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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Chapter 1 Summary How It All Goes Down
The Worst Birthday Sadly, Harry Potter starts Book 2 in much the same way that he starts Book 1: having to deal with his horrible Muggle (non-magic) aunt, uncle, and cousin. Harry tells Dudley, his cousin, to say "the magic word" (1.13) (i.e., please) when asking Harry to pass the frying pan. Uncle Vernon shrieks, "WHAT HAVE I TOLD YOU [...] ABOUT SAYING THE 'M' WORD IN OUR HOUSE?" (1.15). Obviously, the Dursley family prejudice against magic has not softened. In fact, it's gotten worse: "Ever since Harry had come home for the summer holidays, Uncle Vernon had been treating him like a bomb that might go off at any moment" (1.24). This night is particularly stressful because the Dursleys are expecting guests. Uncle Vernon is trying to make a business deal, and he wants everything to go like clockwork. To make sure that Harry doesn't ruin things, Uncle Vernon insists that Harry stays in his room "making no noise and pretending [he's] not there" (1.44). Harry goes out to the garden to think glumly about how lonely he is. No one has remembered that it's his birthday (July 31st), not even his best friends, Ron and Hermione. He did think that he would get at least one letter from them over the summer. Yet Harry hasn't heard a peep. He's starting to wonder if they've forgotten him, or if he dreamed his year at Hogwarts altogether. Harry startles as he sees "Two enormous green eyes" (1.69) staring back at him from the Dudley's garden hedge. Before he can explore further, Dudley lumbers out into the garden to mock Harry for not receiving any birthday greetings. Harry scares Dudley off with some fake magic. Aunt Petunia punishes Harry for teasing his cousin, meaning that he has to spend the afternoon working hard. His reward for all this work is that he gets to eat "two slices of bread and a lump of cheese" (1.91) at the kitchen table before being pushed upstairs to his room. Uncle Vernon warns Harry once again to be quiet. The only problem is, there is someone waiting in Harry's bedroom.
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