Friday, April 20, 2018

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.jpg

In author J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter sequel, the eponymous protagonist is spending another summer with his bigoted relatives, the Dursleys, who as with before care not about his birthday, and what’s more, he hasn’t received any form of communication from his friends. While his Uncle Vernon has a dinner commemorating an important business deal, Harry discovers a diminutive house-elf in his room named Dobby, who warns against returning from Hogwarts, and executes magic that spoils the aforementioned business deal and confines Harry to his room with the further punishment of not being able to go back to magic school.

Fortunately, the wizarding Weasley family comes to Harry’s rescue via a flying Ford Anglia, and he finds life at the Weasleys’ home, the Burrow, far more preferable to that at the Dursleys’, which begs the question of why he didn’t choose another venue to spend his summer vacation as opposed to that of his genealogically-supremacist relations. Harry, Ron Weasley, and their friend Hermione Granger go to Diagon Alley via floo powder, although Harry finds himself in a nearby derelict district known as Knockturn Alley, overhearing another genealogically-supremacist family, this time in favor of wizarding blood, the Malfoys, conspiring.

Harry does ultimately find his way to Diagon Alley to shop with his friends, meeting the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher for Hogwarts, the pompous Gilderoy Lockhart, along the way, with a fight erupting between the Weasley and Malfoy family patriarchs. When it comes time to take the train to Hogwarts, Harry and Ron find themselves unable to reach Platform Nine and Three Quarters, consequentially taking the avian Ford Anglia north towards the school in Scotland, evading death at the hands of the Whomping Willow, the school’s violent tree that seizes the automobile.

Harry and Ron get detention for their antics, luckily evading expulsion from Hogwarts, and find Lockhart to be an incapable teacher, the former serving his detention by answering the Professor’s fan mail. The first sequel continues to deal with the issue of genealogical supremacism, with Draco Malfoy calling Hermione a Mudblood due to her parents being Muggles, non-magical humans, and strange things begin to occur at the magic school, including writing in blood on the wall that warns enemies of the Heir to Salazar Slytherin, one of the school’s founders and himself a wizarding supremacist, to beware, with the book’s titular Chamber of Secrets unleashing an elusive horror.

At the term’s inaugural Quidditch match, where the Slytherin team tests their new Seeker Draco, Harry’s Gryffindor team wins in spite of a rogue Bludger that breaks one of his arms, requiring a brief stay in the school infirmary. Hermione proposes the use of Polyjuice potion to spy on the Slytherins, the Heir to Slytherin suspected among them, although Harry, who shares Lord Voldemort’s ability to communicate with snakes, made known during the introduction of Dueling Club, is suspected as a candidate, as well.

The old diary of a former Hogwarts student from half a century before, Tom Marvolo Riddle, plays part in the book’s latter events, even taking Harry to the past during Riddle’s attendance, when the Chamber of Secrets was opened before. A ghost termed Moaning Myrtle has ties to the opening of the elusive Chamber too, with several Hogwarts students petrified by the mysterious force unleashed by the hidden room, and the action ending the story takes readers to the Chamber proper, where battle occurs and secrets unfold.

In the end, Chamber of Secrets is undoubtedly the strongest of Rowling’s earlier and shorter Harry Potter stories, given its sounder logic compared to its predecessor and some of its successors, although there are occasional holes such as how Dobby was able to get around despite his servitude to one of the aforementioned wizarding families, alongside the question of why Harry puts up with his bigoted relatives instead of reporting their repeated abuse to social services. Regardless, fans of the previous book will definitely enjoy its first sequel, which is like its predecessor in spite of its flaws memorable and surprisingly well-written.

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