Monday, June 6, 2016

Harry Potter Reread: Chamber of Secrets

 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2)

Potter fever is ramping up this year thanks to two exciting new projects: the eighth story, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, will be debuting in London's West End on July 30 and the first in a new movie trilogy, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, will hit theaters in November. In preparation, I decided to revisit my most beloved series and blog about it. (Besides, I don't really need an excuse to reread Harry Potter.)

Origin Story

I first saw Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in a department store, displayed along with copies of Prisoner of Azkaban. I can't remember if I was aware that there were sequels to Philosopher's Stone before then but when I saw the display of Harry Potter books, I freaked out. I begged my mom to buy them for me as we made our way through the store. Oddly enough, she refused. (My mom has always been very generous when it comes to supporting my book addiction. She's a bit of an enabler, really.) I kept pestering her until finally she revealed the truth: she had already bought the books for me but was saving them to give to me for Christmas. I was both elated and devastated by this news. If I remember correctly, Christmas was still a few months away. In the end, she agreed to give me Chamber of Secrets early and save Prisoner of Azkaban for Christmas. (I really do have the greatest mom in the world.) 

I think I started reading it as soon as she gave it to me. I remember Mrs. Morgan, my third grade teacher, also read Chamber of Secrets to our class but I'm pretty certain I started reading the book on my own first. I finished it in a few days and began counting down the days until Christmas, when I would finally get my hands on the third book and continue the series.


Things I Noticed This Time Around

-I appreciate Gilderoy Lockhart's character more each time I reread Chamber of Secrets. He's ridiculous to the point of caricature but he is a perfect parody of our celebrity-obsessed culture. Plus, J.K. Rowling has said in several interviews that he was based on a real person!

-I've seen this theory floating around already but am now convinced that Tom Riddle helped Ginny write that love poem for Harry because of the line 'I wish he was mine, he's really divine/The hero that conquered the Dark Lord.' Only Death Eaters would refer to Voldemort as the 'Dark Lord.' 

-there are so many hints throughout the book that Ron and Hermione are developing feelings for each other, particularly on Ron's side. Ron exhibits a particular disgust for Lockhart that I think can be attributed to feelings of jealousy because Hermione has a crush on him; Ron attacks Malfoy when he calls Hermione 'Mudblood'; Ron seems particularly upset when Hermione is petrified. I don't think Ron is yet fully aware that he is developing a crush on Hermione but I think those feelings definitely start taking shape in Chamber of Secrets

-I spotted so many connections to book six - Aragog, the diary (revealed later to be a horcrux), the relationship between Harry/Ginny, Tom Riddle, Borgin and Burkes, the vanishing cabinet, the Hand of Glory, Moaning Myrtle's bathroom, etc. 

Favorite Parts/Lines

-Peeves' 'Oh Potter, you rotter' song is one of the best parts in the book. It makes me laugh every time.

-there aren't a lot of Snape moments in this book (which is a shame) but one of my favorite ones is when he blasts Lockhart off his feet in the Dueling Club. I think even when I read it for the first time, I was rooting for Snape to kick Lockhart's ass

-I still love the scene with the giant spiders. Aragog is one of my favorite creatures in the series

-'Harry was just thinking that all he needed was for Dumbledore's pet bird to die while he was alone in the office with it, when the bird burst into flames.' pg. 155

-'It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.' pg. 245

Final Thoughts

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is often said to be the weakest in the series but I think this is an unfair assessment. It is just as good as Philosopher's Stone and tells an exciting, complex story. Full of danger, mystery, and adventure, I will always take pleasure in revisiting Chamber of Secrets. 

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