|Read from May 15, 2012|
to May 16, 2012
Publication Date: July 2, 1998
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Number of Pages: 251 pages
Excerpt: “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
If I remember correctly the Chamber of Secrets was one of the books that I can quote by heart. It is not exactly my favorite book in the series but there were just too many stand-out moments in the book that stayed with me ever since the first time I read it. In here, Harry Potter met Dobby, a house elf and from him comes a dire warning.
Intent to keep Harry away from Hogwarts, Dobby hid Harry's letters from his friends and ruined Harry's uncle business deal that caused Harry to be locked up in his room with a barred window. With the help of his friend Ron and the twins, Harry escaped and spent the rest of his summer at the Burrow. But Dobby interfered again, and now Harry and Ron couldn't cross the gateway barrier for platform 9 3/4. Missing the train, they decided to use the enchanted flying car to Hogwarts, the same one that helped Harry escape the Dursleys, only to crash-land into the Whomping Willow. Bruised, battered and hungry, Snape hounded them with a promise of expulsion.
Harry's year is definitely not off to a good start. But all that's nothing compared to the horrors that would come next. The Chamber of Secrets has been opened once again after 50 years. Only the true heir of Slytherin has that ability and after several attacks, the castle was in panic and distress. It doesn't really help that Harry has the ability only a Dark Wizard can do. Now everyone thinks he's behind all the attacks and he has to clear his name and find the culprit before it's too late.
What I liked most about Chamber of Secrets is the atmosphere. You could really perceive the underlying peril, unlike in the first book, the danger here is active; it attacks and strikes. This created an adventure filled with dread, thrill and a lot of speculations. We also got a glimpsed at how the Dark Lord came to power, how he hated those that are not pure in blood and how immense this Mudblood loathing would affect the entire series.
Readers were also introduced to a new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, Gilderoy Lockhart who is not only incompetent in his job but is also nothing but a sham. Seemingly minor characters have in fact crucial roles to portray in order to solve the mystery.
The struggles of Harry is also presented here. His confusion and frustration about his capabilities and likeness to someone who's supposed to be the bad guy is completely conceivable and I couldn't help but to root for him and keenly engage myself as he sought to learn more about himself and his worth. Nevertheless, everything comes through in the end with the help of Hermione's clever thinking and Ron's sellotaped wand and wild car (*winks*). Harry again proved how loyalty is one of his shining strengths and how it saved him yet again in his battle with the dark forces.
I know that the world-building in the Harry Potter series was several years in the making. It was carefully plotted and even minute details were meticulously structured. Since I am already aware of what would happen next, I could really appreciate Rowling as I watched her build the foundation along the way and not forgetting that she has a story to tell. The humor was there, lightening up the scenes unexpectedly. Now that my reading count of this book is 5, I could still say that Chamber of Secrets still brings that certain amount of thrill and excitement I had the first time I read it. Or maybe I should just admit that I am forever biased when it comes to this series. I am such a Potterhead.