Sunday, March 2, 2014

Reread: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

It's month two (er, well, technically three since it's now March but let's just pretend it's still February, ok?) of the Harry Potter Reread Challenge! For more information about this challenge and the idea behind it, visit Just a Lil' Lost's sign up post and check out my post on book number one. A reminder that this is a casual readalong and to check out Twitter or Instagram with #HPreread. Another reminder: if you haven't read this book, or even finished the whole series, please beware of spoilers. If you don't want parts of the story or series ruined for you, stay away until you finish the books! Month two of the challenge meant rereading book two, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Like a lot of people, I felt like this was my least favourite book of the series. Why? I'm not really sure. It may have something to do with the fact that, at first read, it doesn't seem to move the entire plot forward too much. However, knowing what happens at the end means that we realize how important Tom Riddle's diary actually is. It could also be because I am so not a fan of Gilderoy Lockhart, the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher in Harry's second year. He's not exactly evil. He's, as I tweeted, incredibly sleazy. Every scene with him in it makes me want to smack him upside the head!

I was reminded while reading this book how much I freaking love Diagon Alley. I loved being introduced to even more stores as the Weasleys, Harry, and the Grangers visited in the summer. We're also introduced to the shady side of the wizarding world - Knockturn Alley - after Harry has some issues with Floo Powder (which, by the way, I totally would be so much easier). I'm sure most people can/have figured out that Diagon Alley = diagonally. However, I recently (re?)learned that Knockturn Alley = nocturnally. As the Harry Potter Wiki explains, "Nocturnally" has to do with the night and darkness, hinting at its dark nature." The more you know! Speaking of Knockturn Alley...did anyone who did the reread notice that Harry hides in a black cabinet in Borgin and Burkes (page 42)? And that Nearly Headless Nick drops an extremely valuable vanishing cabinet in the halls of Hogwarts to save Harry from detention (page 98)? Interesting to note that those important cabinets first show up so early on in the series.

I had some emotional moments while reading this book. Chamber of Secrets is when we first meet Dobby the house elf. I may not love Dobby as much as some HP fans but I still hate how things turn out for him in the end. But instead of focusing on that, let's just revisit the very first time he appears, even though we don't yet know it's Dobby:
"Harry suddenly sat bolt upright on the garden bench. He had been staring absent-mindedly into the hedge - and the hedge was staring back. Two enormous green eyes had appeared among the leaves."
- page 12
Just like I love going back to Diagon Alley, I adored experiencing Harry's first visit to The Burrow, the Weasleys' home.

I also found myself getting furious that Harry was living in such horrible conditions at the Dursleys'. It's so horrible that it's almost comical. I just can't understand how nothing was done to make things marginally better. I know why he had to go back there every summer, to be with family, but still. Ugh. They're just the worst.

As most people know, J.K Rowling said in an interview a few weeks ago that she wished she had not had Ron and Hermione end up together. I'm not going to talk about the implications of this revelation. What I will say is that I never paid much attention to the relationship aspect of the stories when I first read them - that's not what was important to the overall story. This time around, however, I found myself paying a little more attention to how Ron and Hermione interacted. They're still very much twelve years old and Hermione disapproves of a lot of what Ron does. Ron makes fun of Hermione a lot. But, they're fiercely loyal to each other.

At the end of the book, the trio notes that it didn't matter that their Defence Against the Dark Arts classes had been cancelled as they had been getting quite a lot of practice in in real life. Also, they practiced disarming, which "Harry was getting very good at." Talk about foreshadowing!

Like with the first book, I tweeted while reading. You can check out my Storify story here and see what I had to say while I read book two.

Another note: I adore the Ford Anglia. I'm not sure why I love this flying car so much but it's probably my favourite part of this whole book :)

Universal in 2012. I was  SO excited to see the car at one of the rides!
There were lots of amusing and poignant lines in Chamber of Secrets, as is to be expected. I could share them all but that would get boring for you. Just read the books. But I will leave you with one of Dumbledore's many memorable quotes (that man is so wise):
"It is our choices, Harry, that show us what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
- page 245
So there we have it. My thoughts on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. As jumbled and all over the place as they may be. What do you guys think of book two? I'm super excited to read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban next (er, this) month because it's one of my favourites of the series.

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