Rereading Harry Potter – Week 8

The Chamber of Secrets finale is here! First of all, forgive me for being a little late with this post. It has been a terribly busy (work)week for me and I just didn’t have the time to finish this post earlier. I promise I’ll be on time next week.

We left off last week with finding out Hagrid wasn’t the heir of Slytherin (surprise, surprise). At breakfast, Ginny tries to talk to Ron and Harry (Hermione is still petrified) about something, but Percy interrupts them and she flees. Percy says it’s because she walked in on him doing “something”. For anyone wondering “wasn’t this a children’s book?”, yes it is. Apparently he was kissing Penelope Clearwater, the Ravenclaw prefect who was attacked along with Hermione in the library. Remember how upset he was when she was attacked, because “now not even prefects are safe”? Turns out that wasn’t the whole reason. XOXO, Gossip Girl.

After breakfast, Ron and Harry are on their way to ask Moaning Myrtle how she died, because Aragog told them that a girl died in a bathroom the last time the Chamber was opened. They run into professor McGonagall, though and they have to make up an excuse about wanting to go see Hermione. She lets them and they go up to the hospital wing. I’ve been waiting for them to find the crumbled piece of paper in Hermiones hand that says “pipes” and I was afraid that was just added for the movie, but this if finally the moment they find that piece of paper. It didn’t just say “pipes”, though. It was an entire description of the Basilisk, including the spiders and the roosters that Ginny, uhh I mean someone, strangled. Turns out even mighty Basilisks are afraid of loud male chickens.

Harry and Ron decide to go to the staff room (Hogwarts has a staff room??) to tell McGonagall about the Basilisk, but on their way to the staff room, they find out a student has been taken by the monster. They hide in the coat room and find out Ginny has been taken into the Chamber and is presumed dead. It never really dawned on me that everyone actually thinks Ginny is dead for like a whole day. In the movie everything goes so fast that it feels like “Oh no, where is Ginny? Let’s go rescue her. Oh there she is!”. Not for a moment did it feel like she could actually be dead. Poor Mr and Mrs Weasley.

Since Lockhart is supposed to be going into the Chamber to look for Ginny, Ron and Harry go to his office to share what they know. Instead, they find him packing his things to get out of there. Turns out, all of the heroics he wrote about in his books were a lie! Who knew! Ron and Harry take Lockhart with them to look for the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets. I’m not sure why they took him, because he didn’t know where the entrance was, he didn’t know how to enter and he was of no use when they were inside. Also they took his wand and they must’ve known he would try to escape the first chance he got, right? What was the plan?

Harry goes on alone after Lockhart steals Ron’s wand and accidentally blows up half of Hogwarts and gives himself amnesia. He finds Tom Riddle standing next to Ginny and the Diary. Tom explains to Harry how Ginny confided in him through writing in his diary and how he charmed her into killing the roosters, writing the messages on the wall and setting the Basilisk on the students. That morning at breakfast, Ginny had tried to tell them that she thought she was attacking the students. Tom also confesses to framing Hagrid for the attacks 50 years ago. Only a certain transfiguration teacher by the name of Albus Dumbledore (grey hair, long beard, considered to be the greatest wizard of all time, you might have heard of him), thought Hagrid was innocent, which is how he got the job as Keeper of the Grounds. Strange choice, though.. giving someone who is thought to be a murderer a job at school after he has been expelled.

Tom does the neat little trick with writing his name in the air with Harry’s wand and then mixing all the letters to spell: I am Lord Voldemort. Admit it, that blew all of our minds when we first saw him do that. Then he sets the Basilisk onto Harry. Lucky for him, Fawkes has appeared and has taken the Sorting Hat with him. He is scratching the Basilisks eyes out while Harry pulls the Sword of Gryffindor out of the Sorting Hat. Apparently being a true Gryffindor means hiding in a corner with your eyes closed while a bird fights your battles. Harry thrusts the sword into the roof of the Basilisks mouth. His arm gets punctured by one of the poisonous fangs in the Basilisks mouth., but luckily phoenix tears have healing powers. Harry uses the fang to thrust into the Diary and destroy Tom Riddle, which makes Ginny wake up.

I love Fawkes as a character. I love the fact that he has healing tears and he rises from his own ashes and that he comes to Harry’s rescue. I just really dislike the fact that apparently he can just magically lift 4 people by his tail feathers and fly them out of a dungeon. I know you can’t really call a fantasy novel farfetched, because well, it’s fantasy, but still.. Rowling might have thought a little harder on a solution to get them out of that Chamber.

I love how the book is quite elaborate on wrapping up the story. I kind of always missed that in the movie. It was just Harry flying out of the Chamber, knocking on Dumbledore’s door and giving Lucius Malfoy a sock, the end! I never noticed how much more attention the book pays to the side characters involved. It’s much less of a Harry Potter-show than the movies are. When Harry, Ron, Ginny and Lockhart come out of the Chamber, they go to McGonagalls office, where Mr and Mrs Weasley are grieving their daughter’s death. I loved the emotion from two parents who went through the hell of thinking their daughter is dead, only for her to walk into the room a few hours later.

Harry explains everything that happened and Dumbledore awards both him and Ron a Special Award for Services to the School and two hundred points apiece for Gryffindor. I guess they kind of deserve it this year, having saved Ginny’s life and all. Dumbledore explains to Harry how the sword of Godric Gryffindor shows that Harry is a true Gryffindor with another one of my favourite Dumbledore quotes (I admit it, the main reason I wanted to do this series, is to share all of my favourite quotes with you):

“It is our choices, Harry, that show us who we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

Mr Malfoy enters the office with Dobby at his heels. Dumbledore makes it clear that he knows full well that Lucius was behind this, even if he can’t prove it. Also, Mr Malfoy threatened the other Governors of Hogwarts so they would vote to have Dumbledore removed as headmaster. It does kind of bother me that a lot of people seem to know what side he is on and that nobody seems to be doing anything about it, even now that a bunch of kids got hurt and almost got killed. We’re ending the book with Harry giving Lucius Malfoy the Diary back and him passing it onto Dobby with Harry’s sock still in it. Dobby is free!

That’s it for this week and this book! Next week, we’re starting on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I’m so excited to meet Buckbeak, Remus Lupin and Sirius Black. Some of my favourite characters are introduced in the Prisoner of Azkaban. I hope you’re looking forward to it as much as I am!

A few last words of advice from Mr Weasley:

“Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.”

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