Harry Potter readalong! Chambers and basilisks and diaries, oh my.

chamber of secrets

Hooray hooray, it’s Harry-Potter-readalong-post day! And book two is DONE! Which means we get to move on to the slightly more adult book three!

The second half of this book is so much more interesting. There’s a wizard duel and we learn that Harry is a freak because he can speak Parseltongue and *GASP* its because VOLDEMORT could speak Parseltongue. Awesome. The trio drinks the Polyjuice Potion and it goes really badly for Hermione, but luckily her face isn’t stuck like that forever. The mysterious diary finally comes into play, and Harry just KNOWS that something is up with it.

Harry potter, mandrakes

The mandrakes grow up and Madam Pomfrey happily talks about chopping them up and cooking them down to reanimate all the petrified people. Is it only me that feels like maybe it’s kind of wrong to be cutting up mandrakes? I mean, they basically go through puberty and start trying to shack up with each other, it seems wrong to treat them like any other plant… Hmmmm…

Hermione smacks her head and realizes SOMETHING and I love this:

“What does she understand?” said Harry distractedly, still looking around, trying to tell where the voice had come from.

“Loads more than I do,” said Ron, shaking his head.

“But why’s she got to go to the library?”

“Because that’s what Hermione does,” said Ron, shrugging. “When in doubt, go to the library.”



So blah blah blah, Mr. Malfoy is a dick and gets Dumbledore taken away and Hagrid gets whisked off to Azkaban, and then giant spiders in the Forbidden Forest, and then Ginny goes missing. Harry and Ron see Hermione’s note in her hand and realize that she is an epic genius and they force Lockhart to go with them down to the Chamber of Secrets! DUN DUN DUNNNN. And then Harry faces off Tom Marvolo Riddle, who reveals that his name actually spells out I AM LORD VOLDEMORT, and I admit that when I read this book for the very first time I was AMAZED. Apparently word jumbles really impress me. Harry saves the day with some help, blah blah blah.

I love the end of this book. LOVE IT. So much great stuff happens, and there’s Dumbledore’s famous “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities” line which is fantastic and true and something that Harry still kind of struggles with throughout the rest of the series, not realizing that if you’re worried about being inherently evil then you probably aren’t.

ALSO, this:

Dobby is free

“You shall not harm Harry Potter!”

How can you not love Dobby??? He is the best. His loyalty to Harry is so awesome, and he totally knocks Mr. Malfoy on his ass to defend Harry.

So yeah, hooray for book 2 being done. I so cannot wait to start Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban this weekend.




  1. I was totally unmoved by the word jumble, although like, way to go JK Rowling making a very successful anagram there that makes sense on both ends. I felt sad for Lord Voldemort that he made up his dumb name as an anagram. If he REALLY wanted to escape his Muggle father’s legacy, he’d have just made up a whole new name. Although, I guess if you are evil and your name happens to be an anagram of “I am Lord Flight-of-Death”, you’d basically go with it no matter what.


  2. What exactly do you think they told Madame Pomfrey when Hermione showed up half transfigured as a cat? You’d think some professor would have been told what happened…

    The whole idea about chopping up the Mandrakes is weird when you consider how human they behave. But wizards don’t seem to like other non-human things (poor Dobby) so plants are probably even lower on the list of crap they care about.


      1. True, there was probably something about her being such a good student. And considering McGonagall gave Harry his own broomstick and let him join the Quidditch team when he broke rules in front of EVERYONE, she was probably impressed with Hermione’s ability to brew polyjuice and decided no punishment necessary.


    1. I think Ron and Harry mentioned something about Madame Pomfrey being very discreet with the students’…ahem…ailments. Maybe something about student/wizard doctor confidentiality.


  3. I get your lack of enthusiasm. I was the same way and it was a struggle to write my post last night. Ugh. But onward to the GOOD STUFF in PoA!

    re: mandrakes. yes, i hadn’t thought about it before, but they do seem like sentient beings, don’t they? now i’m a little creeped out. do they have to kill the mandrake before chopping it up for the potion?


    1. I do have a bit of lack of enthusiasm for this book, mainly because I’ve read/seen it SO MANY TIMES. But I think I’m no where near as angry and complain-y as some of the other readalongers. People need to chill and remember it’s a kids book and just enjoy the ride, you know?

      I HOPE they kill the mandrakes before chopping into them! Imagine the RACKET and DEATH the mandrakes’ dying screams would cause? Poor mandrakes. If I ever meet JK Rowling, THIS will be what I ask her about. Mandrakes.


      1. If I ever meet JKR, I will ask her about plumbing and taxes. Because these questions have been brought up in several posts and they are bugging me. I think that’s the real reason she wrote these books for kids — because kids don’t look up while reading and ask, “Hey, are wizards getting carted away for muggle tax evasion all the time? Or does the muggle census count them as unemployed?”

        I also am very bothered by the mandrakes, as they are pretty much human but with leaves. But then again, I was also bothered by the de-gnoming process, so maybe I’m too sensitive about my magical creatures.


      2. LOL. I didn’t think wizards were counted at all in the Muggle census (unless they comes from Muggle families), so they’re probably safe from tax evasion charges.

        Seriously, POOR MANDRAKES. I wonder if mandrakes exist in the wild in the wizarding world?


  4. I’m STILL not down with Dobby. Dobby can just STAY AWAY! I feel you on the mandrakes though… I mean, no WONDER their screams will kill you, they just want to snuggle up together and do naughty mandrake things… IS THAT SO WRONG?!

    This half of the book was definitely more exciting. But I’m still glad it’s PoA time now!


  5. I always loved the transformation of Tom’s name into voldemort but I always thought it was weird that it included ‘I am’ like he didn’t know what else to do with those leftover letters!

    Hermione is brilliant but imagine how much time could have been saved if she’d simply told the boys her suspicions


    1. I feel like maybe Rowling had to put “I am” in there just to give herself more vowels to work with. It’s gotta be tough to come up with two unique names, one of which has to sound properly scary, and have them be anagrams. Just thinking about the effort that would take me makes me glad I’m not a writer.


  6. “Apparently word jumbles really impress me.”

    I now like to picture you staring in rapture at the newspaper’s puzzle section. If you don’t ACTUALLY do that, I don’t want to hear about it.


  7. “Hagrid gets whisked off to Azkaban.” Is that not totally nuts? He was there for *two months*! I’m shocked that he’s not more messed up when he comes back. Tough guy, Hagrid.


  8. I love Dobby! He’s one of my favorite characters in all of literature. And I do love that Hermione always goes to the library. A girl after my own heart and way of thinking.

    Chamber of Secrets isn’t my favorite books. It’s just kind of filler in my opinion. Nothing of consequence really happens in my opinion. Yeah there’s some snake talk, and a diary that all the boys want, etc. But it does set up a lot for later on.


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