LEGO Harry Potter is an experience. A one I thought I should get a reward for finishing as I was in an unfortunate position of playing it single player. Toffi, being a cat and completely uninterested in video games besides sitting in front of my screen and blocking the majority of it whilst I play, couldn’t really hold the other controller and thus I was stuck playing the games on my own. I finished them both. Years 1-4 and 5-7 and what a journey it has been! From cheerful running around, chills down my spine thanks to the amounts of nostalgia I was getting, all to mindless wiggling of my analog stick and yelling, “What am I supposed to do now?!” But you know what? Let’s forget all that and focus on something I’m known for. LORE! Or rather, the way the story is presented in these games. You see, adaptation is a tricky thing, as we’ve learned watching and analyzing both of the Hitman movies. It’s even more difficult if you adapt what was first a novel to a movie and then to a video game… considering that you’re making a video game for a younger audience than both of the previously mentioned source material. This is the struggle we will be looking at today.
And as a fun fact, I was actually planning a similar piece on the topic of old school Harry Potter games. You may or may not know I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. The series helped me out on multiple occasions and I still do replay the old PC titles every now and again. We’re talking the Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets, mostly. What made those stand out on their own, however, is that even though they were created as movie tie-ins, they were loosely based on the book source material. We see characters like Norbert and Peeves in the games even though they were clearly missing from the movies. And as there is a handy narration accompanying the visuals, the story can be pieced together, albeit very lacking. Obviously. LEGO Harry Potter doesn’t have a handy narration. In fact, there is no voice acting whatsoever. A trait all LEGO games of this era share. Also, both of the LEGO Harry Potter games are based on movies, which already had problems with their adaptations of the story. This is where my question originates from – what is the story told in the LEGO Harry Potter games? And can you actually make sense of it? Today, I’m willing to find that out – forget absolutely everything I know about the original series and use pure creativity and analytical skills to retell you the story of LEGO Harry Potter. Hang on to your chairs. This will be quite a ride. Maybe even wilder than travel via the Floo Network.
The sky is dark blue as we enter a peaceful neighborhood. For our soundtrack, a twinkly music plays over a simple establishing shot, presenting us with flowers, street lamps and an almost empty road, if not for a black cat. A stark contrast of colors – a man with long gray hair, wearing a bright violet cape enters the screen and approaches the cat wanting to pet it, but he’s quickly interrupted by an elderly woman in a similar attire. She turns his attention away from the cat, leaving the animal with nothing but a taste and hope for some caressing, playing and petting. Destroying its dreams, they turn around as a motorbike flies in, ruining the beautiful flowers. A giant man came all the way here to ask the woman to go for a date with him! But after a bouquet of flowers doesn’t get him the desired response, he instead just whips out a baby. Guess what? Neither the woman nor the gray-haired man wants it either as he has a weird scar on his forehead, so they just leave him at a random doormat. Talk about child abuse…
It was either a dream or the boy suddenly grew a couple of years, as we meet him again in a cupboard beneath stairs. This boy really cannot get any sleep. He’s immediately woken up by some random way-too-angry-for-her-own-good woman who gives him a frying pan. Who knows, maybe the kitchen utensil was simply burning her hand and thus making her angry? Another shot presents us with a speed eating contest and the scar boy desperately trying to keep up the pace as he puts even more stuff on an already full table. This charade then gets interrupted by a few letters dropping in unannounced and that’s apparently all it takes for the eating contest to stop. The scar boy and mustache man fight for these pieces of paper, and we see that the back of the letter sports a pretty Hogwarts logo and seal. Mustache man tears up the letter so another one comes in. And soon enough, it appears this neighborhood has been taken over by owls. But our characters could not care less about an owl infestation. They close the door and pretend that nothing ever happened. More than the violent birds, they are scared about the letters. Those keep coming and coming and the family is forced to flee from their homes.
They run to a remote island which seems a lot more dangerous than the place they lived beforehand. As sudden interruptions are a theme, the giant man is back and he scares the living crap out of the family. Scar Boy finally gets his letter. It only took a thousand owls and a huge bearded man… who for some reason kidnaps the kid. Well, if you intended to do that in the first place, why pass him to this other family?
In the next scene, Big guy and Scar Boy try to appeal to some weird short creatures in order to get a free roller coaster ride. They go down to a cavern to look at some gold coins, interrupt a weird creature party and, ultimately steal a random sack. After that mission is over, Big guy points Scar Boy towards a magical stick store and they enter it together. Scar Boy wreaks some havoc in the store by pointing various sticks at various objects in the room until he finally comes across a stick that doesn’t go entirely ape shit. Happy to find a non-crazy magic stick, Big guy and Scar Boy leave the store. Big guy suddenly whips out an entire cage holding a white owl from his butt, as well as a black pointy hat. Scar Boy cosplays as a wizard but sneezes, ruining the moment. Thus, he decides to forgo that little charade as he enters a train station. Big guy is nowhere to be seen and Scar Boy has to care for himself for a change. His train ticket shows platform 9¾ but there isn’t one like it in sight. Thankfully, the moment of doubt has no time to settle and once again, Scar Boy is met with people to guide him. This time, two red-headed guys appear from behind him. Their sweaters say G and F, so let’s call ‘em G-man and F-man respectively. There is also another red-headed boy, in light green clothes, as well as even more red-headed people coming over! Another boy is stopped by a red-headed woman as he attempts to run towards a brick wall. Good thing she stopped him – he might have disappeared like the other guys! We don’t want to lose another red-head!
