Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Author: J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter’s back to wizard school for a second year with all his friends and enemies back for another year. This year’s drama involves a beast that targets students who are born to muggle parents, the possibility that it has been released from the Chamber of Secrets, and the question of who the heir of Slytherin is that can access the Chamber of Secrets. In addition, there’s a new professor with a huge ego who doesn’t seem to know how to do anything.
While this book did a few things better than Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, overall I enjoyed it less due to a few problems. The book starts off with another long section of Harry with his evil Aunt and Uncle but without any of the sense of wonder from the first book. Instead of getting tons of magical letters, Harry is visited by a little creature who… is also very shitty to him.
When Harry and Ron try to get to Hogwarts they take a flying car to visit and end up nearly getting expelled for it. Rowling seems to think that the best drama for Potter in this book is to make his life as unpleasant as possible but the joy of exploring the new magical world he’s found himself in is missing by comparison to year one.
Unlike the magical stone from the first book however, there is a much better MacGuffin in that it’s an actual person that’s the key to the mystery. I didn’t predict the reveal at the end of the book, but enjoyed how the clues dating back to Harry’s visit to the zoo in the first book all through the mysterious bathroom ghost paid off on the reveal.
Not a lot of great stuff by the supporting cast in this book either. Hermione is petrified and out of the action for the last third of the book, Ron is barely in it more than the rest of his siblings, and Draco Malfoy has one moment during a Quidditch match and just makes underhanded comments the rest of the book. Hagrid is basically only in it to be placed in peril, and Dumbledore has a few cool moments but even though he has only been helpful to Harry Potter in the past, Harry thinks telling him about anything going on would be a mistake).