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I recently had the joy of building the Harry Potter Chamber of Secrets LEGO Set 76389, and I wanted to share the experience so you could make an informed decision about whether this is the right set for you. I’ve built several other Harry Potter sets, such as the delightfully colorful LEGO Diagon Alley, and I was keen to add another to my collection. Although there are many wonderful options when it comes to Harry Potter LEGO, I settled on this Chamber of Secrets set as it connects to the Polyjuice Potion Mistake set that I already owned. This review and guide will tell you everything you need to know about the process of building the LEGO Chamber of Secrets, and whether it’s something that you should consider adding to your own collection.
Bear in mind that everyone’s preferences are different, and so quirks that I consider as cons might be in your pros list, and vice versa. That’s why I’ve tried to include a detailed account of the building process so that you can apply my experience to what you personally look for in a LEGO set. I’ve also given my tips for how you can get the most out of this build.
Bottom Line Up-Front
- Time Taken to Build – 4 hours and 45 minutes
- Number of Pieces – 1176
- Number of Minifigures – 11 (10 regular Minifigures and 1 golden Voldemort Minifigure)
- Number of Chocolate Frog Card Tiles – 6
- How Much Does it Cost? $129.99
- Is There a Video Review? – Yes, watch it below!
Unsurprisingly, the inspiration for this set comes from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The locations chosen are primarily based on rooms seen in the film, and the characters are ones who feature prominently throughout the movie. I love all the films in the series, but Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is definitely up there as one of my favorites. It’s got so much epic adventure, and although the stakes are high, it’s less intense than more emotional films such as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. There’s excitement, but also fun and laughter, and it’s adorable seeing the interactions between the characters whilst they’re still young children.
This set captures a lot of the best moments. We have the Great Hall, where a lot of the plot development occurs during conversations between the trio. There’s also Gilderoy Lockhart’s classroom, as well as his office, which makes sense as Lockhart was one of the main characters in the movie. I personally find him really fun, and so I’m glad the set included both his classroom and office… The more Lockhart, the better! Interestingly the set also includes the astronomy tower and Professor Sinistra, despite them not featuring in the movie.
Of course, the most notable section is the Chamber of Secrets itself. We have the pipe chute that leads down into the chamber, and then the details of the chamber, such as bones scattered across the floor. It even has the statue of Salazar Slytherin that Harry climbs in the movie. It’s clear they’ve drawn their inspiration from the movie, and the aesthetic is very similar to what you’d expect.
The instruction booklet for this set was a convenient size, making it very easy to hold. I’m not sure of its official dimensions, but it’s roughly the size of an A4 piece of paper, and about half a centimetre thick. Given the size of the set, I was actually expecting the instruction booklet to be a bit thicker, but I suppose that this set is as large as it is due to size rather than quantity of pieces, meaning fewer steps are needed to build it.
The background for the pages is a very pale mint-green color which could easily be mistaken for white if you weren’t paying attention. It’s a suitable backdrop as it means the drawings of the pieces stand out clearly against it, and you can easily visualize each step. The elements needed to build each step are in a box at the top corner of the numbered section, with a thick black line as a border. It’s a great way to draw the eye towards what’s needed.
I feel the steps are just right to facilitate the building process. They don’t contain too much information at once, but they also allow you to go at a steady pace. There are occasional moments where only one piece has been included for the first step (I’ve seen it in several other sets too, but I always think it’s silly). Still, for the most part, they’re well-proportioned. There were also a couple of occasions where the angle in the instruction booklet didn’t seem to match the angle of the build in real life. This did concern me as I wondered whether I’d made an error, but it turns out it was just a design quirk.
The Building Process
Whilst most of the sets I’ve built tend to involve constructing the new stages directly onto the previous stages, the Chamber of Secrets set is a bit different. Where it’s modular, it means that the castle can be taken apart and rearranged, allowing you to combine it with other sets to make Hogwarts even larger and more expansive. This makes the building process considerably easier, as you just build each room separately, meaning it takes up less space on your table, and you can just put stages to the side once you’re finished with them.
The whole set came with 9 different stages (stage 4 was larger and had two bags, whereas the others all had just one bag). Seeing as the building experience varied depending on which part I was working on, I’m going to talk about the different rooms individually, rather than clumping them all into just one heading.
Time Taken to Build
- Stage 1 – 35 minutes
- Stage 2 – 30 minutes
- Stage 3 – 20 minutes
- Stage 4 – 1 hour and 5 minutes
- Stage 5 – 30 minutes
- Stage 6 – 30 minutes
- Stage 7 – 25 minutes
- Stage 8 – 35 minutes
- Stage 9 – 45 minutes
- Total – 4 hours and 45 minutes
The Great Hall
This was the largest section of the build, and took the longest to put together. I was really impressed with the level of detail that went into this design, and I felt it captured the essence of the setting. The construction process was a mixed bag, though (pun intended).
