Re-reading Harry Potter: 2# The Chamber of Secrets





In my quest to re-read all the Harry Potter books before I go and see Cursed Child (see Re-reading Harry Potter #1) I just finished The Chamber of Secrets. When I was a kid it was many people's favourite, although nowadays the reverse seems to be the case and it doesn't have as many fans as the other books. Maybe it's first sequel syndrome? Chamber of Secrets has never been a particular favourite of mine, but I was very much looking forward to the re-read. The early books are so nostalgic!

New Thoughts this time:

Firstly, this book felt very short. Is it shorter than the first one? It's very fast paced and we get away from the Dursley's and into the Wizarding World much quicker, which I like. I also always think of COS as quite a dark instalment, what with Ginny getting possessed, people getting attacked all over the place, and the mysterious disembodied voice whispering 'rip, tear, kill' (it definitely spooked me as a child.) The heir of Slytherin's final message - daubed in blood - is particularly intense. "Her Skeleton will lie in the Chamber forever." The jeopardy has definitely been stepped up. What I'd forgotten though, is how much humour there is to balance all that out. I laughed a lot in this one, and out loud. Lockhart is comedy gold, as are Harry's reactions to him - and Ron's reaction's to Hermione's reaction to him.




The Ron and Hermione stuff was also really interesting to look at this time around. It's odd, because they don't really bicker in this one, and Ron is more likeable for it. Yet you can still see the seeds of their love story being planted. It's Ron who gets the angriest when Hermione is insulted ("Let me at him," Ron growled as Harry and Dean hung on to his arms. "I don't care, I don't need my wand. I'm going to kill him with my bare hands - ") and most irritated with her crush on Lockhart. They spend a lot of time together without Harry around, whenever he's in the hospital wing or at quidditch practice. But I don't think either of them have realised that they like each other yet.

I also spotted an early plant of a later storyline! Last time I re-read this book, I noticed that Nearly-Headless-Nick has Peeves drop a valuable black cabinet to get Harry out of detention with Filch. Was this how the vanishing cabinet was broken? And when Harry is in Borgin and Burkes, he hides in a big black cabinet (although he doesn't vanish, but who knows what might have happened if he went further in?). Could these be the cabinets that form the passageway in book six?

Favourite bits:

I love the Valentine's day scene, where Harry is rugby tackled by one of Lockhat's 'card-carrying cupids' amidst a circle of onlookers and forced to listen to Ginny's singing Valentine "His eyes are as green as a fresh pickled toad...". Basically anything with Lockhart is good value, the same goes for Colin Creevey (I don't like to think about how he ended up). The bit with the spiders is always great, and this around I really enjoyed the 'Rogue Bludger' chapter. I also love the final confrontation with Riddle, it's very dark and dramatic.




Favourite forgotten moments:

Arthur Weasley brawling with Lucius Malfoy in Flourish and Blotts. Lockhart making Harry re-enact adventures from his books in Defence against the Dark Arts lessons ("Nice loud howl, Harry - exactly - and then, if you'll believe it, I pounced - like this - slammed him to the floor...")

Favourite Quotes:

'"What's all this, what's all this? Gilderoy Lockhart was striding towards them, his turquoise robes swirling behind him. "Who's giving out signed photos?"
Harry started to speak but he was cut short as Lockhart flung an arm around his shoulders and thundered jovially, "Shouldn't have asked! We meet again, Harry!"'

Why Hufflepuffs are the best...

'Ernie took a deep breath and said, very formally, "I just want to say, Harry, that I'm sorry I ever suspected you. I know you'd never attack Hermione Granger, and I apologise for all the stuff I said. We're all in the same boat now and, well - "
He held out a pudgy hand, and Harry shook it.'

Wise words from Dumbledore...

"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are. Far more than our abilities."

And my favourite...

"Why," demanded Ron, seizing her timetable, 'have you outlined all Lockhart's lessons in little hearts?"

Is The Chamber of Secrets one of your favourites? Any favourite bits or things you noticed on the umpteenth re-read? Let me know in the comments!

Comments

  1. Oh dear! I'm reading your posts and I'm beginning to think I really DO need to re-read them myself...there is so much I don't remember! I recall, though, that The Chamber of Secrets was my favourite of the seven, followed by Deathly Hallows. These are the only books in the series I read twice. The others I read only once. I suspect my memories of these books are greatly coloured or misted over by the movies (and the fan-fiction I confess to having read).

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    1. Nice to know it's still some people's favourite! I think the films do affect how I remember them too - with things like the flying car scene it's hard not to picture the film, I think.

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  2. It's funny, I'm easily spooked, but I didn't realise how dark CoS was until I reread it as an adult. Now I'm horrified to think 12-year-olds were the ones to take down the Basilisk. I agree about the Ron/Hermione friendship; here you can tell that Ron is more protective of her than Harry, even if he's the first to point out her flaws as well. Good catch about the black cabinet!! It's the one thing that always amazes me about JKR's writing - I wish I could plan like she does.

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    1. I know it's so dark! And yeah, her planning skills are amazing!

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