Series: Harry Potter #2
Published by Scholastic Inc. on 1999 June 2
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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 Lockhart, 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?
Guys, my apology for yet another umpteenth review of one of the Harry Potter sequels. As I’ve said in another post, Harry Potter has been a great influence in my life and because of that, I think I owe him something. It would also be fair to tell you that these past few days, I have a relapse of my Harry Potter addiction and I’ve been rereading the sequels one by one. The relapse was so strong that I automatically hit my computer and start drafting my reviews for each of the book.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets follows Harry’s second year at Hogwarts. Though Harry has finally met his arch nemesis, Lord Voldemort, in his first year, it did not deter him to look forward to going back to the magical school for his second year of study. It was there that he found real friends, the real him and the other people who truly cared about him. However, as he was counting the days towards the 11th of September, doubts and insecurities filled him when his bestfriends, Ron and Hermione, seemed to forget about him and did not even manage to send a single letter. His questions were then resolved in the form of a mysterious house-elf named Dobby who visited him. It turned out that house-elf has been hiding the letters from Ron, Hermione and Hagrid so that Harry will get angry and will chose not to return to Hogwarts.
In Harry’s anger, the elf told him that it was for his own safety. That Harry shouldn’t go back because there’s an evil plot brewing at Hogwarts and he is the target. But Harry did not heed the elf’s warning for his love for his newfound world and friends is far greater than the fear the news has created. But as the elf had warned, Harry and his friends immediately faced trouble upon arrival at Hogwarts. First, Harry met the most outrageous teacher he’d ever met in his whole life. Second, Harry found out that he had a very scary gift, a gift he had shared with Salazar Slytherin and Lord Voldemort himself, and that is being a Parselmouth. It is the ability to converse with snakes. Third, Harry had been hearing a disembodied voice no one else heard. Fourth, students especially those of Muggle-born descents, were suddenly dropping petrified. And fifth and the last, a mysterious and a hair raising message was left in the walls of Hogwarts that the Chamber of Secrets has been opened and those unworthy of magic will be purged from the school through petrifying and killing them. What’s worst was that a lot of people suspected Harry for being the Heir of Slytherin—accounts tell that only the Heir would be able to open the Chamber and unleash the monster within—because he is a Parselmouth.
As more and more students got attacked by the monster unleashed from the Chamber, Harry and his friends—Ron and Hermione—also got desperate to find the culprit behind the petrification of the students. Amidst this all, Harry also found out a strange diary owned by a certain Tom Riddle and a memory of Tom showed him that the Heir of Slytherin was in fact, Hagrid. But being a good friend, Harry was not able to confront Hagrid and yet, the latter was sent to Azkaban until such time the real culprit is apprehended. During his apprehension, Hagrid left Harry and Ron clues which they followed despite the dangers since Hermione was also attacked and got petrified. The situation got graver when finally, the Heir of Slytherin (who was definitely not Hagrid) left a last message that he/she had taken a student into the Chamber. Harry and Ron found out that it was Ginny, Ron’s younger sister who had been taken.
In a more desperate race to catch the Heir of Slytherin, Harry and Ron discovered—with the help of the petrified Hermione—that the monster of the Chamber of Secrets was a basilisk. And that Harry was the only one to hear it because he can understand Parseltounge, the snake language and that it was using the school plumbing system, the reason why no one has seen it. And it was also learned that aside from the deadly venom of the monster, it also has a deadly stare. The reason why students got only petrified is that when the basilisk tried to attack them, they saw the basilisk through a media and never directly. In addition, the two figured out that the entrance of the Chamber might be in one of the abandoned girl’s toilet haunted by Moaning Myrtle who is revealed to be killed by the basilisk fifty years ago.
And so Harry, Ron and Gilderoy Lockhart—their outrageously narcissistic new DADA professor—went to the bathroom and using Parseltounge, the three were able to finally enter the Chamber of Secrets. Inside the Chamber, Harry met Tom Riddle once again and it was in that meeting that Harry finally connected the dots of the grave situation that has befallen his beloved school. Tom Riddle was in fact Lord Voldemort before he changed his name.
And so Lord Voldemort, proceeded to instruct the basilisk to kill the boy who had thwarted him for the second time. Wandless and alone, Harry thought that he would die from the basilisk venomous in the Chamber but alas, Dumbledore’s phoenix, Fawkes arrived bringing with it the school sorting hat. And Harry, with Fawkes’ help and Godric Gryffindor’s sword which he pulled out from the sorting hat, defeated the basilisk. Afterwards, he also defeated Tom Riddle by stabbing his diary with the basilisk fang. Subsequently, Ginny was saved. Harry and Ron became the heroes once again.
Just like the first Harry Potter book, Chamber of Secrets (CoS) is also a fast paced novel bringing us deeper into a world of realistic fantasy. Unlike from other books, CoS do not suffer the middle book syndrome and a great read whether stand alone or together with book 1. JK Rowling is a master of cliffhangers and mystery that totally left me hanging on the edge of my seat as yet revelations of awesome and awful truths were uncovered in this beloved read.
The story of Chamber of Secrets is weaved wonderfully that every pieces of the puzzle connected at the end with a flourishing click. I also like the fact that JK provided us a very vivid picture of Harry’s world without lingering but instead, brought us to live with Harry and his gang of friends and enemies. It was delightful, it was funny, it was scary, and yet darker than the first book. Rowling is just a genius, don’t ya think?
Aside from the plot, I love the characters of the book that became more loveable as time passed by. Ms Rowling gave us characters that were authentic and most importantly, are people whom we can relate to. Harry, Ron and Hermione were heroes to look up to doing things that we thought they can only do and yet, at the end of the day, they’re just like us facing the normal woes of everyday life. They’re not even perfect but then their choices and their actions to make things rights despite the odds were amazing and that actually made them perfect in my eyes.
Interaction and Dialogue
One of the ingredients that I love in Harry Potter books is that it never failed to make me smile, laugh and raise my brows. The interactions and dialogues between characters are just witty, funny that I can’t stop talking to myself trying to come up with a joke that was as funny as the characters’. Even Hermione and Percy who were considered nerds were also funny in their own comfort zone.
What I also like about the book is that even without a lot of dramatic words, you can feel how friends and family members were important to the leading characters (as depicted with the Weasley family’s relationship and the trio’s friendship). Even if they joked with each other, you can actually feel that kind of burning love between the characters and how they would sacrifice everything to make things alright and normal once again.
For the funny, loveable and realistic heroes, I gave JK Rowling a big round of applause.
Again, at the end of each book, you will always take a stop and try to reflect on things. And this, I always does whenever I finished a book and ponder on the things that make the book worthy of my time. After reading CoS, I was left to contemplate about the following things:
- Never trust something unfamiliar- What Mr. Weasley told Ginny at the end of the book was always a reminder that if we are in doubt, stop and try to consult people who are in authority. There are so many times in my life that I made hasty decisions, impulsive actions on unfamiliar things that did not only threaten my job but my personal life as well.
- Our choices make us- Right-O, Dumbledore. No man is perfect and along the way, we would make some wrongs and rights. And it is within this premise, that we are defined by our choices. We may stumble and get hurt along the way but it is our choice whether to wallow in the mud we’ve been buried or die trying to stand up victorious.
The above concept is a very good example for those who have been embittered by life so much who think that the future is bleak and that staying in the pits of darkness is the right thing to do. Again, we always have a choice, a choice to back down or to keep fighting until the end. If you are good or evil today, that is your choice and every second is a chance to change who you are.