Harry Potter and the Re/Read of the Chamber of Secrets

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Harry Potter and the Re/Read of the Chamber of Secrets

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1leahbird
Edited: Aug 13, 2014, 2:18pm

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Welcome to our group re/read of the Harry Potter series for 2014! There aren't any hard guidelines as to when you should read or what format you should use, we're just happily revisiting (or enjoying for the first time) this wonderful series of books together!

I'm hoping that we'll not only share that we ARE reading, but will celebrate the moments that we love and have a lively discussion of what makes these books mean so much to us!

That said, I would like to see some information when everyone posts, so please use this form when starting your posts:

Format: (book, ebook, audio/ US version, UK version)
Chapter: (mentioning the chapter you are currently discussing will help us keep up with each other and let new readers avoid spoilers!)

example:

Format: Audio/UK
Chapter: 2, The Vanishing Glass


Threads for all the books:

The Sorcerer's Stone
The Chamber of Secrets
The Prisoner of Azkaban
The Goblet of Fire
The Order of the Phoenix
The Half-Blood Prince
The Deathly Hallows
The Supplemental Reading List

Otherwise, LET THE FUN BEGIN! Invite your friends!

2norabelle414
Jan 23, 2014, 11:12am

Format: Hardcover first UK edition
Chapter: not started


I plan on starting this one on the 1st of February. I'm very excited as I will be reading the UK edition for the first time. (though Chamber of Secrets is my least favorite Harry Potter book)

3Cait86
Edited: Jan 23, 2014, 6:15pm

Format: Audio, US
Chapter: 2, Dobby's Warning


I started listening today on my way home from work. Since I'm listening to about 45 minutes a day, I figured I need to get a head start on things so that when we get to books 4-7 I will be able to follow the one-a-month schedule. I think the bigger books are over 30 hours each, so they will take me longer than a month.

>2 norabelle414: - This is my least favourite HP book too. I am curious about how all of us rereaders would rank the books in terms of favourites. Something to think about once we get to the end of the series as a whole!

4leahbird
Jan 23, 2014, 6:20pm

It's funny because I always assume I don't particularly like Chamber of Secrets, the movie especially, until I'm actually reading/watching it and then I remember that there are lots of things in it that are cool or funny or really enjoyable. I do think it's weaker than the others, but being the weakest in an awesome series isn't so bad after all.

5Cait86
Edited: Jan 27, 2014, 6:30pm

Format: Audio, US
Chapter: 9, The Writing on the Wall


>4 leahbird: - I think my dislike of CoS is because I don't like the beginning. I find the whole flying car bit ridiculous - I know 12 year olds aren't exactly logical all the time, but Harry and Ron are smarter than just flying a car to Hogwarts. Sending a message with Hedwig, or waiting for the Weasleys to come back through the barrier, makes much more sense. It bugs me every time. I'm not fond of poor Ron's wand breaking, and the slug-vomit scene either. It's a bit harsh, as is the Howler, and I really feel Ron's embarrassment over both events. After all, with the slugs he was standing up for Hermione. Did he really need to curse himself in the grossest way possible?

Also, I think all of the new characters in CoS are annoying. Colin Creevey, Lockhart, Moaning Myrtle - man, I hate them all! Couldn't Rowling have created one interesting and engaging character in the novel? All of the other novels have fascinating new characters, such as: Sirius, Lupin, and Pettigrew in PoA; the Crouchs, Bagman, Moody, Fleur, Krum, Maxime, and Karkaroff in GoF; Tonks, Kingsley, Luna, Bellatrix, and Umbridge in OotP; the Gaunts and Slughorn in HBP; Aberforth Dumbledore and Xenophilius Lovegood in DH.

However, now that I am into the mystery of the story, I am enjoying it much more, and I look forward to quidditch and the antics the Trio get up to at Christmas!

6norabelle414
Jan 28, 2014, 9:38am

>5 Cait86: Hmm I could never quite put my finger on what I don't like about CoS but I think you're totally right: going to school in the car (I have no idea how they thought that would work), and the poor supporting characters. I didn't even like Ginny the first time I read CoS, though I liked her plenty in later books.

7foggidawn
Edited: Feb 13, 2014, 10:13am

Format: Hardcover, US
Finished book


#4: I have the same experience -- it's my least favorite in the series, but still enjoyable once I get into it.

#5: Ooh, good point about the unlikeable characters. I do like Dobby (though I know some people find him nearly as irritating as Jar Jar Binks), but Lockheart, Moaning Myrtle, and Colin Creevey . . . yeah.

I have less to say about this book than I did about the first one, no big revelations or anything. I was never bothered about them taking the car to school -- I figured they mostly did it because they wanted to; not being able to get through the barrier was an excuse to take the flying car somewhere by themselves, without Ron's parents or older brothers. My main problem with the car is that it appears at the end of the book (rather than a deus ex machina, a machinae ex deo? I have little Greek and less Latin, so I'm sure the endings are all wrong there...) and then goes off into the forest again, and I always expected it to show up again somewhere at the end of the series. All through the Battle of Hogwarts, I thought it might come out and fight again.

8leahbird
Feb 26, 2014, 12:38am

Nora, how goes your first read of the UK editions? Does it really feel any different?