Building the main body of the room was great. The plates and bricks fit together easily, and the instructions were straightforward. The structural integrity was great, and I didn’t have to worry about flimsy connections falling apart in my hands. There were a couple of minor difficulties putting together the fireplace as the connections were a bit weak, but apart from that, it was fine.
But then it came time to put on the roof, and for some reason, that turned out to be way more hassle than it had any right to be. The angular plates of the roof just did not want to stay put when they attached to the Great Hall. Every time I fixed one, the other would decide to fall off. It was incredibly frustrating and took far longer than I’d have liked until it was finally put together. I’ve got no idea why it played up so badly; you wouldn’t be able to guess the trouble just from looking at a picture of it but believe me, it’s more complicated than it seems.
One thing I really love about the Great Hall is the construction of the benches. One of the tables is built on a hinge, so it lies flat for display, but if you want to, you can flick it upwards. This means you could place a Minifigure on top, and just yeet them. This set doesn’t come with a Draco Malfoy Minifigure, but I have one from the Diagon Alley set, so if I wanted to, I could re-enact the duel scene between him and Harry from the movie. I could have Harry use Expelliarmus, and boom! Draco could fly backward off the table in the Great Hall.
Finally, I’d like to draw attention back to the wonderful details that have been included here. We have a golden owl statue that’s attached at the side of the room, as well as many candles that are affixed along the top of the room to give the appearance of floating. Floating candles are very much a staple of the Great Hall aesthetic, so I love the way that LEGO included them. There’re also some fun cereal boxes that utilize stickers, and I think that’s such a clever idea. They say ‘Cheeri Owls’ and ‘Pixie Puffs’, which are entirely fictional magical cereals that LEGO have invented especially for this set.
The first stage that you build is a room I can only describe as Broom Roof. Seriously, it’s just a roof with a broom on. I’m not entirely sure what it’s meant to represent, but I’ll admit that it looks cool. It has a gridded base, as well as a transparent pole for Nearly Headless Nick to attach to so that it gives the appearance of him floating. Interestingly, his minifigure isn’t actually included in this section of the build. This section was simple to put together, and took almost no time at all.
The first bag of this set also yields the Astronomy Tower. Now, as I mentioned earlier, I did think it was a peculiar room choice seeing as it doesn’t feature in the movie version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. However, I believe the reason they included it is because it’s such an important part of the general Hogwarts silhouette, that it would seem weird not to include it in a set of the castle. I actually really like this little section, as it has a cool telescope with a crystal attached. There’s also a ledge on the side for an owl to sit on. The pieces were a little small and fiddly, but they connected without any issues, even the very thin spire.
Gilderoy Lockhart has all kinds of placement options in this set, as it includes not only the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, but also his office. Predictably, his office is full of portraits of himself, as well as a stack of pictures on the table just waiting to be signed and sent off to his adoring fans. I’m not exaggerating when I say just under half the stickers in this set feature Gilderoy Lockhart. My favorite is the one based on the Daily Prophet article, where Harry is squirming away from Lockhart’s embrace. Both the office and the classroom were a smooth building process, and the abundance of color kept me entertained.
The Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom really uses the space well. It’s a relatively small room, but manages to include plenty of details in that space. There are tables set up for the students to sit at, candles in the corner, a skull that’s possibly meant to look creepy but looks more goofy and cute than anything else, and a glittery vial containing a mysterious substance. There’s even a pink frog sitting on one of the tables. And of course, gazing down upon the room is a mahoosive portrait of Lockhart, which fans will recognize from the movie as the picture where a painting of himself is painting a picture of himself.
The Chamber of Secrets
Of course, this set isn’t called ‘Hogwarts Castle’, it’s called ‘Chamber of Secrets’, and so naturally, that’s the star of the show. The whole base of the build is dedicated to the terrifying chamber that Harry and Ron find themselves in at the end of the movie. I feel like this section was the most visually challenging for the designers to envision. They had to create something that would fit the overall look of the set, whilst also setting a very different atmosphere, and I think they killed it.
From the back, the Chamber of Secrets sections look like the mountainous Scottish Highlands that Hogwarts resides in. It therefore blends perfectly into the rest of the build, and you wouldn’t know that a sinister secret was lurking there. But from the front, the difference is stark and compelling. You have the gray of the ancient stone, bones scattered around, and gorgeous snake statues with glittering emerald eyes. The set even comes with a Basilisk figure that you build in the first bag.
