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Thoughts on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling, Chapters 16-18

Thoughts on Chapters 1-3, 4-6, 7-9, 10-12, and 13-15!

Chapter Sixteen: The Chamber of Secrets

  1. Ginny trying to tell Harry and Ron what she knows about the Chamber, and looking like Dobby while she’s doing so, is such a powerful image. In a very different way, she’s enslaved, too.
  2. It’s also interesting that it’s Ron she wants to tell, of all her brothers. It can’t be Harry she wants to tell—she must be dreading that, telling her crush that she’s blacked out and thinks she’s done awful, terrible things—but she’s got Fred and George, who she always seemed closer to, and Percy, yet it’s Ron she wants to tell.
  3. For storytelling, I know it’s because he’s in the Golden Trio, but for character, that’s interesting.
  4. But I guess Percy wouldn’t have believed her, and Fred and George probably would’ve tried to joke about it, to comfort her. She could rely on Ron to make a drama of it (I say that in the nicest possibly way) and, being closer in age, to believe her rather than patronise her.
  5. McGonagall shedding a tear thinking Harry and Ron were sneaking off to visit Hermione is wonderful. Again, it’s convenient—the strictest teacher in the school lets them skip class to wander the corridors alone and break Madam Pomfrey’s steadfast rule of no visitors, because they have to be there to get the clue paper out of Hermione’s hands—but it’s nice to get these reminders that however strict she is, McGonagall cares deeply for her students.
  6. Especially with it being Hermione, her favourite; Ron, from a staunchly Gryffindor family; and Harry, who she’s always felt for, given his circumstances and how much history she’s got with his parents and their friends. There are decades of feelings for McGonagall in that moment, when you think about them.
  7. I love Minerva McGonagall.
  8. Harry and Ron finding Hermione’s ‘pipes’ clue about the Basilisk, and actually figuring the rest out by themselves, is probably the only time they actually do it. It’s usually Harry and Hermione, and Ron being frustrated about it—like it comes to a head in Hallows, when Ron walks out. Just an interesting thought.
  9. Hermione ripping out a page from a library book must’ve infuriated Madam Pince.
  10. I wonder if that’s how Hermione’s attack scene was discovered—Madam Pince chasing after Hermione for ripping the page, a library book wailing in the background.
  11. At least Harry and Ron decide to tell McGonagall about this one, instead of instantly deciding to deal with it themselves. Even if they do eavesdrop in the staff room wardobe first, and don’t wind up telling her anything. At least they had intended to. That’s growth, I guess.
  12. Ron sliding down the back of the wardrobe, hearing Ginny’s been taken into the Chamber, is heartbreaking.
  13. There are subtle differences in how the teachers talk to each other, in the staff room when they think no students are around, that interests me. Namely Snape actually talking to another human, instead of sneering at them.
  14. That Ron actually thinks to go to Lockhart, and attempt to help him save Ginny, is proof of how emotional he is. He knows Lockhart’s a fraud; he’s not thinking clearly enough to realise there’s no way Lockhart would go down there.
  15. Entertaining as he is, no one deserved to have their memory wiped with a backfiring wand as much as Lockhart did.
  16. Ron having to stay on the other side of a bunch of fallen rocks, while his best friend goes off to try to save his sister, must have killed him.

Chapter Seventeen: The Heir of Slytherin

  1. The size of the Salazar Slytherin statue in the Chamber always surprises me. They’re miles under the school, and this statue is full length and so big Harry has to crane his neck to see it. Gratuitousness aside, how did Slytherin make that thing/get it down there without at least one of the other Founders knowing about it?
  2. Harry losing his rag with Tom Riddle, thinking he’s dawdling instead of helping Harry get Ginny out of there, is why Harry’s not a Ravenclaw.
  3. On the other hand, Harry’s rage at Riddle for taking the piss out of Ginny, and insulting Dumbledore and Hagrid, is righteous and great.
  4. Also the rage where Harry says his ‘common, Muggleborn mother’ saved him. The POWER.
  5. The moment where Riddle does his whole name-anagram-in-fire-letters thing haunted me as a kid. That’s how you do a creepy reveal.
  6. Harry does what he can, but let’s face it, Fawkes is the real hero of this battle.
  7. I love Fawkes.
  8. It really is a miracle that the Sword landing on Harry head didn’t knock him out. It has rubies the size of eggs. Harry would’ve had headache for weeks.
  9. Poor Ginny. The level of PTSD she must’ve had from this whole ordeal must’ve been horrific.
  10. She had every right to shout at Harry about it in Phoenix.
  11. But Ron’s joy at Lockhart’s wiped memory is hilarious.

Chapter Eighteen: Dobby’s Reward

  1. That seems like a strange title for this chapter. Anticlimactic for the very last one of the book.
  2. How stunned would you be, if you were Mr and Mrs Weasley, hearing the tale of what your youngest kids and their friends have been doing all year? You’ve been worrying sick about them in a school where their fellow students and friends are being attacked, and it turns out they’ve been on jollies into the Forbidden Forest, brewing potions to sneak into other common rooms, and being enchanted by the memory of the darkest wizard of all time.
  3. Yeah, they’re all heroes, but I think I’d ground them, you know. On principle.
  4. Maybe that’s why Molly and Arthur’s reactions are so severe in Azkaban; Arthur insisting Harry’s old enough to know that Sirius is ‘after him’, and Molly being so determined to keep him safe and young and in the dark.
  5. Dumbledore’s reaction, as usual, is also interesting. The fact that he was just sitting in McGonagall’s office, doing much of nothing, while Harry and Ron were in the Chamber, is something else. Whether he’s only just arrived, or he’s talking to grieving parents, or not — he’s supposed to be the most powerful wizard of all time, and this is his crib, and he’s not throwing himself around the school trying to find them? Come on.
  6. And then he’s equally passive when Harry arrives and explains; only really speaking when Harry needs him to, or when there needs to be an exposition dump about Volders.
  7. It’s a good job his first thought is getting Hagrid back from Azkaban, or else I think he’d be very unlikable right now.
  8. And here’s something that makes no real sense: why did Dobby go to Hogwarts with Lucius?
  9. I know we need him there for Harry to trick Lucius into freeing him, but why would he even be there? Lucius has been to the school without Dobby before, and it’s not like Dobby’s his chauffer or something. Why is he even there, except because plot?
  10. Also surprised Lucius even touched Harry’s manky sock long enough to throw it to Dobby.
  11. Love the feast, though, with the return of Hermione and Hagrid. And, of course, another miraculous Gryffindor House Cup win. But again: what did any other house do to save the day?
  12. Harry giving Ron the Dursleys’ phone number was never going to be anything other than disastrous.

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