Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
by J.K. Rowling
re-read in January 2017
review contains minor spoilers for the Harry Potter series!
It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.
I finally had some time to write this review! Let me start off by saying that I am disappointed in this illustrated edition. Don’t get me wrong: the illustrations are gorgeous. But I am hardly the first one to say that there aren’t nearly as many illustrations in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets as there were in Philosopher’s Stone. Not even an illustration of Tom Riddle! Or the Chamber of Secrets! Prisoner of Azkaban is probably my favourite part in the series, so it better live up to my expectations! I understand that making these illustrations takes a lot of time, but we still pay as much money for it…
Talking about the drawings: this might sound ridiculous, but I have a phobia of snails and slugs. Even though I’m also afraid of spiders, I had much more trouble dealing with the illustrations of snails. I seriously had to cover them up in order to be able to read the chapter.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets has always been my least favourite in the series. This re-read didn’t change my opinion. There is hardly any foreshadowing to events from the other books, except for these:
• Harry asks Dumbledore whether Voldemort put a part of himself in him.
• The vanishing cabinet and cursed necklace are already mentioned in Borgin and Burkes.
As much as I love this series, it won’t stop me from mentioning things that aren’t great about it. J.K. Rowling is clearly fatphobic. I already mentioned that in my review of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, but it only got worse in this one. Nearly all characters who are bullies and never get any sort of redemption and remain one-dimensional – such as Crabbe, Goyle and Vernon- are fat and unattractive. It is very obvious that J.K. Rowling thinks fat people are disgusting and ugly. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have written almost all her bullies like that.
Talking about a skinny character that does get redemption and isn’t one dimensional: Draco Malfoy. I completely agree with the majority of the fandom that he deserves redemption, but I can’t help but notice how much he truly hates Hermione. Maybe he’s just bragging, but he literally says he would help the Heir of Slytherin if he knew who it was. Furthermore, he wishes Hermione dead, which is an awful thing to say. I know that Draco is a child and clearly influenced by his father, but I still found it very shocking to read. If Lucius had told his son to attack muggleborns, he probably would’ve.
I’ll wrap this up soon, but I just have two more things to say: doesn’t J.K. Rowling claim she didn’t include Albus’ sexual orientation in her books because “it would disctract from Harry’s story?” Funny how Percy’s relationship was included, even though he is less important character than Albus. If only I could figure out why she did include that relationship, but not Albus’…. Hmmm, it’s a tough case to crack!
Finally, I hate that Rowling felt the need to include the following sentence:
There was a scramble as everyone tried to seize a pair [of earmuffs] that wasn’t pink and fluffy.
The fact that she took her time to write such a sexist sentence… It might seem innocent to some of you, but sentences like these bother me.