The child actors behind the beloved characters in the Harry Potter franchise grew up in front of the eyes of their adoring fan base. Emma Watson, who gave life onscreen to Hermione Granger, perhaps more so than many. She went from a brilliantly talented Muggle-born witch to an equally brilliant bombshell. While Watson now commands attention with her work for the United Nations, fans remember her most fondly as the eleven year old witch with bushy hair and big teeth that they first saw in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
One of the most admirable aspects of the Harry Potter series, both in the books and films, is that the reader gets to grow with the characters. Yes, many readers began the journey at or around the same ages as the characters, and as each new book or film came out roughly a year apart, the ages stayed constant. But that can be witnessed even as a new reader. J.K. Rowling did a marvelous job of maturing her characters just enough in each book, and the movies reflect that. The content and and themes of each subsequent installment also mature in keeping with the character development. Harry, Ron, and Hermione go from innocents to battle-weary veterans of pain and loss. And they come out of it in one piece.
Although there has been a lot of fuss lately surrounding Hermione and her romance choices in the books (Harry or Ron, make up your mind, Jo!), it seems a shame to focus so much on only the romantic aspect of her character. This is a girl that gives female readers someone positive to aspire to be, someone relatable but also inspiring. She is the smartest person in her year, even though she came from outside the fold of the wizarding world. She is fiercely loyal to her friends and never afraid to be herself. She is the role model for the millenials.
This introduction is the prelude to a review for a fairly new high end collectible toy company called Star Ace. And like the Triwizard Harry Potter review we put out last week, this will cover the ins and outs of this new collectible figure, sent to us straight from the source as part of their fast-growing and very popular Harry Potter line. Now, on to Hermione!
This Hermione figurine comes solidly encased inside numerous layers of packaging. She is harder to break into than Gringott’s. But that’s not a bad thing, because you certainly would not like your new collectible to be maimed by the notoriously careful post carriers. Not only is the packaging safe and secure, it’s also appealing to the eyes.
The front of the slip cover features a closeup of our favorite young witch, with some red spell-like graphic behind her, as well as a glimpse of the Great Hall at Hogwarts. The film’s logo is also featured in the bottom left corner, whereas Star Ace’s logo is in the top right. The back of the slip cover gives credit to the design and and production team, as well as your standard warning against taste-testing the small pieces.
Beneath the slip cover is the actual box, with a window in the front that displays the figure and accessories. Similar to other collectible figures such as Hot Toys, it comes encased in plastic with all the accessories. You don’t need a magic wand to get Hermione out, nor even incredibly dexterous fingers. There are no twist ties to be found!
As lovely as the box is, the fun doesn’t truly start until you get Hermione out in the open.
Even the most devout of Watson’s fans would be astonished by the likeness between little eleven year old Emma and this figurine. The skin tone looks real; there’s not monotone Barbie coloring here. The lips are framed permanently into a soft smile that screams know-it-all, but unfortunately the smile doesn’t quite reach the eyes. Like the Harry Potter figure, there is just something a little dead there. The hair, though, is the best and worst feature here. At first glance it has the wild bushiness one would expect of a Hermione figurine. But upon further inspection, although it is actually rooted, it is so thin and sparse that it just falls a little flat.
Where Hermione’s hair is a little disappointing, her clothes are perfection. They looked like they were stolen from the sound stage, shrunk by a charm, and donned on by this teensy witch. She’s dressed for all weather, with a white Oxford shirt and black stockings as the first layer. Next comes a gray pleated skirt an tweedish v-neck sweater piped with Gryffindor red and gold. This is all topped off by a Gryffindor house tie, some teensy Mary Janes, and, of course, a standard black robe for first years, emblazoned with the Gryffindor lion.
The body of this figurine has an impressive 30 points of articulations, with joints exactly where you’d expect to find them on a real live person. There is almost a full range of motion! Between the joints in the head, torso, and limbs, there isn’t much you can’t make her do. She even comes with extra sets of hands that make you feel like The Creator from Edward Scissorhands. The hands allow for different activities such as wand or broom holding, hex casting, or Malfoy punching. The figure comes with three clear articulating pillars like her Harry fellow, with a few different stands for various poses. Neither they nor the stand give much of a feel of security, but it is better than nothing.
Accessories, any woman will tell you, are what complete the outfit. The same truth holds here. Strong accessories give a collector much more to work with in regards to staging and playing. While Harry’s “toys” gave a shoutout to the film, Heremione’s give a nod to the books. She has a schoolbag that looks suspiciously like a purse, but is in all actuality a very handy place to store all of her things. There’s also a broomstick for her to practice the one thing she was never very good at. In addition, she comes with a quill, her personal wand, and two signature textbooks that any Harry Potter fan would know Hermione can’t live without: Hogwarts: A History, her favorite go-to, and Magical Theory, required reading for first years.
Warner Brothers made sure to make each major character’s wand distinct, the better to market them to fans. Star Ace does an excellent job of replicating Hermione’s wand to scale perfect quality. From the slow transition of medium colored wood to that which is almost black, to the absolute smoothness of the entire shaft of the wand, much attention was paid to the details. The only flaw, and unfortunately it is a rather large one, is that the wand is very flimsy. It is not nearly as hardy as it should be, and can easily break while performing the duties it was made for: being placed in Hermione’s hand.
Really, enough cannot be said about the fact that this figure comes with two of the character’s most often quoted books. Between that and the quill that fits well into one of the hands, there is not much more a collector could want from this package. Perhaps some parchment. Or, to be honest, maybe a more realistic looking quill. But still, the fact that the figure can hold it at all is still a feat to be celebrated. You an almost picture her saying “off to the library” to research some foul villain or another.
CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM (The Not So Good Stuff)
Truly, this is a worthwhile figure for any collector or diehard fan. That said, it’s not perfect. There are certainly aspects that could be improved upon. Firstly, the head is the money maker here. While the expression and casting are both a dead-ringer for eleven year old Emma Watson as Hermione, the lifeless eyes and dull flat hair leave a lot to be desired. When a character is described as being wickedly smart, with bushy hair, you would expect the eyes to pop and the hair to be full and frizzy.
Secondly, the flimsiness of the wand is quite the letdown. Sure, this is not a Barbie doll, but a collector’s item. Even so, you expect a product that can hold up to a little posing, especially when it comes with various different accessories and the hands to hold them with. One quick utterance of expelliarmus and that thing is gone for sure.
Lastly, some of her accessories are a little lackluster. Neither her broom nor her quill are even remotely lifelike. Also, why does she even need a broom? Flying was never one of Hermione’s strengths. Sure, all first years had to learn, but it is certainly not a defining item for the character. Where the books were a brilliant touch, the broom seems just to add quantity and not quality to this item. Crookshanks would be a much better fit. And the production team would be hard put to make him look any less real than that quill.
As mentioned before, this truly is a collector’s dream. The likeness to the eleven year old Hermione from the films is uncanny. While some details could be improved upon, the overall package would warrant a B+ rating. If it weren’t for that fragile wand, the grade would be even higher. The overall look brings the mind to the young witch that saved the behinds of Ron and Harry too many times to count. And that is where the real value lies here, because the sense of nostalgia and love for the character is palpable when you’ve got this figure in front of you. Sure, the price is maybe a little steep for the fly by night fan, at $209.99. But if your collection is missing a small witch of big value, then maybe this is what will fill that gap.
If this deluxe figure is sold out at Flourish and Blotts, and you haven’t perfected the correct pronunciation accio for your summoning charm, you can check it out and order HERE.
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