your mind off of the pandemic taking place in the outside world.
On Wednesday, April 1, J.K. Rowling launched a brand new site, Harry Potter at Home, which caters to young kids and parents who are looking for a magical solution to their quarantine boredom. "Parents, teachers and carers working to keep children amused and interested while we’re on lockdown might need a bit of magic, so I’m delighted to launch HarryPotterAtHome.com," Rowling tweeted on Wednesday, April 1.
The site includes teaching and reading guides to go along with the Harry Potter series, as well as wide range of activities, including "nifty magical craft videos (teach your friends how to draw a Niffler!), fun articles, quizzes, puzzles, and plenty more for first-time readers." In addition to the activities on the site, Rowling has also teamed up with Audible to make the Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone audiobook available for free for a limited time.
For older kids, there's Hogwarts Is Here, a sort of social networking site that gives visitors the opportunity to enroll in a virtual version of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. That's right, you can actually take Hogwarts classes while stuck inside. The fan-built site has been around since 2014, but honestly, there's no better time to become acquainted with everything the online experience has to offer. There are seven different classes fans can sign up for, including Astronomy, Charms, Herbology, History of Magic, Potions, Transfiguration, and Defense Against the Dark Arts.
All you have to do is choose the house you'd like to be placed in — sadly, you'll have to channel your inner-Sorting Hat — and you can start working through the seven-year curriculum. Because, yes, just like with any real class, there will be assignments, quizzes, tests, and more available, which could earn you House Points and bring you one step closer to be coming Head Boy or Girl. But even if you aren't a bookworm like Hermione, you can ignore the class aspect and simply join various groups to play Quidditch, visit Hogsmeade, or simply hang out in the House common rooms.
There may not be a spell in existence that can banish the coronavirus outbreak altogether, but these websites can serve as a healthy and much-needed escape from the outside world — at least for a little while — and remind us that "happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light."
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and coughing, call NHS 111 in the UK or visit the CDC website in the U.S. for up-to-date information and resources. You can find all Bustle’s coverage of coronavirus here, and UK-specific updates on coronavirus here.