Friday, December 9, 2011

Mini-Review of HP and the Chamber of Secrets

Ever since Harry Potter had come home for the summer, the Dursleys had been so mean and hideous that all Harry wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he's packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature who says that if Harry 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 and a spirit who haunts the girl's bathroom. But then the real trouble begins - something is attacking Hogwarts students, turning them into stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past reveals dark secrets? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects ... Harry Potter himself!
 [from the Harry Potter Wiki]

Rating:  4.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: Muggles of all ages
High point:  How all the interpersonal relationships are developing. And the Weasleys!
Reader maturity:  13+

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is even better than Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone! The characters are so much more developed, and relationships are growing stronger.

I didn't remember how much smarter Ron is in the books; he actually knows a few things that Hermione doesn't. Hermione isn't as snobby in the books either, which was refreshing. It makes her more likable. Harry is a very generous boy; there were quite a few things he did that showed great maturation of character that he definitely didn't learn at the Dursleys. I guess that's part of choosing to be a Gryffindor.

How amazing are the Weasleys? They treat Harry just like one of their own, packing as much love as they can into his one month stay at The Burrow. I think they're my favorite fictional parents.

I also didn't realize what a hard time everyone gave Harry about thinking he was the Heir of Slytherin. There's a later book (4 or 5, I think) that I think of as Harry's Angsty Year, but I have a little more sympathy for him now. He spent his first year trying to get his fellow students to treat him like a normal human being, and he spent the second trying to get Colin to stop snapping pictures and trying to ignore that everyone thinks he's the bad guy.

My only criticism is that Harry is an ardent Dumbledore supporter, and I'm not sure why. At the end of book 2, Fawkes comes to him in the Chamber of Secrets, which means that Harry showed Dumbledore great loyalty. But other than hearing about him, Harry doesn't know Dumbledore; they've only spoken with once or twice and don't yet have the great mentor-student relationship they have later. At this point, Hagrid is the substitute father figure (and he's really great at it).

Favorite scene:  When Hagrid is being taken away to Azkaban, he and Dumbledore are both talking to an "empty" hut (where Ron and Harry are actually hiding underneath the Invisibility Cloak). Lucius Malfoy's reaction is hilarious.

What did you think of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets? If you've reread it, are your thoughts on it different than before you saw the movie/read the rest of the series? Why do you think Harry reveres Dumbledore so much?

Title:  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Author:  J. K. Rowling
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Year: 1998
Book Source:  Purchased

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