Voice-activated technologies give us mere Muggles the opportunity to feel, if only for a moment, like we’re wizards. With a few words aimed at your device—and maybe even a flick of your wand, if you really use your imagination—you can cue “Hedwig’s Theme,” order some treacle tart, and curl up in your Hogwarts House bathrobe with a Harry Potter book in hand.
Now, Pottermore Publishing has partnered with Google Assistant to take your enchanted experience to the next (Ordinary Wizarding) level. If you say “Hey Google, tell me a Harry Potter story,” Google Assistant will play the audio edition of chapter six from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on your device.
It’s all part of Pottermore's annual “Back to Hogwarts” campaign to gear up students for another year of magical mischief, which begins on September 1 for young witches and wizards. That explains why they’ve chosen chapter six, “The Journey From Platform Nine and Three-Quarters.” It takes place on September 1, when the Hogwarts Express carries Harry off to school for the first time ever, and J.K. Rowling introduces us to several series-long pivotal characters, including Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Neville Longbottom, and Draco Malfoy.
To try it out, download the Google Assistant app and the Google Books app onto your device (Android smartphones have Google Assistant built in already, so you’ll just need the Google Books app). Then, utter the aforementioned incantation, “Hey Google, tell me a Harry Potter story.” The command might not sound as bewitching as some other Latin-based spells, but you’ll feel like you’re en route to Hogwarts in a heartbeat.