Book Reviews

Book Review – Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets

“Because that’s what Hermione does,” said Ron, shrugging. “When in doubt, go to the library.”


A whole year later. A whole new mystery. A whole new adventure. Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets had me grasping at every spare minute I had to go and snuggle up in bed, pick up the book and keep reading. It’s only the second book and I’m already in love with the characters. I chuckled quietly to myself at some of Ron’s lines and became attached to Hermione and her words of wisdom and genuine care for her friends. I felt Harry’s emotions when the Dursleys got under his skin or when Draco Malfoy had something nasty to say – he always had something nasty to say. So, without further ado, here’s a short summary of Harry’s second adventure in the wonderful world of witchcraft and wizardry.

As per usual, Harry is treated like a nothing on his birthday. No cake. No presents. Not even a smile. Just a firm warning telling him to go upstairs, sit in his room and make no noise. Not one sound, or it’ll be the end of him. Harry expects this warning from the Dursleys to mean that his birthday has officially come to an end, but he is far from right. A late night visitor with two abnormally large ears, a very spindly nose and wearing nothing but an old pillow case, enters Harry’s room with some important news to share. “Harry Potter must not return to Hogwarts. Danger involving He Who Must Not Be Named awaits.” When Harry refuses to believe this, his visitor does the worst thing he could possibly do: he makes noise. He jumps up and down. He bangs his head against the wall. And he runs down the stairs. This behaviour results in Harry making a very quick getaway from the deadly, dreadful Dursleys, involving a magic invisible car and a familiar redheaded fellow. Free at last and welcomed into the Weasleys’ happy home, Harry counts down the days until September 1st, when he and Ron will meet up with their friends at platform nine and three-quarters and board the Hogwarts Express, ready for another exciting year. However, before the day arrives, Harry finds himself in a bit of a pickle.

“When travelling by Floo powder, it is important that you speak clearly, take care to get out at the right grate, keep your elbows tucked in, shut your eyes, don’t fidget and don’t panic,” Mr Weasley instructs carefully. Harry is very uncertain about this wizarding mode of transportation, and unfortunately, this causes him to get out at the wrong grate. Knockturn Alley causes Harry a close run-in with Draco Malfoy and his father, Lucius, who happens to be about ten times worse than his son. Just when Harry is beginning to feel frightened and wondering how he will ever find his way back to Hogwarts, he runs into his big, burly friend, Hagrid – who also happens to be the gamekeeper at Hogwarts. “What are yeh doing down ‘ere, Harry? It’s not safe.” Hagrid then leads him to the safety of Diagon Alley, where everyone frets over the famous wizarding author, Gilderoy Lockhart, who also happens to be the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts. (In Ron’s opinion, Lockhart is a complete lunatic who has no idea what he’s talking about half the time.) When Harry has paid for his new school books, he and Ron along with the rest of the Weasley family await the final few days before September 1st. It finally arrives, and everyone rushes around, preparing their things. The Weasleys and Harry are late for their train, and have to hurry through the crowds when they arrive at the train station. Much to their annoyance, Harry and Ron are at the back of the line to go through the brick wall that acts as the barrier onto platform nine and three-quarters. Finally, they count down from three and run at the solid brick wall, but to their surprise, they can’t get through. They end up on the floor with their trollies completely overturned. Panic starts to run through Harry’s veins. What are they going to do? It’s not long until Ron comes up with a plan. Mr Weasley’s flying car! Running back to the parking lot, they wait until all Muggles are out of sight before lifting into the air and soaring above the clouds.

An exhilarating car trip, an incident with Hogwarts’ famous whomping willow and a visit to Mrs McGonagall’s office begin a very exciting year at Hogwarts! It’s not long until things go pear-shaped. Malfoy begins causing trouble, Harry starts hearing peculiar voices in the halls of Hogwarts, and then the attacks begin…

Wow…so much for a short summary! One of my favourite things about Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets, apart from all the characters, was the way J. K. Rowling mentioned things in certain parts of the book that didn’t make sense, and added the puzzle pieces together near the end. I loved being able to think, “Wow, so that’s why that happened in chapter 2!” or “That’s why Harry saw that in chapter 16!” Enthralling, dark and filled with mischief and adventure, I one-hundred-percent recommend Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets for your next read!

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