REVIEWS: The Rat-Ron-Ratings

In case you fell asleep from the years of 1997-2007 or were otherwise lucky enough to be spared from the onslaught, Harry Potter is a quasi-beloved fantasy book franchise about a little wizard boy and his little wizard friends.

One of those kids is named Ron Weasley, who briefly had a pet rat named Scabbers. Pet rats weren’t very well-regarded by the general populace at this point, but around the release of the film adaptations, quite a few people found the little rat man quite charming and it quite inexplicably became profitable to sell rat-themed merchandise* to wee ones.

Then Scabbers turned out to be an old man pretending to be a rat to deceive the children, but that’s not relevant to this article. What we’re talking about today: SCABBERS MERCHANDISE! And uh, Ron too, I guess.

*Incidentally, this is an extended advertisement for my upcoming zine, Rat Facts. It’s facts about rats.

The Inevitable Funko Pop

I think if you clicked on this list, you probably knew this was going to start with a Funko Pop!.

Let me make it clear: I hate these things enough that I refuse to write the exclamation point from here on out. But really, to be honest, I like the raw nightmare energy that this wretched vinyl exudes. It feels like he IS going to show you his rat – and you ARE going to look at it, and you are going to say that it is a very nice rat.

In terms of the Funko Pop “art” “style”, Ron looks fine. He’s got a little cheek injury that I keep mistaking for prepubescent facial hair, which isn’t too great, but there aren’t any glaring errors otherwise. Scabbers looks like a big mouse, though, which is soon to become a recurring theme of this article.

RON RATING: 2 out of 5
This is no Mrs. Potts Funko Pop, but it still makes me upset.
RAT RATING: 2 out of 5
He is showing me it. I am looking at it. It is a very nice rat.
OVERALL: 2 out of 5
Yeah, that feels right. Funko Pop is our baseline here, I think.

The Miniature Funko

Never heard of these before. Huh.

These “Minis” have a dramatically less evil energy than Pops, but there’s something very subtly sinister about them, isn’t there? The lack of eyebrows is definitely getting to me.

Ron looks okay within the constraints of the style. I’m nervous about Scabbers being dog-sized, though.

Now admittedly I’ve always wanted a dog-sized rat, as it’s a well-known Rat Fact the larger a rat is, the nicer it is. But this is Scabbers we’re talking about, and he’s a little bastard pretending to be a rat to win our affection. So… I don’t know. I’ve got a bad feeling about the whole thing.

RON RATING: 3 out of 5
It’s not a Funko Pop.
RAT RATING: 3 out of 5
Rather mouse-looking, but you know what? I want a rat that big.
OVERALL: 3 out of 5
I can’t say anything mean, honestly. If someone gifted me this I don’t think I’d be mad. Maybe a little uncomfortable, and wonder about if I was being extorted for something, but not mad. It’s fine.

The Funko… Uh… Rock Candy?

Okay, we’re three entries in and I’m already feeling a bit overwhelmed by the Funko brand’s grip upon magical rat merchandise.

Ron’s got brown hair, but I’m concerned about his facial proportions too. It would be nice if even one of his toys depicted him with the freckles that he canonically has but I guess that’s movie merchandise for you, I won’t take a point off for it, but in this case it really makes it clear how uncomfortably pasty and clear the ‘skin’ on this toy is.

Also, this is meant to be Ron in Chamber of Secrets, and I guess it gets to me that he looks a bit more cheeky than anything because he spent a good deal of that book getting injured and nearly dying.

Scabbers, on the other hand, is clearly a mouse.

RON RATING: 1 out of 5
Begone with you, foul lip bastard. I’ve never met you.
RAT RATING: 1 out of 5
That’s a mouse. You can’t pull a fast one on me.
OVERALL: 1 out of 5
I have special distaste for this one. I would dread receiving this object more than anything.

“Star Ace”

I can’t believe it’s not Funko!

Ron looks a little bit scrunched, like someone ignored the dry-clean-only tag and put him in the wash. His hair is also quite distinctly brown here, which is a strange deviation from the everything-else we’ve been looking at.

I was going to say Scabbers is correctly sized and proportioned, but like hell a small child could hold a fully-grown male rat in one hand. Dammit, rat man, stop changing!

However, I do appreciate this figurine’s capacity to lovingly contemplate Scabbers, which is the correct way to play with rats.

RON RATING: 3 out of 5
It looks a lot more like Ron than the previous figurines, at least.
RAT RATING: 4 out of 5
This is a flawless rat, but I can’t forgive him for his size discrepancy.
OVERALL: 3.5 out of 5
That rat really makes the piece, I think.

The Funko… 5 Star…

Okay then.

I guess sometime in between when I was into Harry Potter and now, the Funko brand tightened its grip upon Harry Potter.

Ron looks like some kind of reject concept art for Hogarth from the Iron Giant, which isn’t too offensive, but fails to convey any sense of his personality. I can’t bring myself to believe that this is the same horrible swearing bastard that I remember.

Scabbers, on the other hand, looks like no.

RON RATING: 2 out of 5
Wrong.
RAT RATING: 2 out of 5
No.
OVERALL: 2 out of 5
I don’t like it.

