Harry Potter Series – Book 2: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J. K. Rowling

Hey Jared,

Figured I might as well finish this one since I had already started it. You can expect a much more ambitious book for next week…if I finish it in time.

HP&tCoSTitle: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Series: Harry Potter Series; Book 2
Author: J. K. Rowling
Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Youth
ROTS Setting: EU, Magic, Higher Magic, Modern/Present Day, Dragons
Synopsis: Harry Potter has finished his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Although he’s eager to begin his second year, strange forces begin working against him. When student and ghosts alike come under attack Harry ends up in the middle of events decades in the making.
Recommendation: Read it. Read it again….and again and again. While this book is appropriate for younger readers, later books in the series may not be.

– – Spoilers – –

Again, if you haven’t read this series already…WHY ARE YOU HERE?! Go read them and come back.

This book has always been one of my favorites. It happens to be the first one I ever read in the series. Why this one and not the first? Well the first was always checked out at the library so I picked up the second one instead. I ended up reading #2, then #3, before I could check out the first. A little backwards, I know, but it was a good experience because I had to focus on everything so I could keep up.

To me, the characters are much more well rounded in this book than the previous. Sort of like the author relaxed a bit and just let the characters come out naturally. Harry is still annoying and completely clueless, but he’s a main character and I’m biased against them. Ron is less a side kick and more a full fledged main character in this book. A welcomed change. Hermione is wonderfully done in this book, really growing and building off her previous experiences. (And she was petrified for a fifth of the book!)

The main storyline is well done but some of the elements are childish. I’m looking at you “Harry and Ron flying a car to Hogwarts!” To me this is the weakest element of the whole book……followed closely by Harry’s stupidity and arrogance. (Again, biased.) I do think that the timing was a bit too perfect throughout the book. However, perfect timing is usually a key element in youth audience books, so not really a fault but an observation.

Now for my favorite parts and new realizations.

When Harry is in the Hospital Wing and they bring in petrified Colin, Dumbledore corrects McGonagall that the question isn’t who is behind the attacks but how he is doing it. Dumbledore already knows that Voldemort is the last Heir of Slytherin and would ultimately be behind the attacks. My guess is that Dumbledore is already very deeply investigating Voldemort’s past. I would even go so far as to believe that he already has the Gaunt ring in his possession, studying it.

Fawkes teleports to Harry in the Chamber of Secrets and Dumbledore later explains that it was because Harry showed true loyalty to Dumbledore. In the latter books we know that Fawkes can teleport people too. I’ve decided, in my head canon, that Fawkes was used as an emergency escape for the Order of the Phoenix. If an Order member was in trouble, they could call Fawkes to get them out. Sort of like a reverse version of Voldemort’s taboo.

If it’s so hard finding Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers, why wasn’t Snape given the position? You’d think it would be easier to find a Potions Master than a DADA expert. I think Dumbledore knew or at least suspected the position to be jinxed/cursed and Snape is in Dumbledore’s inner circle. I think Dumbledore picked Quirrel and Lockhart because of their previously stated experiences in the vicinity of where Voldemort had been in hiding. They might know something that could be useful.

Another aspect related to the above realization, why was Snape always helping or near Lockhart? I suspect he was told by Dumbledore to keep an eye on Lockhart and root out if he really was a fraud and how he’s been doing it. Also, if you pay attention to how Snape’s expressions are described it’s not hard to see that his overt intentions might not match up with hidden intentions.

That’s it for this review. I need to get this published because I’m right down to the wire here. I’m hoping to have The Crystal Shard by R. A. Salvator done for next week. It’s a bit more of a read, but I’ve got the whole week this time.

Robert

 


 

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Harry Potter Series – Book 2: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J. K. Rowling

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