This was an interesting one. CoS was always a bit the redheaded stepchild of the series to me, the one I had to get through to get to the good parts (i.e. PoA :p). The plot always seemed so inconsequential to me since the whole Chamber/basilisk/diary thing would never be mentioned again - of course, I had no idea I had to wait for HBP for that! So CoS is always "the one that got good when HBP came out , haha. *
What surprised me this time around is how much this one deepens out the world and how much is set up for later books, but we had no idea at the time. Mudbloods, Azkaban, Horcruxes, Lucius Malfoy and the School board, Cornelius Fudge being ineffectual, Tom Riddle, house elves, and of course the Vanishing Cabinet. It all shows up here first but it didn't get important until way later. Jo basically distracts us with Lockhart's antics. :p (And even HE shows up again later on!) So yeah, this was pretty enjoyable to read.
* Also, it put me in mind of the theory that the seven books are mirrors of each other. PS and TDH reflect one another being the opener and the closer, CoS and HBP complement one another with the Horcruxes and the.... Slytherinness of it all, PoA and OotP reveal more about the Potters and their friends, and Azkaban and its prisoners play a huge part (ánd it's the beginning and end of Sirius). GoF is the pivot, the middle point, and it fits that it has a plot that doesn't really come back later (the Triwizard Tournament) but also opens up the wizarding world to us ánd it's where the overarching plot of the later 3 books start, the "we're not in Kansas anymore moment. It's pretty neat.
Before we begin there's something else I want to share. I first read PS and CoS on holiday with my parents. Actually, that's not entirely true. I mentioned before that my brother first got into HP because his teacher read it to him at school. My aunt tried to get me into HP too but I resisted because they books sounded dumb. My mom wanted to buy the books but she could only find the second one; the first one was flat sold out (I think the third one had only been released a coupe of months before; it was the year GoF came out). I tried to read CoS first but I couldn't make heads or tails of it, so I bought the first one myself, and we took both books on vacation to France.
I finished PS with CoS lying next to me, so I could immediatey continue. Jo had completely fooled me with her Quirrel twist (I was so angry that it wasn't Snape!) and I was DETERMINED that she wouldn't fool me again.
So naturally I was absolutely sure Lockhart had opened the Chamber.
I mean, it made sense! Last time it had been the least likely candidate, Lockhart was an obvious fool and it would be ridiculous that he would open the Chamber. Therefore, it was obviously him!
Of course, Jo kicked my ass once again and I had to bow down to her genius plotting. :p
Anyway, while on vacation my parents had brought art supplies and my brother and I spend rainy days drawing. Of course, being the budding HP freak that I was, I drew a lot of HP stuff. Thankfully, I saved most of my drawings, so when I started the reread project I decided to look for my original HP drawings. And I found them! So here they are. My very first drawings I made when I had JUST finished the first two books.
Hermione with bonus Harry and Lockhart:
Neville and Trevor! (He's called Marcel in Dutch, I only knew the Dutch names back then.)
The hilarious thing is that apparently I had missed some description cues. For example, this is Malfoy! (With bonus Weasley Twins, Percy and Voldemort)
And the worst one, which really cracked me up. I really don't know how I entirely missed the greasy hair thing. But here's Snape. (At least I got the nose right..?) With bonus Ron.
And as a closer, Dumbledore. Looking remarkably like how I have always drawn Dumbledore. Guess I got a lock on him pretty quickly. (And admittedly his character type is pretty easy to imagine: basically Merlin from Disney, with some tweaks.) With bonus Ginny and the Dursleys.
Anyway, without much further ado, here are my reactions to Chamber of Secrets!
Chamber of Secrets
Again with the kiddyness of the cover, the kid’s review on the dustjacket. Even some handwritten letters from kids in the back!
The backblurb spoils the flying car (ok, the cover is kind of a big hint, too). Only two other books available in the front! And no WB copyright, only 1998.
1. The worst birthday
“Do I look stupid,” snarls Vernon. Well.
Dudley is hugely fat and it’s... presented as funny?
“Say the magic word.”
Why is Vernon the worst anti-magic person here? Why not Petunia? Leftover feeling for her sister?
Book 1 recap!
