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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Chapter 8 Summary How It All Goes Down
The Deathday Party It's October and the weather is miserable, so Harry is spending most of his time inside the castle. One day, he sees Nearly Headless Nick (the Gryffindor ghost) muttering to himself. Nick wants to join a group of ghosts called the Headless Hunt, but he can't because he's only Nearly Headless – there's still some skin attaching his head to his body. Their conversation is interrupted by the appearance of Mrs. Norris, Hogwarts caretaker Argus Filch's cat. Nick warns Harry that he'd better go – Filch has been in a foul mood, and he'll punish Harry if he finds him standing around dripping mud on the castle floors. Nick's warning comes too late, though. Filch appears, shouting, "Mess and muck everywhere! I've had enough of it, I tell you! Follow me, Potter!" (8.19). Filch drags Harry to his office. Before he can finish filling out a form detailing Harry's wrongdoing, Peeves the Poltergeist starts acting up somewhere nearby. Filch rushes out of the office in a rage. Left alone with Filch's papers, Harry notices an ad: "KWIKSPELL: A Correspondence Course in Beginner's Magic" (8.33). Filch storms back in. He looks embarrassed that Harry found his Kwickspell course. He sends Harry off without punishing him. Harry finds out that it was Nearly Headless Nick who persuaded Peeves to misbehave near Filch's office, thus distracting Filch from Harry. Harry asks if he can do Nick a favor in return. Nick is about to have a party celebrating the five-hundredth anniversary of his death, and he wants Harry to come and to bring Ron and Hermione with him. Maybe Harry could even tell the leader of the Headless Hunt, Sir Patrick Delaney-Podmore, "how very frightening and impressive" (8.59) he finds Nick? Harry agrees. Harry is not looking forward to this party, but as Hermione reminds him, "A promise is a promise [...] You said you'd go to the deathday party" (8.67). So on Halloween night, he, Ron, and Hermione troop down to the dungeons. They find many ghosts floating around, wading through tables of rotting food and listening to screeching musical saws. It's freezing in the dungeon, and they are sad to see Nick get laughed at by Sir Patrick Delaney-Podmore (a ghost who can actually take his head right off). So Harry, Ron, and Hermione decide to head back up to Gryffindor Tower. As they creep along, Harry hears that voice – " rip...tear...kill" (8.145). It grows fainter, as though it is moving away from Harry. Suddenly it shouts, " I smell blood... I SMELL BLOOD!" (8.157). Neither Hermione nor Ron hear it, but Harry is sure it's going to kill someone. Harry runs up the corridors until he finds words painted on the wall: "THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS HAS BEEN OPENED. ENEMIES OF THE HEIR, BEWARE" (8.163). At the base of these words, there is a large puddle of water. Mrs. Norris, the cat, is hanging by her tail from a torch bracket on the wall: "She was as stiff as a board, her eyes wide and staring" (8.167). Just then, all the students and teachers come pouring into the hall from the Halloween Feast, which has just ended. The noise dies down as they all see Mrs. Norris hanging. Draco shouts, "Enemies of the Heir, beware! You'll be next, Mudbloods!" (8.173).
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