Thursday, July 30, 2020

On the Coffee Table: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Title: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Author: J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (8580001045948 ...
via Amazon
Harry and his friends are back for another year at Hogwarts.  However, House Elf Dobby - Harry didn't even know there was such a thing before - has warned him not to return for his own safety.  There's a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Gilderoy Lockhart, a too-famous author who tries to get chummy with Harry.  There is trouble, of course.  Students are being attacked and initially, Harry is blamed.

The original book was a tough act to follow and overall, I would say the second book isn't quite as good.  That said, it's still amazing.  I admire Rowling's efforts to break away from her own formula quickly.  For instance, Harry isn't trapped with the Dursleys all summer, actually getting to spend the last month at the Weasley's charming home.  Getting physically to Diagon Alley or even Hogwarts wasn't quite as simple as it was the year before.  We see more tension in the adult wizard community, particularly between the Weasley and Malfoy families.

Strong world-building elements:
  • There are both cookbooks and comic books targeted to the magical community in the Weasley home.
  • We learn of Ron's favorite club quidditch team: the Chudley Cannons.
  • A quidditch question: are substitutions allowed?  There are only seven players on the Gryffindor house team and only seven allowed on the pitch at a time.  That seems short-sighted.
Chamber of Secrets is a good book for the Hufflepuffs - or not so good depending how you look at it.   Justin Finch-Fletchler befriends Harry and is clearly impressed by his fame.  Unfortunately, he was also one of the victims of the attacks, apparently targeted as Muggle-born.  Ernie Macmillan is a friend of Justin's and one of the most vocal of Harry's accusers, though he comes around in the end.

Chamber of Secrets is also the first important Ginny Weasley story.  Spoiler: Ginny's my favorite character in the series, followed by Neville Longbottom and, of course, Snape...  More on that in future books.


  1. Sounds interesting, but I was never a fan of Potter! Have a lovely day☺

  2. I loved HP from the minute I started reading the first book. I agree that book 2 wasn't quite as good as book 1- but it was still awesome and made me want to read book 3 (which I loved). Loved the review!

    1. I'm working on 3 now so obviously I'll have more to say soon. For now... I feel like #3 is the one that sets the stage for the rest of the series, kind of like The Empire Strikes Back for Star Wars.

  3. I so loved this whole series. I have a fondness for the Weasley twins.

  4. I don't remember how I felt about this one in comparison to the first one. I think I thought it was better?
    Three and Five are my favorites, though.

    1. I guess my feeling about #2 is that it seems like more of the same. #3, on the other hand, opens up whole new angles for the broader story.

    2. I think it was more of the same, just a little deeper. It's still setting the stage.

    3. Yes. And it's still really good. Were I to graph it, #2 would represent a very slight dip for me, then the next point would be way up the Y-axis.