Saturday, July 24, 2010

HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS by J.K. Rowling

Review by Kimber, Jr.
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Countdown to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Month One-Book Two-Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K Rowling
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Next up we have the Chamber of Secrets, number two in the Harry Potter series! Here we go!
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The story opens to find Harry back with the Dursleys, who, as usual, are ignoring his birthday. What a life! What with the Dursleys telling him to pretend he doesn’t exist and Dudley bullying him at every turn, Harry is desperate to get back to Hogwarts.
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That’s when a strange thing happens. A house-elf named Dobby turns up in Harry’s bedroom! Between hitting himself over the head with Harry’s lamp, he tells Harry that there will be horrible things going on at Hogwarts and that Harry must not go back! Then, to prove his point, Dobby decides to drop a cake on a person whom Uncle Vernon had been trying to drive a deal with, thereby landing Harry in his room with bars on his window and no way to get to Hogwarts.
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Luckily, however, his friends haven’t forgotten (and neither have his enemies, either, but that’s irrelevant right now) him! One night, Harry happens to wake up to see Ron and the twins Fred and George hovering outside his window in a flying car! Not your typical school bus, maybe, but it does the trick, and they manage to get Harry out of there and to their own house, the Burrow. Needless to say, Mrs. Weasley isn’t happy that Ron and the twins borrowed the car, so some funniness ensues, topped off by Mr. Weasley interrogating Harry about the strange workings of Muggles.
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Then on the first day of school, things start going wrong from the time Harry and Ron step into King’s Cross, the railway station! First off, the gateway to Hogwarts Express seals itself so that Harry and Ron can’t get on! Then, when the boys decide to fly Mr. Weasley’s flying car to Hogwarts, it pretty much completely flops. I mean, sure, they get there, but some Muggles spot them, so they get in trouble. But more than that, when they land, they don’t land-they crash-land! Add to that they do it right into a very cranky tree called the Whomping Willow, and you can see why it’s not a good idea to fly a car to Hogwarts!
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Luckily, though, they don’t get expelled, so you can stop holding your breath. But other problems soon crop up! First off, you’ve got the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Lockhart. Not only is he a lousy teacher, he’s a lousy teacher who thinks he’s the awesomest teacher in the world just because he (supposedly) beat all kinds of Dark creatures.
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Then there’s two little first-years, Colin Creevey and Ginny Weasley. Ginny is Ron’s sister, and she is like, whoah about Harry. As in whoah. Colin is just generally in awe of Harry, and is always bugging Harry for a signed picture, which leads to some sticky situations involving a jealous Malfoy and a persistent Professor Lockhart.
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But then, at Halloween, a new and much bigger problem shows itself. While going back to their dormitory, Harry, Ron, and Hermione come upon a surprising sight: Filch’s cat Mrs. Norris, hanging as though dead, next to a threatening message about something called the Chamber of Secrets opening once more.
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Remember Dobby? Well, he’s not done with Harry yet! In the next Quidditch game, he tampers with a Bludger so that it follows Harry, and only Harry, around. The end result? Harry ends up in the hospital wing with a boneless arm! The moral of this particular dilemma? 1): never let Professor Lockhart try and fix your arm, or it will definitely and literally flop, and 2): try to stay on Dobby’s bad side, or else he’ll try to save your life, which can result in broken-or completely gone, if you decide to ignore my advice about Professor Lockhart-bones! Oh, yeah, and I’m not telling who won. Once again, it’s waaaay too obvious!
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That’s when Harry finds that poor Colin has been Petrified, just like Mrs. Norris! What’s doing this? Who’s to blame? Has it happened before? These are the questions Harry, Ron, and Hermione are determined to find the answers to. So they brew up a batch of Polyjuice Potion, a potion that will temporarily give them the appearance of another, and go interrogate Malfoy as Slytherins. Well, at least Harry and Ron do. Hermione accidentally uses a cat hair instead of a Slytherin’s, and for a while she’s stuck in the hospital wing with a cat’s face and tail!
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Soon after, Harry, Ron, and Hermione join a dueling club, where, in a duel between Harry and Malfoy, a snake crops up, and we all figure out that Harry is what’s called a Parselmouth-in other words, he can talk to snakes! This doesn’t do much good for his reputation, however, as, for one; Lord Voldemort is also a Parselmouth! Yipes!
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Soon after this, Harry discovers a diary, thrown away by someone in the girls’s bathroom. It’s dated fifty years ago, when the Chamber of Secrets was last opened! The only problem is nothing appears to be written in it! But then Harry discovers that if you write in it, a guy named Tom Riddle writes back! He tells Harry that the last time the Chamber was opened, a girl died!
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But before Harry, Ron, and Hermione can figure out where the Chamber is, Hermione is Petrified! Yeah, you heard me right. Hermione is Petrified!!!!
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However, with a little help from Hermione’s research, Harry and Ron figure it out: the monster in the Chamber is a Basilisk. Harry been hearing it through the walls because he’s a Parselmouth, and the Basilisk is basically a big serpent, that’s been using the plumbing to get around! It kills by looking people in the eye, but no one’s looked it in the eye, so no one’s dead! And the girl that died last time it was set free is still at Hogwarts-the ghost-in-the-bathroom, Moaning Myrtle! And the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets? It’s in her bathroom!
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That’s when Ginny is taken into the Chamber, and Harry and Ron decide to go get her, with the (unwilling) help of Professor Lockhart, who ends up at the wrong end of Ron’s malfunctioning wand and has his memory wiped! Ooops.
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So Harry (Ron is trapped behind a rockfall when Professor Lockhart accidentally wipes his own mind and sets it off) reaches the heart of the Chamber of Secrets, only to find Ginny, unconscious, and almost dead.
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Then he meets Tom Riddle, and finds out he’s the one who opened the Chamber of Secrets and set it on all those people fifty years ago! He’s the one who’s been possessing poor Ginny all this time, making her set the basilisk on the people and Mrs. Norris! He’s the one who grew up to become………..LORD VOLDEMORT!!!!!!!!!!!
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Yeah. Really.
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Not to mention he’s a Parselmouth, too, so he summons the basilisk to try and kill Harry. But before he can, two things come to help Harry-Dumbledore’s pet phoenix, Fawkes, and the Sorting Hat! Not much against a basilisk, you say? Think again! With Fawkes’s help, he kills the basilisk with Godric Gryffindor’s legendary sword, pulled out of the depth of the Sorting Hat. Then, with a fang pulled out of its mouth, he stabs Tom Riddle’s diary, thereby getting rid of the teenage-Voldemort and saving Ginny’s life.
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Then, with Fawkes’s help, he gets everyone out of there and gives the sword to Dumbledore.
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And yes, he survives. What’d you expect? “Oh, yeah, Harry’s dead, uhmm, so there’s no more books.” Well, sorry, but not by a long shot! Everyone’s fine, and they go home from Hogwarts safe and in one piece.
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For now!
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So that’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for you! Next month we’ve got two again, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. After that, though, it’s back to one book a month until we get to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! But until next month, see you later!

2 comments:

Nayuleska said...

Hi Kimber An Jr! That was a great recap of HP2. It was a funny retelling - especially because I had a HP dream the other night!

Looking forward to the next two reviews! One a month is ok :)

Anonymous said...

It’s not hard to see why J K Rowling is so popular among the readers. She is a different kind of magician who knows how to infuse a soul into the story.