I reached for the second book in the Harry Potter franchise almost immediately after I finished The Philosopher’s Stone. I really adore these books so much, and I was very happy when the Potter bug bit me again.
What Happened (the short version)
Harry returns to school for his second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry after nearly being punished for magic he didn’t perform. The magic performed was done by a house-elf, Dobby, who deliberately tried to get Harry into trouble after Harry refused to listen to his warnings that Hogwarts wasn’t safe for him.
At school, strange things start to happen. After the caretaker’s cat is petrified, there is a message on the wall behind it saying that the Chamber of Secrets has been opened. The History of Magic teacher tells them that the Chamber was created by Salazar Slytherin, when he left the school because he didn’t want any muggle born witches or wizards enrolled. The rumour went that when the heir of Slytherin returned to the school, the Chamber would be re-opened and the monster within would purify the school of muggle borns.
Harry becomes prime suspect when it is discovered he can talk to snakes, a habit that has long since been accepted as part of the Dark Arts. Every crime points to Harry, but people start to believe in his innocence when one of his best friends, Hermoine, is attacked.
This leaves Ron and Harry to solve the mystery. The find out through a secret diary that Hagrid was expelled for the crimes, even though he did not commit them. When Hagrid is taken to prison as a preventative method, they know they must do everything to stop the monster. They go into the Forbidden Forest, and meet Aragog, a huge spider, who tells them that it was never he nor is Hagrid responsible for the deaths of a student during the last time the Chamber had been opened.
Harry and Ron find out that the monster is a Basilisk, a huge snake that can kill you if you make eye contact with it. When they hear the monster took Ron’s sister, Ginny, into the chamber, they set of to find it and save her. Accompaning them is Professor Lockhart, a man who claims to be a type of heroic saviour to the wizarding world. When they enter the tunnel leading to the chamber, he tries to curse Ron and Harry, but the spell backfires, making him lose his memory, and makes the tunnel cave in. Ron stays with Lockhart, and Harry decides to go searching for the monster alone.
In the chamber he finds Ginny, nearly dead. He finally meets the Heir to Slytherin – who came back through the diary Harry saw Hagrid being falsely accused in. Tom Marvolo Riddle, reveals himself as the young Lord Voldemort. He tells Harry that he had used Ginny through the diary to petrify everyone, and when she dies, he will be restored to his former self.
Tom sets the basilisk free on Harry, and unexpected help arrives when Fawkes, Professor Dumbledore’s phoenix, scratches out the Basilisk eyes, ensuring Harry can kill the snake while looking at it. The sword of Gryffindor is sent to Harry, and he kills the Basilisk with it. Harry prevents Tom from coming back by stabbing the diary with a Basilisk fang, effectively erasing Tom from the present. Fawkes heals Harry, and carries him, Ginny, Ron and Lockhart to safety.
I don’t ever see myself grading one of the Harry Potter books lower than an eight. They are simply so well written that they deserve highest rating.
The Chamber of Secrets is very funny. I love the humour in it, the sarcasm, and all the small events that make the book such a success. If you have read all the books, you notice how Rowling left clues about events that would happen later on. The characters are all a little older, wiser, and braver.
My favourite part is probably the feast the students have in their pajamas after the Chamber has been closed again, and Hagrid returns to the school. Simply excellent 🙂
Read the review on the first book as well here 🙂