Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

by J. K. Rowling | Scholastic © 1999 · 352 pages

Harry Potter Year 2. I’m having fun reading the epic series to Emerson and in this Note we have fun looking at a handful of my favorite Big Ideas including Burning Days (phoenixes burn then rise from their ashes—so do we!), opening your eyes to reality (always a good idea!), eating your words (gotta do it at times or else you might become a hobgoblin), and what wins in the choices vs. abilities game (hint: CHOICES!!).

It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

“‘Eat quickly! The Masons will be here soon!’ snapped Aunt Petunia, pointing to two slices of bread and a lump of cheese on the kitchen table. She was already wearing a salmon-pink cocktail dress.

Harry washed his hands and bolted down his pitiful supper. The moment he had finished, Aunt Petunia whisked away his plate. ‘Upstairs! Hurry!’

As he passed the door to the living room, Harry caught a glimpse of Uncle Vernon and Dudley in bow ties and dinner jackets. He had only just reached the upstairs landing when the doorbell rang and Uncle Vernon’s furious face appeared at the foot of the stairs.

‘Remember, boy—one sound—‘

Harry crossed to his bedroom on tiptoe, slipped inside, closed the door, and turned to collapse on his bed.

The trouble was, there was already someone sitting on it.”

~ J. K. Rowling from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Quick quiz:

Can you remember who was sitting on Harry’s bed in that opening scene to Year 2?

Hint: Tennis ball-like eyes. Bat-like ears. Pillow case for clothes.

… Got it?!

Yep. Dobby!

That nutty yet lovable little house elf who disrupted that important dinner for the Dursleys right before Fred and George and Ron helped Harry escape via their flying car.

(Emerson made a sweet little costume of Dobby the other day, btw. Old pillow case and everything. Was pretty epic going to the park with him wearing it. Hah.)

So, welcome to our Note on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Year 2 for our wonderful wizard hero. Get a copy of the book here and, if you haven’t already checked out the Notes on Year 1 cruise on over here.

As I read this book to Emerson, I was struck by the sheer beauty and delight of J.K. Rowling’s writing. It’s so good it’s easy to overlook. A blurb from the NY Times on the dust cover perfectly captures the essence of it’s splendor: “What makes the Potter books so popular is the radically simple fact that they’re so good.”

As always, I’m excited to share a few of my favorite Big Ideas so let’s jump on our brooms and have some fun!

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About the author


J. K. Rowling

Novelist and screenwriter who wrote the Harry Potter fantasy series.