Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Reread Review (Myriam)

Hello again!  So once I read the first book, I got through the second one pretty quickly. I guess I am now in the groove of this project. Or, it could be the Harry Potter addiction kicking in again...

This book starts off with the introduction of a new character: Dobby the house elf. He might seem insignificant at first, but turns out to be quite meaningful. Although he tries to help Harry, it always seems like he is working against him, to the point of nearly killing him a few times. But you know, Dobby’s heart is in the right place. This creature has been serving the Malfoy’s and is therefore very aware of his master’s intentions. He knows a lot of information, including the diary plot, as well as the history behind the opening of the Chamber of Secrets. Living with the Malfoys, he must also be aware of many details of Voldemort’s “reign”. He is a valuable character to Harry as he can be a great source of information, not to mention a loyal friend.

We also make the discovery of Tom Marvolo Riddle, aka Lord Voldemort. This is now Harry’s second encounter with the dark Lord, or third if you count the time he was a baby. It really hit me this time around that the diary is a Horcrux. I had never reread the second book after finding out about Horcruxes. This really got my mind spinning. Harry has now witnessed and destroyed one of the seven Horcruxes. (Here is a list of the seven, just to refresh your memory: Riddle’s Diary, Slytherin’s Locket, Marovolo Gaunt’s Ring, Hufflepuff’s Goblet, Ravenclaw’s Diadem, Nagini and Harry.) I then had a thought that had never occurred to me before. Voldemort actually split himself in seven by accident, because he wasn’t planning on Harry being a Horcrux. Voldemort himself was the seventh part of his soul, but when he tried to kill Harry, he actually split his soul one too many times and became powerless and bodiless. It is interesting to see how Voldemort has managed to live, and eventually regain a body of his own. Dumbledore hinted to this at the end of the first book when Harry asked him whether Voldemort would return. Dumbledore said that, sadly, there are ways in which Voldemort could return. He occupied Quirrel’s body for a few years, drank unicorn blood to remain alive (although cursed), and tried to find the philosopher’s stone (but that backfired), now he’s on to trying to use Riddle’s memory to suck the soul out of Ginny to regain his strength. There really isn’t anything he wouldn’t do to regain his powers. The ironic part of it all is that he thinks killing Harry will help him achieve this, not knowing that by killing Harry he would be killing a part of himself.

So already in the second book, we are presented with two of the seven Hocruxes, a very big piece of the plot. Then, at the end of the book, Dumbledore vaguely explains how Tom Riddle transformed into Voldemort, we only get the details form Slughorn in the sixth book. Now that Harry sees the destroyed diary, he realises that it contained a part of Voldemort’s soul. This allowed Dumbledore to confirm a theory he had on what exactly Voldemort did to try and become immortal. He already suspects that Harry himself is a Horcrux, seeing as he can tell that Harry shares a lot of the same “qualities”, for lack of a better word, as Voldemort. However, he is not sharing this information with Harry until he can confirm his theory. Dumbledore does a lot of the leg-work and research needed by Harry to confront Voldemort. The headmaster took it upon himself to prepare his student as best as possible for what lay ahead. Harry couldn’t have done what he does in the end without his support system.

Now, onto lighter topics. In hindsight, it is much more apparent to me that Ginny and Harry would be a couple one day. Ginny has always been fascinated by Harry and very shy and nervous around him. I’m sure that by saving her life, the infatuation only grew. The signs are all there, and quite obvious the second time around! I think Harry ignores his feelings at first because Ginny is, after all, his best friend’s sister. This poor girl has had a rough first-year at school and I bet Harry can relate to that. I wonder if Hogwarts has always been this intense, or is it just because of Harry’s presence that things are a lot more, shall we say, disturbing. Maybe that’s part of the school going experience in the wizarding world.

Another interesting note is the evolution of the chemistry between Harry, Ron and Hermione. For those who need a refresher, Hermione is in the hospital wing for a good part of their second year. They worked very well together while trying to find the Philosopher’s stone during their previous year. They learned each other’s strength and weaknesses. Naturally, during the current year’s adventures they strengthen their bonds, all while learning form one another. Hermione definitely proved herself with the polyjuice potion plot, until she had to add the hairs. This mishap sent her to the hospital wing for a while before being petrified. Once she did get petrified, Harry and Ron had lost their secret weapon. They now had to work even harder to find the Chamber. It is interesting how Hermione still managed to help them out while being a statue. This is a funny way of asserting her as the mastermind behind the mischief trio. This said, she missed out on all the fun. She worked very hard to figure things out, but never had the opportunity to get her hands dirty. She worked in the shadows, so to speak. This forced Harry and Ron to figure it out and deal with the monster on their own. Without Hermione’s clues, they might not have been able to figure it out on time to save Ginny.

Speaking of solving the problem, why is it that in fifty years, no one has ever asked Moaning Myrtle how she died? The teachers of Hogwarts focus so much on the fact that the Chamber of Secrets is a legend, all while knowing it does exist and has been opened in the past. Perhaps it is due to the fact that they were all certain that the creature that lived in the Chamber had been slain. By framing Hagrid and Aragog when he first opened the Chamber, Tom Riddle made sure that the Chamber could be opened again, at a future date. By doing so, he ensured that the teachers would rest at ease and no longer search for the Chamber. The other part of his plan was to preserve his memory in a diary, in order to make sure that someday, someone would have what is needed to achieve Salazar Slytherin’s noble work. Riddle must have believed entirely in this cause, seeing as he put so much energy and thought in this process. Perhaps he saw it as his first step in his rise to ultimate power. Once the Chamber had been opened for a second time, Dumbledore got a confirmation for his suspicion of Hagrid’s innocence in the first opening. This time however, Hagrid’s name was cleared for good, which allows him to go on with his life and start anew.

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