Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
 

Summary

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Chapter 17 Summary Page 1

How It All Goes Down

The Heir of Slytherin

  • The Chamber is lined with columns in the shape of snakes.
  • Against the back wall is a huge statue of a wizard.
  • At the base of the statue is a "small, black-robed figure with flaming-red hair" (17.5).
  • Ginny isn't dead, but she won't wake up.
  • There is a black-haired boy leaning against a nearby pillar.
  • It's Tom Riddle.
  • Riddle tells Harry that he is a memory, preserved in a diary for over fifty years.
  • Confused, Harry asks Riddle to help him get Ginny out of the Chamber.
  • Harry tries to lift Ginny while Riddle picks up Harry's wand.
  • Riddle tells Harry that he has been waiting for the chance to speak to Harry.
  • Harry finally twigs to the fact that something is wrong.
  • Riddle begins to explain.
  • Ginny has been writing in Riddle's diary for months and months, spilling her secrets to Riddle.
  • Riddle has been writing back to her, making friends with her, and slowly developing his power over her.
  • As Riddle's power grows, he begins "feeding Miss Weasley a few of [his] secrets, to start pouring a little of [his] soul back into her" (17.45).
  • Riddle uses Ginny to kill the roosters, paint threatening messages on the walls, and set the basilisk on four students and Mrs. Norris.
  • Harry is absolutely horrified.
  • Riddle continues: Ginny begins to suspect that the diary is responsible for her periods of lost memory and for the terrible things that are happening at the school.
  • She throws the diary away.
  • Luckily for Riddle, the next person to pick up the diary is Harry, the one person Riddle wants to meet more than anyone else.
  • Before Riddle can really get to know Harry, Ginny steals the diary back.
  • She won't let Harry be harmed by Riddle.
  • Still, Riddle knows by now that Harry will do anything to rescue his friends.
  • So Riddle forces Ginny to "write her own farewell on the wall" (17.64) and come down to the Chamber of Secrets to wait for Harry to arrive.
  • She is growing weaker and weaker as Riddle takes physical form outside of the diary.
  • Harry asks why Riddle cares about Harry at all.
  • Ginny has told Riddle that it was Harry who brought down Voldemort eleven years ago.
  • Riddle wants to know what's so special about Harry, since Voldemort was "the greatest wizard of all time" (17.66).
  • Riddle is eager to know because he is Voldemort as a young man.
  • Rearrange the letters in his name – Tom Marvolo Riddle – and you get "I am Lord Voldemort" (17.71).
  • Harry tells Riddle he isn't the greatest wizard in the world; that wizard is Albus Dumbledore.
  • As Harry says this, he hears sudden music: "It was eerie, spine-tingling, unearthly; it lifted the hair on Harry's scalp and made his heart feel as though it was swelling to twice its size" (17.81).
  • The song is phoenix song.
  • Fawkes has arrived, and he's carrying the Sorting Hat.
  • Riddle laughs at Harry, that these are the great reinforcements Professor Dumbledore sends his defender.
  • Harry doesn't care. At least he's no longer alone.
  • He tells Riddle that he survived because his "common Muggle-born mother" (17.94) died to save him.
  • Riddle is glad to hear that it was only lucky chance that saved Harry from Voldemort.
  • Riddle finally calls the basilisk to come out and kill Harry.
  • Harry sees a massive snake slithering out of the mouth of the statue at the end of the hall.
  • Harry runs.
  • Fawkes swoops in and tears out the snake's eyes.
  • Maddened with pain, the snake continues to hunt Harry.
  • Harry grabs the Sorting Hat and jams it onto his head. He begs for help.
  • Something lands on Harry's head with a clunk.
  • It's a sword.
  • Riddle keeps egging the basilisk on to kill Harry.
  • The basilisk strikes, but Harry is fast enough to bury the sword into the soft palate of its mouth.
  • Still, the basilisk sinks a poisonous fang into Harry's arm.
  • Fawkes flies to Harry's side.
  • Riddle gloats: Harry is dying, and Riddle gets to watch.
  • Then, though, Harry starts to feel better.
  • He realizes that Fawkes's tears are healing him.
  • Riddle uses Harry's wand to zap Fawkes away, and then he raises his wand to Harry.
  • Fawkes flies overhead and drops Riddle's diary into Harry's lap.
  • Harry sticks the basilisk fang into the book.
  • Ink streams out in ribbons and Riddle screams and disappears.
  • At the other side of the Chamber, Ginny wakes up.
  • She cries and apologizes.
  • Ginny can't calm down. She's sure that she will be expelled.
  • Soon, Ginny and Harry reach the pile of stone.
  • They call for Ron, who is still there with Professor Lockhart.
  • Ron shouts, "Ginny! […] You're alive! I don't believe it!" (17.158).
  • Ginny climbs through the stones and Fawkes follows.
  • Harry comes last.
  • Ron explains that Professor Lockhart has completely lost his memory, thanks to that rebounded Memory Charm.
  • Fawkes flies Harry, Ron, Ginny, and Professor Lockhart up the pipe and away from the Chamber of Secrets.
  • Moaning Myrtle is astonished to see them all alive.
  • She's a little disappointed that Harry won't be joining her as a ghost.
Advertisement
Advertisement
back to top