Title: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Author: J. K. Rowling
Publication Date: June 2, 1999
Genre(s): Middle Grade/Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: Audible (Jim Dale editions)
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The Dursleys were so mean and hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he’s packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike
And strike it does. For in Harry’s second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockhart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girls’ bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley’s younger sister, Ginny.
But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone — or something — starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects . . . Harry Potter himself?
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Okay, so to no one’s surprised I jumped right into my reread of Chamber of Secrets after finishing Sorcerer’s Stone. Also to no one’s surprised I loved it so much. Harry Potter is definitely one of those books (series) I wish I could go back and read again for the first time. Oh, and there are going to be a lot of movie comparisons in this review, mainly because I’ve seen the movies several times and much more recently!
While Sorcerer’s Stone has some super fun reveals, I really think Chamber is where we start to get those jaw-dropping moments that continue over the remainder of the series. Having the reveal that Hagrid is a Slytherin and possibly the heir is actually a genuinely shocking moment after spending the first book falling in love with him. Also, these first two books TOTALLY confirm that Hagrid still has his wand, I don’t care what anyone says. Rowling has just included too many references to Hagrid talking about his wand while clutching the umbrella.
I mentioned this in a reading vlog I’m doing for the OWLs (aiming to have this vlog up the first week of May), but I’ve only reread the first book recently. The remaining books I haven’t read since 7th grade (so like 13 years ago), and it was so much fun to reread this after so long. I’ve forgotten how much foreshadowing and genuinely horrifying moments were in this book.
At the end, Riddle tells Harry that Ginny strangled Hagrid’s roosters, amongst the other things she does on his behalf, all while having massive memory blackouts and believing that she’s starting to go crazy. Ginny is 11 during this book and thinking about all she did and went through at such a young age is honestly alarming. Most of these things are kept in the movie, but some of the more horrible ones are left out.
I also totally forgot about Harry and Hermione both having eureka moments surrounding the Chamber’s location and the revelation about what monster in the Chamber. It took Harry asking Ron and Hermione if they heard the mysterious voice several times before Hermione figured out the monster was a basilisk. After visiting Aragog, Harry connects several of the dots as well, and Hermione fills in the final pieces for him. Harry also figures out the location of the Chamber by piecing all the clues together before talking to Murtle, something taken from his film counterpoint.
“Why spiders? Why couldn’t it be “follow the butterflies?”
Lockhart in the book is just a delightful mess of a man. Being a good wizard writer and better plagiariser is hinted at much earlier and the hijinks he causes for the school allow for some great comedic relief during the arguable dark book. I think the Valentine’s Day singing telegrams was one of my favorite parts that I had completely forgotten about.
I also really liked how the Pollyjuice Potion scene was handled in the book. Harry and Ron spend so much effort not getting mad at Malfoy as to not blow their cover, a point that was ignored for giggles in the movie. Watching Harry and Ron hear Ron’s family made fun of and their best friend’s life threatened and having to remain neutral at 12 is a feat they don’t get nearly enough credit for.
One thing this book included was Filch receiving a letter for some magic classes that appear to be like a wizard infomercial to help with the fact that Filch is a squib and can’t do magic. This is a fact that I knew but completely forgot that this was how it was revealed. It also justifies why Mr. Norris was attacked, something also left out.
Oh and just an aside, the visual of the Whomping Willow being covered in casts after being hit by the Weasley’s car is just hilarious and I’m really sad we missed out on that.
“Never try to save my life again.”
Chamber of Secrets does a great job setting up the reading for the darker tone the books are going to take by introducing some of those ideas early on. It also does a great job foreshadowing the big reveal surrounding the Chamber, the monster within, and leads to some amazing foreshadowing about the diary. I loved the description of young Riddle just chilling about like a total douche when Harry enters the Chamber and Harry getting the feeling that there’s more to the diary than what appears on the surface.
I’m so excited to continue this reread, fall even more back in love with this series, and discover more moments lost to time for one of my all-time favorite series.