Review: Hogwarts Great Hall
Apart from taking a look at the Harry Potter Minifigure series, I have never before owned or reviewed a Harry Potter themed set. However, with my LEGO® Ambassador status, and the possibility of having sets sent to me for review, I decided to dive in. I did, after all, enjoy the books quite a bit back in the day. So, this week we will take a look at set 75954, Hogwarts Great Hall.
NOTE: This set was provided to me by The LEGO® Group for review purposes. However, the provision of sets does not guarantee a favorable review. I will use my usual rating system (click here to learn more), and provide my honest opinion.
NAME: Hogwarts Great Hall
SET #: 75954
THEME: Wizarding World
COST: $129.99 CAD
BRICK COUNT: 878
OF INTEREST: an owl, a rat, a spider
RELEASE DATE: August 24, 2018
SUMMARY REVIEW: 84%
VALUE: 74% (Okay cost-per-brick, but expensive build time.)
BUILD: 85% (Nice balance between play and detail.)
MINIFIGURES: 87% (Lots of stumpy legs, but otherwise good selection.)
ENTERTAINMENT: 90% (Amazing for play, good (but not great) for display.)
Hogwarts Great Hall comes with 878 bricks. The set will cost you $129.99 in Canada at full price. That means that each brick in this kit costs $0.15, which is just a touch above my current average of $0.14/brick. All in all, that is not a terrible value, especially if you consider that this is a licensed theme. I rate the value-per-brick at 80%.
Hogwarts Great Hall took me two hours and twenty-four minutes to build (144 minutes total). So, at $129.99 you are looking at a build time cost-per-minute of $0.90. My current average is $0.84/minute, so this is a more expensive build-time. I rate that at 68%. Averaging this score with the cost-per-brick score gives Hogwarts Great Hall an overall value rating of 74%. Waiting for a modest sale of 20% off would increase the overall value of this set to 95% in my books.
The first thing to mention is that this set is designed for maximum play. There isn’t anything wrong with that, since this is a toy after all. But, the open back design is not always a favorite for display purposes. With that in mind, Hogwarts Great Hall is a fairly detailed set. I think this set achieves a good balance between playability and detail. The exterior of the building is fairly ornate. The only part of the outside that was designed a little weakly is the dock. One small 2×6 plank is hardly the receiving platform for all the first year students arriving at the school.
The inside of Hogwarts is aesthetically pleasing, and full of details. The main hall features a table for each of the Hogwarts houses, and a head table that is raised on a little platform for the teachers. Halfway through the hall, there is a fireplace, and “floating” above the tables are some candles.
Attached to the Great Hall, there is a tower consisting of three floors. The ground floor has an interesting play feature in that the ever-changing stairs from the books have been included. These are just the standard LEGO® stone, spiral stairs, but they are used to good effect here.
The second floor of the tower has a potions room, while the third is a storage room with a treasure chest and the Sorting Hat. There are no stairs leading up to these levels, which is a minor disappointment. LEGO® could have had some fun here with swiveling staircases that swing out of the way of play. In the books, these staircases occasionally shifted to lead nowhere, so it would have been fun to have that here too.
The tower spire has a slot built in to hold the Mirror of Erised. The mirror itself comes with four interchangeable images consisting of stickers placed on either side of two panels. Removing the mirror from its support reveals a brick-built Fawkes. I’m not generally a big fan of brick-built birds, but this one goes with the story, I suppose.
The final little build included with the Hogwarts Great Hall is a basilisk. Again, this is a pretty big part of the stories, but the build itself is a little lack luster. It would be easy enough to beef up this build a little with your own stock of parts, but I would rather have enjoyed detail elsewhere in the set (like stairs) than having a not very detailed basilisk. The basilisk would have made a really cool set on its own, perhaps designed similarly to the Green Ninja Dragon Mech from the Ninjago Movie theme.
