Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Canon Book Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

This book review comes from a request from Canon Review reader Maggie W. A couple of months before this, Maggie had asked me to read and review the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, which you can find right here. Well, after that, Maggie requested that I review the second book, and some two months later, here we are. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the tale of Harry's second year at the wizardry school Hogwarts. Just like his first year, there's a terrible evil that is on the verge of being released and possibly destroying Hogwarts forever, and once again, it's up to Harry and his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger to save the whole world from that terrible evil. A few thoughts about this book, and yes there will be SPOILERS, so be careful.

- This book is actually a little darker than the first one. You have key characters turned into stone, Draco Malfoy openly wishing for Hermoine's death, which was kind of a shock to me, as in the first book Draco's not much more than a jealous twit. In this book, both he and his father are dang near evil. Also, Harry's adopted family, the Dursleys, seem a lot more violent in this book than in the first book. Not to mention the whole underlying tone of discrimination, as pure-bloods tend to look down upon those with any 'muggle' blood in their family. Yes, this is a kid's book, but I do wonder about how kids younger than 9 or 10 would handle this book.

- Speaking of Draco, he seems to have some serious jealously issues with Potter. It seems as if Malfoy spends every waking second trying to get rid of Potter or show him up or something. This constant pestering of Potter and his friends backfires on Malfoy on more than one occasion, which is all in all just, but part of me actually kind of feels for Malfoy, as despite all of his wealth and the respect of his Slytherin housemates, he still obsesses over Potter to the point where any reader can tell he has serious issues of feeling inadequate compared to the famous wizard. Then again, it is only fiction, and perhaps I'm wasting my time by playing amateur psychologist.

- There are a few new characters introduced in the story, such as Dobby the House Elf, who's constant attempts to save Harry Potter usually involve getting Harry badly injured. Also, there's a new defense of dark arts teacher, one Gilderoy Lockhart. Lockhart is the stereotypical overbearing man who insists on telling everyone around him how he did this or fought off that or whatever. For some reason, Lockhart is kind of a big deal in the wizard world, authoring many books and having legions of fans. At more than one point, Lockhart uses his tutelage of Harry Potter as another way of making himself look more famous. At first, it was kind of entertaining, but after a while you just started to wish that Lockhart would fall into a giant well or get eaten by a snake or something. At least he got some sort of comeuppance at the end, as he turned out to be quite a nasty fellow.

- You know, for a bunch of wizards in an enchanted world, the people around Harry seem awfully close-minded and judgmental. When people start turning into stone, everybody's first reaction seems to be blame it on Harry Potter because he defeated Voldemort and therefore, he must be evil or something. When Harry shows the talent to talk to snakes, everybody continues to freak out even though he saved their butts from getting snakebit. Yet at the end of the day, it's Potter that once again saves their sorry selves from getting killed by the stare of a giant snake. I'm sure in the next book something will happen and everyone will call Harry evil again and all of that. You kind of feel for Harry, as in one world, he's treated like the proverbial red-headed step child, while in the other, with the exception of a few people, he's either regarded as a quasi-celebrity or the cause for everyone's faults, depending on the collective view of Hogwarts at the time.

- Then again, Harry kind of treated his new admirer, a first year student named Colin Creevey, like an irritating gnat. Sure, Colin seemed to be a bit overbearing, but Harry seemed to be a little cruel towards Colin, if you ask me.

Overall, I must say that unlike most sequals, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets lives up to the excellence of the first book. Sure, I would have liked a little more focus on some of the ancillary characters like Neville and Sheamus, and the reveal of Slytheren's heir was kind of disappointing, as it basically was the same deal as the first book. But nevertheless, this was quite an entertaining read that I had no trouble zipping through, as I couldn't put the book down. Overall, I'd give Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets a 7.35 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any comments about this or previous posts, or ideas for future reviews or posts, than share them either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at KtheC2001@gmail.com.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you liked it. The movie for this one isn't too bad, Lockhart is pretty convincing in it.

    But yes, the books do seem to get darker and darker as the series progresses, but it also blends in the bad stuff with plenty of hi-jinks and humor.

    The third one is probably my favorite one-the movie, too.