2.20.2012

Mini Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter #2)
Publisher: Scholastic
Format: Paperback
Genre: Fantasy, Magical Realism, Young Adult
Publication Date: 1998
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 Lockhart, 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 begins, 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?

Rowling packs this tale with plenty of adventure and action, keeping the pace fast and furious. There's plenty of humor, too - both subtle and bold - as well as a few moral lessons. With overlapping themes that range from the simple to the sophisticated, Rowling's Potter tales should appeal to readers of all ages - the young as well as the young at heart.

Things I Didn't Love:

  • Professor Lockhart. He's supposed to be over the top, but he made my blood boil everytime he came on the page. He was much worse in the book, than I remember him in the movie. Some of it is good characterization, but some of it just seemed blatantly obvious, and I wasn't sure how so many in the world could be so enamored with his books. Anyway, I'm glad I won't be reading about him anymore.
  • When Ginny goes missing, Harry and Ron turn to the one person who they have both complained about and loathed through the entire book because they could see through his sham, to help them: Lockhart. Why would they go to him (as opposed to Dumbledore) when Ron's own sister's life is on the line? I wouldn't trust him at all!
  • Once again, events at Hogwarts happen to coincide with the school year. Does this happen each year? I can see events beginning at the start of the school year, since it usually has to do with a student or teacher. But taking 8 or 9 months to come to a head (just enough time for Harry to solve the problem), and ending in just enough time for everyone to go home, isn't very believable to me.
Things I Did Love:
  • The Weasley twins. They are hil-ar-i-ous! They appeared a lot in the beginning of the book, and then there wasn't much of them towards the end, but each time they appeared on page, I was laughing. I absolutely love the way they made light of the fact that people thought Harry was the heir of Slytherin. "...seriously evil wizard coming through...." Hahaha.
  • Ron's howler. Best. Moment. Ever.
  • How people's names, and the names of charms and such are starting to come together. I love that everything means something, and that shows a certain level of genius on J.K. Rowling's part. It is clear after this book, that plots that happen later on, began during the stages of these early books. Small elements now, become big things later on (at least, from what I can tell from the movies).
  • The Burrow! I just love the Weasleys so much, and I love the descriptions of the home. De-gnoming, Mr. Weasley's obsession with muggle artifacts, and the way their family interacts, makes it feel just like home to me. 
  • Fawkes! (Self explanatory.)
  • I also like that the scene with the basilisk was shorter in the book. There wasn't any running and hiding, near-misses, etc. That scene in the movie has always seemed unbelievable to me. Snakes are amazingly fast, and I have no doubt that Harry would not have been able to outrun a basilisk--even a blind one. Although that scene was probably better for audiences visually, I like the book's version better. Short, to the point, and much more realistic.

Overall, I liked this one more than the first, but I cannot wait to read the third!

Side note: I don't remember seeing much of Percy in any of the other movies. Does he not have that big of a big role after this book?

Read this if:
...you want magic, adventure, and a base for good morals.

Content Warning
*This section may contain some spoilers about content!*
Clean read.





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J.K. Rowling:

7 comments:

  1. I don't know why but I find it super amusing reading your reviews as you're going through the books for the first time. :D I wish I could read them again for the first time. lol

    And to answer your question about things dragging through the whole year - http://weknowmemes.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/despite-his-flaws-voldemort-cares-about-harrys-education.jpg

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  2. Um, I hate to break it to you, but you'll encounter Lockhart in another book. Albeit, not for very long, and not as his usual self. I just thought I'd help pad the blow a little bit. ;)

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  3. I'm glad you liked this one even more than the first book. I would say that everything always happens with the school year. There really isn't a book that has drama happening at the start of the school year because then all the drama/action of the book would be over well before their school year was. I hope this doesn't start to annoy you over time.

    Can't wait to see what you think of book three, although book three is not really a fav of mine.

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  4. I have so many things to say about this review, which I completely agree with, by the way:

    1) You DO see Lockhart again, but it's almost a "sweet revenge" kind of moment. It's awesome, and I'm so, so, so sad that it didn't make it into the movies. Probably tough to get Kenneth Brannagh to sign on for two lines so many years later, though.

    2) Percy DOES have a bigger part later in the books, but he was cut almost completely from the movies. Sad, but a necessary cut, I think. His character becomes one of those "nods" to the fans: If you know he's there, you see him, but otherwise, he's just some guy in the background.

    3) Dumbledore is gone, remember? He's been kicked out by the school governors at this point. And Harry and Ron think Lockhart's a jerk, but they are still kids and don't realize that he's a LYING jerk. Plus, this way we get to see Lockhart get "impaled on his own sword." :)

    4) You're right, the events DO tend to coincide with the school year. It gets repetitive, and it's just one of things we have to deal with. She does get better at creating reasons WHY they happen that way, if that helps at all. But otherwise, yeah, you just have to start believing that underneath it all, Voldemort really cares about Harry's education.

    5) You have just begun to scratch the surface of the names and all their hidden meanings. Seriously, even after I read the books five or six times, I would find out something new and my mind would be blown, again.

    You can expect very long comments from me regarding every single Harry Potter post. Just so you know :)

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  5. While for the most part things do happen during the school year, there are important things that happen prior to Harry going to school, particularly in books 4 & 5, things that have implications later on in the book.

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  6. I can't wait to read this again. I think Lockhart is worse in the books than he is on screen. Harry is under protective spells while at home which you find out as he gets older. Gotta keep reading and get the full picture.

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  7. Lovely review! I definitely agree with you on Lockhart, he irritated me to no end in the book! And I just love the twins, they're my favourite Weasleys and how I hope there could be more of them in the books! They're fantastic :).
    To answer some of your questions - Dumbledore lost his position as a school principal. Still, I see your point, because they could've gone to McGonagall instead, but maybe it was needed to show the real side of Lockhart. And the events at Hogwarts (or somewhere else) don't always coincide with a school year, but I won't say anything more not to spoil you.

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Thanks for commenting! I read each and every one, and reply as soon as I can :)

Please note: The Reading Fever is an award-free zone. I am very flattered, but comments are all the thanks I need.

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