Overall, Hogwarts Great Hall is a solidly designed set. There are a few things that I wish were different. Given the size of the set, and the comparatively small size of the design components that I am not crazy about, I will not take off a full mark for each. But, I am not so keen on:
- The lack of stairs leading to the top floors of the tower (-0.5)
- The pitiful little dock (-0.5)
- The basilisk (-0.5)
I really like:
- The ornate exterior (+1)
- The attempt at recreating the moving stairs on at least one floor (+1)
- The details included in the dining hall (+1)
- The “floating” candles (+1)
- Good balance between playability and design (+1)
Overall, this set gains five points in my books, but loses 1.5. That gives Hogwarts Great hall an overall score of 8.5/10 for build.
Hogwarts Great Hall comes with 10 Minifigures. One of those is Hagrid, who is not really a “Minifigure” in the traditional sense, but is not really a “big-fig” either. For the purposes of this review, I’ll consider him a Minifigure.
Given that Hogwarts is a school, you get a lot of child-sized Minifigures in this set. That is understandable, but at the same time, I really don’t like the stumpy legs, especially in this set. This is the Great Hall. It features dining tables and benches. The stumpy-legged children are not able to sit down on said benches because their legs don’t bend. The Harry Potter Minifigure series came out with awesome, small-sized legs that do bend. Why not use those in a set that requires Minifigures to sit down? I guess those legs make the characters a little taller, but still, I would have much preferred to see those in this kit. The Minifigures lose a lot of design points in my book for that.
Otherwise, you get several key characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Draco, Susan Bones (who looks like Ginny Weasley), Dumbledore, Quirrell, MCGonagall, Nearly-Headless Nick, and Hagrid. All of them have a hat or hair, as well as front and back printed torsos. All, with the exception of Hagrid, also have double-sided faces. Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Nick also have leg printing. Oddly enough, Hagrid also has stumpy-kid legs inserted into his torso piece. It makes a little more sense there since that large coat that he wears would prevent him from sitting anyway. Apart from stumpy legs, my only other complaint about these characters is that you can see McGonagall’s double-sided face poking out from under her hat. I think she could have used a new hat-mold with a bun sticking out or something to cover that up. Based on design alone, I would rate these characters at 103/150 (63%).
Hogwarts Great Hall is brimming with 33 accessories that can be added to the design score. Those bring the grade up to 136/150 (91%). In terms of the accessories, you get:
- 1 umbrella
- 1 lantern
- 1 row boat
- 9 wands
- 1 Sorting Hat
- 1 spider
- 1 treasure chest
- 3 crystals
- 1 large cauldron
- 1 small cauldron
- 3 brooms
- 1 frog
- 1 rat
- 1 tea pot
- 1 cup
- 1 chicken leg
- 3 chalices
- 1 trophy
- 1 owl
10 Minifigures in a set contained 878 bricks gives you a brick-to-Minifigure ratio of 88:1. That is actually not bad, and better than average. The ratio score for Hogwarts Great Hall is 82%. Averaging this with the design score yields an overall Minifigure rating of 87%.
From a kid’s perspective, the Hogwarts Great Hall is probably an amazing play set. It also won Construction Toy of the Year at the 2019 Toy of the Year Awards. Thinking back to my childhood, I would have loved this too. Not to mention that you can actually combine this set with other sets to make a more complete Hogwarts. It has attachment points for the Whomping Willow set, as well as the summer 2019 Hogwarts Clock Tower set. So, from a play perspective, I rate Hogwarts Great Hall at 5/5 (100%).
From an adult collector’s opinion, I still like it, but not as much. I am not a fan of open-backed sets, so as a display piece, this doesn’t work as well for me. From that perspective, I would give it 4/5 (80%). Overall, that brings Hogwarts Great Hall to 9/10 (90%) for entertainment.
When it comes to buying Hogwarts Great Hall, there is no doubt that you are buying a really fun set with some classic characters. At full price, the value is not even that bad, though you don’t get as much build-time as you might expect. I do think this set is a good one, and I recommend it. It has been out for a year at the time I am writing this review, so you can find it discounted at some retailers. Even a modest 20% brings the overall score for Hogwarts Great Hall up to 89%.
What are your thoughts on Hogwarts Great Hall? Be sure to let me know in the comments below. If you like the content at True North Bricks, I would love it if you followed me here on WordPress (click the “follow” option in the menu at the bottom of the page), Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter for regular updates.
Until next time,