Book Seventy-Two of 2014: Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Harry

 

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 Lockheart, 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.

I have to say, reading this a second time has been a better experience than the first. We meet Harry back in the Dursley home and it’s not as bad, but still a bad life. So bad that he may never get back to Hogwarts! Luckily, Ron’s there for the rescue. With flying cars, fame hungry teachers, and a murderous creature on the loose, Chamber of Secrets is a fun read.

When I first started this book again, I found myself wondering about things that aren’t as important to the book. Really, they were musings, but I feel that I should post them on here. For instance, the concept of House Elves. Though I understand why Rowling made Dobby and his race: the rich pure bloods needed something to show their higher status, and the house elves are a good (not cartoony, but kind of) way to show children the issues of slavery and prejudice without going dark (which does happen later, but most of the readers would be older by that time too). The house elf, as a concept and world dynamic, is interesting. Besides, as readers find out later, Hermione makes it her business to help the house elf lifestyle, which hints at what she will do after the Battle of Hogwarts.

However, I don’t understand what the house elf is supposed to do. First off, they are slaves, so you would assume they would do chores and maybe the grunt work. However, the masters of house elves are wizards and witches. Everything can be done with a flick of the wand. How lazy do you have to be to need a slave to do that?! Also, what’s the point of a house elf if they can’t do your laundry? I’m sorry, but if I was a witch and I had a house elf, they’d be doing the dishes and laundry for me. Maybe the dusting too. Anyway, house elves can’t touch clothing unless you want them to run off and be free. See what I mean?

I also noticed how much more of a prick Lockhart is in the book versus the movie. Brannagh’s version, though still a prick and a nimrod, wasn’t as fame hungry as the book Lockhart. Book Lockhart is by far worse. I forgot how nasty he really was. And it’s a sweet nasty. You know the kind, it’s the popular kid that everyone loves, but the person is secretly poking fun at everyone or trying to show how much better they are. Really, Lockhart is an adult Ravenclaw version of Draco Malfoy minus the blunt bullying. Yeah, you read that right, Lockhart’s a Ravenclaw. I bet the hat had a hard time trying to choose between that and Slytherin.

Also, something totally irrelevant, but not really. In the book, Lockhart wrote something about curing a werewolf. Of course, there’s a twist about that, but that’s not what I’m wondering about. I’m wondering whether or not that was an actual werewolf. After all, the werewolf was cured, but no werewolf characters seem to dive in for that cure. Was it really a werewolf? Or was it a polyjuice potion turned wrong? It’d be interesting to know.

And finally, after this book, what happened to the car? Maybe it shows up again and I just don’t remember because of the movies.

So, yes, those were my thoughts while reading the book. Of course there was more to it with Ooos and Ahhs. Like, the book was better written than the first. I love that Ron is more loyal to Hermione. Even though she was annoying in the first book, he seemed to really buck up and try to honor her. It’s cool. And, I love that this book is more about Hermione being the trouble maker versus the boys. Book one, they got her into trouble. Book two, she was the instigator AND note, they didn’t lose as many points. It goes to show how awesome Hermione is.

I liked Harry’s use of his brains. Sure, he and Ron aren’t the smartest, but this book did show that he wasn’t an idiot either. Maybe not Ravenclaw material, but at least when it matters, his brain works.

Since I’m guessing that everyone else has read this book and are huge Potterheads, I don’t really need to tell you to read this series, but seriously, you should if you haven’t. This series is a good one for a reason.

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