Prose & Pixels

Prose & Pixels #3: Lego Harry Potter

prosenpixels16

Prose & Pixels is a feature that combines two of my loves: books and video games. Here I’ll discuss all sorts of things to do with the two, whether it’s recommendations, influences or just a good old chat.

Today I want to discuss the Lego Harry Potter games, as part of Harry Potter Month organised by Faith @ Student Spyglass!
Just a normal day in the life of Harry Potter.
Just a normal day in the life of Harry Potter.

You may be forgiven for thinking all the Lego games are only for kids. But let me tell you something – THEY’RE NOT! Is Harry Potter just for kids? No. Neither are the games. I’ll explain why you should play these addictive titles, illustrated by some of my own screenshots!

With a wonderful, quirky sense of humour that you grow to recognise as you play more and more of the Lego series, the Lego Harry Potter games will appeal to all. The jokes (all completely non-verbal, by the way) work for both children and adults, and if you know the Harry Potter series then it’s all the more fun. Plus it’s not just the main characters you that meet – but practically every minor character that J.K. Rowling ever mentions has their own little Lego doppelganger.

After breaking out of Azkaban, Bellatrix had to take up a part-time job to make ends meet.
After breaking out of Azkaban, Bellatrix had to take up a part-time job to make ends meet.

It’s so wonderful to play in such familiar settings, and with characters that you’ve grown up with. You’d be surprised at how gorgeous these games actually look, considering they’re based on a load of blocky figures! Practically every environment you could think of within the grounds of Hogwarts, as well as Hogsmeade, parts of London, the Ministry of Magic and Diagon Alley have been faithfully recreated for the games. And unlike so many of the other Harry Potter video games, you have the freedom to explore Hogwarts as much as you want, whenever you want, searching for hidden areas and running through well-known locations. The only game that really got close to that within the film-to-games series (at least of the ones I played) was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Causing carnage in Hogsmeade.
Causing carnage in Hogsmeade.

Some games take ages to tell a story, through endless cutscenes, countless speeches and thousands more lines of dialogue within the game itself. Although admittedly, Lego Harry Potter is recounting a familiar tale, it manages to tell without any words. There are no voices in the game (only sound effects like grunts and shrieks), which helps to make many a funny moment. The developers have taken some liberties and added in occasional extra bits, or silly moments, but none of it ruins the story and only makes the games even more charming.

This is somehow even more upsetting than the actual moment in the book/film.
This is somehow even more upsetting than the actual moment in the book/film.

Personally, I absolutely love these games, and they’re my favourites of all the Lego games. Of course it helps that they’re based on a series I know and love – but I even prefer them over Lego Lord of the Rings. Whilst the main story may only take something like ten to twelve hours to run through, you’ll want to collect everything and achieve that coveted 100% – which will take so much longer, and many repetitions of levels after you’ve unlocked the right character for the job. Apparently I’ve spent fifty-five hours on the first game, and thirty-nine on the second, which should give you some idea of how much there is to find! However, this means more time to explore Hogwarts, and pretend, even if for a short while, you’re a (rather square!) student at Hogwarts.

Even Snape needs a day off every once in a while.
Even Snape needs a day off every once in a while.
I highly recommend the Lego Harry Potter games to fans of the series, as well as fans of adventure and puzzle games. They’re a real treat that will keep you entertained for a long time, as well as giving you the opportunity to explore Hogwarts!
A combined total of 84 hours later for both games... SO SATISFYING.
A combined total of ninety-four hours later for both games… SO SATISFYING.

Have you played the Lego Harry Potter games, or any other Lego games? What did you think?

Fantasy Friday

Fantasy Friday #8: Fancy A Holiday?

Fantasy Friday

Fantasy Friday is my own feature, posted every other Friday. It’s pretty self-explanatory: I do a feature on something to do with the genre. Sometimes it will be a book recommendation, sometimes showcasing a book or series I’ve loved and other times it might be a discussion post. You’re more than welcome to join in with this feature, let me know if you make your own Fantasy Friday post!

Today I want to talk about: fantasy holiday destinations.

No, not places that you’d love to go on holiday to, but fantasy locations and what they would be like if you visited them. I’m not sure some of them are perfect holiday material, however… I’ve just picked a couple this time, as this Fantasy Friday may reoccur more than once. So take a look at this brochure, and pick your destination!

Middle-earth, from the works of Tolkien

middleearth

  • Climate: ranging from temperate to very, very hot and lava filled, depending on where you choose to go. The northern lands of Forochel and its ice-bays are perhaps some of the coldest parts of Middle-earth. For more information on Middle-earth weather, please watch this video (thanks to Ana for the link!).
  • People: You’ll find the hobbits of the Shire to be very accommodating and fond of a party, whereas the elves of places such as Lothlorien may be a little more… hostile. Dwarves may be a little distrusting of slightly taller tourists, but can definitely hold their drink and show you a good inn or two.
  • Language: the common tongue (Westron), Sindarin, Quenya, Khuzdul, Entish, Black Speech and many more.
  • Notable landmarks/places to visit: The gorgeous little town of Hobbiton in the Shire is sure to give a friendly welcome, if you’re lucky you might catch some fireworks shows! The Golden Wood or Lothlorien is certainly a sight to see, but difficult to enter. You might be better off visiting Rivendell, which is known as the Last Homely House and is much more open to visitors. Those into horseriding may want to give Edoras a visit. And if you’re a bit of a thrill-seeker, why not go whitewater rafting down the Falls of Rauros, or visit Mount Doom?

Hogsmeade, from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

hogsmeade

  • Climate: temperate, but it never fails to snow each winter!
  • People: no Muggles allowed. If you’re a Muggle, then – OBLIVIATE! Good, that’s all the Muggles gone. Hogsmeade is the only all-wizarding village in all of Great Britain.
  • Language: mostly English.
  • Notable landmarks/places to visit: the village of Hogsmeade is located right next to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a beautiful example of wizarding architecture: very confusing. Staircases never lead to the same place, rooms appear and disappear, and watch out for that Disappearing Cabinet! Within the village itself, there is Honeydukes, the infamous sweet shop; the Three Broomsticks, owned by the very lovely Madame Rosmerta; Madam Puddifoot’s Tea Shop, a cosy get-away for adoring couples and many other wonderful places. There are even rumours of a branch of Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes opening up soon!

Westeros, from the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin

westeros

  • Climate: variable, from the boiling hot desertlands of Dorne to the freezing North, and everything in between.
  • People: Westeros has many noble families with very delicate alliances, as well as lesser nobility. Much of the population is not quite as fortunate. And if you dare venture beyond the Wall, there are the terrifying Wildlings!
  • Language: Low Valyrian (common tongue), Asshai, Summer Tongue, very occasionally High Valyrian.
  • Notable landmarks/places to visit: King’s Landing is the capital of the Seven Kingdoms, and the Red Keep within is certainly a sight to see. For those unafraid of heights or after an adrenaline rush, the Eyrie is highly recommended. Far to the North lies Winterfell, home to the Stark family, and if you travel even further north you will come across the Wall, a formidable defense between the Seven Kingdoms and the Wildlings. And if you cross the Narrow Sea and leave the land of Westeros, you will come to Essos, home to the Dothroki horselords and many great and beautiful cities. And perhaps a few dragons.

Do you fancy visiting any of these places? Where would your ‘fantasy holiday’ take you?