Harry Potter is a licensed theme of LEGO based on films inspired by the books of the same name by J.K. Rowling. Models of important scenes, vehicles and characters have been made for the entire series of films.
On July 11, 2000, LEGO announced an alliance with Warner Brothers Consumer Products for worldwide marketing of construction toys based on Harry Potter.1 LEGO Harry Potter was created in 2001, to coincide with the release of the first film Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001). In 2002, LEGO announced that Harry Potter was its biggest seller for the year.2
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Distribution of Sets in the Series
The books (and movies) of the Potter series were aimed at a youth/young adult market to begin with and the tone and action of the works got progressively darker as the series reached the end. This resulted in something of a conundrum for LEGO when trying to design sets for the theme. Sets were released to coincide with each movie and the first three books, while still adventurous and full of danger, were still about children in the prime target demographic. The later books in the series featured deaths, torture and despair not usually associated with children 12 and under.
The first film, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (in the USA: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) saw the largest amount of sets, with fifteen being made in total. Eleven were produced in a first wave in 2001 with the remaining sets appearing the following year in 2002. The second film, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), had eleven sets made in total, four less than its predecessor. The third film, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), saw twelve sets released. Minifigs in Prisoner of Azkaban sets were the first in the series to be flesh toned, following Lego's universal change from yellow toned figures to flesh for all minifigures based on real people or live action characters.
In 2004, LEGO announced3 that it's "future growth strategy will not be based on big, movie-related IP’s such as Harry Potter". However, they were quick to reassure - "This does not mean that the company will exclude that kind of stories and themes, but just that the growth should be based on the fundamental products, where sales do not to the same extent go up and down, depending on whether or not there is a new movie this year." This statement led many to believe that the theme would be halted and speculation amongst fans was that the dark tone and more adult nature of the remaining books and films would lessen the LEGO Group's enthusiasm for the series.
When Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth film, was released in 2005, only four sets were released. This meant many key scenes and characters were missing, most prominently the Third Task, Cedric Diggory and Fleur Delacour. With Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), details of only one set were released prior to the launch of the fifth film in the series. This upset many fans who felt that many key scenes and characters would be missing, such as 12 Grimmauld Place, the Ministry of Magic and Luna Lovegood.
The remaining four films in the series together accounted for only four sets. Leaving many mature fans of the books and films disappointed, especially as many of the sets that were released were simply updates and redesigns of earlier sets.
Many fans were hoping to see more locations mentioned in the books and movies produced as sets. Instead several repeats were made over the course of the series. Gimmauld Place, The Ministry of Magic, Honeydukes and the Leaky Cauldron were all buildings that never made it into sets.
|Scene/Location||Released in year:|
|Hogwarts Castle||2001, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2011|
|Hogwarts Express (minifig scale)||2001, 2004, 2010|
|Hagrid's Hut||2001, 2004, 2010|
|Dobby's Release/Freeing Dobby||2002, 2010|
|Knight Bus||2004, 2011|
- 1 - The LEGO Company Is Granted Global Harry Potter License at lego.com
- 2 - Harry Potter works his magic at lego.com
- 3 - MINDSTORMS and Harry Potter will continue at lego.com