Saturday, June 14, 2014

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Discussion [Summer Reading Challenge]

Hey, y'all! So, as you can see, I'm reading my June series, Harry Potter! Since Harry Potter is my favorite book series and June is my favorite month (because my birthday is on the 10th!), I couldn't think of a better challenge to set myself in the month of June!

As I said in the last post, these Harry Potter posts will be formatted differently from the May discussion posts. I won't be writing non-spoiler sections for any of the Harry Potter books, simply because it's Harry Potter. If you haven't read the books already, go read them. At this point, there's almost no excuse for not having read the books except a lack of interest... in which case you probably wouldn't be here reading my discussion! I also will not be writing a summary of each book because, again, it's Harry Potter. If you don't know what Harry Potter is about, I'd really like to know what rock you've been hiding under because it sounds like an amazing place to get away and completely shut out all knowledge of the outside world.

Anyway, on to the discussion!

So, a little background. I first read Chamber of Secrets in 5th grade. I can't fully remember when I first picked the series up, but I know it was during the first half of 5th grade, because I have distinct memories of my first reads of books 3 & 4 being during Christmas break. So, I can only assume that I picked this up sometime in the late fall of 2004. I've since read it several times, and I honestly wish I'd counted the times or recorded the dates. The only solid re-read I know the date of is July 2012, because I re-read the first 3 books while on a trip. Other than that, I have no idea when I re-read it or how many times for sure. I've probably read this one a few less times than I've read Sorcerer's Stone, so I'd put it in the ballpark of 8 reads. 

Just as with Sorcerer's Stone, the pacing of the book surprised me. We don't really get the first mention of the Chamber of Secrets until close to halfway through the book. And then, when we finally got down into the chamber, only 40 pages were left in the book! Like I said in my last discussion, I don't think I ever realized how incredibly short the first few books are. The big scene with Tom Riddle and Harry in the chamber was much shorter than I remembered it being. This is probably because the movie added on some stuff to make it more exciting, but it still seemed extremely short.

For the longest time, Chamber of Secrets has been my least favorite of the books. And it seems like this is a common theme throughout much of the Harry Potter fandom. Obviously, I still really enjoy the book, but the others have just always out-shined it. Now that I'm reading Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets back to back... I'm not quite so secure in my opinion. Each has strengths over the other. Chamber of Secrets has the more intricate and interesting plot, but for me there aren't many moments that stand out as really great. Sorcerer's Stone's plot may not be as good or intricate, but it has some of my favorite moments and quotes in the entire series- the school song in the great hall, Weasley antics, Dumbledore wisdom, etc. Before this, I don't think I fully appreciated the plot of Chamber of Secrets, and I'm not sure why. At this point, the two books are pretty much tied in my mind, and I don't know which I like better.

Speaking of the plot... I know that we all consider book 4 to be when the series gets dark, but Hagrid gets sent to Azkaban, Dumbledore is nearly removed as headmaster, several characters are petrified for several months, and Lockhart's entire memory is wiped clean, and he'll never get it back. It's not as dark as the rest of the series, but it's definitely dark. 

This book also introduces one of my favorite Harry Potter characters ever- Dobby! What a great little house elf. He goes to great lengths- even almost killing Harry- to get Harry away from the school as it grows more and more dangerous. And then the scene where he stops Lucius from killing Harry is just great as well. Dobby is just one of my favorite Harry Potter characters. 

And we also get introduced to one of my least favorite characters- Gilderoy Lockhart. Honestly, I think I hate him more than I hate Voldemort. Lockhart is just incompetent, arrogant, and vain. And a coward. I just can't stand him at all. He would definitely make my list of 5 least favorite characters in Harry Potter, for sure. He has the anti-Midas touch. 

So, let's talk rating. I'm going to go ahead and give it 5 stars out of 5. When I do a 10 star system on the wrap-up discussion, it probably won't get the full 10, but it deserves more than a 4 or 4.5.

Favorite Quotes

I'll be adding commentary on these since this post is really short so far...