Why do they have summer homework anyway? Sounds horrible.
What haircolor does Petunia have anyway? Vernon has black, Dudley blond.
Sucking up to the Masons (which is such an apt name for builders).
Harry is snarky again.
Majorca is mentioned. What is it with the Dursleys and that island?
DOBBY. Or Aisling from The Secret of Kells. :p Green eyes in a hedge.
“So you’ve finally learned the days of the week.”
Vernon is going to kick out a 12 year old?! Geez.
“The trouble was, there was already someone sitting on [the bed].” Cliffhanger!
2 – Dobby’s warning
Hearing the movie’s voice when I read Dobby’s dialogue. “Offend Dobby!”
This whole concept of house elves is disturbing when you think about it.
I’m wondering, do the Malfoys use the name Voldemort? Also Dobby has known of the plot ‘for months’, so while Quirrelmort was still at Hogwarts – did Lucius know about that?
“It has nothing to do with He Who Must Not Be Named.” Damnit Dobby. Also you’re a little stalker. “Friends who don’t even write to Harry Potter?”
So.... does Harry ever get his letters back from Dobby?
“Harry took the letter. It did not contain birthday greetings.”
So two strokes and you’re out? Harsh. Also Mafalda Hopkirk is mentioned for the first time.
Vernon has officially gone mad.
Isn’t anyone WATCHING Harry? No Order people just to see how he’s doing?
3 – The Burrow
Fred thinks lockpicking is a valuable skill. He’s not wrong.
HOW DO YOU FORGET A HUGE-ASS WHITE OWL?!
“Very fishy. Definitely dodgy.” Stop alliterating, twins.
Lucius info dump.
“There’s only so many times you can polish a prefect badge.” Why does that sound so dirty.
Ottery St Catchpole! Very Cabin Pressure. And what do the muggles think of the house? Can they even see it?
How is Molly supposed to think Harry just showed up randomly?
“For a short, plump, kind-faced woman it was remarkable how much she looked like a sabretoothed tiger.” Excellent description.
“BEDS EMPTY. NO NOTE. CAR GONE.” This really needs audio.
This whole thing does get more poignant when you know about her boggart. No wonder she was worried sick. L
Celestina Warbeck on the radio. No cauldrons full of hot strong love yet.
Ginny! Being adorable.
Lockhart gets mentioned! I forgot (somehow) that Molly had a crush on him.
Gnomes are not fat little Father Christmasses with fishing rods. Good to know.
Mr Weasley is thin and balding. Will Ron go bald too eventually?
Mundungus Fledger gets mentioned, already an ass.
“Did you really” fly the car? Not the right time, Arthur. Mrs Weasley swells like a bullfrog.
Ginny never shuts up normally. Aw.
Harry’s head almost touches Ron’s bedroom’s ceiling. How does Ron manage?
Adventures of Martin Miggs, the Mad Muggle.
4 – At Flourish and Blotts
Huh, I thought this chapter was called Knockturn Alley.
The Weasleys are not like the Dursleys and therefore perfect, almost fairy-tale like.
Mrs Weasley fussed over the state of Harry’s socks. Makes me think of all the sock theories.
Arthur is pretty patronizing to muggles, honestly.
“Dumbledore already knows you’re here, doesn’t miss a trick.” One could almost say it’s... magic.
Fred jokes about Lockhart, George worries about the cost. Can’t they share a set of books? The twins at least! And buy Ron a wand!!
Percy has a knitted tank top on? That gives me such strange mental images.
Hermione writes like she talks, heh.
Bill is confirmed eldest, huh.
“Ginny needs robes and a wand.” Gosh, no second-hand for her, huh.
I would seriously hate travelling by Floo Powder.
The two-way cabinet!
Lucius has “important business elsewhere”. What? Dropping off a diary? Actually, was he set on Ginny from the start or was it a lucky coincidence, would any firstyear have done?
Mrs Weasley fixes Harry’s glasses here, not Hermione.
‘Prefects who gained power’. Percy is very ambitious. Why isn’t he in Slytherin?
I wonder if Jo met any Lockharts in real life, leeching on her fame. Must be horrible.
“Famous Harry Potter, can’t even go into a BOOKSHOP without making the front page.” Hi Tom Felton's line reading.
