Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Book Review

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

-Albus Dumbledore

Welcome to the second year in Harry’s wonderous world. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J.K Rowling is the second book in the Harry Potter series. I would recommend you read Harry Potter and the Sorcerors Stone before the Chamber of Secrets, as the first book provides necessary background information about the world of Harry Potter.

We begin the second story once again at the Durseley house, where Vernon is preparing the family for a visit by a couple from a hardware company- that could offer him the deal of a lifetime. Harry’s job, of course, is to remain in his room pretending he doesn’t exist. What could go wrong?

The very thing that could go wrong was now sitting right on Harry’s bed. A house elf named Dobby started to explain to Harry, amidst jumping on the bed, that there was a terrible plot that was to occur at Hogwarts that year. When Harry asked who his owner was, Dobby started banging his head on the side table. He had disobeyed his family’s orders and come to tell Harry. As a result, he was required to punish himself.

May I mention- Harry had received no letters from Ron or Hermione that summer. Dobby’s intentions were that if Harry thought he had no friends, he wouldn’t return to Hogwarts, so he had intercepted the letters to Harry. When Harry wouldn’t promise that he wouldn’t return , Dobby ran downstairs, levitated the cake and dropped it over Mrs. Mason’s head. Not only was Harry in serious trouble, but he received a letter from the Ministry of Magic saying that is HE ever used magic underage and out of school, he would be expelled, when really it had been Dobby all along. Now, Dobby’s intentions to protect Harry may have been sincere- but they also put Harry’s life in danger- and Dobby wasn’t even finished.

As a result, Vernon placed bars over Harry’s window and locked his school supplies away. But that wouldn’t stop Ron, Fred and George (Ron’s brothers) from using their dad’s illegal flying car to rescue Harry from the Durseley’s and take him to the Burrow (the Weasley home).

At the burrow, the Weasley brothers were chastised by Mrs. Weasley, and Harry was shown about the house. Later that day, the Hogwarts supply letters arrived (and Harry’s as well), so the Weasley family used Floo Powder to transport themselves to Diagon Alley through the fireplace. Harry didn’t say Diagon Alley clear enough, though, and found himself in just the opposite- Knockturn Alley. Luckily enough, Hagrid found Harry (although it was in question why Hagrid was even in Knockturn Alley), and reunited him with Ron and Hermione outside of the bookstore.

Inside, Gilderoy Lockhart, a famous author, was signing autographs and immediately spotted Harry. I absolutely hated Lockhart from the start- he was so well-developed and his personality made him very frustrating to read about- which is a compliment to J.K Rowling. To make matters worse, Lockhart would be the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, after what happened to Professor Quirrell last year. On the way out, Lucius Malfoy snatched Ginny Weasley’s book and appeared to slip something inside of it.

Later in the summer, the Weasley family traveled to Kings Cross to board the train. Harry and Ron were the last to pass through the border between the platform- until they both collapsed on top of each other. The magical passageway had become solid brick! Yes, this was once again the works of Dobby. Ron’s solution was to take the flying car and follow the train to Hogwarts. During the flight, they were spotted by muggles, found themselves in front of the train, and became visible once again as the booster broke. Just before reaching Hogwarts, the engine broke down and fell right into the Whomping Willow. I’m sure the name alone can describe what happened next.

Severus Snape found the injured Ron and Harry and brought them into his office. Miraculously, they both escaped expulsion, to the distaste of Snape.

The school year began with a catastrophic lesson with Lockhart. Despite what he wrote, he evidently knew nothing about magic. He ended up letting several pixies loose, losing his wand, and leaving the pixies to Hermione to capture.

That wasnt the only catastrophe of the year. There were several more. The next one was not Harry’s fault- not were the many that followed. While walking down a corridor, he found Filch’s cat hanging frozen from the wall. Along with that, writing in blood on the wall read, “The chamber of secrets has been opened! Enemies of the heir beware!” The heir meant the heir of Slytherin, as he was the one who was rumored to have built the chamber in the first place. As Malfoy predicted, the enemies would be mud bloods (wizards born from a non-magical family).

Throughout the rest of this book review, I am going to reveal information that you wouldn’t want to know until you have finished reading the Chamber of Secrets. I encourage you to pause reading this book review here until you finish the book. Thank you.

