Rereading Harry Potter as an Adult – Week 4
Hello again! Buckle up, it’s time for week 4 of Rereading Harry Potter as an Adult and we’re starting on The Chamber of Secrets this week! Don’t you just love the promise in that title? It just screams, “Oh boy, are we in for a treat”. I’m looking forward to all things Dobby and Gilderoy Lockhart and of course Ginny is starting Hogwarts this year and we’re meeting Lucius Malfoy for the first time. We’re going to have some fun!
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Just like last year, the story starts on Harry’s birthday, July 31st, which is also (fun fact) J.K. Rowling’s birthday, by the way. This year on his birthday, Mr and Mrs Mason come over to make a business deal with Uncle Vernon. I remember playing the Lego Harry Potter games a few years ago and unlocking the Mr and Mrs Mason characters and having NO idea who these muggles were. So apparently they’re the drill people.
I laughed out loud when Harry was trying to scare Dudley by pretending to do magic by yelling ‘Jiggery pokery! Hocus pocus.. squiggly wiggly..’. We muggles will believe anything.
Enter: Dobby the House Elf
Harry is sent upstairs during Mr and Mrs Mason’s visit and there, on the bed, is one of our (or my) absolute favourite characters of the entire series and one of the saddest deaths, Dobby! With his iconic “Bad Dobby, Bad Dobby!”. Dobby tries to get Harry to not go back to Hogwarts this year, for there is a plot “to make the most terrible things happen”. It only just now occurred to me that Dobby knows of this plot because he is Lucius Malfoy’s house elf and Lucius is of course plotting the whole opening the Chamber of Secrets by giving Ginny Tom Riddle’s diary thing. Yes, I know I’m dumb, but it only just clicked.
After Dobby drops Petunia’s cake on the floor (I’ve watched the movies too many times, because I was convinced he dropped it on Mrs Mason), Harry receives a letter from the Ministry to remind him that he’s not allowed to use magic outside of Hogwarts, signed by Mafalda Hopkirk. I thought I recognised the name and she is indeed mentioned in the Order of the Phoenix and she makes an appearance in the Deathly Hallows. I was a little confused, since I distinctly remember Harry practicing Lumos under the covers in one of the movies (I think the Prisoner of Azkaban), so that obviously doesn’t make sense. But I don’t think the whole not-being-allowed-to-do-magic-outside-of-school-thing is mentioned in the movies until Harry uses the Patronus charm to protect Dudley in the tunnel. Of course Uncle Vernon is having a field day finding out he’s not allowed to do magic.
Mr and Mrs Dursley lock Harry up in his room now that they know he can’t “magic” his way out and decide that he’s not going back to Hogwarts. Him being locked up finally makes sense now, I never really got that part. Locking him up because he dropped a cake on someone’s head didn’t really make sense to me. Lucky for Harry, Mr Weasley had overheard at the Ministry that Harry had used magic in front of muggles and Ron decides to rescue him by having his brothers fly the Ford Anglia to Harry’s house and break him free.
They gather Harry’s stuff and fly to the Burrow, where Mrs Weasley is waiting for them, furious. This is the first time Harry visits the Burrow and meets Arthur Weasley. Mr. Weasley is more interested in how flying the car went than in being angry with them. I love Mr. Weasley’s fascination with muggle stuff.
They travel by Floo Powder to Diagon Alley as soon as they receive their Hogwarts letters. This years’ book list consists for 90% of Gilderoy Lockhart’s books, which makes me wonder how they’re going to use those in all their other school subjects, but okay. Harry, of course, messes up the words and ends up at Borgin and Burkes, the first of many times this store plays a role in the story. Draco and Lucius Malfoy enter the shop and Harry hides in a closet that resembles the Vanishing Cabinet from the Room of Requirement a little too much (coincidence? I think not.). Draco is making all sorts of petty comments on Harry, Ron and Hermione and Lucius is telling him off, much to Harry’s (and my) delight.
When Draco and Lucius leave, Harry leaves his hiding place and exits the shop, ending up in Knockturn Alley. I’m guessing the name is probably derived from the word nocturnally, which fits the dodgy alley perfectly. Harry runs into Hagrid, who escorts him back to Diagon Alley, where Hermione and her parents and all of the Weasleys are waiting for him. Mr Weasley repairs Harry’s glasses (again). His glasses have been repaired two times now and I don’t remember anyone saying Oculus Reparo yet. Was the name of the spell made up just for the movie? Curious, very curious. They all continue to Flourish and Blotts to buy their school books and of course, there is Gilderoy Lockhart. Signing books and being all full of himself. Harry is forced to take pictures with him and receives all of his books for free. Because he has the kindest heart in the whole world, he gifts these books to Ginny and buys a himself a new set. It absolutely breaks my heart that the Weasleys are so poor. It never really occurred to me exactly how poor they were until I read about the nearly empty vault in Gringotts. And still they did so much for the Order, Dumbledore and Harry.
I never realised that Mr Weasley and Mr Malfoy ACTUALLY get into a fight at Flourish and Blotts. I always thought it was just an argument and some snarky comments on the Malfoys side and that was it, there Tom Riddles diary was in Ginny’s cauldron. But there was an actual, exciting fight. Blood was drawn. I love it.
The flight to Hogwarts
It’s time to go to King’s Cross to catch the Hogwarts Express. They have to drive back to the Burrow 3 times because one of the Weasleys has forgotten something, including Ginny’s diary. I can’t help but wonder if we could’ve avoided the whole Chamber of Secrets fiasco if Arthur had just said “I guess you’ll just have to do without”. I guess we’ll never know. I love the foreshadowing, though.
Of course, Ron and Harry can’t get onto the platform and they make the very wise and mature decision to just take Arthur Weasley’s car (which saves them the trouble of driving it home, I guess) and FLY to Hogwarts in it. Oh, the decision making skills of a 12-year-old. I guess Harry and Ron are now among the few people who know where Hogwarts is located exactly.
Harry and Ron crash into the Whomping Willow and Ron breaks his wand. I’ve always hated that he beaks his wand. It’s kind of hard to learn magic with a broken wand. The two of them sneak into Hogwarts and are caught by professor Snape, who is more than happy to expel them. Sadly that decision isn’t up to him and Dumbledore lets them off the hook. They do get detention, though. We’ll find out next week what that detention entails…
As always, thank you so much for reading! Feel free to subscribe if you want more bookish content. I’ll see you next week for week 5 of rereading Harry Potter.