Friday, June 3, 2011

ReRead 2011: Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets

If you haven't read any HP books, be warned: spoilers abound.

In every list, there must be a first and a last.  CoS is what I consider my last place Harry Potter book.  There's nothing wrong with it on the whole- it's written just fine, it forwards the plot, it's got lots of great sequences and moments.  It's just not my favorite.  Some of the reasons why have already been mentioned in the previous entry, but the rest are below.

For starters, the most petty and silly reason: it is standing in the way of me and my favorite book in the series!  I'd rather skip this book and just go right to Prisoner of Azkaban.  YET, I never do because I simply cannot skip one or read them out of order.  Yes, I know I have problems; so does everyone. 

Secondly, I remember the first time I read this, and I thought the plot was pretty weak.  It's like, oooooh a book that is EVIL!  Scaaaarrry.  So this was the Dark Lord's big comeback plan?  To start life again as a TEENAGER and just... be evil?  No offense, Tom, but that plan is pretty lame.  Granted, CoS becomes quite important to the bigger storyline at hand, but I didn't know that at the time.  Once you know why it's important, it makes it SLIGHTLY better, but it still doesn't fully redeem it for me.  Plus, the movie?  No bueno.  It's like everything I don't like about the book times ten.  Harry and Ron are like Captain and Lieutenant Obvious, repeating every single line and every question to make sure the viewer UNDERSTANDS WHAT IS HAPPENING.

And then there's Dobby.  I have been known to refer to him as this series' version of JarJar Binks.  Every time he showed up, I was like, DUDE, you have got to be kidding me.  I was not a fan.  HOWEVER, this opinion is one of the many that changes over the course of the series, like "complete 180" changes, and let's just say Dobby's reinvention is perfect and awesome and I should probably stop talking about it...

There are a few redeeming things about CoS, though.  The readers get their first glimpse of Ginny Weasley, the first girl to be born to into the Weasley line in generations, the super awesome chick who can hold her own against her six older brothers.  We get to see The Burrow for the first time and see how an awesome wizarding family lives.  In the same vein, we get to see Mrs. Weasley treating Harry like a surrogate son for the first time, which is so sweet.  She even butters his toast for him!!  Also, we are introduced to the fabulous yet awful Gilderoy Lockhart, who cracks me up with every rougish wink and cheeky grin.  He's so ridiculous, you just have to love him.  I particularly love Kenneth Branaugh's portrayal of him in the movie, especially after the "accident" with Ron's busted wand.  Jo had said before that Lockhart is the only character fully based on a real person, and you just know she had fun skewering that idiot.

Yeah.  I know.  I just talked smack about how I didn't like Dobby, and yet he is the double winner of this book.  This just goes to show you how much my opinion of him changed by the end of the series.  Dobby under the thumb of the Malfoys is annoying.  Dobby as a free elf is AWESOME.  I especially like the way Harry tricked Lucius into freeing Dobby.  It was so simple and yet so effective.  However, knowing that house-elves are freed by receiving the gift of clothes... do they do laundry?  I guess if they aren't receiving it as a gift or being presented with it, then it wouldn't matter.  These are the things I think about...

Plus, one of the other reasons this is my favorite chapter is because it's the last chapter of the book, meaning it's over and that means it's time for PRISONER OF AZKABAN!  And I so love the Prisoner of Azkaban, both the book and the person to which the title refers.  It's going to be near impossible to pick favorite moments and chapters for that one...


  1. Hm... I haven't re-read all of them in a while, but I always liked CoS. My least favorite has always been OoP.

    A fun little recap. It made me want to go read them all and watch them all again!

  2. You should! This reread has been kind of amazing, actually. I've been doing my own informal poll, and I've found the 2 least favorites to be CoS and OoP. Cos for these reasons, OoP because of his wizard angst. I'll be sure to cover that ;)