Title: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Author: J.K. Rowling
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
Published: 1998 (original) This edition: 2014
Special features: Map in front of the book showing Hogwarts grounds
Price: £3.49 on Amazon
This book follows Harry’s second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as he is faced with new challenges and enemies. At the beginning of the novel we see a house elf named Dobby warning Harry not to return to Hogwarts for if he does, terrible things will happen. Harry ignores his warning causing Dobby to wreak havoc at a dinner party of the Dursley’s who then imprison Harry in his room. Ron, George and Fred turn up in their father’s flying car to rescue Harry and take them back to their home, The Burrow. While shopping for his school books he encounters Gilderoy Lockhart, a well known author in the wizarding world, who announces he is the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts. When they arrive at Platform 9 & 3/4, Harry and Ron run at the barrier only to be stopped, leaving them stranded in the muggle world so they decide to fly the Weasley’s flying car to Hogwarts instead. They crash into the Whomping Willow which prompts Mrs Weasley to send Ron a Howler (a screaming letter). On Halloween, strange things start happening at Hogwarts, beginning with Mrs Norris – Filch’s cat – being found petrified under writing on the wall. Thus starting the attacks at Hogwarts. As the year goes on and the attacks continue, Harry, Ron and Hermione learn more about the Chamber of Secrets and try to find out who has opened it. At first they suspect Draco Malfoy as the Heir of Slytherin but after concocting a Polyjuice Potion and questioning him they eliminate him as a suspect. At Christmas, Harry finds a diary in Moaning Myrtle’s toilet and starts communicating with the diary, finding out it was once owned by Tom Riddle fifty years ago. Hermione is petrified but not before, luckily, discovering what the monster in the Chamber is – a Basilisk. Harry and Ron, accompanied by a caught-out liar Gilderoy Lockhart, find the entrance to the Chamber and go inside. Unfortunately, Lockhart steals Ron’s wand to cast a memory charm which backfires, leaving Harry stranded to enter the Chamber alone. There he finds the body of Ginny Weasley and, surprisingly, Tom Riddle. Riddle reveals he has been controlling Ginny to do his dirty work and is now sucking the energy out of her body so he can become a physical being again. He also tells Harry that his name – Tom Marvelo Riddle – is an anagram for I Am Lord Voldemort. He then sets the Basilisk to attack Harry who – with the help of Fawkes and the Sorting Hat – defeats the beast and kills Riddle, bringing Ginny back to life.
Once again I am so glad that I have finally decided to read the Harry Potter series! It’s tiny details in the books that makes the world seem even more alive. Of course, I knew this story well from the film as I have watched it many times, but there are obviously details left out of the film that can only be found in the books.
Rowling’s writing style is truly extraordinary and helps you think, even as a 19 year old, that magic exists and there is a whole different world us muggles don’t know about. It’s interesting how Rowling has incorporated things of real life myths, such as the Basilisk, into her world and made it seem realistic. Other authors, I believe, would struggle with this style of writing but Rowling manages to make it not too far-fetched but believable.
The character development in this story is key. We learn a lot more about the Weasley family and this is essential because of Harry and Ron’s friendship. By being given traits of characters not necessarily classed as protagonists it allows the reader to create a wider world of the story, not just focusing on a handful of characters and how they let the story develop. Key characters, like Mrs Weasley, are essential as she brings a king, motherly figure to Harry but also a stern motherly figure to her own sons. She also brings with her a comedic presence and she genuinely makes me laugh out loud.
I can’t wait to read the remainder of the series!
My rating: 5/5