The Most Underappreciated Things About “Chamber of Secrets”
Last month, I wrote about the most underappreciated moments from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Now, I turn to perhaps the most underappreciated book of the whole series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. This installment of the series gave us Dobby, Lucius Malfoy, Cornelius Fudge, the lovable Arthur Weasley, and the stunningly incompetent Gilderoy Lockhart. Some parts of this story have become iconic to the Potter fandom, from the power of socks to young, hot Tom Riddle to “help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it.” Here are some of the most underappreciated moments of Chamber of Secrets.
1. The Terrifying Story
This has been a terrible ordeal for her… Older and wiser wizards than she have been hoodwinked by Lord Voldemort” (330).
An 11-year-old girl pours her heart and soul into a strange diary and is possessed by a fragment of an evil wizard’s soul. She knows nothing of what is happening to her, only that she has large, inexplicable gaps in her memory coinciding with her classmates turning to stone. When she finally realizes that she no longer has control over herself, it is too late for her to do anything, and it is only through sheer luck that she and Harry escape death. Harry Potter got dark well before Lord Voldemort was resurrected.
2. Molly and Arthur’s Kindness
Just last night we were saying we’d come and get you ourselves if you hadn’t written back to Ron by Friday” (34).
After meeting Harry in his first year, Molly Weasley pretty much decided on the spot to adopt him into her family. It’s unsurprising but genuinely heartwarming that she and Arthur were planning to get him out of danger. Truly, the Weasleys’ kindness knows no bounds.
3. Harry’s Kindness
My dear boy! Harry Potter, at my deathday party!” (130)
Dear, sweet Harry. When he runs into a dejected Nearly Headless Nick, freshly denied membership to the Headless Hunt, Harry must of course ask if there’s anything he can do for his friend, which is how he, Ron, and Hermione end up skipping the Halloween feast for a dismal dungeon deathday party. On the bright side, their presence definitely made Nick very happy, even if they had to trade a delicious feast for rotting haggis and Peeves’ moldy peanuts.
4. The Trio’s Recklessness
The firework began to fizz and sputter… Harry straightened up, took aim, and lobbed it into the air; it landed right on target in Goyle’s cauldron” (187).
The risks the trio took in Sorcerer’s Stone are tame compared to those they take in the next installment, from flying a car to Hogwarts to brewing an illegal potion to confronting murderous spiders. Frankly, none of these compare to the danger of throwing a firework across Snape’s classroom so that Hermione could steal ingredients. I always cringe when I consider everything that could have possibly gone wrong with this plan. Harry was very lucky to have escaped in one piece.
5. Percy Weasley’s Feelings
Percy Weasley was sitting in a chair behind Lee… He was looking pale and stunned” (258).
Percy’s distress at the Petrification of Penelope Clearwater is not, as George suggests, because the incident shakes his confidence in his authority as a prefect. Clearly, he cares very deeply about his girlfriend. His alarm when he thinks Ginny is about to reveal their relationship indicates that his brothers’ endless teasing does sting at least a little. When he shuts himself away after Ginny was taken, he is clearly distraught at his own failure to protect her. Whatever his faults, Percy Weasley was never heartless.
6. Lucius Malfoy’s Pure Evil
I would advise you, Lucius, not to go giving out any more of Lord Voldemort’s old school things” (337).
Lucius Malfoy is abusive to Dobby, threatens his fellow school board members, and is proudly racist, but above all that, he planted a known Horcrux on a child. A young girl was violated and traumatized by that evil soul all for his own political gain. Though fans like to make light of Lucius, he has always been despicable, and later books only confirm what a terrible person he is.
What are some moments from Chamber of Secrets you feel are underrated? Let us know in the comments!