Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
J K Rowling
Stuck in his bedroom, Harry Potter is visited by a strange little creature who says he is a house elf called Dobby. He warns Harry that if he returns to Hogwarts he will most certainly be faced with death. He admits that to make Harry want to stay away from Hogwarts, Dobby withheld letters from Ron, Hermione and Hagrid, making him think that his new found friends didn’t actually care about him. Harry thinks this is the worst of his problems but things are about to get worse thanks to Harry’s refusal to stay away from Hogwarts.
After crashing around Harry’s bedroom, Dobby escapes, making a break for the kitchen where he threatens to let a levitating dessert Mrs Dursley made drop to the floor to get Harry in trouble once more with the dreaded Dursleys. Still, he refuses to stay at Privet Drive and Dobby let’s chaos ensue bringing the Dursleys and their guests rushing into see what the noise is about. Vernon Dursley’s reaction to the kitchen disaster is to lock Harry and his possessions away, threatening that he will never practice magic or return to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry again.
Locked in his room with bars on his window, and getting a warning from the ministry of magic due to magic being used at Privet Drive where the only magic being is known to be an underage wizard (nice one Dobby, you’re doing well), Harry starts to lose hope of ever returning to Hogwarts or seeing his friends. But, help is on the way in a flying Ford Anglia carrying three flame haired brothers. Fred, George and Ron Weasley. Tearing the bars off the windows, the brothers set about saving Harry from his captivity, much to his uncle’s dismay. As Harry scrambles into the Anglia, Vernon attempts to pull his nephew back into the house by grabbing hold of his ankle but his attempts are futile and Harry, with the help of the Weasley’s makes his escape. After his daring escape Harry spends the rest of his summer holidays at the Hollow, the Weasley’s home. While there the family, along with Harry use floo powder to travel to Diagon Alley as to buy what the students need for the year ahead. Whilst shopping Harry gets brought (more like dragged really) into the spotlight by the seemingly charming and charismatic Gilderoy Lockhart, the man who’s fought fearsome beasts and ghouls such as the Banshee (just so you know, banshee’s just foreshadow a possible death in an Irish or Celtic family, they’re not known to be harmful in any folklore I know of).
As the time to head back to Hogwarts arrives, the Weasley’s and Harry make their way to Kings Cross to catch the Hogwarts Express. Percy, the twins, the parents and new first year Ginny all make their way through the barrier to Platform 9¾. But, as Harry and Ron run towards the barrier they bounce off the brick wall sending their luggage and themselves sprawling across the floor. The barrier to Platform 9¾ has been closed (but why?) and the boys will miss the Hogwarts Express and never be able to return to Hogwarts (now who would want Harry not to return to Hogwarts? *strokes imaginary beard in thought*) or will they? The Ford Anglia is still parked outside the train station. Taking the charmed car they make their way to Hogwarts following the train but as they reach the school grounds the engine gives in and the car lands in the Whomping Willow, a massive and old tree which sets about beating up the car and those inside it. Ron, trying to get to make the car start again breaks his wand but eventually the car falls from the branches. Landing on the ground, the car ejects Ron, Harry and all their luggage, including Hedwig and Scabbers much to their annoyance.
Thinking that they are going to be expelled from Hogwarts, Ron and Harry are surprised when McGonagall simply warns them not to break anymore rules and gives them both detentions.
The Chamber Is Open. And all muggle borns are in danger because whatever creature lurks in the depths of the Chamber has a taste for muggle born witches and wizards. Only the Heir of Slytherin can open the chamber and control the monster but who is the heir? Draco becomes the suspect in Harry, Ron and Hermione’s eyes but could it really be that obvious? (No, don’t be daft, course it’s not). But who else would want the Mudbloods dead? (Can you think of no one?) As more students become petrified people begin to blame Harry for the attacks, especially when it comes to light that he shares a gift that Salazar Slytherin was famous for. Harry is a Parcelmouth and can speak to snakes and serpents.
After finding out that the Chamber was opened 50 years before the trio find that Hagrid was expelled from Hogwarts for allegedly setting Aragog, a giant, deadly spider loose on the students. With Hagrid being taken to Azkaban (the wizard prison), Dumbledore being made to stand down as Headmaster and Hermione in the hospital wing, it is up to Harry and Ron to save the school, but they can’t go into the Chamber alone. It’s time to enlist the help of the great Gilderoy Lockhart, especially now it’s come to light that Ginny Weasley’s has been under the control of the Heir of Slytherin thanks to a diary (don’t trust diaries that talk back to you kids) that belonged to the head boy of 50 years ago.
Rowling once again brings a thrilling adventure to life within the pages of a book. Harry, again, is the character you root for as he once again faces dark forces that seek to kill him. But, his faithful friends stick by his side, helping him, even when of them is petrified. Forever loyal ad brave, Ron and Hermione are the friends you wish you’d had whilst at school. (Okay, let’s talk about Draco) Draco is the person you want to stay away from (as Harry knows from the first book) due his bad attitude and of course he’s a Slytherin (not that there’s anything wrong with being a Slytherin! SLYTHERIN PRIDE! *throws snakes and green confetti at everyone*). Also, let’s not forget he only has the reputation he has because of his Family name, buying his way in to play Seeker for the Slytherin Quiddich team and the constant use of “My father will hear about this” if someone even looks at him funny (My god Draco, you are such a brat! Honestly, you’d be nowhere if you weren’t a Malfoy). Moaning Myrtle (ah Myrtle, you cheeky devil you) may be annoying with her moaning and crying (reminds me of someone I just talked about, hmm…) and flooding the toilets but you can’t help but feel sorry for her, if it weren’t for her they would never have figured out the secret of the Chamber’s whereabouts (plus, who’d want to die in the toilets?). With the bumbling idiot, Lockhart being introduced as a charming hero you soon start to see him as the court jester he really is, especially when Cornish pixies are involved (poor Neville), but his most comical times are kept to the end. I suppose at this point you should feel some sympathy for the out of his depth (like he’s in the deep end and the deep end just happens to be a bottomless pit) teacher but you can’t help but feel it’s really his own fault for quite frankly, being a selfish, lying buffoon.
Will Harry, Ron and Hermione be able to stop the threat of death to the Muggle borns and solve the mystery of the Chamber of Secrets while saving the life of Ginny Weasley or are they too late?
Another magical adventure unwinds within the walls of Hogwarts. Grab your wands and get ready to fight the dark arts again but Muggle borns be warned, you may be in trouble, so, remember to put your trust in someone who doesn’t wipe their own memory or you may not make it out alive.
Awarded: 4 out of 5 Stars