For some reason, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets has never left an impression on me even when I was a young fan. Back then, I read it just so I could move on to the next book in the series. It was simply a passing note for me, an installment that needed to be read so I could understand what comes next.
Now a few years older, I’ve read it again and still it didn’t give me a POW! like the first book. However, instead of simply bypassing it, I am able to see the little breadcrumbs that Rowling drops to alert the reader of what’s to come.
This is one of the reasons why I love the Harry Potter series. All the books relate and everything ties into each other. We see Voldemort’s first horcrux – Tom Riddle’s diary – and by the end of the series, we understand that he murdered Moaning Myrtle (though she wasn’t moaning back then, bawling maybe) to create it. We also learn that a piece of Voldemort lives inside Harry Potter (an eighth* horcrux, which explains Harry’s partial resemblance to Riddle and his having powers similar to Voldemort: parseltongue). I don’t think this is mentioned again until the final book when that part of Harry is removed.
The important lesson in this installment is that it’s our choices that make us who we are, as Dumbledore advised Harry. This is the same as the lesson taught to Richard by Zeddicus Zul Zorander in The Wizard’s First Rule (a book I began but am unable to finish due to its circuitous nature and annoyingly love-struck characters). Dumbledore shares this lesson with Harry since Harry doubts his placement in Gryffindor; however, Dumbledore states that because Harry asked not to be placed in Slytherin, he made a choice that reflects his character and sets him apart from Voldemort. He exercised his freewill.
However, if the chapter on freewill in Jesse Bering’s book Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That is to be believed, Harry was not exercising his freewill. Harry was destined to be in Gryffindor because of his genes (his parents were in the same house) and his unique experiences: his mother sacrificing herself to save him (bravery and love); growing up with the Dursleys (endurance) and being abused by them (induced kindness).
The question is: Would the hat have put Harry in Slytherin if he had not spoken up?
Sure Harry has Slytherin skills but his experiences show that his Gryffindor qualities outweigh them. Thus after a thorough witch-hat analysis, I think the hat would have placed Harry in Gryffindor anyways. Of course, Rowling could not have written the book this way because it would take the honor out of Harry choosing to be a brave Gryffindor rather than a powerful Slytherin.
Though I’ve read this book many times, this is the first that I’ve recognize Ginny. Before, I didn’t pay much attention to her except at the beginning of the novel and at the end. However, as I read along now, I am mindful of her in between as well.
Rowling made Ginny a suspicious culprit: wide-eyed, pale, crying and fidgeting, sitting and staring at Harry, sitting in Hermione’s chair when she became petrified. If you’ve ever watched a psychological thriller, you would recognize these signs for a killer who is nervous, on edge, crazy. But because Rowling spreads out these noticeable traits, it’s hard to group them together to make a positive identification, unless one is paying attention.
Obviously the Harry Potter series is more than just children’s books. No wonder it’s liked by people of all ages.
Well, up next is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
- Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling (jillianreadsbooks2.wordpress.com)
- 25 Harry Potter Facts That Will Knock You Off Your Broomstick (list25.com)
- Pottermore: What to expect in Chamber of Secrets Chapter 8 (magnaefamae.com)
13 thoughts on ““Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” by J.K. Rowling”
I loved this series for exactly the reasons you mention. J.K. Rowling is able to slip some really profound ideas into an entertaining, funny, and very absorbing story. Great post!