A few weeks ago I started reading the Harry Potter series again, and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is one of my least favourites in the series though it was the first one I ever read. My version is probably about twenty years old (which really shocks me when I think about how many years young I am!)
This book is really the start of understanding why Voldermort survived and how this impacts the later books is fascinating. There is a lot of mystery wrapped around the main plot lines, what is the creature which has been petrifying everyone? Where has Dobby come from and why is he going to such lengths to ‘help’ Harry see that he has to return home?
As someone who has previously read this book none of these items really held my interest. The longer term implications which I did not know the first time I read it were much more fascinating to me now.
This books shows you a lot more of the relationship between Harry and Ron but also shows that Hermione’s intelligence will be key in future books as she is the only individual who seems to work out what creature it is that is causing the issues that the school is facing.
We also meet Draco Malfoy’s father in this book and his actions have a profound effect on the story. It also allows the reader to understand more about Harry’s nemesis of Draco Malfoy and this makes his character more relatable.
This is the first time we get to see the inside of a magical home and the controlled chaos which is the Weasley family. While I was growing up I knew someone who was one of ten and I feel that they would have been able to relate to the challenges facing such a large family. I know that their vehicle of choice was a van rather than a magically altered car, but the principle is the same.
One of the themes in this book which is fairly strong through out the series is discrimination. While we knew in the first book that the Slytherins we were introduced too do not like muggleborns, another form of discrimination in this book isthe shunning of Harry. Harry has a fairly unusual gift of speaking to snakes and when this is revealed everyone automatically assumes that Harry is a dark wizard and therefore it must be him that has opened the Chamber of Secrets. The shunning of Harry show’s how fickle people can be when it comes to fear and a lack of understanding.
This book made me feel a little ambivalent. When I First read this book I really enjoyed it. However, I have read it a number of times since and I do not get the same feeling of I must read this to the end. I also feel that the later books are where the more complex plots are revealed and the book by itself I feel is lacking in something.
As much as I love this series I am only giving this book three stars. As i explained above I don’t love Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (and I am sure it must be someone’s favourite). I do understand that this book lays the ground work for the overall plot line.
Do you think I have been harsh in my rating? Is this your favourite Harry Potter book, if so let me know in the comments below.