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We are re-reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets with the ladies at Around the World in 80 Books Blog!
Sorry I’m a few days late with reading, but I’ve caught up with the first 6 chapters now! This time, on our Old School Wednesday journey, we continue our OSW feature for the first half (ok, two-thirds) of 2016–The Epic Harry Potter Re-Read with our joint review of the first book! All Harry Potter wants is to get away from the Dursleys and go back to Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.
I have always thought of The Chamber of Secrets as my least favorite of all of the Harry Potter books (and films).
For every wonderful thing I remembered about The Chamber of Secrets, however, there were an equal number of things that I had forgotten. Which brings me to the thing I admire so much about Harry Potter as a character, and these books as a whole. Harry faces a huge internal struggle in this book–he starts to think that he has been placed in the wrong house because the Sorting Hat told him he would do great things as a Slytherin.
Choices also define authority figures, and my complete disillusionment with them in The Chamber of Secrets. The most immediate response I had to re-reading Chamber of Secrets for the first time since it came out was realising the wide difference between my memory of reading it and the reality of it – with the added memorised reality of having watched the movie multiple times.
I found myself having a whole more sympathy for Mr Filch and the treatment of characters without magical powers and less so for Snape.
One thing that I had a faint recollection of but which was so clear to me this time around: the warmth and comfort of the Weasleys as a close-knit family and the way they embrace Harry is absolutely wonderful. Although it is likely that this book will remain my least favourite there is still so much to love about it!
Extending through August, we will be re-reading each book in the Harry Potter series by J.K.
Casquette NetsMarch 17, 2016 at 10:10 pmFor all the shit he pulled later, he was a good big brother here. 1 : a book review blog specializing in speculative fiction and popgeekery for all ages since 2008. The Book Smugglers purchase books for review on this site, but also receive free review copies from authors, publishers, and other third parties. What’s your preferred method of magical travel – broomstick, flying car, or the floo network?

We came up with the idea towards the end of 2012, when both Ana and Thea were feeling exhausted from the never-ending inundation of New and Shiny (and often over-hyped) books. In the grand scheme of things, outside of the Harry Potter canon, The Chamber of Secrets is still pretty damn impressive. It was an experience that I thoroughly enjoyed because of the things that I remembered, but even more so because of the things that I had forgotten.
Take Percy Weasley, for example–a character who is represented in the films (which I confess I re-watch on much more regular a basis than I re-read the books), but who hardly gets the same nuance and screen time as other members of the Weasley family.
He’s celebrated by fellow Griffyndors because he wins his house valuable quidditch matches, but he is immediately ostracized as fame-obsessed and a bad friend because he is a parselmouth.
This version of Lockhart is far more conniving and crass in his moves to dissuade Harry from letting fame get to his head, or capitalizing on opportunities to insert himself into dangerous situations that could actually end in children getting seriously hurt or killed.
Add to that the fact that I too, have always thought of Chamber of Secrets as the least of the Harry Potter books and you have a whole scenario in which re-reading it was bound to be an experience. The most important one being: wow, Dumbledore is really not as much as a presence in the story at all. I don’t remember exactly at which point I tuned into believing that Snape Was Good Along (probably around book five) but from that moment on I was totally onboard the Snape Train.
But I can’t wait for the next one – which is I am HOPING will stand the test of time and still be my favourite book of the series. For all his downsides, he was the only Weasley at Hogwarts who seemed to give a damn about Ginny while she was going through her possession-thing, as I recall.
I feel like a job interview for any sort of teaching position at Hogwarts should require proof that the applicant can teach the subject and, you know, isn’t negligent to the point of allowing students to potentially die. IF I SEE YOU SPENT ONE MORE POUND ON THAT STUFF, I’M GOING TO FREEZE YOUR BANK ACCOUNT!
THIS MONTH ON THE RE-READ: we take it up a notch to book 2, wherein Harry Potter comes face to face with the past in the Chamber of Secrets. In this second novel, Percy is revealed to be a sympathetic, ambitious character who is trying to live up to the expectations of his family and the legacy of his over-achieving brothers (which will of course come to disastrous ends later in the series arc). He fears that somehow he is responsible for all the horrible things that are happening, and at the core of everything he fears his friends will not be around forever and he will be expelled and forced back to Privet Drive to a life of being locked in and left alone forever. As with the first novel, Dumbledore is sent away before the crux of the action takes place, and by magically-induced physical barriers, Harry is forced to face Voldemort alone again. Dobby fights against his orders to try to protect Harry, and by book’s end is given a smelly sock and his freedom.

His whole persona – the “best wizard of all time”, the “let’s be royal to Dumbledore” is much more a case of Good Marketing i.e. Here we find so many little snippets of things to come that include but are not limited to Azkaban, Werewolves, and the sowing of future threads like the Horcruxes, Ginny and Harry, and so much more. The problem is when I boarded that train I completely erased all those little, horrible, moments when he flat-out bullies students at Hogwarts.
There she was, clearly in trouble, and Ron did sod all and the twins just made it worse by jumping out at her all the time.
By night, she watches an abundance of horror movies, stays up too late, and voraciously devours ALL THE SFF.
Other forgotten characters include the whole host of ghosts who are so vital to Hogwarts and to the overall story–including Sir Nicolas (and his invitation of Harry and friends to his death day ball on Halloween to show up those jerks who didn’t include him on the headless hunt), and most especially Peeves! OTHER characters representing him as awesome rather than him BEING awesome if that makes sense. Dobby (sob) and the House Elves storyline (which was sadly not present in the movies at all)! It was Percy who told them off and got her pepper-up potions and looked after her and worried about writing to their parents. This is to say nothing of the importance of spells and potions such as polyjuice potion (which will come up so many times later over the series–as well as why polyjuice cannot be used to transmorgify humans into animals), and the all-important and eventually lifesaving spell, Expelliarmus.
Harry begins to fear that these parallels make him more and more like the dark wizard who has been a shadow in his life since birth.
The only moment that truly presented him like that was when he protects Hagrid against the Minister of Magic and Mr Malfoy. Choices, for good or for ill, define this series and this particular, extraordinary character.
So in way, it’s hard to believe that Harry Potter is so loyal to Dumbledore – there is no textual reason for it.

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