Scar Boy takes the lead, willing to take the risk of complete disappearance. There’s only a white flash as he enters platform 9¾. Let’s hope the flash doesn’t indicate that he actually hit his head so hard that he’s lying somewhere in a hospital room at the moment, dreaming about all of the following happening…
Red-head jumps onto the platform as well, knocking over Scar Boy and breaking his glasses. An attempt to repair it ends up changing guy’s hat into a frog, so maybe it’s better the spell ricocheted. A brown-haired girl comes to the rescue and helps out Scar Boy with his glasses. It seems all of them boarded a train, ‘cause we switch locations to Hogsmeade. A familiar face – Big guy – is already waiting for us. The guy gets around! The kiddos take boats and cross a lake to get to a huge castle as moonlight creeps in the edge of the frame.
Big Guy and the kiddos walk into a hall, where the elderly lady from before puts a wiggly brown hat on top of children’s heads. The gray-haired man in a violet robe is also there, as are a few other folks, including a bitter black-haired and also dressed full black, dude. As well as a man with a purple ball on his head. Two crests – one featuring a lion, the other, a snake – battle it out as Scar Boy has the wiggling hat on his head but ultimately, they settle down and Scar Boy joins Red-Head and Brown-Hair by a long table. A short scene then introduces us to a hall with multiple moving staircases and our trio looks, understandably, pretty worried but also in awe.
It’s time to meet the Bitter Dude. Brown-Hair jumps up and down in her seat trying to get his attention, maybe to tell him that there’s a rat running around the table. He ignores her, tells a story of a guy who could suddenly pull chains and then becomes even more angry as stuff levitates in front of him.
Later on, it’s time to get punched in the face with a broom. That is, when you are Red-Head. One of the other kiddos carries around a small blue ball and a blonde smart ass makes fun of it, which somehow ends up with the kiddo gaining height on his broom and flying away. He violently crashes into a brick wall as well as a couple of moving statues and ultimately falls down a good couple of meters, losing his blue ball in the process. Blonde Smart Ass gets a hold of the ball and throws it onto one of the statues, and it’s up to Scar Boy to take it back! He succeeds and people are impressed.
One day, walking up the moving stairs, our trio sees Violet Ball Man doing something suspicious, but they don’t care enough to stop him and ask questions, instead more enthralled to see a small man with glasses play with a stick. He uses it to make a cube of some bricks and then levitate it. Then, Brown-Hair dares Red-Head to do it. Instead of the cube, however, he makes other kiddos levitate, which seems to not faze anybody.
The trio enter the previously mentioned hall with long tables, where now, pumpkins are flying near the ceiling. Blonde Smart Ass throws some chocolate at Brown-Hair, which makes her sad and she runs away. The immediate reaction of being offended is getting interrupted, however, as Violet Ball Man rushes into the hall and starts growling with a piece of chicken leg in his hand. Panic ensues. Scar Boy and Red-Head are tired of it so they just run after Brown-Hair. And she is crying! They find her in a bathroom, as is a giant blue troll who was simply taking a nice chill piss as some kiddos entered his private bubble. Obviously, this makes him very mad and he starts smashing around the entire place. It seems like everyone in this universe has some anger issues… And violence is best combated with violence. Scar Boy and Red-Head knock him out with a mace. Elderly Woman, Violet Ball Man and Bitter Dude enter the scene. Elderly Woman swings her stick to have flowers appear in the air. They all leave the troll lying down on the floor, but Violet Ball Man seems to be unamused about the state of affairs.
The next scene takes place in a greenhouse where the kiddos are making fun of a woman whose hand gets grabbed by a plant. She uses her stick to make some pretty colors happen and the plant gives in… but it’s vengeful! It sneaks from behind and takes her stick away, kidnaps Red-Head for some reason and pins him to a wall. Guess they are all okay though as Scar Boy takes his broom and joins others dressed in the same clothes. They all jump on their flying broomsticks and enter a giant pitch. Red-Head, Brown-Hair and Big Guy are watching them. Scar Boy wants to show off but is interrupted by a bunch of green-robe guys flying towards him at high speed. There’s also a tiny golden ball with sticks going to the sides which appears next to him. Scar Boy rushes after it! He sticks his hand out to catch it but is violently interrupted by his broomstick as it stops in midair and wants to shake him off! Maybe that wouldn’t happen if you didn’t try to show off, eh?
