© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

by J.K. Rowling

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.
  • 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.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement