So! Let's see what the autumn has in store(s) for us, shall we?
The Second Harry Potter Collectible Minifigure Series
Lego has released the promotional pictures of the minifigures. They're slated for sale as of 01 September. The 'surprises' (the figures that weren't visible on the already leaked packaging) are Hermione, Ron, Ginny (all ca. HBP), Fred and George (ca. PoA), and first time ever minifigures James and Lily Potter, the latter comes with baby Harry, pre-lightning bolt scarring naturally. (Unfortunately that means he isn't ideal for use with the 4 Privet Drive set. meh. Details.) Counting Kingsley, Moaning Myrtle and Griphook, that brings us up to five never before released minifigs this collectible series alone, and a further three (Fred, George and Professor Pomona Sprout) that haven't been released (yet*) this wave. (Harry, Hermione, Ron, Dumbledore, Luna, Neville, Ginny and Bellatrix have all put in appearances in the 2018-2020 series of Harry Potter lego sets already.)
* I expect adult / post-Hogwarts versions of Fred and George to be included in the Diagon Alley set, but as it's also expected to retail for roughly $400 / 400 EUR, this is a nice way to make them available affordably.
There are some nifty new accessory pieces, too. There's a beautiful new Fawkes fig, Severus Snape's Potions textbook (squee!), complete with Sectumsempra Spell (!), Butterbeer glasses (that look rather a lot like sweet tea... yum. (be still my beating heart)), the Monster Book of Monsters (hee), Tom Riddle's Diary, Fred's suitcase of betting slips for the TriWiz Tournament, a lovely Marauder's Map piece for George, a nicely rendered Sword of Gryffindor, the lion's headpiece for Quidditch fan Luna, and the Potter family photograph.
The lack of school uniforms is a mixed blessing. While it's nice to have outfits from different scenes, for those of us hoping to populate our Hogwarts castles, we simply haven't been getting enough minifigs to use as students, and will be forced to resort to the Hogwarts Students Accessory Set (40419). Hmm.
But they've done a good job of capturing the look of the actor who plays the adult James, and interestingly they've given one of Lily's faces rather a lot of wrinkles (far too many considering she was only twenty-one at the time of her death), but not the other (still much too old for twenty-one, but less so than the other face). Another nice detail is the fact they've used the same features for James as they use for Harry, adding a few lines and changing the colour of his glasses. (It's surprising what a difference that makes.) But this helps explain why Snape responds so viscerally to Harry. I love that kind of attention to detail.
On a personal note, I shall now have to see if I upgrade my custom Ms. Bred minifig to use Ginny's or Lily's hair... And I sort of covet Ginny's dress. (She's decked out in a lovely green number for the Slug Club Christmas Party in HBP.)
Potter vs. Malfoy
I've seen next to no publicity for this thing, which is a pity, because I knew I wanted it just as soon as I saw the artwork. It combines a few things I love fairly well, paper, books, pop-up works, lego, Harry Potter, drawings of minifigs... In addition to Harry and Draco minifigs, basically it offers a cardboard backdrop to the castle with beautifully drawn minifig scenes. It's reminiscent of the cut scenes from the HP lego video game. (If you haven't seen these before, they're absolutely lovely. They take all of the in-between scenes from the video game and splice them together, and it's rather like watching the whole movie done with lego. Here are the cut scenes from Philosopher's Stone.)
The cover of the Polish version of the book:
Here's the preliminary artwork. Judging by how much of the cover seems to have gone into production, I assume there haven't been too many changes to the contents:
Several scenes from PS, CoS and PoA have been included, and there's quite a variety of classrooms / rooms. Albus in his office with Fawkes, Hagrid with Fluffy, the Devil's Snare trap, the flying keys, Moaning Myrtle's Bathroom (complete with Hermione brewing Polyjuice Potion), Severus' Potions Class, a corridor (probably with Filch), the Wizard's chessboard challenge, Remus' DADA classroom with Ron's Boggart, the Library, Lockhart in front of the Chamber of Secrets (just ready to hex Ron and Harry), Sybill's classroom, the Owlery, Minerva's Transfiguration Class, the staircases and portrait collection, a clash of the Gryffindor and Slytherin Quidditch teams (presumably over practice time) and the Chamber of Secrets itself. It provides the scenery for a heck of a lot of play experience from those three books. Just beautifully done.
Next time we'll visit what's currently known of Diagon Alley and the 2020 Advent Calendar. 😊