Monday, February 18, 2019

#YearOfHarryPotter: Chamber of Secrets, Chapters 5-9

This past week, I read my second installment of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets which covered Chapter 5 ("The Whomping Willow"), Chapter 6 ("Gilderoy Lockhart"), Chapter 7 ("Mudbloods and Murmurs"), Chapter 8 ("The Deathday Party"), and Chapter 9 ("The Writing on the Wall"). This post will contain spoilers.

A lot of information about the wizarding world is crammed into these chapters. This book has the first mentions of squibs and mudbloods, the first howler (from Molly Weasley, to Ron), and it provides details about the founding of Hogwarts. We also meet Moaning Myrtle for the first time, and Harry, Ron, and Hermione learn a bit more about ghosts at Nearly Headless Nick's deathday party.  We even learn about the existence of Kwikspell courses, which Filch is taking to try and learn magic.

As always, I was on the lookout for little moments that might foreshadow future events, and sure enough, I found a line in Chapter 5 that has much more meaning on a second reading. As the Weasleys and Harry are leaving the Burrow for the train station in the flying Ford Anglia, they have to turn back twice for forgotten items, and one of these is Ginny's diary. I think it's neat that there's a sense of fate to Ginny's role in the opening of the  Chamber of Secrets, that if they hadn't gone back the second time, she might not have been involved at all! I was also amused that, when Harry thinks back on his experience during his Sorting the previous year, the word Rowling uses to describe his feelings is "petrified."

In terms of bad behavior, Harry does seem to get off pretty easy after he and Ron crash the car into the Whomping Willow. While it does seem petty that Snape wants him to be suspended from Quidditch (a punishment that could only help his own house, Slytherin, win) it does seem like McGonagall should have done something besides have him help Lockhart with his fan mail. But, how much of a story would there be if Harry did one wrong thing and got himself expelled? Clearly, misbehavior and the way it is handled is often used to further the plot, and I think most kids can recognize the difference between that and disobedience in the real world.

I'm really looking forward to the rest of this book. I remember hardly being able to put it down the first time I read it, and though I'm intentionally taking it slow this time, that feeling of anticipation about what's going to happen next is already building.

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