Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
by J. K. Rowling
And just like that, I’m done with Harry Potter’s second year. I’m definitely hooked and definitely a fan so far. I really liked Rowling’s second installment and following Harry’s ups and downs. I love that he once again saved the day and is such a brave protagonist. I feel like there’s just a draw or a pull to read about Harry. You genuinely want him to succeed and more than that, have good things happen and figure out how to finally defeat Voldemort (I really, really hope he does . . .and I literally have no clue about any of the other books, so please no spoilers!). I also think there’s something comforting about Rowling’s writing style . . . I can’t put my finger on it, but when I open up her books, it’s just comforting, even if the story itself is not comforting. I’m very curious if my opinion will change as I keep reading.
Harry’s second year at Hogwarts gets off to a rocky start when Dobby (the Malfoy’s house elf) sneaks into Harry’s room at the Dursley’s to warn him not to return to Hogwarts because there is an evil plot in the works. Harry ignores Dobby (after Dobby gets him in serious trouble with the Dursleys), and escapes being locked in his room when the Weasley brothers rescue him in a magic car. Things continue to go down hill for Harry. When the Weasleys take him to go shopping for the new school year, Harry gets separated and lands in a dark magic ally where he overhears Mr. Malfoy revealing he owns banned dark magic material. Eventually, Hagrid finds him and returns him to the Weasleys. But when he and Ron are about to get to their station, they find they cannot get through the wall. They decide to take the magic car to Hogwarts, which lands them in heaps of trouble. When Harry is finally settled into school, dark, strange things begin happening. Spoilers: first he hears voices in the walls, then he learns he can speak parseltongue (the language of snakes), students start getting petrified (including Hermione), spiders are leaving Hogwarts in droves, a mysterious journal turns up, Hagrid is accused of opening the chamber of secrets and gets sent to the prison Azkaban, and Dumbledore is forced to step down as headmaster. In the end, Harry discovers that the chamber of secrets is one of the girl’s bathrooms that is haunted by a terribly sad ghost. The great, evil, creature that lives in the chamber of secrets is a giant snake (who was the voice Harry was hearing in the walls . . .the snake travels through pipes) who can kill anyone who looks in his eyes. If you don’t look directly (i.e. though a mirror or reflected in water) then you get petrified. Harry discovers all of this when he learns that the creature took Ginny Weasley, so he sets off to find her. In the end, he kills the giant snake, and rescues Ginny. That mysterious journal fills in missing pieces. It was written by Voldemort and he uses it to lure Ginny into giving more and more of herself to him. When Harry finds the snake and Ginny, he also finds Voldemort (pseudonym Tom Riddle) and defeats him after killing the snake. And thus ends their second year at Hogwarts, everyone safe and happy, except for the Malfoys . . .Harry tricks Mr. Malfoy into freeing Dobby (even though Dobby was the one who made it almost impossible for Harry to get to school in the first place). Throughout the book, Harry struggles with his place. He feels like perhaps he really belongs in Slytherin, especially because Voldemort put a little of himself in Harry when Harry got his scar. At the end of the book, I love how Dumbledore reassures Harry by saying, “‘Yet the Sorting Hat placed you in Gryffindor. You know why that was. Think.'” ‘It only put my in Gryffindor,’ said Harry in a defeated voice, ‘because I asked not to go in Slytherin. . . .’ ‘Exactly,’ said Dumbledore, beaming once more. ‘Which makes you very different from Tom Riddle. It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.'”
Summing it up: I thoroughly enjoyed this second book and I’m looking forward to the third!
All the best, Abbey