Friday, September 17, 2010

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Title: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Author: J. K. Rowling
Pages: 341
Genre: YA - Fantasy
Source: My bookshelf - I've had it for years!
What you'll love: Deeper character development.
What will bug you: The recap at the beginning.

Our story opens with Harry excited as ever to return to Hogwarts. As he prepares for departure, Harry receives a warning from a little impish creature telling him to stay away from Hogwarts - disaster is waiting to strike. Of course, Harry does not heed the warning. While at Hogwarts Harry meets the new Gilderoy Lockhart - the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor - as well as a spirit who haunts the girls bathroom. Trouble begins as a mysterious creature begins turning students to stone. Who is committing these acts?

As I said when I reviewed book 1 - I'm sure that 99% of you out there in the interwebz have read this series (or have seen the movies). Therefore, you're forewarned that I'm not going to be shy about spoilers.

I really enjoyed the opening of this book. Aside from the slightly annoying (but necessary, I know...) re-telling of some of the major details from book 1, I think the opening is just great. I love how we get to go to the Burrow and see where Ron lives - and to see how a family of witches and wizards lives. One of my favorite scenes is when Ron takes Harry upstairs to show him his room - it's obvious that Ron's pretty aware of the financial status of his family, and he seems a little apologetic about his house. Harry just thinks it's fantastic. It's such a nice moment between the friends.

Can I tell you that Lockhart cracks me up? He's so obviously an idiot. He's a great comic character.

I find the issue of "mudbloods" vs. "pure bloods" very interesting. One of the things that makes Rowling such a fantastic writer is that she takes this real social issue and weaves it perfectly into the story on a level that the young adults reading will connect with. Of course having Hermione be a mudblood is just perfect - it obviously doesn't make any difference weather you're a pure blood or not... she's one of the smartest students in the school.

Finding out that Harry is a parselmouth is another one of those Voldemort connections we're getting right at the beginning. I find the whole idea very interesting lookin
g back. The idea that some of Voldemort's characteristics were embedded in Harry when Voldemort tried to kill him is such a great concept. If you want to look at it as destiny - he would need some of these skills if he was indeed destined to be victorious.

Ginny is another piece of the future books that gets laid down right from the beginni
ng. The second time around, I think it's pretty obvious these two are going to be an item.

Once again, since there is so much that is fabulous about this book I'll leave you with a few highlights. When someone says Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, I think of...

1. Harry getting busted out of the Dursley's in a flying car.

2. The deathday party for Nearly Headless Nick. He wants to go on the hunt so badly! I love the rotting food, and the ghosts flying through it with their mouths open.

3. Dueling club. Snape totally schooling Lockhart. Classic.

4. Harry and Ron drinking the polyjuice potion. I love a chance to see Malfoy with his defenses down - and to see Harry and Ron pretending to be dim in order to blend in.

5. Finally finding out why Hagrid was expelled. Of course it would be because he was caught up in saving some dangerous animal that he finds lovable. It shows Dumbledore's heart and character that he stood by Hagrid.

6. Ron receiving the Howler at breakfast. I have a few people I'd love to send a Howler to...

7. Tom Riddle trying to figure out how Harry is still alive. Very creepy.

Of course this book is five wine glass material!

I'll leave you with a quote from Dumbledore.
"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
See you at the end of book 3!

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