Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Chapter 17 Summary
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.
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- 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.
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- 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.
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