Ossus Library Index Fantasy Index


A novel by J.K. Rowling (1998, Bloomsbury)
Harry Potter, book 2

Harry's relationship with his aunt and uncle has not improved, but when he gets back to Hogwart's, he discovers that something seems to be hunting down the students, trying to kill them.




Read December 3rd to 15th, 2013, on my Kobo Vox  
    As with the first book in this series, the movie touched on most of it. But the storyline in this book seemed weaker; maybe it's because Hermione was missing for a good chunk of it, or because there just didn't seem to be that much going on. It was more serious than the first book, which made for a good ending, at least.

Spoiler review:

I'm not sure if the storyline in this book really was weaker than the previous one, or if I didn't have the time to devote to nights of reading it like I did for the first book.

A lot more time is spent in the timeframe before the school year, but even so, the summer seemed rather short. It was neat, however, to see the Weasley's house, especially the gnomes that tried to sneak back into their garden!

Dobby the elf seems to have great magical powers, but given that he's a slave, it's almost painful to read about the way he punishes himself for betraying his master. But it looks like there was a plot to have Harry write in the journal, so that Tom Riddle could take his life energy away; instead, it is Ginny Weasley who gets it first.

Tom Riddle is of course Valdemort as a teen, when he attended Hogwart's school. Somehow he seems even more evil here than in the movie, but just as clichéd. Instead of killing Harry outright, he sits there watching as Harry doesn't die, but regaining strength so that he could defeat Riddle.

The school year seemed rather uneventful. There was the mystery of the petrified students and the writing on the wall about the Chamber of Secrets, and at least we got to see a little more magic this time, including a one-on-one battle between Snape and the new teacher of Defense Against the Dark Arts, Lockhart. That new teacher, a famous author, and most certainly vain because of his celebrity, was funny in his vanity, and obviously inept as a wizard. Combined with Ron's broken wand, he manages to lose his memory completely by the end.

Strangely enough, I don't have all that much to say about this book, except that the movie covered all the major points well, and I understand why they skipped the Death Day party and some other minor bits, but we get a better understanding of what Parseltongue is, which allows Harry to speak to snakes. I also must have misjudged something in the first book, because I really thought Harry's mother was a witch. Here Harry says she is muggle-born, and Tom says Harry is a half-blood like himself. It's rather confusing.

The book also introduces some new concepts, like Azkaban, Riddle's horcruxes (not called by that name), the phoenix, the sword of Griffindor, Lucius Malfoy, and of course Dobby the elf. But now I am looking forward to the third instalment, especially given what I now know about the title character.


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