Thursday, January 31, 2008

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling has Harry entering year two at Hogwarts. In the beginning of the summer, Harry is warned by a house-elf, Dobby that evil events will take place at Hogwarts and that Harry must not go back to school. Despite Dobby’s warnings, Harry of course attends school.

The school year starts off reasonably calm, but soon Harry hears a voice (that no one else can hear) wanting to attack and kill students at Hogwarts. A message scrawled in red reads, “THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS HAS BEEN OPENED. ENEMIES OF THE HEIR, BEWARE” with the caretaker’s cat hanging petrified. Soon students are being attacked and no one knows who is behind it.

Harry, Ron and Hermione are determined to figure out who the Heir is and where the Chamber of Secrets is located to stop further attacks. Harry finds an old diary written by a student named Tom Riddle, who was around fifty years ago when the Chamber was first opened. Harry travels to Tom’s memory and learns that Hagrid, the grounds keeper, was charged with letting a monster lose in the school.

Hagrid is sent to prison, but the attacks continue and Hermione is the latest victim. Just as Harry and Ron figure out what type of monster is assaulting the students, Ron’s little sister, Ginny, has been taken into the Chamber of Secrets. It’s now up to Harry and Ron to save her.

I have to admit, the first few books in the series aren’t my favorite and Chambers is definitely at the bottom for me. We do get to meet a lot of new characters including the majority of the Weasley family, Lucius Malfoy, Cornelius Fudge (Minister of Magic), Dobby, and most importantly Tom Riddle.

Tom Riddle is pivotal in Chambers. Tom is able to come back to life by feeding off of the soul of Ginny Weasley. His original intent was to kill Mudbloods, but once he learns that Harry Potter attends Hogwarts, he knows he must come face to face with Harry. That is because Tom Riddle grows up to become Lord Voldermort. Once again Harry comes face to face with his worst enemy.

We also learn some similarities between Harry and Tom. Both are orphans, both have one pure blood parent and one half blood and both can speak Parseltounge. Dumbledore informs Harry that when Voldermort attempted his curse on Harry, that he left a part of himself with Harry, but the biggest difference between them is the choices that they make. As Dumbledore states, “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

The similarities and the connection between Harry and Voldermort will continue to play a significant role throughout the series. This won’t be the last time Harry questions it. We also learn that Ginny Weasley has a very big crush on Harry.

Harry survives another year at Hogwarts and also defeats Lord Voldermort for a third time. Geez, Lord Voldermort doesn’t seem so powerful does he?

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