Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the adored second installment of the Potter franchise. The second book published in July 1998, provided a further look into Harry’s school life at Hogwarts. The film, released in November 2002, with the same returning cast, became the second highest earning film of that year. Initial production for this film started a mere few days after the release of the first film Philosopher’s Stone. The second film went on to break records set by its predecessor only a year before.
As we quickly learned in the first book, nothing is as it seems in the magical world and chaos quickly descends on the young wizard’s life. We begin again, back at the Dursley’s house, where Harry is receiving slightly better treatment from them, he is now in Dudley’s second bedroom as opposed to the cupboard under the stairs but other than that life seems to be very hard for him. This is until a house elf shows up in his bedroom and makes things even worse. Although the second book continues a similar path as the first with the trio searching for something hidden within the school, we also see a number of extra themes within the pages. Rowling allows the reader to have a deeper insight into the heritage, background and families of some of the characters. There are also a number of elements within the pages of this book, that may not be important now, but further along in the series, get picked up again. I feel this is why JK Rowling has been so successful with her writing. Not only is it a fantastic story, and an incredible idea, but she clearly knew from the beginning how and where she wanted it to go.
I have re-watched Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, and below I have chosen a few scenes which I feel are the most important to the story. As mentioned before, if I had my way, each of the Potter movies would be 6 hours long with every single detail from the books included but I am an equal fan of both page and screen.
The first scene I would like to discuss is the Weasley’s rescuing Harry Potter. Let’s face it Ron, Fred and George risk a lot in order to save Harry from the Dursley’s. Not only do they sneak out of their home, they then fly an illegally enchanted car across the country, and then essentially breaking and entering into 4 Privot Drive to get Harry. Upon their return Mrs Weasley scolds her three sons “You could have died, You could have been seen” however she is extremely relieved to see Harry as it is also mentioned in the book her and her husband were getting concerned for him. This scene highlights for me the moment the Weasley’s all decide to do anything for Harry as well as treat him as one of their own. After this installment, Harry becomes a regular face in The Burrow and never far from The Weasley family. This scene also reiterates the notion that the ginger clan are not a well off family, yet they offer Harry anything that they would offer one of their own. The Burrow is a mismatched house, with no added luxuries. This is mentioned by Ron upon showing Harry into his house “It’s not much” and Harry responds “It is brilliant” we are subtly reminded in this moment that although Ron doesn’t have the piles of gold that Harry has, he has a loving family in a cosy environment, whereas Harry is a loathed outsider when staying with the Dursley’s and constantly reminded of that fact. I certainly know where I would rather be!
Another important moment within the Chamber of Secrets is the story of Salazar Slytherin and his beliefs. This is told to the audience in the film by Professor McGonagall and in the book by another Professor. It allows the audience to hear about the ideologies that some wizards believe in, for example The Malfoy family. This is shown in a number of ways, first of all Lucious Malfoy in Diagon Alley lecturing Arthur Weasley because he was “associating with muggles” and then later on when Draco calls Hermione a ‘MudBlood’. This is a racial slur in which Hagrid informs us in the film means dirty blood. Slytherin believed that Hogwarts should be more selective of their students, as he did not trust muggle borns to keep the secret of the wizarding world. Yet within the moments after the ‘Mudblood’ scene we are reminded that Granger is fast becoming the brightest witch of her age despite her blood line “An’ they haven’t invented a spell our Hermione can’t do” says Hagrid. In the book we are also reminded by Ron, that Neville although a pure blood “can hardly stand a cauldron the right way up” so really does a Witch or Wizard’s blood line have anything to do with what sort of person they become?
The return of Voldermort from Tom Riddle’s diary is an extremely important scene within this book and the entire series as it is the first opportunity to see Voldermort as a real person, who had been preserved in a diary. Although he chooses to act through somebody else, (Ginny Weasley) he makes his intentions quite clear with the messages he had made Ginny write on the walls “Enemies of the heir beware”. This retells to the audience and reader, the ideology that not only Salazar Slytherin had, but gives us an insight to what Lord Voldermort wants to achieve. In the Chamber, he then goes onto reveal his disgust of Harry surviving the killing curse on the night he killed his parents. The Dark Lord now makes it his sole aim to kill Harry so that he can continue his quest, however Potter manages to survive, and then destroys said diary which therefore destroys the memory of Riddle. This gives us the first opportunity to know that before Tom Riddle became Lord Voldemort he took an extreme measure in his teenage years to make sure he could return to the school and continue his quest of ‘cleansing’ the attendance of certain students.
Overall the second installment, is as thrilling as the first and provides us with a lot of information to take forward when the further books were published. The 2002 film is full of iconic lines and scenes and the book provides excellent detail of important elements to the main story. It also makes me really want to be-friend a house elf like Dobby!