Lego Harry Potter

oh god

I’ll admit unfamiliarity with the Lego Harry Potter merch, but I don’t even know where to start on this one. I don’t want to have to look at this ever again. That’s a nightmare rat.

In case you weren’t already uncomfortable, there’s a variant with Peter Pettigrew, where his rat form is huge and clearly scheming like a fly rubbing its hands together.

RON RATING: 4 out of 5
That’s the best Ron I’ve seen so far!
RAT RATING: 1 out of 5
That’s the worst rat I’ve seen in my life!
OVERALL: 1 out of 5
Some things are not better than the sum of their parts. In this case, the quality of the Ron is ruined by the presence of the grey lump of Satan shit he’s accompanied by.

Hogwarts, A History: Volume IV

Sad to say this is the best photograph I could find of this toy, and it’s not exactly a stunning picture.

Gives me an excellent chance to go on a bit of a tangent, though. Harry Potter’s merchandise relevance extends to before it was adapted to film, which is quite neat as it lead to a lot of interpretations of the characters.

This toy appears to be dated 2001, and reflects the earlier designs: Ron, for whatever reason, was decided upon to have a bowl cut. It works for his character, and this figurine depicts a little clearer that he was meant to be a little more awkward and ganglier than Harry, but it might not register as him to people who weren’t around for this period.

Pre-movie merch is recognizable for depicting Scabbers with star markings, and I’m not sure where it comes from – it’s not a plausible marking for any rat to have.

RON RATING: 3 out of 5
His arms are uncomfortably long.
RAT RATING: 1 out of 5
That’s a cat.
OVERALL: 2 out of 5
It’s ‘Okay’!

Funko, Vynyl

First off, “Vynl” is a really hard name to search for, not helped by the fact that I kept misspelling it as Vnyl – come on, vinyl? My muscle memory doesn’t know where to put that ‘y’.

Secondly, HOW MANY OF THESE STUPID TOY LINES DOES FUNKO HAVE? I’ve been writing this a figurine at a time, and the more that I dig, the more I realize I don’t even comprehend the scope of Funko’s plastic nightmare scape. How many variations can you do on Ronald Weasley with a giant head and soulless eyes?

Thirdly, the brand name is actually Vynl. with a period at the end, which suggests to me that they’re not nearly as confident as the Pop brand. I guess Vnynl is the more serious one, which the expressions don’t really reflect.

ANYWAY, the review.

Ron’s mournful eyes do not win my pity; the lack of highlights in his pupils only, well, highlights how little soul he has. I can’t stop staring at his neck and wondering about how easy it would be to snap his head clean off of his body.

Is Scabbers praying? What all-forgiving god is he praying to?

RON RATING: 1 out of 5
Definitely plotting to eat my food.
RAT RATING: 2 out of 5
That’s still a mouse.
OVERALL: 1.5 out of 5
It’s not a Funko Pop, but somehow it manages to be just a little bit worse.

Story Scope

The “story scope” component of the toy is not actually pictured here, as I’m just interested in covering the figurines.

Return of Bowl Cut Ron, courtesy of Enesco! Although… he looks very tired, and I’m not fond of his little mouth. If you asked me unprompted I might tell you this was a Tony From EarthBound figurine, no offense to Tony EarthBound.

The rat isn’t looking like a rat, again – we’ve got a short snout, a prominent muzzle stop, full cheeks… he’s a bit catty, actually. At least he has more than one star marking, though I still don’t understand why he needs them. To look more wizardy? Are rats not foul and magical enough?

All of my real frustration with the figurine comes with the brick floor they’re attached to. I actually like having stands on toys if it means the poses can be more interesting, but in this case the “bricks” look like prechewed pink Starburst held together with mercury. Or maybe raw hamburger meat and the stuff they use for teeth fillings. I don’t like it.

RON RATING: 2 out of 5
It’s a very bad Tony EarthBound figurine.
RAT RATING: 2 out of 5
Have any of these people ever seen a rat?
OVERALL: 1.5 out of 5
I don’t like the meat cubes.

Magical Minis

Alright! I feel uncomfortable!

Ron looks like a full-grown man that just got cast as the new star of Blue’s Clues. I can’t get myself past this. I’ve had some pretty ugly toys in my past that I loved for being gimmicky or just nostalgic, but his crumpled-up smile is winning no charm points for me. I’m also not a big fan of his crotch joint, though I’ll disclose I’ve never really liked those, but quite seriously I think solid legs would have been fine here.

Scabbers isn’t doing so well. Once again these manufacturers found themselves incapable of painting in black eyes and settled for grey lumps – at least this one has texture, but… more along the lines of a Maine Coon than a fancy rat.

Truth be told I don’t know the gimmick of this toy, so maybe it’s cooler in person, but I don’t want to find out how Scabbers “magically moves”. I don’t want to find out how he magically moves into my home and urinates on every item of clothing I own. And I really, really don’t want to have to see Ronald Weasley’s glistening wrinkled face approving of him doing this.

RON RATING: 1 out of 5
Augh!
RAT RATING: 1 out of 5
Augh!
OVERALL: 1 out of 5
AUGH!

In Closing

Did you have any of these? Did you have anything not pictured here? Comment below, or don’t! None of it will change the fact that Peter Pettigrew is going to come to my house and eat all of the food in my fridge.

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