Monday, July 17, 2017

Almost Incredible, The 2017 A Dangerous Game Ornament Delights Harry Potter Fans!

The Good: Excellent sculpted details, Sound clip is neat, Interesting concept, Excellent balance
The Bad: Pricey, Animated coloring
The Basics: An excellent sculpt with mediocre coloring, the Harry Potter "A Dangerous Game" ornament is one that might well reinvigorate the Hallmark Harry Potter ornament franchise!

As the Harry Potter franchise rebounds from the usual post-film franchise lull - thanks to the novels being released as e-books and the success of the first Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them film - Hallmark has been very conservative in developing ornaments based upon the new material. Instead, Hallmark has been cashing in on the nostalgia surrounding the early Harry Potter works with ornaments primarily from Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone. This year, the primary Harry Potter ornament is A Dangerous Game.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, “A Dangerous Game” is a holiday ornament that features a moment from Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone (reviewed here!) when Ron Weasley makes a noble sacrifice while playing a dangerous game of life-sized chess with Harry Potter under Hogwart's.

It is Harry Potter, crouched next to Ron riding the Knight (armored horse piece) on a square of the chess board, that is the subject of the A Dangerous Game ornament.


“A Dangerous Game” recreates the moment from Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone by featuring Harry, Ron on the Knight, and the ground. The ornament, released in 2017, is a mediocre rendition of the characters, at least if they are supposed to look like Daniel Radcliff as Harry Potter and Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley. The characters, like many of the ornaments for Harry Potter look more like the artwork associated with the novels. In other words, Ron Weasley and Harry Potter look animated, much like Harry appears on the covers of the books. Measuring 5" tall, 3" wide and 3 3/8" deep, the “A Dangerous Game” did not sell out during the Preview Weekend at the original issue price of $24.95, despite being one of the best Harry Potter ornaments released in recent years.

The Hallmark “A Dangerous Game” ornament is made of a durable plastic and has Ron Weasley riding the life-sized Knight piece for the life-sized chess with Harry Potter crouching down next to him as Ron prepares to make the move which will sacrifice him in the game of chess needed to get Harry where he needs to be. Harry Potter's glasses are finely made, as is the detailing on the armor on the Knight. As well, Ron and Harry Potter are generally sculpted (their hair is sculpted without any texturing) and their shirts are very smooth in an unrealistic way. The sculpt is exceptionally accurate to make all of the major elements of the ornament be instantly recognizable.

The ornament is very light on detailing for Harry and Ron. The coloring details on Ron and Harry are very light. Both lack realistic fleshtones and their pants and shoes are monotonal. The skin and hair look more cartoonish than accurate, but the Knight looks rather mottled in an appropriate way, like a marble statue, which is very cool.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, the “A Dangerous Game” ornament could have a function like a light effect, but it only has a sound clip. The pressing of a button on the ornament's base allows a sound clip to be played out of the speaker in the base of the A Dangerous Game ornament. The sound clip is an excellent touch and, for the expense, pretty much required. The sound clips for the A Dangerous Game ornament are pretty awesome. There are four clips from the scene in the film Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone and all four use Ron and Harry - only characters who appear on the ornament. The clips are exceptional and allow collector's to essentially play out the entire moment the ornament embodies!


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake “A Dangerous Game” ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate fantasy Christmas Tree, the “A Dangerous Game” ornament is a good concept, with a fair execution, both in scale and detail, especially compared with other Harry Potter ornaments. The ornament has a steel hook loop that comes out of the side of the horse's head. Rather impressively, the ornament is perfectly balanced from that position. Because the A Dangerous Game ornament features a base that is a piece of the chess board that is flat, any balance issue would be very clear. This ornament is exceptionally well-balanced!


Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition original U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (reviewed here!). Since then, they have delved into virtually every other collectible franchise in an attempt to cash in on every major license. The Harry Potter series has had several ornaments made for it, a few of which have started to really explode in value. Objectively, the A Dangerous Game ornament is one of the better Harry Potter ornaments and ought to appreciate in value, but it is not a limited edition ornament. The truth is, the Harry Potter franchise is one that I have consistently been wrong about as far as investment pieces go; the mediocre ornaments that have sound features have almost universally increased in value, even when they are not of such a high quality as the A Dangerous Game ornament. As a result, despite its lack of a limited edition rarity, the past precedent is that the ornament ought to double in value on the secondary market within three years. That makes it a decent investment piece for collectors in the mid-term.


The "A Dangerous Game" is quite good, despite some of the characters looking more animated than realistic.

For other Harry Potter ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2016 Harry Potter Ornament Collection Set (Limited Edition!)
2016 Ollivanders Wand Shop
2015 Platform 9 3/4
2014 The Sorting Hat
2013 Hogwarts Castle
2012 The Final Battle
2011 The Golden Snitch (Limited Edition!)
2011 Fleeing The Fiendfyre
2010 The Pensieve
2010 A Gift For Dobby (Limited Edition!)
2009 "Harry! Happy Birthday!"
2001 Hogwarts School Crests mini-ornament set


For other ornament reviews, please visit my Ornament Review Index Page, for an organized listing of all the ornaments I've reviewed!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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