- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
name = Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
J. K. Rowling
Country = UK
Cliff Wright(UK) Mary GrandPré(US)
Release date = 2 July 1998 (UK)
2 June 1999 (US)
Number in series = Two
Page Count = 251 (UK)
Sales = ~77 million (Worldwide)
Dedicated to = "Séan P.F. Harris, getaway
driver and foulweather friend"
Story timeline = 1943
Preceded by = "
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone"
Followed by = "
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban"
Chapter Count = 18
"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets", is the second novel in the "
Harry Potter" series written by J. K. Rowling. The book was published on 2 July 1998.
Harry is once again back "home" with
the Dursleys, and his summer holidays are not going to plan. The Dursleys have forbidden his broom, wand and all of his schoolbooks. Harry Potter has not yet received any letters from his friends Ron and Hermione. On his twelfth birthday (July 31), Dobby, a house-elf, arrives to warn Harry that he will be in mortal danger if he returns to Hogwarts, confessing that he has been intercepting Harry's letters to make it seem as though his friends had forgotten him. Harry is still determined to return to Hogwarts, the only true home he has ever known, so Dobby destroys the dessert for an important dinner party attended by Uncle Vernon's potential client and the client's wife. Harry is blamed by the Ministry of Magicfor Dobby's charm and is told that if he does magic outside school again, he will be expelled. The Dursleys were unaware that Harry could not practice magic outside of school; now that they are no longer afraid of this, they lock him in his room and fit bars onto the bedroom window.
Fred, George, and
Ron Weasleyrescue Harry and take him to the Burrow, the Weasleys' home. After a pleasant month together in the Burrow, everyone heads to Platform 9¾at King's Cross Stationto take the Hogwarts Expressback to school. To their shock, Harry and Ron are unable to enter the barrier between platforms 9 and 10. In desperation, they steal the family's enchanted Ford Anglia and fly to Hogwarts but crash into the Whomping Willow and damage Ron's wand. The semi-sentient car ejects them and their belongings and disappears into the Forbidden Forest.
Events at school take a turn for the worse when the legendary Chamber of Secrets is opened and a monster stalks the castle, petrifying anyone who meets its gaze. According to legend, the Chamber was built by Salazar Slytherin and can be opened only by his heir, in order to purge Hogwarts of "all those who were unworthy to study magic" - viz.
Muggle-bornwizards. The danger starts when Harry and his friends find the caretaker's cat, Mrs. Norris, petrified after they visit Nearly Headless Nick's deathday party. Many suspect Harry is the heir of Slytherinbecause, while trying to save another student during a duel against Malfoy, he inadvertently speaks Parseltongue, a rare talent which he gained during Voldemort's unsuccessful attack on him eleven years previously. Harry himself begins to believe he might be Slytherin's Heir, as the Sorting Hat wanted to put him in Slytherin when he entered Hogwarts.
In order to discover the identity of Slytherin's Heir, Ron and Harry use
Polyjuice Potionto disguise themselves as Slytherin students, Crabbe and Goyle, as they think Draco Malfoyis the Heir. He is not, but he does inadvertently provide Harry and Ron with an important clue about the Chamber of Secrets. Later, Harry finds a blank diary belonging to Tom Riddleand decides to keep it.
The attacks increase throughout the year, petrifying more students, including Hermione. All activities, including
Quidditch, are cancelled, and students are not allowed to leave their dormitories or classes without their teachers. Hagrid, who had been wrongly blamed for the attacks that had taken place before and expelled, is sent to Azkabanas a precautionary measure. All Hagrid says beforehand to Harry and Ron (who were invisible at the time) is "follow the spiders." The two of them go into the forest only to come across a colony of acromantulasand their leader, Aragog. Aragog tells them that Hagrid could not possibly have been responsible for the attacks of fifty years before and that he, Aragog, was not Slytherin's monster. He refused to speak the name of the monster out of fear. Harry and Ron are rescued by the Ford Anglia, which had taken to running wild in the Forbidden Forest. Using the information that Hermione was studying at the time of her petrification, Harry and Ron deduce that the entrance lies in Moaning Myrtle's bathroom and find out the monster is a Basilisk. They try to inform the teachers, but a message written on a wall declares that Ginny Weasley has been taken into the Chamber, where "her skeleton will lie forever."
He and Ron force
Gilderoy Lockhartto go with them. Once they find the entrance to the Chamber, Lockhart reveals that he is not the hero he pretends to be. He attempts to use Ron's broken wand to erase Harry and Ron's memories, but the spell backfires on him, thus erasing his memory instead. The ceiling caves in, separating Harry from Ron and Lockhart.
Harry reaches the Chamber of Secrets, where he finds an unconscious Ginny and a ghostlike young man named Tom Riddle, who claims to be a "memory." Harry learns that Ginny, under the control of
Lord Voldemort, opened the Chamber. Voldemort, whose real name is Tom Marvolo Riddle, imprinted his memory in an enchanted diary, in order to continue the work he began when he opened the Chamber fifty years ago — ridding Hogwarts of non-pureblood witches and wizards. Hagrid, a Hogwarts student at the time, was blamed for the attacks and expelled.
