HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS
by J.K. Rowling
Reviewed by Steven H Silver
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets covers Harry, Ron and Hermione’s second year at Hogwarts School for Wizards and Witchcraft. Almost the entire cast from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone appears with a few minor additions. These additions are important, however, because they provide Rowling with several potential candidates for the bag guy who is wreaking havoc at Hogwarts.
Even before Harry can leave the confines of his aunt and uncle’s house for the relative freedom of Hogwarts, he is visited by an house-elf who bears a message warning him not to return to the school because of unspecified danger. Given a choice between unspecified danger and staying with his relatives, Harry opts for the danger at the school and manages to make his escape with the aid of Ron and his brothers.
Once at Hogwarts, in addition to dealing with his rival, Draco Malfoy, and classes, Harry must deal with the new Lecturer in Defence Against the Dark Arts, Lockhart, an egomaniacal self-promoter who projects his own publicity-needing personality on Harry, the only wizard he sees as being as famous as he is. As damage mounts at Hogwarts, Harry and the reader must wonder if Lockhart is as harmless and inept as he appears or if his demeanor is just a cover for a something more sinister.
Rowling keeps the novel from getting too dark by incorporating humor throughout the book in addition to adding a variety of wonders to astound Harry, his friends, and the readers. These range from the flying car in which Harry and Ron initially arrive at Hogwarts to a Death-day party for Nearly Headless Nick, the almost-beheaded ghost who "haunts" Hogwarts.
Once again, Rowling indicates that she has thought about the background and history of Hogwarts and there is space for her characters to grow. She gives every indication that, by the time Harry graduates from the school, he will have seen a variety of different sides to other characters and learned more about his parents and Lord Voldemort.
Purchase this book in hardcover from
Purchase this book in paperback from