Brown-Hair looks at the crowd through binoculars and is very unamused as both Violet Ball Man and Bitter Dude are speaking. So she takes Red-Head and they make their way to that side of the crowd. Brown-Hair whips out her stick and sets Bitter Dude’s robe on fire making him even more bitter. This stops the talks and, in the time it took them to do it, Scar Boy manages to take control of his broomstick once again, and he finally catches the golden ball after some battles with a green-robed individual. What I truly mean by “catching,” however, is literally falling on top of the golden ball, as Scar Boy’s broom hits the ground and launches him forward. Seriously, he might just be the clumsiest of kiddos on this pitch.
Back to the short man with the glasses as this time he gets out his stick and a dance ball emerges! Red-Head uses this occasion to show off his dance moves, to the dismay of people sitting next to him. Even the magical dance ball has enough and it shatters itself, freeing some pieces which then the short man with the glasses scatters around the room. I guess that dance was horrible…
It’s time for some proper management in this place and this starts up with the Big Guy bringing in a few large trees. As we’re all well aware, plants produce oxygen and thus improve the quality of life. This, in addition to new red hats forced upon kiddos by the Elderly Woman, makes for a hopefully more relaxed environment and refuses further anger issues. To commemorate this occasion, Red-Head and Scar Boy also receive gifts. Red-Head’s is some random bits and a spare torso with an R on it (R for Red-Head!), whilst Scar Boy gets a dirty coat which makes him disappear. First left on some random stairs, then moved to an island, then kidnapped, then left at an old castle… they really want this kid gone!
With the new set of rules in place, it is time to break them! Scar Boy shows off with his new coat whilst Red-Head is much more badass and sneaks in without it. They watch what seems to be a self-insert romantic comedy with Red-Head getting kissed by Brown-Hair. Scar Boy gets both a woman and a man, albeit appearing much older than him. Not as old as the Elderly Violet Robe Man, who catches them red-handed!… before deciding on checking out the screen himself…
Even though Elderly Woman was all about setting the right mood, she scares the living crap out of one of the kiddos. To reflect on the scene, the trio of Scar Boy, Red-Head and Brown Hair leave the castle to confront Big Guy who really is all over the place! This time, it seems that he has brought a mysterious ball which Red-Head immediately recognizes as a dragon egg. Thankfully, Big Guy has a manual! Egg and fire make a dragon! Handy little tip for those who wanted one. But that’s not the only animal Big Guy has under his care. Inside of his shack reveals a sleeping dog and a unicorn which has a terrible fever! The dog wakes up at a sound of Blonde Smart Ass breaking some glass outside. It’s very expensive glass, you see, so Big Guy violently opens the door and the impact sends Blonde Smart Ass flying! Other animals also aren’t amused. The dog jumps out of the shack and so does the unicorn which runs into the forest which was supposed to be resting in bed, goddamnit! They gotta find him!
The crew of Big Guy, Blonde Smart Ass, Scar Boy, Red-Head, Brown Hair and The Dog enter the suddenly dark and evil forest. They split up in groups. Scar Boy, Blonde Smart Ass and The Dog come across a mysterious flying dark figure with a knife and fork, ready to attack our lost unicorn! They interrupt it and the other group runs to the rescue. They’re too slow. The figure escapes, chased off by a half-horse half-human creature. A friend of Big Guy’s as well as the unicorn’s.
Adrenaline-rushed and adventure-inspired, it’s not the end of the weird creature land as the trio of Scar Boy, Brown Hair and Red-Head suddenly encounters a three-headed dog who seems to be asleep. Violet Ball Man appears and destroys a very expensive instrument with his stick, which wakes the dog up. Maybe dogs in this universe just simply don’t like things getting destroyed. Red-Head saves the day once again with his musical talent. He pulls out a trumpet and plays a few tunes. Shame Brown Hair isn’t keen on music and the trio has to bribe the dog with a new squeaky rubber duck toy before they can pursue their imaginary adventure. Unfortunately, people met on this journey are pretty awful and they litter everywhere! The incident goes as far as Red-Head tripping over a sword, and he sadly cannot participate in the secret screening of a new romantic comedy, hosted by Violet Ball Man. This doesn’t go as planned. Scar Boy refuses to pay for the event and the plan to release some of the stress of this castle backfires as Violet Ball Man gets angry and literally sets the place on fire. Fighting violence with violence, Scar Boy removes his limbs and kills him but this puts way too much pressure on him and he ultimately passes out. The dark mysterious figure from the forest appears to get the payment anyways, but it’s just a ghost so it gets laughed at.
Scar Boy wakes up in a hospital, and decides to offer the payment to the Elderly Violet Robe Man instead. For that, he releases Red-Head and Brown Hair who both look terribly worried and tired. All of this is circumvented by literal chests of pills, however, so it’s all good. The moral of the story is, if you can’t get the stress levels down naturally, you better medicate.
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