Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
|2 July 1998
|251 (United Kingdom version)
|Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
|Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
About the story change
The story begins as James and Lily Potter's only son, Harry Potter, who is orphaned, spends summer with an aunt, uncle and cousin who do not love him. Harry is visited by Dobby, a house-elf, who is forced to serve the Malfoy family. Dobby warns Harry not to go back to Hogwarts, the magical school that Harry went to the year before, saying that terrible things will happen there. Harry does not listen to the warning, so Dobby causes a mess to make Harry's aunt and uncle angry. They lock Harry in his room for the rest of the summer. Harry is rescued by his best friend, Ron Weasley, Arthur and Molly Weasley's youngest son in a flying car. He spends the rest of the summer at the Weasley home, called "The Burrow". The reader is introduced to the Weasley family, including Ron's younger sister Ginny, who is just starting at Hogwarts.
Mr Weasley, Ron's father, works for the Department of Magic. He is fascinated by "Muggles" (ordinary people) and the way that they manage to live without magic. It is his job to prevent wizards from illegally enchanting Muggle objects. But he does not always do his job in the way the department would like. In fact, he drives his family to catch the school train in a magical Ford Anglia. The magical train leaves Paddington station in London from Platform 93⁄4. But because of strange happenings, Harry and Ron miss the train to school.
Harry and Ron go to school, very late, and in disgrace. Harry has not been back at school very long before it becomes clear that everybody inside the school is in danger. One by one students, and even the caretaker's cat, are affected by a strange and frightening spell. As everyone becomes more and more frightened, they start to be suspicious of other people.
Important ideas in this book change
- One of the "themes" or ideas in this book is "suspicion". The author shows that when people are frightened, sometimes they can act in a very nasty way. If they see a person who acts a little bit differently to everyone else, they become "suspicious". They decide that maybe that person is the cause of the problem, not because they seem evil, but just because they seem different.
- In this book, there are five very different people who are lonely and sad. Each one of them acts foolishly, because of their loneliness. Harry Potter suffers a great deal of unhappiness and loneliness, because he has a special talent that very few wizards have. The author has already told the reader about this talent in the first book, even though it did not seem very important at the time. Harry's talent makes most of the other students suspicious of him.
- Another theme in this book is that some people think that they are "special". A person might think that they are special because they are rich, handsome, clever, from a noble family or even because they think that though their life has been hard, they are secretly more important than everyone else. Whatever the cause is, these people act in a way that shows no respect for others. These people act as if everyone else in the world owes them something and everyone else is beneath them. There are three of these people in this book, and their selfish attitudes are dangerous.