9norabelle414
Feb 26, 2014, 9:04am

I'm really behind and thus haven't started CoS yet :-( But it's next up after my current book! And then I'll just read PoA immediately after.

10BBGirl55
Feb 26, 2014, 1:54pm

Paperback UK
The Very Secret Diary

Almost finished just geting too the better part of the book now should hopfullh finish this tonight.

11leahbird
Feb 26, 2014, 10:25pm

Don't worry, I've not even finished SS yet. I was just trying to be a good steward of this lonely thread. ;)

12crazy4reading
Feb 28, 2014, 6:18am

I listened to the COS this time around. The audio just makes the book more enjoyable. COS is my least favorite book in this series.

Cait I think you hit some of the reasons I didn't enjoy this book. I really hated Lockhart. I understand why the characters were needed but could possible have been less annoying or shown in different light.

I hope to be starting the POA audio book this weekend.

13norabelle414
Mar 25, 2014, 3:05pm

Format: Hardcover UK edition (first edition?)
Chapter 12, The Polyjuice Potion


Just checking in to say that I really notice no difference in the UK edition (besides my own personal joy). Even spelling and slang differences are minimal.

14norabelle414
Mar 31, 2014, 2:59pm

Format: Hardcover UK edition (first edition?)
Finished


Here's my review:

Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts for his second year. He goes to classes; learns important things about himself, his friends/classmates, and the wizarding world; and hears a sinister voice that no one else can hear. Malfoy is being a douche, and some students get petrified. Harry saves the day.

I always make fun of CoS for being the worst of the Harry Potter books, but whenever I read it I'm always reminded that it's still a Harry Potter book and thus is completely awesome. SPOILERS BELOW:

It's in this book (not the 6th!) that we truly learn who Voldemort is. In the 6th we learn why he is the way he is, but in Chamber of Secrets we learn that Voldemort is a sociopath. Prior to the end of this book, Voldemort is just a Bad Guy who did Bad Things. But in the end we see how he, even as his teenage self, was able to tell both Harry and Ginny exactly what they wanted to hear so that he could get what he wanted. He had no qualms about throwing Hagrid under the bus for his own crimes, and even though he theoretically cares about preserving the pure wizarding blood, he was perfectly content to murder a pure-blooded eleven-year-old girl. It's not actually about the blood or about wizard-kind. It's all about him. A lot of people say the series gets dark at the end of book 4, but for me it's in that stone chamber under the girls' bathroom, where a 17-year-old boy is capable of that kind of manipulation.

____________________________________

I'll be taking a break of 1-2 weeks before I pick up the next one. Even though I've fallen behind my schedule I don't want to rush through them.

15foggidawn
Mar 31, 2014, 3:34pm

>14 norabelle414: Oh, excellent points in your spoiler-blocked section!

16leahbird
Mar 31, 2014, 7:57pm

Wonderful review Nora! It is a very chilling look at the depravity of a young man. I can say that snipets of the young Tom's story read here and then the detailed backstory from Half-Blood Prince makes me feel very sorry for the boy. But Rowling so wonderfully contrasts the choices Tom made with the hardships he was given with those of Harry who found himself in similar circumstances. Harry chooses to build a family and a life he can be proud of while Tom spiraled into what can only be viewed as insanity and psychosis.

I am just getting into the climax of the story so I'll have lots of thoughts to post soon.

17leahbird
Apr 7, 2014, 12:38am

Format: Audio UK edition
Finished


I finished CoS today and really enjoyed it more this time around that I remember in the past, but I feel like that is the case each time... Agree with all that it's the weakest of the series, but it's still brilliant in so many ways.

Again, this time around I'm reading for foreshadowing, so I noticed a few things I hadn't particularly before. Most importantly, I don't remember ever having registered that, when Tom is talking about his heritage, he mentions that his Muggle father abandoned his wife when he learned she was a witch. Does Tom not know the real story of his birth, that his mother bewitched Tom Sr. into loving her and that he left when the love potion wore off? You wouldn't think that someone so superior about magic would overlook a detail such as this, especially since he doesn't seem to recognize things as tawdry as lust and love.

At times while listening, I became irritated that a brilliant wizard such as Dumbledore couldn't solve a mystery that Hermione was able to puzzle out but then I remember how much Harry was keeping to himself. If he had just told Dumbledore that he was a Parselmouth and that he was hearing the menacing voice all over the castle, or even about the spiders, surely Dumbledore would have figured it out sooner and innocent people wouldn't have been petrified. Oh, well, Rowling has her plans.

Overall, very enjoyable, especially the final scene with Dobby. I love that demented little house elf.

I will most likely read PoA since it's my favorite and I want it all to myself, not myself and Stephen Fry, great narrator that he is.

18norabelle414
Apr 7, 2014, 8:00am

>17 leahbird: Re: Tom, don't forget that the Tom Riddle that Harry meets is 16-year-old Tom. So it's possible that he did not learn about his mother's spell until he was older.

Re: Dumbledore, I think it's easy for us to forget, having read the whole series, that Harry doesn't really know the extent to which he can trust Dumbledore yet. The only adults he had contact with until he was 11 were awful and completely untrustworthy. It's understandable that he would not realize until book 3 or 4 (Personally I think it happens when Dumbledore tells Harry and Hermione to use the time-turner to save Sirius and Buckbeak) that he can trust Dumbledore with all the weird crap that goes on inside his head.