A few weeks ago LEGO reached out to me with an offer – “Hey Michael, want to review something Harry Potter related?” Sure I said, assuming it was probably going to be the new Harry Potter minifigures. What arrived was the $599.99 Diagon Alley set. So let’s all agree not to tell LEGO that I’ve never actually seen a Harry Potter movie or read one of the books.
Welcome to a review of Diagon Alley unburdened by concerns about accuracy, powered by quick Google searches and wiki pages.
Diagon Alley apparently has a lot of shops but included here are 6, split across 4 separate sections. You essentially get 4 half-modulars. With the street split over 4 baseplates you do have some flexibility in terms of how you present the finished model.
Ollivanders™ Wand Shop
It is my understanding that wands are the primary weapon used by wizards and witches in the Harry Potter universe. So essentially Ollivanders is the place you take pre-teens to arm them before they head off to school. Cool.
I can see why LEGO decided to open with this build – It’s absolutely fantastic and the end product is just gorgeous. The interior is packed to the brim with full shelves that really capture a cluttered aesthetic that I have to assume was very deliberate.
The turning staircase is a great addition and I like that it allows your minifigures realistic access to the upper levels but can be tucked away for display.
The upper level is a bit less cluttered with a desk and less shelving.
I quite like the crooked chimney on the roof of Ollivanders. It’s whimsical without being too silly. It also has lots of owls.
The exterior bay windows look great with the brick texture bricks. It’s a fairly grounded shopfront for a store that sells magic sticks.
Be careful when you are building this one as there are a few parts where they tell you to use a specific sticker – such as A5 – but what you actually need and what the picture shows is A6.
Scribbulus™ Writing Implements
Wizard Officeworks is built alongside Ollivanders on the first of our four baseplates. On the exterior it is another fairly subdued façade with a great combination of grey and dark blue.
As the smaller part of the overall 32 studs this one doesn’t have a lot of detailing. There are pots of ink, quills and parchment. This got me curious about why they don’t just use laptops at Hogwarts. According to Hermoine “All those substitutes for magic Muggles use – electricity, computers, and radar, and all those things – they all go haywire around Hogwarts, there’s too much magic in the air.” Sounds like a lie peddled by the ink and quill industry.
Upstairs has a lounge and a desk.
Quality Quidditch™ Supplies
I have spent twenty minutes trying to understand Quidditch. I do not understand Quidditch. To be honest I am not sure JK Rowling understands Quidditch. There’s balls that appear to be sentient, hoops and also clubs. Despite the game not making any sense it appears to be popular in-universe, so it makes sense that there is a Quidditch shop in Diagon Alley.
I don’t like the exterior as much as Ollivanders mainly because I am not a fan of the pink. I think it clashes with the dark red on the lower level. I like the idea behind the weathering on the upper levels, with the paint peeling and the brickwork underneath showing. It’s also interesting in that the front windows are done at an angle.
The interior is quite nicely set out. It feels like a showroom where the latest must have balls and clubs are on display. I also like the various broomstick displays.
The Daily Prophet
Taking up just a small section of the Quality Quidditch Supplies baseplate is an entrance for The Daily Prophet. It doesn’t actually lead anywhere it’s just a door with a box of newspapers on the other side. I am not sure why they bothered including it.
Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour
Finally something that makes sense to even the non-fans. Everybody understands Ice Cream. This is the smaller shop on the third baseplate so it doesn’t have a heap of details. Inside you get a counter on the lower level and a couch on the upper level. I assume the upper level is meant to be part of an apartment where Florean lives.
The exterior is nicely details with some cleverly designed chairs out the front.
I assume that nothing eventful happens to the Ice Cream Parlour or Florean Fortescue.
Overall this is something that wouldn’t be out of place in a normal city street.
Flourish & Blotts™
Another shop that wouldn’t feel out of place in a non-magical city. Flourish & Blotts is a wizard book shop. With Amazon putting so many small book shops out of business it’s great to see that Bezos hasn’t yet extended his reach to the wizarding world.
In the same vain as Ollivanders the Flourish & Blotts shop is designed to look very cluttered and overflowing with books. There are lots of shelves in the interior to accomplish that aesthetic. There is one particular stack of books that uses the new minifigure action posing element and it’s super fiddly and kept falling apart. It looks cool though.
The store features an upper level with balustrade and some additional bookshelves.
The exterior is a wonderful mix of greens and browns. So far most of these buildings feel like they could be adapted to a generic street moc.
Included with Flourish & Blotts is a little table out the front for a book signing with somebody wearing a cape. He’s either a superhero or a wanker.
Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes
While I’ve found that most of the other buildings could pass for something normal, there is no chance of this building doing that. This is a pretty ugly building. I googled it and found pictures of the Universal Studios version and it’s not quite as bad. There is a lot of orange and a lot of purple.
I really like the large window on the corner that encloses a giant Weasley. It’s quite interesting to build a giant figure as you are also making a building.
The giant Weasley in the window also comes with a play feature where you can use a mechanism to raise his hat. Does the wizarding world have animatronics or do they use magic for that sort of thing? Magic would probably be easier than gears and a motor. Do they have electric motors in the magic world? They’ve got a train. Maybe the train is magic? But the train is shown blowing steam. I’m sorry I’m getting distracted.
This building is the tallest so unsurprisingly it has a lot of interior details. That interior is somehow brighter and crazier than the exterior. There are lots of stickered elements to create displays of various wizard things.
You also get a separate build that I think is meant to be a display for love potions. Love potions are apparently a thing in the Harry Potter universe. They make somebody fall in love with you and you can buy them off the shelf at this store. It’s fucked up. I’m just gonna say it. Imagine being able to go to your local Kmart and pick up some Rohypnol. Magic isn’t a substitute for informed consent. I shouldn’t have to say this.
So many minifigures
Is there a proper collective noun for a group of wizards? What if that group includes witches and wizards? I’m getting side-tracked here but the point I am trying to make is that this set contains a lot of magical minifigures – at least 14 of them.
This set includes a very impressive line-up of characters. I assume. Again I have no idea who any of these people are.
Harry and Hagrid
Harry Potter is the star of the Harry Potter franchise. He is featured with his school uniform but short legs so this would logically have to be 2nd year at Hogwarts?
Hagrid is the big unit that says “You’re a wizard ‘arry!”. That is one of the few things that I do know about Harry Potter. Hagrid has a chunky torso with overside arms, but weirdly uses short legs. The coat covers them up but I still find it a little weird.
Your friendly neighbourhood magic stick salesman. Ollivander looks great with his jacket, vest and tie combo.
These are the bad guys. I can tell this because they’ve got evil faces. There’s Draco aka Blonde Kid and Lucius aka Blonde Dad. I know that these people are evil thanks to google but it’s still great that Lucius is taking his son shopping for school supplies. He’s a good dad. Don’t see Harry Potter’s dad taking him shopping do you?
The twins are George and Fred Weasley. They are students at Hogwarts who then open the Wizard Wheezes shop. I am sure both of these guys will live long productive lives. I like the way LEGO has managed to make this two clearly twins without being lazy and just giving us two identical figures.
Some other Weasleys
While you get Fred and George Weasley working in their shop, you also get some other Weasleys.
Firstly there is Ron. He is Harry’s BFF and I think he eventually marries Hermione.
Also included is the Weasley matriarch Molly. She has 5 kids so it’s completely understandable that she sends them off to a boarding school. Woman needs a break.
There is also Ginny Weasley. The youngest of the Weasley kids and the only girl. She’s only a kid here but eventually she and Harry get it on.
Hermione is a nerd with frizzy hair which seems to get less frizzy as the films progress. Just like her besties Ron and Harry, Hermione comes with short legs and her school uniform.
Gilderoy Lockhart is not a name that means anything to me. According to google Gilderoy is a “half-blood” wizard author who made up all the stuff he did in his books. What a jerk.
Here I am thinking guy that runs an ice-cream shop, can’t be that interesting. Bet he has a nice boring life selling ice cream, paying his wizard taxes. Nope. Florean does not have a great time. Still it’s nice to see him alive and well here in this set.
Allow me to introduce you to “Unnamed Daily Profit Photographer”. I am assuming this nameless little dude isn’t really critical to the plot of Harry Potter. I really like his hat/hair piece and the brick-built camera is nice.
Overall thoughts on Diagon Alley
While I don’t know much about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter I do know that people are very passionate about it. I think there is enough here for Harry Potter fans. Overall I was really impressed with the set.
There is a lot of great building in this set, which is what you want from a LEGO set that costs this much. It really felt like you’ve got modular level techniques here. You’ve also got that modular building feel in having a full street that you can connect together. I personally don’t mind that each building has been left open at the back but I can see why some may have preferred that option.
I think we’ll see some sort of addition to this set in the future. Whether that is a single building or another set of buildings.
My biggest complaint would be that there are way too many stickers. There are so many stickers that they had to use letters and numbers to distinguish them.
Full Image Gallery
I was very surprised that there was a secret box inside the set. If you don’t want to know what is in it don’t read this bit…
The mysterious Box 21 contains a second Harry Potter minifigure and an unannounced display stand. It’s awesome that LEGO chose to keep this a mystery.
This set was provided to me by LEGO. Opinions expressed are my own.