Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Nostalgia Review:: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J.K. Rowling

Title: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Author: J.K. Rowling
Series: Harry Potter, #2
Format: Hardcover
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Still Good?


I remember reading this shortly after it came out under a tree in a park in Denver, Colorado. Our teacher had just read the first to us in school, and I devoured this one almost in one sitting. But I also remember being slightly disappointed with it. And going forward, I remember it being one of my least favorites. Welp, yes. It certainly is not that great in comparison.

Again, I'm doing the Harry Potter Read-Through as a challenge in the Legendary Book Club of Habitica on HabitRPG, so you'll be seeing a lot of Harry Potter reviews as we scoot closer to the deadline. I've got most of them on hold to grab from the library, which is good, as the 31st is getting closer.

I guess what bothers me most about Chamber of Secrets is that even as a child the blatant misdirection was annoying. I guess I could see Harry or Ron thinking that Malfoy might have been the Heir of Slytherin, but I just feel like Hermione should have known better. Even if that's not the case, these kind of attempts at "twist endings" annoy me so much. And considering the entire first book worked so hard to put forward a blatant misdirection... how is the reader not supposed to see it coming?

But even if we put that aside, there's just not a lot of good content here. Which is sad because there are so many elements that good things could have come from. A diary with the living memory of Tom Riddle? That's really fucking neat. Can we do something cooler with it? A professor living an obvious lie? So much more could have been done.

And then there were things that seemed to be tossed in for no particular reason... the Death Day party could have been neat, but it really served no purpose except to pull them away from the Halloween party. The car in the Forbidden Forest was a lovely touch. But really, nothing was done with these things. Of course, some of them (like Harry being a Parselmouth) were obviously setups for later (in retrospect), but still. Still. It's not an excuse.

I do like the idea of loyalty being rewarded, but even as a kid the way it was set up didn't make sense to me at all. (It still doesn't.) It also made no sense to me that if Hagrid was outed as obviously not being the Heir of Slytherin in the past, that there wouldn't be some sort of grievance process going on.

It's a slightly enjoyable quick read, but I'm much more interested in re-reading the later books, which I remember enjoying much, much more.


  1. The Prisoner of Azkaban was always my favourite, personally!

    1. I was wobbling between a 3 and a 4 on it. Usually I do my final decision when I write the review. But yeah, it or GoF is def my favorite.