How big is Ginny’s cauldron that all that stuff fits in it?! And why can’t Ginny reuse Ron’s old books from last year, do they literally change every year or what?
There’s so much movie dialogue.
5 – The Whomping Willow
The car is a TARDIS! Also couldn’t they just mail the stupid diary after Ginny?
“The Dursleys haven’t given me pocket money for about six years.” So they actually used to? Although what would a six-year old do with money.
Silly Gryffs. Sure let’s fly the car.
Of course they should go due north – they’re going to Scotland.
Poor Willow! And Ron picks up Scabbers – I wonder what Peter’s thinking at this moment.
Hey, they’re caught by Snape here. Much more fun than in the movie.
“His black robes rippling in a cold breeze.” Oh Snape, you emokid, never change.
The Evening Prophet is FAST with news!
“You damaged a very valuable Whomping Willow.” Oh shut it. Snape is looking happier than ever – for now. Heh, yes. “Snape looked as if Christmas had been cancelled.”
6 – Gilderoy Lockhart Oh boy.
How large is that milkjug that Errol fits in it?!
Way to embarrass your kid with that Howler, Molly. Geez.
LOL Lockhart blaming himself for Harry taking the car. And of course ‘killing’ YKW is not as impressive as winning Witch’s Weekly’s Most Charming Smile award five times in a row!
Justin Finch-Fledgley is so pompous, haha.
Hermione’s nearly 13, of course she has crushes on teachers.
OMG the Lockhart quiz, I’d forgotten about that.
Cornish Pixies indeed, some hands-on experience. Ron at least is on to something: “all the stuff he SAYS he’s done.”
7 – Mudbloods and murmurs
Page 80, the plot begins!
Geez Colin, little stalker. Nice infodump on Quidditch for his benefit though.
Last year Gryffindor suffered their worst Quidditch defeat in 300 years because THEY HAD NO SEEKER. Unfair!
Draco, hi! “At least no one on the Gryffindor team had to BUY their way in.”
Mudblood, oooo. “You’ll pay for that one, Malfoy!” Or, not.
Lockhart was the only one for the DADA job. Why didn’t they ask Remus now?
Vomiting slugs must be the WORST, ugh. Just the feeling of it.
Ron can’t use magic at his detention – good thing too, what with his wand.
“Fame’s a fickle friend, Harry.”
Ominous voice is ominous.
8 - The Death Day Party
Page 95, Halloween chapter.
“Ginny had been looking peaky” – a cold or the effect of the diary?
Neeeeeeeeeeearly Headless? Not headless enough for head polo!
Squibs! And the vanishing cabinet gets mentioned.
Ghosts from all over the country come to the party. How do they travel? Aren’t they tethered to a place? This whole idea of a death day party is pretty genius though.
Ooo Moaning Myrtle shows up here already. She’s so sad. L And Sir Patrick de Mimsy-Porpington is an ass.
Did the house elves prepare this food too?
Ooo mysterious voice again...
THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS HAS BEEN OPENED. Poor Mrs Norris!
9 – The Writing on the Wall
Poor Filch?! Why am I feeling sorry. :p
Snape was trying hard not to smile? Geez.
Dumbledore is using the Elder Wand on petrified Mrs Norris.
Nice how Lockhart doesn’t dare patronise Snape, he knows his limits.
“Hearing voices no one can hear isn’t a good sign, even in the wizarding world,” says RON.
Hee, Binns is cute, he’s so surprised that his students are actually interested.
The Heir of Slytherin! Dundundun.
Man, Myrtle’s bathroom is depressing.
“Five points from Gryffindor,” says Percy, fingering his badge. Is this how the prefects adjust the point counter?
Is Malfoy the Heir of Slytherin? Good question, let’s wait and see.
LOL we need a really thick teacher to fall for the potions excuse.
10 – The Rogue Bludger Oh right.
LOL Lockhart, like there really is a werewolf curse... Homework: compose a poem?! And OF COURSE he was a seeker at Hogwarts.
Madame Pince looked like an underfed vulture. I’m shipping her with Snape now.
“A month?!” said Ron. “Malfoy could have attacked half the school by then!” Another stolen line, this time by Harry.