Page 6: "I'll be in my bedroom, making no noise and pretending I'm not there," said Harry tonelessly. 

Page 13: "Really?" said Mr. Weasley eagerly. "Were there escapators? How exactly-"

Page 155: "It's not funny," said Ron, fiercely. "If you must know, when I was three, Fred turned my- my teddy bear into a great big filthy spider because I broke his toy broomstick... You wouldn't like them either if you'd been holding your bear and suddenly it had too many legs and..."
He broke off, shuddering. Hermione was obviously still trying not to laugh.

Page 157: "RON!"
Percy Weasley had stopped dead at the head of the stairs, prefect badge agleam, and expressions of complete shock on his face.
"That's a girls' bathroom!" he gasped. "What were you-"

Page 161: He usually picked Harry to help him with these reconstructions; so far, Harry had been forced to play a simple Translyvanian villager whom Lockhart had cured of a Babbling Curse, a yeti with a head cold, and a vampire who had been unable to eat anything except lettuce since Lockhart had dealt with him. 

Page 185: Ginny Weasley, who sat next to Colin Creevey in Charms, was distraught, but harry felt that Fred and George were going the wrong way about cheering her up. They were taking turns covering themselves with fur or boils and jumping out at her from behind statues. They only stopped when Percy, apoplectic with rage, told them he was going to write to Mrs. Weasley and tell her Ginny was having nightmares.

Page 193: He [Lockhart] raised his own wand, attempted a complicated sort of wiggling action, and dropped it. Snape smirked as Lockhart quickly picked it up, saying, "Whoops- my wand is a little overexcited-".........
Lockhart cuffed Harry merrily on the shoulder. "Just do what I did, Harry!"
"What, drop my wand?"

Page 210: Fred and George, however, found all this very funny. They went out of their way to march ahead of Harry down the corridors, shouting, "Make way for the Heir of Slytherin, seriously evil wizard coming through..."
Percy was deeply disapproving of this behavior.
"It is not a laughing matter," he said coldly.
"Oh, get out of the way, Percy," said Fred. "Harry's in a hurry."
"Yeah, he's off to the Chamber of Secrets for a cup of tea with his fanged servant," said George, chortling.
Ginny didn't find it amusing either.
"Oh don't," she wailed every time Fred asked Harry loudly who he was planning to attack next, or when George pretended to ward Harry off with a large clove of garlic when they met.
Harry didn't mind; if made him feel better that Fred and George, at least, thought the idea of his being Slytherin's heir was quite ludicruos. 
This is my favorite quote in the entire book. This moment honestly makes me tear up because while everyone except for Ron and Hermione are at least wary of Harry (even if they aren't fully scared of him), Fred and George are parading him down the hall, not doubting him for a second. They're more than just their humor; they're incredibly loyal and inherently good. I just love them, okay?!

Page 212: Percy, who hadn't noticed that Fred had bewitched his prefect badge so that it now read "Pinhead," kept asking them all what they were sniggering at.

Page 224: "Honestly, if you were any slower, you would be going backward." [Draco]
I do love Draco. I love him a lot.

Page 238: His eyes are as green as a fresh pickled toad, 
His hair is as dark as a blackboard,
I wish he was mine, he's really divine,
The hero who conquered the Dark Lord
Plus everything that happened before this at breakfast with all the professors hating Lockhart for all of the Valentine's Day stuff.

Page 255: "Because that's what Hermione does," said Ron, shrugging. "When in doubt, go to the library."

Page 333: "It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."

Page 341: "Oh, that," said Ginny, giggling. "Well- Percy's got a girlfriend."
Fred dropped a stack of books on George's head. 
I just tried to picture Fred dropping books on George's head and how that might happen and it's just hilarious.

So, there you go, that's all for this summer reading post! I hope you enjoyed it, because I definitely enjoyed making it. I could talk about Harry Potter ceaselessly for the rest of my life and never get bored. If you have questions, ask in the comments!

Thanks for reading! If you like my posts, don't forget to subscribe/follow, since it lets me know that you're enjoying what I'm doing. See y'all in a few days!

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