Monday, December 9, 2013

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

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2)Not for the first time, an argument had broken out over breakfast at number four, Privet Drive. Mr. Vernon Dursley had been woken in the early hours of the morning by a loud, hooting, noise from his nephew Harry's room.

"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 Lockheart, 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 beings, 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?"

I like Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, but it is to me the weakest of the books, in terms of plot and development. It's still very good, however. I think the main reason that I don't like it is perhaps Lockhart, who's the most annoying character ever. You just want to punch him. Also, there are some slightly dread-inducing events; not a very good way of explaining it but nevertheless true. I don't really like the whole Chamber of Secrets/Tom Riddle plotline. There's not enough development, I would say, and the book is much denser than the first one. Still, J.K. Rowling does add to the series, building on another layer of new characters and events. Dobby the house elf is introduced for the first time; I absolutely love him. We also learn a bit more about Voldemort's backstory and who he was before he became the feared Dark Lord.

A lot happens in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, but it still feels kind of dull at times, maybe because it's not super focused, and the characters' relationships aren't developed as much as in later books. It's still a really fast and fun read though, and you do learn a lot more about the Wizarding world, as you do in each of the books.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets marks the second iteration of Voldemort attempting to come back in a rather roundabout manner, before he finally returns at the end of the fourth book. Tom Riddle's diary is quite an interesting medium for this, and of course we find out in later books what it actually is, and how significant it really is. The basilisk is also quite an interesting (and frightening) creature. I certainly wouldn't want to encounter one.

The second book in the series is entertaining, though, and I suppose the story-line is fairly compelling. When it comes down to it, I'm not really sure why I find it the least good. I used to think that Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was my least favorite, but then I found myself rereading passages in it quite often. The books after that are all really long, but really in-depth and amazingly crafted and action-packed.

Perhaps another reason I'm not as fond of this one is that Harry is pretty much suspected of hating Muggle borns and Petrifying people and being Slytherin's heir, and I did not like that. People are so stupid sometimes, aren't they?

If I've given you the impression that I don't like the book, that's not accurate. It's still really good; just the weakest of the seven books in my opinion. But obviously, you must read it to get to the later books, and it is entertaining and likable enough.

341 pages.

Rating: ****

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