Harry wakes up from being knocked out and saw “a glitter of teeth”, heh. See, this is why Madam Hooch needs to know healing spells!
“Lockhart hadn’t mended Harry’s bones. He’d removed them.” Eew.
Dobby! Actually, lucky for him that Harry was the last kid to go through the barrier at King’s Cross. What if the Weasleys had been on time?
I’m hearing his movie voice again.
Does Dobby know of the Horcruxes? And wouldn’t Harry be in danger from the monster since he’s a Halfblood? Well, ¾ blood anyway.
“The question is not WHO” opened the chamber, says Dumbledore, since he already knows who did.
11 – The Duelling Club
Excellent misdirection to Malfoy. OF COURSE he’s the Heir! It makes perfect sense! Ahem.
Poor Ginny and Neville! So worried. The trade in illegal talismans for protection is a great touch, though.
“Deliberately causing mayhem in Snape’s class was about as safe as poking a sleeping dragon in the eye.” Also Snape knows Harry is up to something concerned with potions. Interesting with HBP in mind, where Harry learns directly from Snape – the Halfblood Prince.
Flitwick was a duelling champion! Go Flitwick!
If the duelling club was Lockhart’s idea, why did Dumbledore agree to it? And why did Snape VOLUNTEER to be ASSISTANT? And why did Dumbledore trust Snape not to curse his DADA teacher into a fine pulp?
“Snape tells me he knows a tiny little bit about duelling himself.” This whole scene is great. “Snape was looking murderous as usual.”
“Longbottom causes devastation with the simplest spells.” Malfoy, perhaps? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
“Whoops, my wand is a little over-excited.” WELL THEN.
“I’m a what?” said Harry.
Wasn’t there a ton of fics about Harry being the actual Heir of Slytherin, too? I forgot.
McGonagall was shouting at somebody who had turned his friend into a badger. Great detail, especially how it shows up again later.
Harry is hiding in the INVISIBILITY section of the library!
Poor Justin and Nearly Headless Nick. L
Professor Sinistra is of the Astronomy DEPARTMENT? A one-person department?
“Sherbet Lemon!” With Maggie Smith’s sharp R.
“This must be where Dumbledore lived.”
12 – The Polyjuice Potion
I would love a chance to sneak around Dumbledore’s office and look at all the gadgets and stuff.
Harry is keeping vital information from Dumbledore, too. They’re not that different, the two of them. Except Dumbledore probably knows what Harry is thinking anyway. Unfair advantage.
So Arthur and Molly visit Bill in Egypt over the Christmas holidays, then AGAIN in the summer? Poor Charlie, forgotten in Romania. (Also why on earth does a family of redheads voluntarily go to Egypt in the summer? Do they WANT to burn alive?)
“Have you ever heard of a plan where so many things could go wrong?”
They steal Crabbe and Goyle’s shoes but not their uniforms? Oh, Hermione took care of that.
Percy was snogging Penelopeeee, that’s why he was down in the basement.
The password to the Slytherin is ‘Pureblood’. Who sets these passwords?
Twist! Malfoy’s not the heir! Hermione’s a cat!
13 – The Very Secret Diary
“Snape had given them so much homework, Harry thought he was likely to be in the sixth year before he finished it.” Well at least he’d have Snape’s textbook to help him by then.
“I was just sitting in the u-bend, thinking about death.” Cheerful, Myrtle.
Ron is sensible! The diary COULD be dangerous!
“Harry couldn’t explain, even to himself, why he didn’t throw Riddle’s diary away.” And he half remembers Riddle’s name. Sort of a Horcrux connection?
Oh god Lockhart’s Valentine feast. The teachers HATE it. “Snape was looking as though the first person to ask him for a love potion would be force-fed poison.”
The dwarf cupido was “twanging his harp in a threatening sort of way.” How on earth do you do that?
The diary is so much wordier than in the movie.
1942, is this before or after Grindlewald? I think it’s before, so Fantastic Beasts will cover this era. Wonder if it’ll be mentioned.
The Ministry of Magic wants to close the school. That’s new. They're being proactive about something for once.
Hi Jude law, hi!
