The Ballerina Troll Painting Is Pretty Much the Mona Lisa of Hogwarts Legacy
Sometimes, when we’re playing video games, we go into autopilot. The blinkers come down and we start barrelling through the main story in a bid to tick off as many quests from our ever-growing to-do list. And that’s exactly what happened to me last night with Hogwarts Legacy.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m actually really enjoying my time with Avalanche Software’s epic wizard-’em-up RPG, but as I’m starting to approach the tail-end of my adventure, I’m actually beginning to look forward to wrapping up the main quest and moving onto some of the more laidback endgame content.
Thing is, as I was zigging and zagging my way from point A to point B, fixated on boxing off another routine fetch quest, I came across a tapestry in the lower levels of The Astronomy Wing of Hogwarts castle. And – BAM! – like a rabbit in the headlights, it totally stopped me in my tracks thanks to how gosh darn bonkers and bizarre it is… and I absolutely love it!
Seriously, I think I sat and watched said tapestry for about ten minutes straight hypnotized by the sheer absurdity of it all. You see, the tapestry isn’t just a static image. Instead, much like many of the artworks in Hogwarts Legacy, it’s an animation. Unlike some of the other paintings, however, the animation for this specific tapestry is around 15-ish seconds long, much akin to a short cartoon.
‘But what makes it so special?’ I hear you asking. Are you ready?
On the tapestry are four trolls dressed in ballerina garb and sitting in a circle. In the center of the group of trolls is what seems to be a conductor waving his baton around. Every few seconds, though, the trolls take it, in turn, to whack the bloke in the middle with an oversized bone, splatting the poor bugger on the ground. Moments later, the chap stands up and dusts himself off, and then – WHACK! – another troll smacks him with another bone and so on and so forth. The animation is looped, so you can pretty much watch it over and over with glee if, say, you’ve had a few beers. (Don’t judge me!)
Right, it’s worth noting that I’m not a massive Potterhead, so the significance of this tapestry was lost on me, but I was so enamored with it, it made me go down a rabbit hole trying to find out what the heck was going on. After some digging, I’ve come away with some very important revelations.
Most importantly, the chap in the middle of the circle is not a conductor. Sorry, my bad! In fact, many reading this will probably already know who he is, but for the unaware, he’s actually a wizard called Barnabas the Barmy (I shit you not). See, good ol’ Barnabas tried to train those aforementioned trolls to do ballet. Yes, you read that right. What possibly could go wrong? Well, the tapestry explains it all!
Interestingly, the filmmakers behind the Harry Potter movies intended for the tapestry to be featured in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, however, the scenes were never shot and ultimately the idea was left on the cutting room floor. That’s a pretty big missed opportunity, in my humble opinion, but I digress.
Truly, what I really want to emphasize is how cool this wee easter egg is, even to someone who isn’t a huge fan of the Harry Potter world. It literally made me stop, put down my controller, and just soak up the sheer ridiculousness of it all. And I adore little touches like that because they really make the world feel so alive and dynamic.
Ultimately, though, I feel like Hogwarts Legacy is bursting at the seams with cool little details like this and it truly helps to elevate the whole experience with a bit of whimsical and irreverent personality. I mean, come on! His name is Barnabas the Barmy for crying out loud. And he tried to teach trolls ballet. Legend.
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