Then you have the very recognizable statue of Salazar Slytherin’s head. It looms, dark and foreboding, completing the dangerous aesthetic. There’s an entertaining feature there, which I’ll talk about in the Interactive Features heading of this article, so keep reading to find out! We also have the iconic circular snake door, which Harry opens using Parseltongue. The design of that was really clever, and you had to clip in little snake figures. I have terrible recognition for object orientation (seriously, rotation and directions are probably my two weakest cognitive areas), so I had to constantly refer to the instruction booklet to ensure I was doing it right. But I thought the finished look was fantastic.
One thing I always love to find in my LEGO sets are interactive features. I’m not really one to play with my LEGO once it’s built (I miss my childlike imagination), but just knowing that the features are there makes me irrationally happy. There aren’t too many in this set, but the ones that are present are very satisfying.
Firstly, as I mentioned earlier, we have the hinged table in the Great Hall. It’s easy to maneuver, and it’s a fun inclusion to the room. Then, just above the Great Hall, there’s a roof that’s attached with a Hogwarts banner dangling down from it. And if you lift that banner, you’ll see that the Sorting Hat is sneakily hidden behind it! It’s inaccurate because, in the movie, the Sorting Hat is in Dumbledore’s Office, but I’m still glad that they chose to put it in the set.
However, the best interactive features are in the Chamber of Secrets section. Firstly, the snake door that I mentioned earlier can open and close, swinging open very neatly and easily. Also, the chute has a smooth surface, so minifigures can slide down it. But the pièce de résistance is the secret tunnel under the Salazar Slytherin statue. There’s a seemingly innocuous rock around the back of the building, and if you slide it out, it creates a gap right where the mouth of the statue used to be. And what can be slid perfectly into that gap? The Basilisk! It’s an absolutely genius feature, and I really love it.
One of the awesome things about this set is that it comes with so many minifigures. A lot of the value in sets comes from the minifigures, so I’m always happy to see plenty of them. I felt the character choice worked well, with a couple of notable exceptions. I thought it was odd that neither Ron nor Hermione were included, but I think that’s to encourage people to buy the Polyjuice Potion Mistake set that clips onto this one, as they’re included in that set. There was also no Draco Malfoy, a much more intriguing exclusion, as he’s not in any of the modular sets that connect to this Chamber of Secrets set.
Check out our guide on the best LEGO Harry Potter minifigures here!
And whilst they didn’t include the above characters, they did include Professor Sinistra who doesn’t even feature in the movies (except for a brief moment in the background of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone). However, she’s a unique character to own, especially for fans of the books. I love the design for her minifigure, so I’m certainly not complaining. The complete list of minifigures is as follows:
- Harry Potter – Unsurprising, really, as he’s included in the vast majority of Harry Potter LEGO sets.
- Ginny Weasley – When arranging my finished build, I decided to display her body prone on the floor of the Chamber, where she’s found near the end of the movie.
- Tom Riddle – The Heir of Slytherin himself!
- Colin Creevey – Colin comes with an accessory of his camera, and it’s almost half as big as he is.
- Justin Finch-Fletchley – “What do you think you’re playing at?”
- Luna Lovegood – I’ve got literally no idea why Luna’s in this particular set, but I do love her.
- Gilderoy Lockhart – I love the suit color they gave him for this version of the minifigure. He currently (July 2022) has four different minifigure designs.
- Albus Dumbledore – This minifigure is so beautiful and vibrant, and definitely captures the vibe of Richard Harris’ portrayal of the character.
- Professor Sinistra – Her outfit really conveys the magical atmosphere of Hogwarts.
- Nearly Headless Nick – His minifigure is actually glow-in-the-dark, a really clever feature to include for a ghost!
20th Anniversary Bonuses
As this set was part of the 20th anniversary Harry Potter collection that LEGO released, it meant that it came with some awesome bonuses. I own half the collection myself, but it’s always exciting seeing which added extras I can get. The extras are always a golden minifigure, and a number of chocolate frog card tiles.
The golden minifigure for the Chamber of Secrets set is Voldemort. Although he’s certainly an interesting character to own, I don’t like him as much as some of the others, as he doesn’t get a head piece because he’s bald. However, I still think the design for his minifigure is well executed. You also get 6 chocolate frog card tiles, and this was where my disappointment set in.
Whilst the golden minifigures are specific to each set, the chocolate frog cards are randomized. I was aware of this, and as I already owned six from other sets, I was expecting some duplicates, but what happened was ridiculous. I got Helga Hufflepuff first, which I was thrilled with, as she was new to me. I then got Gilderoy Lockhart, who I already owned, so that was a bit frustrating. However, I then proceeded to get duplicates of both Minerva McGonagall and Salazar Slytherin, both of whom I already had anyway.