14 – Cornelius Fudge Boo.
“Hagrid had an unfortunate liking for large and monstrous creatures.” Ain’t that the truth. He makes me think of Newt.
Wow, they’re 12 and they have to decide on classes which will influence the rest of their lives.
Oh right, the ‘break-in’ in the dormitory!
Harry: “what does [Hermione] understand?”
Ron: “Loads more than I do.” Haha.
“That’s what Hermione does. When in doubt, go to the library.”
Aw poor Percy, his girlfriend is petrified. L
Fudge wears a pinstriped suit, a scarlet tie, black cloak, pointed purple boots, and a lime gree bowler hat. And his hair is grey and messy. He sounds like... a fashion mess.
Oh hi Lucius. I’m hearing Jason Isaacs purr in my head.
15 – Aragog
“I will only truly have left this school when none here are loyal to me.” Poignant parallel to HBP.
Draco: “I always thought Father might be the one who got rid of Dumbledore.” Ahem. Sorry Draco, you're going to be saddled with that job. Also to Snape: “why don’t YOU apply for the Headmaster’s job?” Did Jo know while writing this what would happen in HBP and TDH?
They walk to the next class ‘crocodile style’. Cute.
Aw, Ernie apologises for suspecting Harry. Hufflepuffs rule!
Lockhart is insufferable, of course.
Heh, car gone wild in the forest.
Poor Ron with all these spiders! “Follow the spiders!” Why couldn’t it have been follow the butterflies!
16 – The Chamber of Secrets Dundundunnn.
Seriously, how is Ron even ALLOWED his broken wand in school?
Percy! Interrupting Ginny! Boo.
Aww, McGonagall, she has a heart. She is touched Harry and Ron want to visit Hermione.
Hermione TORE a PAGE from a BOOK?! Gasp! Also how freaking massive are the pipes at Hogwarts that a basilisk fits through them?
Oh right, Ginny got kidnapped. And lol Snape calling Lockhart’s bluff. This is so mean, they’re almost sending him to his death.
“This wasn’t in the [Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher] job description!” Lol.
Hey, no “HER SKELETON WILL LIE IN THE CHAMBER FOREVER”?
Sliding down those pipes would creep me out so much.
Once again the hero is alone...
17 – The Heir of Slytherin
How is there SPACE for a chamber this size under the castle?!
Two Horcruxes talking to each other.
Tom is a Nice Guy, pretending to be nice to get something from Ginny. Also he’s monologuing like a true villain.
“Trying to raise werewolf cubs under his bed.” Sure.
Voldemort is my past, present and future.
“Sorry to disappoint you and all” but you’re not the greatest sorcerer. At least Harry’s polite about it. :p
Hubris is once again Tom’s downfall.
THE DARK MARK IS THE SERPENT COMING OUT OF SLYTHERIN’S MOUTH?! I only just put that together!
Yay Gryffindor’s sword.
Bye diary. One Horcrux down.
“What’ll Mum and Dad say?” Don’t worry, you’re the beloved daughter, they won’t care.
Heh poor Lockhart, lost his memory.
Ooo they do get back up the pipe to Myrtle’s bathroom here, not through some random opening in the earth.
Aw, ghost love.
18 – Dobby’s Reward
Dumbledore’s beaming – did he know they’d make it out alive or is he proud Harry made it?
“Lord Voldemort is currently in hiding in the forests of Albania.” Is he?
Ginny needs bedrest and a large steaming mug of hot chocolate. Chocolate always helps.
200 points apiece to Gryffindor. Ugh.
“I want to thank you, you must have shown me real loyalty.” Yes, you prepared your pawn well.
“He transferred some of his own power to you the night he gave you that scar.” We fans just never connected that with the diary and made the logical conclusion that Voldemort could have done the same to other people/objects. (Or, I bet some people did.)
He’s going to draw up an advertisement for the next DADA teacher.
Oh hi Lucius and Dobby. Quick thinking with the sock, Harry.
“Master has given Dobby a sock!” Aw, no Avada Kedavra here. :p
They practiced disarming each other on the train back. Harry was getting very good at it. Well, it IS his signature move.
And again end on a cheerful note, as the credits roll and Hedwig’s Theme starts.