Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Book Jacket

The Dursleys were so mean and hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School of 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 girl's 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?


Thus continues my epic reread of the Harry Potter series before the final movie comes out on July 15!  (What will we do when there is no longer a new Harry Potter creation to look forward to?)

If you haven't read the Harry Potter series yet, WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?  Go out and read them immediately.  Thank you.  For the rest of us, spoilers are ahead, because I will talk about each book with the revelations of the whole series in mind.

The Chamber of Secrets is my second-to-least favorite Harry Potter book, which means its still entirely enjoyable and a lightning-fast read.  Regardless, Tom Riddle's identity reveal at the end?  SO EPIC.  I feel like that hyena from The Lion King who loves to shudder at Mufasa's name.  "I am Lord Voldemort."  "Oooohh, read it again!"

I think I never loved the story because my heart hurts for Harry.  He's a hero, kiddos!  Stop accusing him of being evil!  Despite everyone being jerks, I do love Harry's confusion about speaking Parseltongue.  I remember being equally intrigued and horrified at the idea that part of Voldemort had passed into Harry when he cursed him as a baby.

Oh, the old days before we knew the word horcrux.  But Rowling knew it, way back in book 2!  Not only do we now see Harry as a horcrux, but we also get to see Harry destroy his first horcrux...Riddle's diary.  Which reminds me of Fawkes, the mythical creature I would claim as a pet if I could.  A fighter and a healer?  Perfect for all situations!

I also don't love this book because of Gilderoy Lockhart, worst Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher ever.  Yeah, worse even than Umbridge.  At least she was deliciously evil.  He is just maddening!  His mind-break at the end is just so rewarding, especially when he says, "Am I a professor?  Goodness.  I expect I was hopeless, was I?"  Yes, Lockhart.  You really were.

Rowling's imagination is a brilliant playground.  Mandrakes?  So hilarious!  "When they start trying to move into each other's pots, we'll know they're mature."  And poor Nearly Headless Nick, having his Deathday Party ruined by a bunch of headless horsemen playing games.  And Ron's incredulous reaction to finding out there's a ghost that haunts a toilet.  Guh, if only I could think up such wonderful stories!

I leave you with probably the best love poem of all time.  I want it on a t-shirt.

His eyes are as green as a fresh pickled toad,
His hair is as dark as a blackboard.
I wish he was mine, he's really divine,
The hero who conquered the Dark Lord.

Four out of five wild cars.

Release Date:  August 2000
Reading Level:  Grade 3+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection:  YPL ROW

Don't believe me?  Check out these reviews of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets:

The Book Bug
Whatcha Readin', Books?

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