Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

By J.K. Rowling

Scholastic

ISBN: 0-439-06486-4

5 stars

Ah, the second book in my Harry Potter re-read this summer and what a wonderful story this one is.  OK, I’ll probably say that about all of them so get over it now.  Before I forget to mention it, there will be a number of spoilers in this one so stop reading now if you prefer not to know.

The short re-cap of this installment — Harry joins Ron and Hermione for their second year at Hogwarts.  Harry finds out he’s a parseltongue (he can talk to snakes) and starts to hear voices, student turn up petrified, and the Chamber of Secrets is rumored to have been opened by the heir of Slytherin.

Flying cars, the Whomping Willow, and Dobby the house elf.  Dobby is probably one of my favorite characters, just below Ginny Weasley.  When he died in book seven, I was so upset, maybe even more upset than when Dumbledore died because I wasn’t expecting it.  He’s amusing, sort of pathetic, and shows you just how awful the Malfoy’s are as a family.  It’s not just Draco, it’s all of them.  We learn more about Hagrid and we get to see how nasty some of the creatures are that he loves so dearly.  I’m with Ron all that way on this one; I prefer the dragon to the gargantuan sized spiders.  They are way too creepy, crawly, and there is something very disturbing about all those all those eyes looking back at you.  Ginny joins the rest of the Weasley clan at school in year two and I love her shyness and the crush she has on Harry.  It’s so cute.  Still hating Snape as I expected to.  Nasty, mean, greasy, undermining — I have nothing nice to say about him and that will not be changing.  I know what’s coming and re-reading makes me dislike him ever more than ever.  The Weasley twins set off more fireworks in this one and it’s nice to see their future in humor retail emerging.  Such talent these two boys have for destruction but it’s all in good fun and someone has to be the comic relief.

Details, details, details.  Rowling does such a great job of putting so many tiny hints in these books.  First, the idea that Harry can talk to snakes appears in the Sorcerer’s Stone when he unleashes the snake at the zoo and now it’s explained even more here by Dumbledore when he tells Harry that part of Voldermort’s power was transferred to Harry when he attacked him.  What I like even more is that it’s left out there for us to wonder what will happen with that bit of information later.  I also like the mention of werewolves in this one preparing us for a new professor in book three which I will tell you now is my favorite.  🙂

Not having read these early books in such a long time makes me very happy to be doing so now.  They are a treat to read and a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.  I can easily classify this series as a comfort read.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

By J.K. Rowling

Scholastic Press

ISBN: 0-590-35340-3

5 stars

This summer I thought I would re-read the Harry Potter books. A lot of people are talking about them and it reminded me how much I loved this series. I haven’t read the books in so long and I thought it was a good time to start from the beginning again.

I’m not going to do a full re-cap or review of the book. I’m going to say — and yes, it’s a generalized statement but I think also a rather true one — that most people know what the books are about so this is all I’m going to say by means of a re-cap:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is the first book in the series. This is the book where Harry finds out he’s a wizard, goes off to Hogwarts, makes friends with Ron and Hermione, learns to fly a broomstick and play quidditch, makes enemies of Professor Snape and Draco Malfoy, and starts to understand what it means to be the boy who lived.

Good? I am. Now, let’s move on. I haven’t read this book in several years but as soon as I cracked the cover, I remembered how much I loved the world that Rowling created. There are so many wonderfully magical things, creatures, and people that I wonder how someone could not be swept away. There are also a lot of little details that I didn’t remember, for instance, the fact that Dumbledore wears high heeled shoes and is a lot flashier than I remembered him to be. I relished the fact that I still don’t like Snape (I don’t know how anyone can and I still won’t forgive him even in the last book for all the horror he inflicted for an old grudge, among many other things.) and how snarky and cruel Draco can be. Hermione is slightly unlikable at the start but I found it fun to see Harry and Ron become her friends and the three become inseparable. Oh and Ginny. Ginny is one of my favorites and I love her enthusiasm and crush on Harry. I find it so endearing. Ahhh….is all I want to say when she points at him in the train station. Hagrid, oh Hagrid, you big, lovable oaf. A dragon? Really? And who else would name a three-headed snarling beast of a dog Fluffy? Yes, Hagrid would. When Harry’s first year finally comes to an end and he has to return to the Dursley’s I don’t feel disappointed at all. I look forward to opening the next book and continuing the adventure.

The books are not perfect and there are some awkward bits of dialogue and this book, being the shortest in the series, is not nearly as detailed as the later books but the enchanting nature of the story itself makes all of that fade away for me. There is something very endearing about Harry that makes me always want to cheer him on even when he’s being stupid. The world of Hogwarts is an amazing place to fall in to and there are some wonderful characters to take on the journey with you.