Rereading Harry Potter – Week 7
Hello fellow bookworms and welcome to week 7 of rereading Harry Potter as an adult! Time has flown by this week with my positive COVID-test and quarantine and then having to work a lot to catch up after quarantine, then there was Valentine’s Day, which we didn’t really celebrate, because you know: quarantine, then my boyfriend got tested positive, so now HE’s in quarantine and apparently that means he is entitled to my attention. Then of course there was storm Dudley (very good name) and storm Eunice that wreaked havoc around the North Sea. So this week was a little much and suddenly it was the weekend, which means: Rereading Harry Potter time! This week’s post is the penultimate post about the Chamber of Secrets, after which we will of course be moving on to The Prisoner of Azkaban.
We left off last week with Hermione looking like Millicent Bulstrode’s cat, so we’re starting off this week with Hermione in the Hospital Wing. She’s still quite hairy (if Harry had been the one looking like a cat, he would have been Hairy Potter, but I guess Rowling doesn’t have as great a sense of humour as I do), but looking less like a cat every day. Harry and Ron make their way back to the common room from the Hospital Wing and come across a flooded hallway near the Girl’s bathroom. They enter the bathroom where Myrtle is crying because somebody threw a book at her head. Needless to say, this book is Tom Riddle’s Diary. Ron recognises T.M. Riddle from one of the award trophies Filch made him polish.
“Maybe he got thirty O.W.L.s or saved a teacher from the giant squid. Maybe he murdered Myrtle, that would’ve done everyone a favour…”Ron Weasley, The Chamber of Secrets
There hasn’t been an attack on any mudbloods for a while now and, here’s another one for the reasons-why-Lockhart-is-annoying-list, Lockhart seems to think he himself has made the attacks stop. He also decides the school could use a little pick-me-up, so he arranges for Valentine’s Day decorations and dwarfs delivering Valentines. Coincidentally, I read this on Valentine’s Day and it wasn’t until hours later that I realised it was indeed, Valentine’s Day.. And they say romance is dead.
Harry also gets a little Valentine from.. someone. I’m not sure who, but I’m guessing it was Malfoy’s idea to have a dwarf deliver a musical Valentine to Harry in front of a bunch of first-years. Harry tries to escape, though and this causes his bag to rip open and ink to spill all over his books. When he returns to the common room, Harry realises that Tom Riddle’s Diary doesn’t have any ink on it at all. He tries to write in it and the words disappear, but are answered by the Diary. Harry agrees to being sucked into Tom Riddle’s memories, where he sees Tom meeting with the headmaster, Professor Dippet (never heard of him) and asking to stay at Hogwarts during the summer. He declines because of the heir of Slytherin still walking around freely at Hogwarts, which makes Tom decide to “turn Hagrid in” (we know of course that Hagrid would never do such a thing and I will suckerpunch anyone who claims otherwise).
The mandragoras have always been one of my favourite things from the second Harry Potter book. The way they suck their thumbs as baby’s (or other peoples thumbs if you get too close), they get acne when they hit puberty and then try to move into each others pots when they’re mature. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love Rowling’s creativity so much.
About four months after the attack on Justin and Nearly-Headless Nick, the next attack happens. This time Hermione and a Ravenclaw girl named Penelope Clearwater are attacked. I have no memory of a Ravenclaw girl being a victim, though I do remember the name, so I guess she’ll be making a comeback somewhere in the story. On the bright side, nobody thinks Harry is the Heir of Slytherin anymore now that Hermione got attacked. Ron and Harry decide to finally go and talk to Hagrid, but then Cornelius Fudge appears to take Hagrid to Azkaban. 10 seconds later Lucius Malfoy appears with an Order of Suspension for Dumbledore. I hate that man so much. How can he possibly still be working for the Ministry. It surprised me, though, that Fudge came to Dumbledore’s defence on the suspension. Everybody knows that Fudge is intimidated by Dumbledore and thinks he’s after Fudge’s job. Or maybe Fudge assumes that as long as Dumbledore is headmaster of Hogwarts, he won’t go for his job.
Okay, it’s time for my least favourite part of the book and perhaps the whole series: the visit to Aragog. Why does it have to be “follow the spiders”? Why can’t it be “follow the butterflies”? But seriously, this chapter is every arachnofobic person’s worst nightmare. The chapter is way shorter than I remember, though. The movie really drags this whole part out into one long scene of agony. I hate spiders. Imagine being picked up by a giant hairy spider and transported through a dark forest with spiders everywhere. Nope. Just nope. Let’s skip this, shall we? The Weasley’s car saves them just as they’re about to get eaten and they live happily ever after.
Important detail, though: Aragog mentions that a girl died in the bathroom when the Chamber was opened 50 years ago. 50 bucks says it’s moaning Myrtle.
That’s it for this week. Thank you again for reading this week’s Rereading Harry Potter update. If you want to be kept up to date, leave your e-mail address in the box below! See you next week for week 8, the grand finale to the Chamber of Secrets.