Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, is the second novel in the Harry Potter series written by J. K. Rowling. It continues the story of Harry Potter during his second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In the novel, the mysterious attacks on students and the disembodied voices that Harry hears, lead him down into the Chamber of Secrets, to battle the heir of Slytherin. The book was published on 2 July 1998; it subsequently won the notable Nestlé Smarties Book Prize in the age 9–11 category and was named the British Book Awards’ Children’s Book of the Year. A movie based on the book was released on November 15, 2002.
Harry Potter's summer holiday with the Dursleys is not going to plan. The Dursleys have forbidden all of Harry's school possessions. Harry has not yet received any letters from his friends, Ron and Hermione. Finally, on his 12th birthday, Dobby the house elf arrives to warn Harry that he will be in mortal danger if he returns to Hogwarts. Harry is determined to return, as it is the only true home he has ever known, so Dobby destroys the cake for an important dinner party attended by Uncle Vernon's potential client and the client's wife. The Ministry of Magic sends a letter explaining Harry cannot use magic outside of school as he will be expelled. No longer afraid of Harry's potential as a wizard, Uncle Vernon tells Harry he cannot return to Hogwarts and puts bars on Harry's window, trapping his nephew.
Ron and his twin brothers Fred and George rescue Harry and take him to their home in their flying car. Ginny Weasley, Ron's younger sister, is just starting at Hogwarts and is overwhelmed when she meets Harry. After a pleasent month living at the Burrow, Harry and five of the Weasley children head to Platform 9¾ to take the Hogwarts Express back to school. To their shock, Harry and Ron are unable to enter the barrier between platforms 9 and 10 (it is later revealed that Dobby sealed it shut to prevent Harry from returning to Hogwarts). In desperation, they steal the flying car and fly to Hogwarts. They crash into the Whomping Willow, which immediately attacks, damaging the car and snapping Ron's wand in half. The wrecked car then disappears into the Forbidden Forest. Luckily, the two escape expulsion from school.
Events at school take a turn for the worse when the legendary Chamber of Secrets is opened and a monster begins to stalk the castle, petrifying anyone who meets its gaze. According to legend, the Chamber was built by one of the Hogwarts founders, Salazar Slytherin, and can be opened only by his heir, in order to purge Hogwarts of 'all those who were unworthy to study magic' or 'Muggle-borns'. Many suspect Harry to be the heir of Slytherin because, while trying to save another student during a duel against Draco Malfoy, he inadvertently speaks Parseltongue, the ability to talk to snakes and a talent that characteristically belongs to Slytherins. Harry, Ron, and Hermione suspect Draco, Harry's rival, is actually the culprit, but after a careful inquiry, their conjecture proves to be wrong. As the school year progresses with more attacks, the Ministry arrests Hagrid, thinking he is responsible for the attacks, and suspends Dumbledore for not taking appropriate measures in stabilizing the school's safety. Harry and Ron decide to take control of the situation, their motivation is to bring justice and solve the crime, intensified by the attack on Hermione.
Ginny is taken directly into the Chamber, and Hogwarts is in imminent danger of closing. Harry and Ron discover the entrance to the Chamber and venture forward. Harry alone goes into the actual Chamber and meets Tom Marvolo Riddle, who has been manipulating Ginny into ordering the attacks and opening the Chamber via an enchanted diary. Subsequently Riddle reveals himself to be Lord Voldemort; he opened the Chamber fifty years ago and framed Hagrid for the crimes. Harry puts up a fight against the monster, which is a basilisk, with the help of Dumbledore's pet phoenix Fawkes and the sword of Godric Gryffindor, another of Hogwarts' founders. Ultimately, he kills the snake and stabs the diary, thus destroying Riddle's soul fragment and reviving Ginny. The group returns to the school triumphantly.
Dumbledore is reinstated and Hagrid is released. Dumbledore informs Harry of his ability to speak Parseltongue; the night Lily and James Potter were killed, Voldemort inadvertantly transfered some of his powers to Harry's infant body. Afterward, Lucius Malfoy, Draco's malicious father, shows up, followed by none other than Dobby, who is the Malfoys' house elf. Harry realizes Lucius is responsible for the attacks; before the school term began, Lucius slipped the diary, containing Voldemort's soul fragment, into Ginny's cauldron, with the hope that he could discredit Dumbledore and turn Hogwarts into a Dark Arts establishment. When he fails, Lucius leaves in a rage, but not before Harry cunningly frees Dobby. At the conclusion, all of the basilisk's victims revive and Gryffindor wins the House Cup.
In the early drafts of this book, the author had the ghost Nearly Headless Nick sing 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. 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".
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". Several items that later play a role in Half-Blood Prince first make their appearance in Chamber of Secrets, including the Hand of Glory and the opal necklace that appear when Harry is in Borgin & Burkes, Tom Riddle's diary (which is later revealed to be a Horcrux) and 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 ancestor of 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.
Template:Expand-section The climactic scene in which Harry saves Ginny from Riddle's diary and the basilisk was compared by several Christian writers to John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, as in this scene, "Harry descends to a deep underworld, is confronted by two Satanic minions (Voldemort and a giant serpent), is saved from certain death by his faith in Dumbledore (the bearded God the Father/Ancient of Days), rescues the virgin (Ginerva [sic] Weasley), and ascends in triumph."
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
- ↑ "About J. K. Rowling". Raincoast Books. http://www.raincoast.com/harrypotter/rowling.html. Retrieved March 5, 2009.
- ↑ J. K. Rowling Official Site
- ↑ J. K. Rowling Official Site
- ↑ J. K. Rowling Official Site
- ↑ Dave Kopel (2003). "Deconstructing Rowling". National Review. http://www.nationalreview.com/kopel/kopel062003.asp. Retrieved 2007-06-23.
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