Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling (reread)

“It’s our choices, Harry, that show what we really are…”

TitleHarry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Author: JK Rowling
Genre: children’s/YA fantasy
ISBN: 9780439064873
Length: 341 pages
Published: 1999
Source: personal collection
Rating: 5/5
Resolutions/Challenges: Harry Potter Reading Marathon 2011 hosted by Shannon at Giraffe Days (here is a link to her review post)
(Here’s a link to my post for HP & the Sorcerer’s Stone)

Reason(s) for Reading: I’m participating in a reading marathon (see above link) to finish a book a month until the end of 2011, so that’s one reason. Plus, it’s been about four years since I last read all of the HP books and I’ve missed them!

Summary (from Goodreads):

The Dursleys were so mean and hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts Schools 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 girls’ bathroom; and the unwanted attention 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?

My Thoughts: I’ve found it very hard when rereading the HP books to entirely forget the movies. It’s not that I compare the two anytime I read the book exactly. But there are some things that I just can’t not think about it. Take Chamber of Secrets for example. This is the book where we first learn that Ginny has a HUGE crush on Harry. And it only continues in further books. But the movies so greatly misrepresent their relationship. (Have you seen Deathly Hallows Part 2 when they’re together–no chemistry at all! And that’s supposed to be when their relationship is strongest…) Regardless, that relationship isn’t the only thing misrepresented. There are so many clues as to what Ginny did in Chamber of Secrets, but the movie hardly touches on them at all.

It’s been four years since I read this book and I don’t remember enjoying it as much last time as I did with this reading. There was something about it that I really liked. And, of course, it’s hard for me to pinpoint what I liked so much (I find this true for a lot of books, especially ones that I reread). Maybe all the small things that the movie left out just made me remember and enjoy the book more. This is the book when the HHR threesome becomes solid in their friendship. I realize they have their squabbles later on in the books, but they are steadfast friends. And, regardless of the fact that in this book they are 12 and I am almost 24, I still wouldn’t mind being in their group 🙂

I also really like that this book is a little more complicated than Sorcerer’s Stone. But it’s still pretty simple, to my 24 year old mind (helped, of course, by the fact that I’ve heard the story sooo many times). It takes me back to the time when I first read it (which was at least 10 years ago!)

Shannon’s Questions for Chamber of Secrets:

In the meantime, here’re some wee questions to ponder:

1. Did you find the main plot to be free of holes? I found some things to be rather conveniently glossed over, like how Ginny would have been able to command the monster in the Chamber of Secrets, though it doesn’t bother me too much.

2. Of the new characters introduced – Dobby, Colin Creevey, Gilderoy Lockhart, Moaning Myrtle, the flying car etc. – do you have a favourite and why? Were there any characters you wish we’d seen more of in later books? (I find myself wondering what the car’s up to and how it’s faring. :) )

3. I’ve been avoiding mentioning the movie, but here goes: was there anything in the movie that you felt was done better than the book, or that made you like this story more? I couldn’t help but picture Kenneth Branagh playing Gilderoy, he was so perfect at it, and Tom Riddle and Colin Creevey were just right too, but the rest I’ve more or less forgotten.

1) As for the first question, I don’t think I really picked up on anything that was glossed over. Something that did make me do a double-take and think for a moment was this: “The Dursleys were what wizards called Muggles (not a drop of magical blood in their veins).” It made me think, “So magic has to do with blood?” And I thought of the “pure-bloods” such as the Malfoys and Blacks. Now I remember enough from biology that genetic traits can sometimes be passed on or skipped–how there come to be Hermiones and Filchs 🙂 Of course my brain went right to the smallest detail: What about blood transfusions? Would a Muggle get some magical ability if it received the blood of a witch/wizard? Or, was Rowling simply using the drop of blood as a simple saying? I pick some crazy stuff to think about.

Oh, but it did seem strange that Harry got in trouble for Dobby’s Hover Charm. You’d think the Ministry would be smart enough to know who conjured a spell and who didn’t.

2) Of the new characters, I’m partial to Dobby. He  always had Harry’s best interest in heart, even if he went about a weird way of showing it. I like him simply as a result of trying to protect Harry to such pain to himself. And don’t get me started on how much loyalty to Harry he showed in later books, up until the very end 😕

3) Don’t even get me started on the movie. This is where the movies started to go wrong in their representation of two Weasleys. (Yes, I know the question was about if I liked anything more in the film than the book, but please allow me my small rant.) First off, Ginny. The movies have done a horrible job displaying her and Harry’s relationship. Even through the very last movie, Ginny and Harry never seemed to have what the books said they had. The films intersperse moments that are more awkward than endearing, and their such random moments, too. Then there’s Percy. The films suck (to put it lightly) at showing how much of a prick and brown-noser Percy can be. I realize Percy isn’t really all that important to the rest of the story. But there’s no excuse for a poor representation of the Ginny-Harry relationship!

But, I agree with Shannon that Kenneth Branagh couldn’t have been more perfect in his Gilderoy role!

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One thought on “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling (reread)

  1. Michelle says:

    I love rereading these books. For me, the books and movies have jumbled together and I can’t keep straight what happened where, but I don’t mind.

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