Thursday, October 3, 2013

Ornament Review: Hogwarts Castle - 2013 Hallmark Ornament

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Great detail and awesome sound clip
Cons: Tips back and to the left; lighting effect doesn't do much.
The Bottom Line:
Harry's castle home
Shrunk to fit your Christmas tree
Fans will want this one

All Harry Potter Fans Will Want to Spend Christmas at Hogwarts Castle

I don't consider myself a geek.  I really don't.  And yet, as soon as I saw this year's Hogwart's Castle ornament from Hallmark, I had to get it.  And I really like it.

The ornament features the castle that served as Harry's school in the book and movie series.  The ornament is actually about half the castle and the other half the rock that the castle sits on.  That makes the castle a bit small, but there is still plenty of detail to be seen.

Overall, the ornament is very brown.  The rocks are brown, and the castle is tan with a brownish green roof.  But that is the color of Hogwarts, so it fits.

If it were just the castle, the ornament would be fine, but it is the magic that makes the ornament special.  There is a sound clip that requires two button batteries to operate.  The first set comes with your ornament.  There is a button in the front of the ornament almost hidden in the rocks.  When you hit the button, you hear a sound clip from "Hedwig's Theme."  Honestly, this is the music I associate most with Harry Potter, and the clip sounds beautiful.  You get a full 30 seconds of the theme when you press the button.

The ornament also has an optional lighting effect.  You can stick a light from any Christmas tree string in the back and see a glow - sort of.  A couple of the windows get a little light, but it really isn't that much - you can barely tell the difference.  I'm not sure it is worth attaching to the light string, but you'll have judge that for yourself.

There is a loop for hanging the ornament on a spire near the middle of the castle.  You'll find the ornament hangs slightly back and to the left.  It's disappointing that it doesn't hang straight, but if you position it right with a branch and/or light string, you can correct it easily enough yourself.

The ornament does have a flat base, so you can display it year round on a shelf if you so desire.  There are small knobs on the bottom, so the speaker that plays the music isn't touching anything when it sits.  Trust me, there's still a nice volume when it is sitting out.

Yes, there are a couple of small issues with the ornament, but overall I'm very happy with Hogwart's Castle.  This is a fun ornament that any fan of Harry Potter will enjoy for years to come.

Original Price: $24.95

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