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Daily Review – 2019 LEGO Harry Potter Advent Calendar

Does LEGO's first Harry Potter advent calendar capture that holiday magic? Find out here!

Check back for updates each day as we work our way through the 2019 LEGO Harry Potter Advent Calendar!

It’s exceedingly rare that my wife will say we need to buy a LEGO set. So when the 2019 Harry Potter Advent Calendar set was announced and my wife said “Ooh we need to get this,” I rushed out to buy the first set I could find.

LEGO released its first advent calendar in 1998, and the City theme has been an advent calendar staple since 2005. The Star Wars advent calendar debuted in 2011, joined a year later by the first Friends calendar.

Since 2012, however, the lineup has remained the same — City, Star Wars, and Friends. So we were very excited to learn that Harry Potter was joining the lineup for the first time in 2019.

This should come as no surprise, since LEGO Harry Potter returned in 2018 with new sets, minifigures, and BrickHeadz. It quickly rejoined the ranks as one of LEGO’s most popular themes. Will the LEGO Harry Potter advent calendar continue this trend? Let’s find out.

Overview

The LEGO Harry Potter Advent Calendar comes in at 305 parts, including at least four minifugres. (We’re trying to look at the box as little as possible so we don’t spoil the fun.) The part count is consistent with other advent calendars over the last several years, which now regularly exceed 300 parts.

The inside box art features a split winter scene. Two-thirds of the background shows the great hall inside Hogwarts, decorated for the holidays. The remaining one-third shows the outside of Hogwarts castle. The fold-down base follows a similar design, with two-thirds showing the floor of the great hall while the remaining one-third is the snow-covered grounds. A single pair of LEGO footprints tracks snow into the hall. Let’s hope Argus Filch is not in the set because he’s not going to be happy about that.

We won’t spoil the fun of opening an advent calendar, so each day we’ll update this article with the build for the day. Check back daily to find out what’s new in this magical winter scene.

December 1 – The Boy Who Lived

Did you expect anything else to start the advent calendar? Day 1 gives us young Harry Potter himself, wearing a blue holiday sweater, which we believe is one of Mrs. Weasley’s infamous sweaters from the books and movies, and tan child legs. He comes with the standard wand and a two-sided minifigure head: smiling Harry and frightened Harry. We chose smiling Harry because the holidays were often a happy time for Harry and his friends.

December 2 – Hogwarts Express

Day 2 brings us our first microscale vehicle and it’s another iconic symbol of the Harry Potter universe, Hogwarts Express. The design is quite complex with 22 parts, nearly twice the average of an advent calendar build. It’s a fitting choice for the second build of the set. Our only complaint is the 1 x 1 brick with handle used as the rear of the engine. Although we couldn’t think of another way to couple the engine to the coal tender, it’s an awkward part that stands out a little too much in the design.

December 3 – Winter Trees

Behind door 3 is not one but two snow-covered trees. Trees are among the hardest objects to build out of LEGO. Miniature trees are even harder. Each tree from door 3 is made of nine parts. The lower portion is a 1 x 1 brick with four studs, used to hold green cheese slopes in place. The upper portion is made of a white cone with a star mounted on top. It’s a decent design overall considering the small number of parts, although I can’t quite get past the disconnect between the top and bottom of these trees. The round style of the top clashes with the more triangular style of the bottom, and the contrast of all white and all green is a little too stark for my taste.

December 4 – Oh Christmas Tree!

The last thing I expected to find on day 4 was another tree. And what a great tree this is, making up for everything that was lacking in the two trees from the day before. Checking in at a whopping 34 parts, this tree includes a subtle blend of earth green and sand green angled plates, snow covered branches (in the form of more cheese wedges), round stud ornaments, and a star upon the top. In many years, this tree could have been the final build for an entire advent calendar. It was a pleasant surprise to find it on day 4, and it’s renewed our excitement to see what we’ll build next.

