Rereading Harry Potter week 5

Hello fellow bookworms and welcome back to another week of rereading Harry Potter as an adult! We have left off at Ron and Harry arriving at Hogwarts by flying car, instead of the Hogwarts of Express, all because of Dobby’s attempt to keep Harry safe (though Harry and Ron don’t know that yet, shh). I’ve decided to slightly reduce the number of pages I read every week, because I noticed the posts getting way too long to stay interesting and I don’t want it to become dull. There’s just too much exiting stuff to talk about and I don’t want to skip anything.

Chapter Six: Gilderoy Lockhart starts off on the first day back at Hogwarts, at the breakfast table in the Great Hall. It is time for today’s post! If you’ve read the Chamber of Secrets before, you might know what’s coming: the Howler. I’ve always loved the scene where Ron receives the Howler from Mrs. Weasley. Imagine getting a letter from your mother that yells at you in front of every single person at school.

Since the chapter is called “Gilderoy Lockhart”, let’s honour him with a complete list of every annoying thing Gilderoy Lockhart did so far:

  • Dragging Harry in front of the camera at Flourish and Blotts;
  • Telling professor Sprout how to do her job;
  • Assuming Harry flew to school for the publicity;
  • Assuming Harry is handing out signed photos;
  • Telling Harry he’s not quite famous enough to be handing out signed photos yet;
  • Starting his first class off with a pop quiz on… himself!;
  • Releasing a cage full of pixies and then fleeing the classroom;
  • Constantly referring to one of his books;
  • Telling professor Snape how to do his job;

I’m sure this list will get much, much longer throughout the rest of the book. I had been wondering why Dumbledore would go with dimwits like Lockhart and Quirrel when they’re so clearly not cut out for the job, until Hagrid tells Harry and Hermione that people are starting to think that the Defense Against the Dark Arts job is cursed, so people aren’t too keen on applying anymore.

What I love most about rereading the Harry Potter books, is getting reintroduced to characters you only vaguely remember, because they weren’t that important for the story and/or they were left out of the movie. Characters like Justin Finch-Fletchley, for instance. I only remember him from the Lego Harry Potter games (don’t judge me, they’re a lot of fun) as a collectible Lego figure, but he’s not really in the movies. For those who don’t really remember him either, he’s a Hufflepuff boy from Harry’s year who they take Herbology with. Harry, Ron and Hermione are paired with Justin to repot the mandragoras. Isn’t it convenient, though that they always seem to learn the exact things in class that they need to complete that year’s self-inflicted deadly task?

The next character introduced is Colin Creevey. He’s the first-year who’s constantly asking for Harry’s picture and autograph. He’s also the boy who is going to be petrified by the Basilisk further on in the book.

Harry spends most of his first few days at Hogwarts trying to dodge Lockhart and Colin Creevey. On his way to the Quidditch pitch for his first practice of the year, Harry runs into Colin and he follows him to the pitch. As they’re about to start practice, the Slytherin team comes onto the pitch with special permission from Snape to train their new seeker. This new seeker is of course the pale boy we have a love-hate relationship with, Draco Malfoy. Draco calls Hermione a Mudblood and Ron accidentally curses himself to vomit slugs for the rest of the day. Never a dull moment at Hogwarts.

Harry is sitting out his detention that evening with Gilderoy Lockhart. Is it just me or is answering some fanmail kind of a mild punishment for something that almost got Harry expelled? Considering only last year, he was sent into a forest full of bloodthirsty creatures because he wasn’t in his bed at midnight. (Also, Harry doesn’t finish answering the fanmail until midnight, so.. double standards?) Although to Harry the Forbidden Forest is probably less of a punishment than spending the evening with Lockhart. Harry hears “the voice” for the first time in Lockhart’s office.

When Harry is in Filch’s office because he is being written up for dragging mud into the castle and Nick sends Peeves to cause a racket and get Harry off the hook, Harry finds Filch’s Kwikspell brochure. I knew Filch was a Squib (non-magic person born into wizard family), but I kind of forgot about it and it never really occurred to me that most of the student apparently assumed he was a wizard. I can’t really understand why, because they’ve seen him scrubbing and polishing and sweeping. If he were a wizard, he’d just wave his wand around. Filch mentions a vanishing cabinet that Peeves ruined. I love how Rowling is already foreshadowing the cabinet that is going to play such an important role 4 books from now. I can’t help but wonder if she already had plans, or if this is simply part of world-building. Either way, she’s a genius. I also love that Filch’s first name is Argus. I’m a bit of a Greek Mythology geek and apparently, so is Rowling, because Argus is a giant from Greek Mythology who has a 100 eyes all over his body and sees everything. Considering that Filch always seems to be everywhere at once, especially when you’re doing something you’re not supposed to be doing, the name seems rather fitting.

Am I the only one who loves book-Nearly Headless Nick far more than movie-Nearly Headless Nick? The movie version just completely lacks personality while the book version is so incredibly adorable. I just love the sir Nick who persuades Peeves to trash an office to get Harry out of trouble and invites him to his Deathday Party. He is such an underrated character.

At Nearly Headless Nick’s Deathday Party, Harry, Ron and Hermione run into Moaning Myrtle for the first time. On the way back from the party, Harry hears the voice again and decides to follow it. It leads them to the message written in blood: “The Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Enemies of the heir, beware.” Hanging next to the words is a petrified Mrs. Norris.

Further on in the chapter, Ron is measuring his History of Magic homework. Yes, I said measuring. He was supposed to hand in a 3-foot long homework essay. I suppose they don’t do word-counts in the wizarding world.

Professor Binns tells the class the story of the Chamber of Secrets during the History of Magic class, which he believes to be a myth. Of course the story starts with the four founders of Hogwarts; Rowena Ravenclaw, Godric Gryffindor (remember Godric’s Hollow from book 7?), Helga Huffelpuff and Salazar Slytherin (Rule number one of founding schools: your name needs to be an alliteration). A while after the school was founded, there was an argument with Slytherin and he left the school, only he had built a secret chamber within the school that could be opened by his heir and used to purge the school of everything who didn’t belong.

Thank you so much for reading this week’s post about rereading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I’ll be back next week with chapter 10, 11 and 12 of the Chamber of Secrets, when it’s time for some Quidditch, some duelling and casually making some Polyjuice Potion in the girl’s bathroom. Subscribe to be kept up to date on my posts. See you next week!

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