It is this fragment of soul in the diary which has set loose the basilisk. The basilisk attacks Harry, despite his ability to speak
Parseltongue; Dumbledore's phoenix, Fawkes, arrives just in time with the Sorting Hat, from which Harry draws out the mystic sword of Godric Gryffindor. Fawkes blinds the basilisk, destroying its fatal gaze, and Harry slays it with the sword. Harry's arm is pierced by the creature's poisonous fang as he kills it, but Fawkes heals Harry with his tears. Harry destroys the diary by stabbing it with one of the basilisk's fangs.
Everyone petrified by the basilisk recovers, from
Mrs. Norristo Hermione. Dumbledore dispels Harry's fears about whether he belongs in Gryffindoror Slytherinwhen he tells Harry that it is his choices that define him and not his abilities, and that Harry could not have wielded the sword of Gryffindor if he did not truly belong to that house. With Ron and Harry granted two hundred points each for their adventure, Gryffindorwins the House Cup for the second year in a row. As a school treat, all final exams are cancelled, much to Hermione's dismay; she studied for nothing. Dobbyreveals he is the Malfoys' servant, and knowing their treachery, had been trying to protect Harry all year. Harry realizes Lucius Malfoy, Draco's father, slipped the diary into Ginny's cauldron when he encountered the Weasleys in a Diagon Alley bookshop. House elves can be freed only when their masters give them clothing; Harry tricks Malfoy into giving Dobby clothes by hiding his sock in the diary, remembering what Dobby had said on his birthday that his (Dobby's) owners would not even give him a sock, in fear of setting him free. Malfoy tosses the sock, still slimy from Harry's battle with the Basilisk, straight into Dobby's hands. Lucius Malfoy attempts to attack Harry when he realizes what Harry has made him do, but the grateful Dobby, no longer bound to obey the Malfoy family, intervenes and blasts Lucius with some magic of his own. A dishevelled Lucius gathers himself and exits Hogwarts, declaring that Harry will soon meet the same end as his parents for his meddling.
"Chamber of Secrets" is the first book in the series to directly provide a timeframe for the series. Nearly Headless Nick celebrates the 500th anniversary of his death at Halloween, and it is stated that he died in 1492, placing the events of this book during the 1992-93 school year.
In the early drafts of this book, the author had the ghost
Nearly Headless Nicksing a self-composed song explaining his condition and the circumstances of his death. The material was cut as the book's editor did not care for the poem, although it has been subsequently published as an extra on J. K. Rowling's official website [ [http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/extrastuff_view.cfm?id=11 J. K. Rowling Official Site ] ] . Another sub-plot cut from "Chamber of Secrets" was the family background of Dean Thomas, which was removed from the draft because Rowling and her publishers considered it an "unnecessary digression", and she considered Neville Longbottom's own journey of discovery "more important to the central plot" [ [http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/extrastuff_view.cfm?id=2 J. K. Rowling Official Site ] ] .
This book is thematically linked with the sixth book of the series, "
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince". In fact, "Half-Blood Prince" was the working title of "Chamber of Secrets" and certain "crucial" plot information from that book was intended to be placed in this volume, but Rowling ultimately felt that "this information's proper home was book six" [ [http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/news_view.cfm?id=77 J. K. Rowling Official Site ] ] . Several items that later play a role in "Half-Blood Prince" first make their appearance in "Chamber of Secrets", including the Hand of Gloryand the opal necklace that appear when Harry is in Borgin & Burkes, Tom Riddle's diaryand a Vanishing Cabinet damaged by Peeves the Poltergeist.
First edition printings had several errors, which were fixed in subsequent reprints. This includes Dumbledore saying that Voldemort was the last remaining
ancestorof Salazar Slytherin, instead of descendant. In addition, Lockhart's book on werewolves is entitled "Weekends with Werewolves" at one point and “Wanderings with Werewolves” later in the book.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets has won the following awards:
* ALA Notable Children's Books, 2000
* ALA/YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, 2000
* Booklist Editors' Choices, 1999
* Booklist Top Ten Fantasy Novels for Youth, 1998-99
* CCBC Choices 2000: Fiction for Children
* International Reading Association: Children's Choices, 2000
* International Reading Association: Young Adult Choices, 2000
* Publishers Weekly: Best Books of 1999
* School Library Journal: Best Books 1999
* CBC Not Just for Children Anymore! List
* British Book Awards 1998 Children's Book of the Year (NIBBY)
* Shortlisted for the 1998 Guardian Children's Award
* Shortlisted for the 1998 Carnegie Award
* Nestlé Smarties Book Prize 1998 Gold Medal 9-11 years
* Scottish Arts Council Children’s Book Award 1999
* FCBG Children’s Book Award 1998 Overall winner and Longer Novel Category
* North East Book Award 1999
* North East Scotland Book Award 1998
* The Booksellers Association / The Bookseller Author of the Year 1998
* Whitaker's Platinum Book Award 2001
; Bloomsbury (United Kingdom, Australia, etc.)
* ISBN 0-7475-3849-2 Hardcover
* ISBN 0-7475-3848-4 Paperback
* ISBN 0-7475-7361-1 Hardcover (adult edition)
* ISBN 0-7475-7448-0 Paperback (adult edition); Scholastic (United States, etc.)
* ISBN 0-439-06486-4 Hardcover
* ISBN 0-439-06487-2 Paperback; Raincoast (Canada, etc.)
* ISBN 1-551-92370-X Paperback
* [http://www.bookmistakes.com/book5663 Mistakes in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets"] from [http://www.bookmistakes.com bookmistakes.com]
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