BOOK REVIEW: LEGO Harry Potter – Build your own Adventure

I haven’t reviewed any books previously, though there have been plenty of LEGO Harry Potter related books released in recent years. Most of these have hardly any interesting content (for an adult fan) even when considering the rather generic minifigures included. There are a few book that deserves attention though – including “LEGO Harry Potter – Build your own Adventure” from last year. Here is why I like that one…

In recent years, countless LEGO Harry Potter books have been published, typically small activity books, calendars or diaries with little content, but including a (again typically) rather generic minifigure of a character from Harry Potter. I don’t need to own anything LEGO Harry Potter, and I’ve happily skipped those, saving my dollars for real LEGO sets. There are three exceptions though – where I have found the books interesting and worth purchasing.

This include LEGO Harry Potter – Building the Magical World from 2011 (which covers all Harry Potter sets from 2001 to 2011) and the sequel LEGO Harry Potter – Magical Treasury from 2020, which covers the more recent sets. As reference books they are really good with details about the various sets. Both of these also include an exclusive minifigure, the latter one of Tom Riddle. They are published by Dorling Kindersley (DK).

The third book I find interesting, is the LEGO Harry Potter – Build your own Adventure book from 2019 and also published by DK.  

And sitting in COVID-19 isolation, following exposure when travelling overseas, with little else to do (my sets are 16,000 kilometers away), I thought it would be worth reviewing that book, which I had packed just in case.

The box

It comes in a book box, that holds a book and a cardboard box that include bricks for building two small LEGO models, a poster and a couple of bookmarks. The front and back of the book box can be seen below. The front has a transparent window that allow the potential customers to get a feel for the bricks included with the book.

The poster and bookmarks are probably most fun for the younger audience. But the bricks and book itself should be enough to attract a grown up audience. Here is an overview photo of the entire content.

The book

That must be more than enough about the packaging. Let us have a look at the book, which front is shown below.

While the book box is relatively thick, the book itself is unfortunately thin – as the cardboard box with bricks takes up most of the space. The book is 78 pages in total and covers Harry’s first year at Hogwarts with each double-page covering a particular scene or location. This fills the first 63 pages – with the double-pages being grouped into five different chapters (as shown below). The remaining pages cover the instructions for the two models that can be built with the included bricks.

As you would expect, some of the builds presented are more interesting than others, but I got a lot of good ideas from going through the pages. The builds are made by prominent LEGO designers, including Marcos Bessa (lead designer of Diagon Alley – see my recent Roundtable interview here) and Joel Baker, who did the first concept work for the huge Hogwarts Castle (set 71043), as discussed here.

The book focuses on Harry’s first year on Hogwarts, but many of the models shown can be used beyond the first movie. Examples of some of the nice small models are: The house cup point counter, London Zoo, the models of the 4 Privet Drive interior, and the Fat Lady Portrait.

The House Cup point counter model shown in the book

The models are generally small, and provides ample of inspiration for both younger and adult fans for similar builds, including call-out boxes with “What will you build?” ideas.

To give a better feel for the models in the book, below is a gallery of the teaser photos available from Amazon.com.

The bricks…

The box includes a rather generic Harry Potter (no exclusive figure in this one), but also the somewhat rare Sorting Hat and four printed tiles with the house crests. Also of interest is the book with Wingardium Leviosa spell tile and two candles with flames (these are getting quite normal now though). The bricks can be used to build two different models.

Model 1 – Sorting Hat Spinner

The Sorting Hat Spinner is a quick little build. It has a base with the rotating spinner (using the printed tiles with all the house crests) and a very nice backdrop for Harry to stand in front ready to be sorted into his Hogwarts House.

The completed model can be seen below. Let the sorting begin!

The model is somewhat similar to set 4701 – Sorting Hat from 2001. I’m sure there will be many figures sorted by this model.

“Hmm,” said a small voice in his ear. “Difficult. Very difficult. Plenty of courage, I see. Not a bad mind either. There’s talent, oh my goodness, yes — and a nice thirst to prove yourself, now that’s interesting. . . . So where shall I put you?”
Harry gripped the edges of the stool and thought, Not Slytherin, not Slytherin.
“Not Slytherin, eh?” said the small voice. “Are you sure? You could be great, you know, it’s all here in your head, and Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, no doubt about that — no? Well, if you’re sure — better be GRYFFINDOR!”

J.K. Rowling
The original Sorting Hat set from 2001

Model 2 – Magical Fireplace

The other model is a fireplace. As the other model, it is quickly built.

But unlike the previous model, this one has two sides – each showing a fireplace from one of the four common rooms at Hogwarts. The tiles above the fireplaces indicates which rooms, and the book explains you can change what rooms they represents by exchanging the tiles with the others.

Personally, I think this much better represents Harry travelling with Flo-powder – as Harry stands on a turn-table, and you can easily turn from a lit fire to Harry standing in the fireplace. It is probably also the intention, but not explained.

The two sides of the finished model can be seen here.

Conclusion

What do you think of the book – was it worth the money? Have you built something based on the inspiration from the book. I’m keen to hear about what you may have been inspired build to in the comments.

A few more days of isolation awaits. I’ll be back with more – including a few examples of what else you can build using the bricks included (as I have no other bricks at hand in isolation anyway).

Till then, Build the Magic!

One thought on “BOOK REVIEW: LEGO Harry Potter – Build your own Adventure

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