Time for round two in the world of Harry Potter! And again Spoiler warning.
The Chamber of Secrets is the second book of the series, it also gives a bit more information in regards to the wizarding world – this is something that will happen gradually along the books, because Harry like us, doesn’t know that much about the wizarding world, and really it would be too much to explain in one book, and too much info for an 11/12 year old boy to take in all at once.
Here we find that Harry has had an all right summer with his Aunt and Uncle, which is definitely due to the fact that he never told them that he can’t do magic outside of school, and with their encounter with Hagrid in the first book, they don’t know that and have no desire to mess with a wizard. Then we meet Doby, the one who screws it all up for Harry and causes Harry to essentially be jailed by his Uncle, who wants nothing to do with the wizarding world, and would happily see Harry be miserable. With luck however Harry is freed by the Weasley’s, although trouble follows him throughout the rest of the year, including the troubling moments of him being able to speak to snakes.
This is the book that introduced us to Doby, an abused house elf who is trying his best to do the right thing, even though he isn’t meant to because of the house elf rules. Part of me felt sympathy for Doby, especially at the end of the book, but another part of me just found him frustrating, however on reflection that might be due to him disobeying his household, although it was never fully explained why Doby did such a thing, or how long he has been with the family for. It also makes me wonder are there other hosue elf’s like Doby? Is he really the only one who would defy the family he works for to save a life?
Lockhart is the star of the show, a famous wizard who has many adoring female fans – possibly some male ones too(?) due to his books where he performs so many challenging feats; like taking on a werewolf; and by that I mean that he wants all the attention on him at all times, even though the attention shouldn’t be due to him being a bit of a numpty. It’s cringe-worthy when Lockhart is on the page, and you know something isn’t quiet all there with him, but you also are fully aware that Voldemort wouldn’t have any real use for him, so you consider him harmless, but rather annoying. Although you do enjoy it when people manage to get one up on him through out the book, it doesn’t happen often but it’s so delightful to read.
We are also re-introduced to Ginny Weasley, the youngest of the Weasley siblings and the only girl in the family – except Mrs Weasley. I kind of wish there was a bit more interaction with Ginny, considering this story did have her as a focal point near the end, and make it a bit more clearer that something was wrong. Although the boy’s would have probably been oblivious to it, Harry in particular wouldn’t know much about girls/women’s moods that well considering it was only his Aunt he had to deal with, I would have expected any of the Weasley brothers, possibly more the twins than Ron or Percy to pick up on her troubles, or even Hermione. In fact that is another part I found odd, I would have expected Hermione to socialise with Ginny a bit more than she did in this book, considering Ron is her friend and she gets on fairly well – if she is disapproving of – Fred and George.
The trials and hard-work Harry has to go through in this book is exciting though, with the trio working on magic together – although that is more Hermione making the spell/potion and having the boys go through with the change. We also see more of there skills here. In book one we see that Ron is cool under pressure, he has a tactical mind, Hermione is smart and clever, she comes up with concepts neither boy would have thought about, and Harry is the one who actually goes through with the extreme nature that they face, although the other two would be by his side, and he knows they support him, he is on his own once again to face down the murderer who killed so many wizards and witches, along with his own parents.
We also learn a new word, along with new spells, Mudblood, the word that no wizard would use unless they wanted the witches/wizards who weren’t born from ‘pureblood’ parents to know that as far as the speaker is concerned, they are lesser. Ron explains the term a bit more, and why so many witches and wizards don’t have ‘pureblood’ any more, instead choosing to marry Muggles, which was a nice touch, and also adds to how dangerious Voldemort is to the way of life for the magic users.
The book has improved in comparison to the first one as well, with the flow going through it so easily. Although I am wondering how Moaning Myrtle wasn’t common knowledge to the boys in first year, although no they wouldn’t use to girls bathrooms, surely they would have heard the girls in their class complain about her?
Also Tom Riddle comes to play here, with Harry getting a little bit of insight to the man who wants him dead, and how he managed to avoid being expelled so long ago when he himself opened the Chamber up.
It’s a grand old read once again, with the questions being raised of how powerless is Voldemort? Where is he hiding? Why has he waited this long? And will we learn more about house-elf’s in the coming books?
Are you a Doby fan? Was it due to the books or the movie? Or was it in later books that you liked him?