Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

I've mentioned before that this is my least favorite installment in the Harry Potter series of books. That doesn't mean I think it's a bad book. There's just so much else that happens in the other books that take my attention away from this one.

It's Harry's second year at Hogwarts, and once again, it isn't a typical school year. But I guess at a school that teaches wizardry, typical isn't the word you'd use to describe any school year. This time around, Harry is still being tormented by his muggle family while on his summer vacation. But before he even has the chance to get back to the school, he meets a house-elf named Dobby, who is desperately trying to keep Harry from returning to Hogwarts.

Dobby's fear is that there is a horrible plot to make bad things happen within the school. Dobby's fears are realized when things do begin to happen at the school. Not long after the start of term, Harry begins to hear threatening voices inside the walls. A threatening note is found on a wall written in red paint. The caretaker's cat is found to be petrified. And this is just the start of things.

All of these events show that the Chamber of Secrets has been opened. According to legend, the Chamber is said to hold a powerful monster that follows the commands of the heir of Slytherin. Slytherin being one of the founders of the school, who held the strict view that Hogwarts should only accept students of pure wizard blood. Slytherin's pet would be used to purge the school of any non-pure blood students.

Harry and his friends, Ron and Hermione, spend the better part of the school year discovering what secrets the Chamber actually holds. In the end, Harry emerges triumphant, once again defeating his nemesis, Lord Voldemort.

The book itself carries a number of positive messages. For one, it warns against the dangers of prejudice. For another, it speaks to the importance of loyalty. Most importantly, I think the book shows that our choices are what determine what sort of person we will become. Harry struggles a great deal with this issue in particular. Harry Potter has an, as yet, unexplained connection to Lord Voldemort. This connection scares him, because it has given him a number of his enemies traits. But Professor Dumbledore reminds him that, even though he may share some similarities with Voldemort, Harry has chosen to walk a more virtuous path, rather than take an easier, darker route.

All in all, it's a decent story. But I'm really looking forward to the next one. Prisoner of Azkaban is my absolute favorite of the seven novels. Stay tuned.


  1. Is this your second time through them? (Or maybe more?)
    Winged Writer

  2. I think it's actually my third time through it. The first three I've read more than once, but the larger books I only read when they first came out. I'll be hitting them all this time around though.