I can understand getting duplicates between sets, but to have them within the same set is inexcusable. LEGO is charging enough money, and whilst I appreciate them creating a fun collectible feature with these chocolate frog card tiles, I feel like they should be able to guarantee getting different ones in each set. I find it infuriating that with 6 card tiles, only 1 of them was new to me.
Is It Worth Buying?
To determine whether or not this set is worth buying, I like to consider three factors – the building process, the finished product, and value for money. So let’s explore each element to see if this set would be suitable for you.
Ease and Enjoyability of Build
This was a really smooth build. Although there were a few trickier parts, as mentioned in my ‘The Building Process’ heading, it was mostly simple to put together. LEGO recommends this set for ages 9 and older, and I think that’s a great age suggestion. I even think that a 7 or 8 year old would probably enjoy this set as long as they had adult supervision to assist them. However, it’s not so easy that it’s not also a suitable set for teenagers or adults.
One thing that I was happy to see upon opening the pack is that there are very few stickers. One thing that I always hate is when a set relies too much on stickers, as they’re the part that can go wrong if you place them slightly haphazardly. For example, one of my favorite sets is Hogsmeade Village Visit because I love the aesthetic of the completed build, but it was a pain to put together, not least because of the abundance of stickers. But despite being twice the size of Hogsmeade Village Visit, Chamber of Secrets only has about half the stickers.
I had a lot of fun putting this set together, and I really liked the range of colors used. I thought that the instructions were clear, and it all came together pretty easily. The number of pieces per bag was also a decent rate that made the building process even more well-rounded.
Playability and Displayability
Not only does this set look magnificent once it’s built, but it’s also incredibly fun to play with. You of course have the interactive features that I mentioned earlier, but even just the varied settings make it perfect for play. There are so many Minifigures that you could easily create elaborate and magical stories for them whilst moving them throughout the castle. Not to mention that you can detach and reattach the different rooms to make all kinds of different layouts other than the ones they suggest.
Then, once you’re done playing, you can place it in pride of place wherever you want to display it. It’s a convenient size as it’s large in height and width, but thin in depth, meaning it’ll fit perfectly on a shelf or windowsill. You can display it facing forwards with the classrooms and Chamber of Secrets visible, or you can turn it around so that the outer walls are showing. It’s entirely up to your personal preference.
Value For Money
At $129.99, it’s certainly not cheap, but I do feel that it’s relatively good value for money, at least as far as LEGO generally goes. The size of the castle is pretty substantial, and it does come with 10 minifigures, their accessories, and all the 20th-anniversary bonus extras. It works out to about 10c per piece, which is pretty standard for LEGO, and becomes even better value when you consider the size of some of those pieces.
Overall, I do think that this set is definitely worth purchasing if you have the money. I don’t think there are any other sets of a similar price that will bring you as much joy as this Chamber of Secrets set. Of course, this is contingent on you being a Harry Potter fan, so if you’re a collector of LEGO rather than a fan of the franchise, then there may be sets in other ranges that could give this one a run for its money.
Question: When was Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets released?
Answer: The movie version was released in November 2002, but the book was published in July 1998. This means there were only 4 years between the book being published and the film being made.
Question: How many Nearly Headless Nick Minifigures are there?
Answer: There are currently (July 2022) only two Minifigure variants for Nearly Headless Nick, the 308 glow-in-the-dark version that comes with this set, and the 145 version that was introduced in the Great Hall Set 75954. The 308 Chamber of Secrets version retails on the reselling market for nearly double the price of the 145 version, at ~$7.80 compared to ~$4.70.
Question: What’s the most expensive LEGO Harry Potter set?
This is a delightful set both to build and to play with, and I’d certainly recommend it. Although some stages of the build are a tad challenging, it’s still highly enjoyable and would work as a gift for kids and adults alike. It’s also a set that you could consider buying for yourself. Hopefully, this guide has given you a good idea of whether it’s right for you and has allowed you to explore all the exciting features that it offers.
If you like the idea of owning a new Harry Potter LEGO set but weren’t totally enamored with this one, then there are a couple of others in a similar price range that you might want to check out. The Astronomy Tower Set 75969 is also based around the Hogwarts aesthetic but focuses on a different part of the castle. Otherwise, if you want to depart from Hogwarts entirely, then you might consider the Ministry of Magic Set 76403. Just bear in mind that it consists only of the arch, phone box, fountain, and minifigures, so there would be a vast empty space in your display.