December 5 – Gryffindor

Day 5 of the advent calendar gives us a red and gold flag display stand for Gryffindor House. Gryffindor, as you know, is one of four “houses” at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizadry, and the house to which Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger all belong. As a LEGO build, it’s a pretty routine design, with a clip holding two bars together to form the stand and a few additional parts for the base. It makes a fine if uneventful display piece. I fully expect Ron and Hermione to join Harry Potter at some point, so it only makes sense to represent the colors of House Gryffindor in the set. I don’t imagine we’ll see enough characters from other houses to warrant display pieces for their houses.

December 6 – Professor McGonagall

Day 6 gives us our next minifigure, Professor McGonagall, Headmistress of Hogwarts. It’s a nice surprise if you have managed to avoid spoilers as we have, as Professor McGonagall is not pictured on the LEGO box for the set. She’s dressed in a dark green robe and includes the standard wand and a black hat. I can’t say I’m terribly familiar with the history of Harry Potter minifigures but it’s a great design and compliments the Gryffindor House banners from day 5, as Professor McGonagall is also head of that house.

December 7 – Table and bench

The build for day 7 is a table and bench from the great hall at Hogwarts. We placed it next to Professor McGonagall to give a sense of the size. The table and bench is six studs wide with tile for the bench and studs for the table. Two goblets are included. More accessories would be nice, but I assume we’ll get those before the advent calendar is done.

December 8 – Table accessories

Sure enough, day 8 gives us some food to go with the table we built yesterday. We get a turkey, a silver platter, and three yellow-orange ice cream elements. (Is that supposed to be popcorn? It’s making me think of the dinner scene from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.) I guess this makes the table scene something of a 2-day build. The colors look great now that the table is complete. Hopefully tomorrow we will move on to something new.

December 9 – Syltherin

Day 9 presents us with another banner, this time for House Slytherin. This is the same display stand that we built on day 5, but with green and silver flags. The two banners do look good together, representing the light and dark halves of the Harry Potter stories, although we were slightly disappointed to build the exact same thing. It makes us wonder if any Slytherin minifigures will now be included in the set (Professor Snape perhaps?) and if the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw banners are also on their way.

December 10 – Ron Weasley

Following the Slytherin banners on day 9, I expected day 10 to give us a minifigure associated with House Slytherin, perhaps Professor Snape or Draco Malfoy. We did get our third minifigure of the calendar but it turned out to be Ron Weasley, Harry Potter’s best friend. Like Harry, Ron is wearing a holiday sweater with his first initial on it. My wife, who has watched the Harry Potter movies many more times (and much more recently) than I have, confirmed to me that these are the ugly Christmas sweaters that Mrs. Weasley made for Ron and Harry in the first Harry Potter book. Kudos to LEGO for once again capturing a small book/movie moment in such great detail.

December 11 – Table and bench (part 2)

I thought the LEGO Harry Potter advent calendar was going to look sparse with just one table and bench for the great hall. Today we got a second one. It’s the same build as day 7, but instead of two goblets we get a candle for the table. The great hall half (two-thirds, really) of the build is taking shape now, with tables, house banners, and minifigures. I can only assume that another set of accessories is on the way to fill out the second table. But it would be nice to see another mini-vehicle build soon.

December 12 – Table accessories (part 2)

As predicted, we finish out the first half of the advent calendar with more accessories for the second table. Day 12 gives us a pie, a few cookies, a croissant, two goblets, and another one of those new silver platters. It feels like filler, although necessary filler to hopefully complete the great hall dining scene so we can move on to something new. What builds will we find in the second half of the advent calendar? Keep checking back daily to find out what is next.

December 13 – Ravenclaw

Although I’m liking the overall effect of the Harry Potter advent calendar, it is getting a bit repetitious. Day 13 gives us our third house banner, this time the blue and silver of House Ravenclaw. Like the other house banners, it makes a good display piece and having a second silver flag is a bonus, as that is a rare LEGO piece. But then again, this is essentially the fifth duplicate build of the calendar, with three flag banners (and we can safely assume there will be a fourth), two tables, two sets of table accessories, and two identical trees if you count the duplicate build on day 3. There’s been a lot of focus on the “Great Hall” side of the build, so I hope the calendar begins to balances out with something to join the Hogwarts Express microvehicle outside.

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