It’s been a pretty long time since I’ve seen Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (it’s my husbands least favorite so we tend to start our marathons at Azkaban) and even longer since I’ve read the book (like, I dunno 15 years…) So this journey was a pleasant surprise.
After a miserable summer with the Dursley family, and despite an ominous warning from Dobby the house elf, Harry Potter finds himself back at Hogwarts. Shortly after arriving there are attacks on several students born to non magical parents which leave them petrified. Rumors of a secret chamber, built by Salazar Slytherin, which houses a dangerous monster begin swirling around the campus. Harry, along with Ron and Hermione, suspect Draco Malfoy and begin their own investigation into the mystery; unfortunately Hermione is petrified before she can tell the boys she has had a breakthrough.
With the attacks escalating the school panics. Harry’s friend Hagrid, the Hogwarts’ groundskeeper, was accused of opening the chamber 50 years ago as a student and is sent to prison as a precaution. Before he is taken to Azkaban Hagrid tells the boys to “follow the spiders” which leads them to Aragog, a giant spider, who tells them more about the first time the chamber was open. With less than 12 hours before the school will be closed indefinitely the boys solve the mystery of the chamber; they go to rescue Ginny (who has been taken by the monster) in the chamber where Harry discovers who was behind the attacks.
If tracking down a deadly monster who lives in a secret chamber isn’t enough to manage as a twelve year old, Harry also has to deal with a flamboyant famewhorey new Defense of the Dark Arts teacher, Gilderoy Lockheart, who irritates him (and the reader) in various ways throughout the school year.
“Gilderoy Lockhart, Order of Merlin, Third Class, Honorary Member of the Dark Force Defense League, and five times winner of Witch Weekly’s Most Charming Smile Award. But I don’t talk about that; I didn’t get rid of the Banden Banshee by smiling at him.”
My husband’s biggest complaint with the movie is how convenient everything is and I feel like the book does a much better job making things seem organic. Because books are always better. I like that the Weasley/ Malfoy feud is more fleshed out. I feel like it added depth to Malfoy’s motivations with the diary and I really wish they’d had the fist fight in the movie!
Overall Chamber of Secrets is still a pretty weak novel, mostly because it’s a rehash of the first book, but it’s Harry Potter so how bad can it really be? Upon reread you really begin to see all the breadcrumbs JK Rowling dropped throughout the series. The woman always had a plan.