The trio then researched the polyjuice potion. This would allow them to transform into Crabbe and Goyle, along with another Slytherin to interrogate Malfoy to see if he was the heir of Slytherin. The group worked hard to complete the potion, and then added hairs from Crabbe, Goyle, and a Slytherin girl. As it turned out, the girls hairs were from a cat, and Hermione’s transformation went terribly wrong. When Harry and Ron went to find Malfoy, they found

As one final attempt to get Harry to leave Hogwarts, Dobby sent a Bludger flying relentlessly at Harry during a Quidditch match. Harry still managed to catch the Snitch, but broke his arm. He then lost all of his arm bones when Lockhart failed to heal them. He was taken to the hospital wing for emergency bone regrowth.

While in the hospital, he saw Mcgonagall and Dumbledore carry another petrified person- Hermione.

Soon after, more writing on the wall was found. It described that a student had been taken into the chamber of secrets. This student was Ginny Weasley.

Let me track back for a moment. Remember how Lucius had slipped something into Ginny’s book? It was the diary of Tom Riddle. She tried to get rid of the diary, and it fell into the hands of Harry.  He found that, while the diary was empty, he could write back and forth with Tom Riddle. He learned that chamber of secrets was opened once before- and he was told by Riddle that is was Hagrid who opened it. Of course, Harry didn’t believe him, but when they went to visit Hagrid, he seemed very scared. Out of nowhere, Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic, arrives at Hagrid’s hut and expressed the need to take Hagrid to the wizard prison, Azkaban, and have Dumbledore step down as headmaster. Both requests are fulfilled.

When Ron and Harry go to visit Hermione, they find a piece of paper in her hand that they hadn’t noticed. They learn that the creature that had been petrifying people was a basilisk, a type of snake. Hermione had made a note that said that the basilisk was traveling through the plumbing. They then begin to piece together how each person was petrified, as there were objects preventing the basilisk from directly looking someone in the eye. They also learn that there was one student that was killed during the last time the chamber was opened- and she died on a toilet. Ron and Harry realize that Moaning Myrtle was the one who died- who had been with them in the bathroom while making the polyjuice potion. Myrtle tells them that the sink holds the entrance to the chamber- so they rush to find Gilderoy (who said he knew how to defeat the basilisk), only to find him packing up to leave.

He threatens Ron and Harry about modifying their memory, but is countered by Ron and Harry, who then lead him to the entrance to the chamber. All three enter the murky chamber filled with damp vegetation, but suddenly Lockhart grabs Ron’s wand and uses the memory charm on Ron. The curse backfires onto Lockhart due to Ron’s wand being broken, and Lockhart lost all of his memory.

The two boys continue on, but are separated by falling rocks. While Ron stays behind with Lockhart, Harry moves on to find the hound Tom Riddle standing over Ginny in front of a stone face. Tom disarms Harry and explains that he had been looking for Harry, and as Ginny, barely alive, gets weaker, he gets stronger. At first, Harry is confused and tries to warn Tom of the basilisk- but as the heir of Slytherin, only Tom could call the basilisk. He uses his wand to unscramble his name to show that he is a preserved version of Lord Voldemort.

Tom calls the basilisk onto Harry, but, due to the fact that the snake was blind, Harry was able to survive long enough so that he could see Fawkes, Dumbledore’s Phoenix, carrying the Sorting Hat into the chamber. From the hat, Harry produces the sword of Godric Gruffindor- and uses the sword to kill the basilisk. But in the process, Harry is sliced by a basilisk fang- which contain poisonous venom.

Fortunately, Phoenix tears have healing powers, and thanks to the loyalty Harry showed Dumbledore, his injury heals almost immediately, and Harry takes a basilisk fang and stabs the diary, destroying all of its contents, along with the young Volemort himself. With that, Ginny Weasley reawakens, and all four use Fawkes to escape the chamber.

After the incident, while talking with Dumbledore in his office, Harry is interrupted by Lucius Malfoy- and his servant house-elf, Dobby. Lucius, the one who had requested that Dumbledore step down, was not happy. On his was out, Harry tosses him the diary, filled with one of his socks. Instinctively, he tosses it to Dobby. When a house-elf receives a piece of clothing, they are automatically free from their master. Therefore, Harry had just freed Dobby. Lucius then attempted a killing curse on Harry, but Dobby defended Harry. Harry only asked that Dobby never try and save his life again.

At the End-of-year feast, Hagrid returns to Hogwarts after being proven innocent. Hermione and the others that were petrified were returned to normal. Everything was back to normal, more or less.

You need to read the book to get every intricate detail that J.K. Rowling provides that I couldn’t possibly explain in a book review. I can’t recommend this series enough for you. Thank you so much for reading! The book review for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban will release this Thursday.

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