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Fenrir Greyback

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
by yo go re

Ask and ye shall receive! Just last week we hoped that NECA's new Harry Potter figures would be more plentiful than the last series, and within days, they appeared at Toys Я Us. Maybe we're magic!

Fenrir Greyback is, perhaps, the most savage werewolf alive today. He regards it as his mission in life to bite and to contaminate as many people as possible; he wants to create enough werewolves to overcome the wizards. Greyback believes that "werewolves deserve blood" and preaches to fellow werewolves that they should revenge themselves upon the wizarding world.

Wow, that all sounds pretty dang cool! And you'd never know a word of it if you, like your humble reviewer, have only seen the movies and not read the books. (I'm going to read them soon, I promise - I just want to be able to judge the movies on their own merits, not by how they stand up against the books. Plus, I like to be surprised.) In the movies, Fenrir is basically just a big scary mook, a Death Eater who happens not to wear a silver mask. You can tell he's a werewolf (even though he never changes) and you can tell he has some connection to Professor Lupin (because they're the only two werewolves in the film), but that's it.

The books describe Greyback as a "big, rangy man with matted gray hair and whiskers." Apparently the movie's costume department interpreted that as "make him Tyler Mane's Sabretooth." Long coat? Check. Super hairy? Check. Stands around the entire movie roaring and not doing much else? Check. He has a nice pose, a fairly realistic "I'm gonna get you" stance with his knees bent and his arms reaching forward. He twists slightly to the right, and that arm is held straight out to aim his wand. Neither hand has the "long yellowish nails" that he should, but the movie may not have had them, either. The wrinkles in his shirt reveal there's a bit of a paunch under there, and the fur on his exposed skin is all sculpted well. There's a really nice texture on the coat, and it's fully detailed with pockets and buckles.

While the sculpt is great, Fenrir is not a figure you can buy sight-unseen, because the paint is just all over the place. His clothes are clean, since there's not too much going on there, but the way his hair/fur grows onto his face, there's a lot of room for error. Coverage is incomplete, the paint on the ears is sloppy and the silver from his earring is smeared all over his cheek. You also need to check his chest, to make sure the pink is centered over his scar.

Since he's hunched over slightly, the figure is only 6¾" tall, but he's got good articulation. You know the typical kinds of joints that NECA favors: balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel left elbow, balljointed wrists, balljointish waist (it turns, but there's also a minor amount of back and forth there as well) and swivel boots. There isn't a whole lot you can do beyond his intended pose, since the squatty legs are always squatty, but this is still preferable to a McStatue, and all the joints are designed well - nothing broke, and nothing was too stiff. The lack of an elbow in the right arm isn't even too bothersome, since the arm is held so straight that putting in the joint wouldn't have added anything of value. He includes his wand, of course - a simple enough piece, not nearly as specialized as, say, Hermione's or Sirius' wands - and the plain black oval base.

Werewoves in Harry Potter are an interesting mix of the classic and Siodmak styles: they're controlled by the moon and it's transmitted by bite, but they turn into full wolves, not half-wolf men (the movie didn't follow suit). You can only be infected as a child, so Voldemort uses Fenrir Greyback as a threat against parents: do what he says, or he'll unleash Fenrir on your kids. This figure was originally revealed at Toy Fair 2009, intended to be part of the Half-Blood Prince line, but that obviously didn't happen. We may have had to wait an extra year to get him, but happily, that may mean he's easier to find. Last time, TRU wasn't as firmly behind NECA as they are now, so even a popular license like Harry Potter wasn't a sure bet. Take a good look at the paint before you buy, but don't shy away from this wolf.

-- 11/06/10

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