Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

I used to say Chamber of Secrets was my favorite Harry Potter book, because it was the last one that ended happily. I have gotten over that desire for a happy ending, for the most part, but it was interesting reading this one with horcruxes in mind. Very interesting indeed.

We first read this book in a snowstorm. It snowed a lot that year, so I can’t remember if this is the one where I had to go rescue Mike because he’d locked his keys in his car or the one where he got stuck at my aunt and uncle’s house because the roads were worse than he thought. Either way, we read it and ate snow cream . . . and I remember reading part of it in the kitchen as we cooked our dinner. I was definitely on the Harry Potter train at this point.

Two things stuck out at me this time through. The first was that RON LIKES HERMIONE. I didn’t realize it started so early, but every time Hermione needs defending in this book, Ron is the one who steps up (that is partly because Ron has a temper and partly because Harry didn’t yet know what “mudblood” meant, but it’s so consistent that it must also be because RON LIKES HERMIONE). Additionally, Ron is the one who consistently notices Hermione’s affection for Gilderoy Lockhart, and is much more irritated by it than Harry. This is because, sooner than I expected or realized, Ron likes Hermione. Hee. Hee hee.

The other thing is that, knowing that the diary is a horcrux makes for some interesting reading. Harry is really drawn to the diary. Is this because that was how this horcrux worked, getting people to use it, or is it because of Harry and Voldemort’s link? Most tellingly, at the end, Harry knew exactly how to destroy the diary, knew without thinking. How did he know? Is it further evidence that Voldemort deposited some of his powers in Harry? I think it might be. I have been fairly worried about how Harry could possibly be skilled enough to believably destroy the horcruxes, but his lnk to Voldemort makes that much more understandable. I like that. I like it a whole lot. I also think that Voldemort has seriously underestimated the effects of Lily’s sacrifice, STILL. It’s not just a simple charm, as he refers to it in this book. I don’t know what else it will mean, but I still think it’s key to the story.

I remember JKR saying that Chamber of Secrets was originally titled Half-Blood Prince, and I tried to keep that in mind as I read it. I actually think that the HBP story, Snape’s story, is one of the weaker A-plots the series has. I think it worked better to have it pushed back to the sixth book, because Snape was no longer the potions master and the story needed things like the Room of Requirement. I can’t yet decide how much it matters knowing that Snape is a half-blood who is the head of Slytherin. I will keep it in mind as I read the rest of the books.

I was going to quote an anvilicious sentence, but I mentioned it above, and I don’t have the book right in front of me. But the most anvilicious thing to me, at this point, is that Harry knew exactly how to destroy the diary, and he knew it without thinking. Verrrrry interesting.

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