Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

 

Book Title: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Series: Harry Potter #2
Author: J.K. Rowling
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre: Children/Fantasy
Number of Pages: 360
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Date: 5 April – 30 April 2016
Rating: 4.7 Stars

“… rip … tear … kill …”

THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS HAS BEEN OPENED: ENEMIES OF THE HEIR, BEWARE.

Oh, to read this book again for the first time.

I think that would have saved me the many times I was troubled when I found the book too obvious and the amount of coincident too numerous. Because I know the book is not like that, but I know it so well that it appears to be. Of course, I didn’t allow that to influence my rating – obviously.

An element about this book I absolutely enjoyed is Harry’s standing between the two worlds. He knows that there is more out there than the Muggle world, but he is far away to knowing enough to be part of the wizarding world. I took numerous notes when Harry was neither nor, because these moments were not only interesting but also and very often so funny. The first moment comes, of course, with Dobby’s appearance in his bedroom. His entire lack of knowledge about the species and wizard’s convention with these creatures makes this encounter a sign that there is still so much to be learned – but also shows once more that wizards are only human beings, and not all humans are good and have good intentions. My favourite Wizard/Muggle encounter is and will forever be Mr. Weasley. He gets excited about the most ridiculous things – from a Muggle perspective.

Fascinating!” he would say, as Harry talked him through using a telephone. “Ingenious, really, how many ways Muggles have found of getting along without magic.”

But there are also these moments when Harry’s lack of knowledge of the wizarding world gets him into trouble. This book is full of them.

As if these things weren’t inventive enough, the writing style seems to want to top the fantasy of the story. I remarked especially on the first hints of the threat in Hogwarts, but also earlier in the book, on the boys’ journey to Hogwarts. Spoiler: They fly in a car. To soar through the air, below clouds, in clouds, above clouds, in the light of the sun, the pressure of the wet and misty clouds, the stinging rays of brightness, it’s fabulous and makes me envy the boys.

Ron pressed the tiny silver button on the dashboard. The car around them vanished – and so did they. Harry could feel the seat vibrating beneath him, hear the engine, feel his hands on his knees and his glasses on his nose, but for all he could see, he had become a pair of eyeballs, floating a few feet above the ground in a dingy street full of cars.

There are a few things I didn’t quite like, but I already wasn’t too keen on them in the first book. There is, of course, the fact that one student can gain about 20 points in a lesson, for the house cup, but the final score will always be in the 300s or the 400s. There is also a few (many) points to be gained after the big adventure, and… I just don’t understand the counting and value. A bit more, well, disappointed, I am at the pace. The book takes so much time getting Harry to Hogwarts, introducing the changes from the previous book and the threat. Then, suddenly it’s Christmas, we’re over half into the book, and only (an exaggerated) ten pages later it’s time for Harry to save the school. Why is there so much happening before Christmas, and so little after? At least the book took (this time real) ten pages, to round up. That was almost enough.

And, last but not least, where exactly is Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom? First floor or second floor? It keeps changing…

“RON!”
Percy Weasley had stopped dead at the head of the stairs […]
“That’s a girls’ bathroom!” He gasped. “What were you-?”

I also want to mention a bit about the genius that is the entire series. Because, knowing how it’ll continue, there are just so many hints about the future, it’s incredible. There is a bit of book six’s major storyline, twice. There’s a bit of the final conclusion. It’s wonderful and fun finding these hints.

And while Harry was sure he had never heard the name T.M. Riddle before, it still seemed to mean something to him, almost as though Riddle was a friend he’d had when he was very small, and half-forgotten.

And may I finish this review with a bit of Dumbledore-wisdom?

“It means,” said Dumbledore, “that the Chamber of Secrets is indeed open again.”

“You will find that I will only truly have left this school when none here are loyal to me. You will also find that help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it.”

“It’s our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

That’s a good word for the end, right? My next choice will be reading the third book, and I deem it a good choice for my reading-lover self.

Rating

Idea: 5 Stars
Plot Development: 5 Stars
Pace: 4 Stars
Characters: 5 Stars
Quality of Writing: 5 Stars
Ease of Reading: 5 Stars
Insightfulness: 4 Stars
Cover/Photos/Illustrations: 4 Stars
Enjoyability/Personal Rating: 5 Stars
General Rating: 5 Stars

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