“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
The second book in J.K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter series, published in 1998, Harry Potter And The Chamber of Secrets sees the return of young wizards Harry, Ron and Hermione for their second year at Hogwarts with a new Defense against the Dark Arts, Gilderoy Lockhart. But it’s not long before the trio find themselves in trouble again, as a mysterious presence begins stalking the corridors of a school of magic and leaving its victims paralyzed. It seems that someone has opened the mysterious Chamber of Secrets, letting loose the monster and all its calamitous powers.
The following post is a review of the book only. You can read my review of the book in comparison to the film adaptation here.
Picking up where The Philosopher’s Stone left us, Harry Potter And The Chamber of Secrets brilliantly rounds up what happened in the first book, not going into too much detail but rounding things up enough and explaining most of Rowling’s original concepts to make this an easy read for young or new readers who may not remember a lot from before.
This second instalment is much darker than its predecessor, building up the tension of Voldemort’s return and unravelling some of Hogwart’s darkest myths and secrets. But whilst there is more of a sense of fear in this book, it also keeps the magic and imagination alive by brilliantly expanding on the wizarding universe with new classes, teachers, creatures, and spells.
It may follow a similar plot outline, but it also hastily develops the story with a lot more history and context, revving up Harry’s part in it all with a whole lot more mystery for him to unravel.
On a re-read, you can easily see hints at the bigger picture that Rowling has included in this book, too, developing a connection between Harry and Voldemort early on and even of Ron’s affection for Hermione. She’s so good at developing a story arc and it’s fun to go back to the start and see all of this being set up.
Harry Potter And The Chamber of Secrets was adapted into a film in 2002, which you can watch the trailer for below: