Reviewed by Suzette Coetzer (SAFOLs Member, zaLUG Member)
The Great Hall is a magical room in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, with an enchanted ceiling to look like the night sky. It held fantastic feasts and events such as Halloween, Christmas and the Triwizard Tournament; and holds significant memories of both tragedy and triumph such as Cedric Diggory’s memorial and the defeat of the Darkest Wizard of all time, Lord Voldemort. As a huge Harry Potter and LEGO® enthusiast, I was in ecstasy when LEGO® released The Great Hall and could not wait to start building a part of, what has been for me for many years, the greatest place in the Wizarding World.
It started out quite straightforward, the same way the modular buildings usually do, except that it is not built on a base plate but on different shapes and sizes of plates. As the build progressed I started recognising, with each step exactly what is was that LEGO® had tried to re-create and marvelled at the cleverness of the techniques used to get the effects just right. I also enjoyed discovering the distinct details that the designers added by incorporating more than one movie/book into this set and of course, to unearth new parts that LEGO® had developed is essentially an AFOL’s Holy Grail. I was, however, a little perplexed with the build of the Basilisk, which felt neglected in comparison with the Phoenix (albeit the latter is smaller and quite lovely) and I have decided that the Basilisk will have to undergo some modifications to be complementary to the rest of the set’s techniques and design. And since I “ooh’d” and “ahh’d” so many times during this build, it took me about 3½ hours to complete a set with only 878 pieces.
I have been a Harry Potter fan for many years and I must say that building these new LEGO® Harry Potter sets has been quite an enjoyable experience. I am sure that most would enjoy these builds as well, although the full experience can only truly be attained by a Harry Potter fanatic who has the knowledge to spot the hints of references to events that the Muggle-eyes overlook ?