Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling

Took awhile, but I had finally finished Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The second book in the Harry Potter series written by J.K. Rowling, I have to say the book was much better than 'Sorcerer’s Stone'. Also, I have seen the movie before but the movie truly pale in comparison to the book.

The story start again with the Harry Potter at home with the Dursleys for the summer. However, the book quickly get the mundane out of the way as Dobby, a house-elf, arrives and warn Harry not to return to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry this year.

The story in the book is the same as it was in the movie. Events take a turn for the worse when a monster began stalking Hogwarts and several people, and a cat, became petrified (turned into stone). The Chamber of Secrets is believed to have been opened by someone. According to the school legend, the Chamber was built by Salazar Slytherin (one of the founders of the school) and can only be opened by his heir, in order to purge Hogwarts of "all those who were unworthy to study magic". Harry discovered a new power, he can speaks Parseltongue (the language of snakes). Everyone suspect Harry as the culprit who opened the chamber as Parseltongue is a rare ability that Salazar Slytherin had, which mean Harry could be his heir.

Harry, being Harry, decide to investigate the case personally. Things take a turn for the worse when his friend Hermione Granger was also found petrified. Harry finally discover the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets with his best friend Ron Weasley. They force Gilderoy Lockhart, a teacher at Hogwarts who is also a fraud, to go with them. Once they find the entrance to the Chamber, Lockhart attempts to use Ron's broken wand to erase Harry and Ron's memories, but the spell backfires on to himself and brings the ceiling down on them, separating Harry from Ron and Lockhart.

Harry makes it to the Chamber alone where he finds an unconscious Ginny Weasly, Ron's sister. He also meets a young man named Tom Riddle, who claims to be a "memory". Harry learns that Ginny, under the control of Lord Voldemort, opened the Chamber. Voldemort, whose real name is Tom Marvolo Riddle, imprinted his memory (when he was 16) in a diary, in order to one day continue the work he began when he was a student in Hogwarts. From there, a fight ensure with Tom Riddle calling out the monster in the Chamber, a basilisk (a monster who can petrify you if you look into it's eyes). But Albus Dumbledore's phoenix, Fawkes, arrives carrying the Sorting Hat, from which Harry draws out a magical sword. Fawkes blinds the basilisk, destroying its fatal gaze, and Harry slays it with the sword. However in the attempt to slay the basilisk, Harry's arm was pierced by the creature's fang, and Riddle tells him that the venom will kill him within a minute. After Fawkes' tears healed Harry (phoenix tears have healing power) , Harry stab the enchanted diary with one of the basilisk's fangs, and the memory of Riddle is destroyed. Ginny then awaken from her near-death state. Hermione recovered fully along with all the other victims of the basilisk.

As I have said earlier, the book is far better than the movie. Characters were fresh out, especially the Weasly family, and the plot was moving along nice and tight throughout the whole book. I finally saw why the series lasted as long as it did. J. K. Rowling expanded on the wizard world and the strange diverse characters in it. A good, solid read; pick this one up.

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