This build, an artistic presentation of "The Tale of the Three Brothers" from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is the fifth build I've completed for my second round in the ABS Builder Challenge, an online competition where LEGO® artists are tasked with implementing a "seed part"—in this case, a silver goblet—creatively into as many builds as possible.
In this particular model, some of these goblets become the Elder Wand. A linear stick with regular round bumps—the result of stacking the cups on top of one another—quickly became a large-scale Elder Wand to me. I opted to create "The Tale of the Three Brothers" over, say, a scene with Dumbledore or Voldemort using the wand for a few reasons: one, the gorgeous animated version from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 was too stunning a sequence not to try to pay homage to; two, I could easily imagine building a hand for Death at scale with the Elder Wand; and three, the necessary color of the wand—silver, because of the seed part—made me think, initially, to do a black and white color scheme, which felt like a flashback to me, hence "The Tale of the Three Brothers."
Between the time I had the idea for the build and its final execution, I ditched a purely black and white concept in favor of grayscale plus a few muted colors. This change was precipitated by both not having any good vegetation parts in greys, and by my wanting to avoid having a grey background, which I felt would have robbed the final presentation of some of its panache. As such I opted to include the earthy, somewhat noxious-feeling combination of olive green and dark tan. Brown got its place out of necessity—I needed it for the bridge's hand rails—but I think it works with everything else so I don't mind it too much.
For me, the real star of the show here is my skeletal version of Death. When I first envisioned the build, I actually imagined three separate vignettes, one for each brother, each with a pair of disembodied skeletal hands floating symbolically above them holding their particular Hallow. When I realized I could compress the vignettes into one, a full version of Death seemed appropriate. I had a blast designing Death's bony fingers, those two-boned forearms, and a hollow ribcage (hard to tell from this photo, but there are more ribs under the robes). Using BIONICLE capes for Death's mantle felt like an obvious way to create a more wraith-like, subtle, and lively (hah, hah) character; a happy coincidence was that I got to cover up most of Death's skull, which I was never too happy with since it came out blocky.
Some after-effects, like the flaring wand-tips and glowing Resurrection Stones, felt earned on this build once I realized I wanted to demonstrate Ignotus' Invisibility Cloak in the way I did. This effect actually required shooting the build twice: once with Ignotus, and once without him. I then spliced the two together, selectively transparent-ified the Invisibility Cloak, and there you are!