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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book)
OverviewThe story continues with Harry's second year at Hogwarts. Several new characters are introduced, such as Moaning Myrtle, Gilderoy Lockhart, Colin Creevey, and Dobby. Ginny Weasley, though introduced in the previous book, is given in-depth characterisation for the first time.
Harry is warned by Dobby, a house elf belonging to Lucius Malfoy, that he will be in mortal danger if he returns to Hogwarts for his second year. Harry is still determined to return despite Dobby's advice, pleas, and attempts to stop him using magic. The Dursleys have locked away his books and wand, so Harry is a prisoner, but the Weasleys come to the rescue in their dad's flying car. After spending a pleasant summer with his best friend Ron, the whole family go off to platform 9¾ for the school train, but Harry and Ron are unable to enter the platform. In desperation, Harry and Ron take the car and fly to Hogwarts where they crash land, breaking Ron's wand.
Harry finds himself at the center of attention of three people: the vain new Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor Gilderoy Lockhart, admirer Colin Creevy who loves taking photos, and Ron's sister Ginny Weasley who has a crush on Harry. Events take a really bad turn when the Chamber of Secrets is opened and something goes on a rampage, turning students into statues. According to legend, the Chamber was built by Salazar Slytherin and can be opened only by his true heir to purge Hogwarts of students who are not pure-blood wizards. Many suspect Harry of being the Heir, especially after he inadvertently speaks Parseltongue (the language of snakes), a distinctive ability of Dark wizards which Harry gained when Voldemort tried to kill him as a baby. Harry, Ron, and Hermione spend the majority of the novel trying to discover the true identity of the Heir of Slytherin.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
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The attacks increase in frequency, leaving more petrified characters in the hospital wing, including Hermione. To top it all, a message is written on a wall declaring that a student - Ginny Weasley - has been taken into the Chamber, where "her bones will lie forever."
With Ron's help, Harry discovers the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets, where he discovers that it was Ginny who opened the Chamber, but that she was not acting of her own free will - she was possessed by Lord Voldemort, whose name at school was Tom Riddle. Riddle had imprinted a memory of himself in an enchanted diary, hoping to one day continue the work he had begun when he first opened the Chamber fifty years ago. That time, Hagrid had been blamed for what happened and had been expelled from the school.
The memory of Tom Riddle becomes steadily more alive as it steals the life from Ginny. It tries to kill Harry by setting loose the basilisk (the monster responsible for petrifying the students) but Dumbledore sends Fawkes, his phoenix, to give Harry the sword of Godric Gryffindor. Fawkes blinds the basilisk so that it cannot use its fatal gaze, and Harry slays it with the sword. Riddle is vanquished and Ginny restored to life when the diary is destroyed. The petrified students are restored to normal. Lucius Malfoy had owned the diary and must have given it to Ginny, but there is no evidence to prove what he did. The remains of the diary are returned to Lucius wrapped up in one of Harry's socks. Lucius unwraps the book and throws the sock to the side. This sock is caught by his house elf, Dobby. This sock constitutes as a gift of clothing, which is the traditional way a master frees a house-elf. Dobby is free and becomes forever grateful to Harry. As for Harry, his fears that he is akin to the evil of Slytherin instead of the good of the Gryffindor house are dispelled when Dumbledore points out his choice defined him and he could not have wielded the sword of Gryffindor if he didn't belong to that house.
Meanwhile, Gilderoy Lockhart has been exposed by Harry and Ron as a fraud who wipes the memories of others and claims their achievements. When Lockhart tries to wipe their memories using Ron's malfunctioning wand, the spell backfires and wipes his memory instead, leaving him permanently confused and confined to St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies.
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