Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Chapter 9 Summary
How It All Goes Down
The Writing on the Wall
- Filch pushes through the crowd.
- He sees Mrs. Norris hanging there and accuses Harry of killing her.
- Professor Dumbledore pulls Filch, Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Professors Lockhart, Snape, and McGonagall into Lockhart's office nearby.
- Professor Dumbledore announces that Mrs. Norris isn't dead; she's Petrified.
- Filch insists it was Harry: "You saw what he wrote on the wall! He found – in my office – he knows I'm a – I'm a – [...] He knows I'm a Squib!" (9.27).
- (A Squib is a person born to magical parents who can't do magic themselves.)
- Professor Snape agrees that "Potter and his friends may have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time" (9.31).
- Then, why weren't they at the Halloween Feast?
- Harry gives their airtight alibi: hundreds of ghosts saw them at Nearly Headless Nick's deathday party.
- So, why didn't they come to the Halloween Feast afterwards?
- Harry can't say that he heard a voice no one else could hear talking about killing.
- He claims that they weren't hungry.
- Professor Dumbledore reminds Snape, "Innocent until proven guilty" (9.42).
- Professor Dumbledore promises Filch that they can heal Mrs. Norris just as soon as Professor Sprout's Mandrakes have gotten big enough to make a restorative potion.
- Harry, Ron, and Hermione are allowed to go back to Gryffindor Tower.
- Ron confirms that Harry was right not to say anything about the murderous voice: "Hearing voices no one else can hear isn't a good sign, even in the Wizarding world" (9.52).
- Ron finally explains to Harry what a Squib is: "Kind of the opposite of Muggle-born wizards, but Squibs are quite unusual" (9.59).
- Over the next few days, all anyone can talk about is the attack on Mrs. Norris.
- Ginny Weasley seems particularly upset about it, since, Ron tells us, she is "a great cat lover" (9.63).
- Hermione is spending all her time in the library looking for clues on what has happened.
- Harry notices Justin Finch-Fletchley turning back and going the opposite direction the minute he sees Harry.
- Harry is confused.
- Hermione tells Ron and Harry that all the school library's copies of Hogwarts: A History have been checked out.
- Everyone in the school is looking for information on the Chamber of Secrets.
- Unfortunately, Hermione can't remember what the Chamber is.
- During their History of Magic class with dead (and deadly boring) Professor Binns, Hermione interrupts his lecture to ask what the Chamber of Secrets is.
- Professor Binns dismisses the Chamber of Secrets as a legend.
- Hermione persists in asking him, though.
- Professor Binns is so "thrown by such an unusual show of interest" (9.96) that he finally explains.
- Hogwarts was apparently founded over a thousand years ago by two witches and two wizards: Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw, Godric Gryffindor, and Salazar Slytherin.
- They worked together in harmony for several years, "seeking out youngsters who showed signs of magic and bringing them to the castle to be educated" (9.100).
- Then, Slytherin and the other founders fell into a serious argument.
- The other founders felt that the school should be open to all children who showed magical talent.
- Yet Slytherin wanted to limit Hogwarts enrollment to students from magical families.
- He didn't want any Muggle-born students at Hogwarts.
- So Slytherin left Hogwarts when the other founders refused to give in.
- Then, legend goes, "Slytherin had built a hidden chamber in the castle, of which the other founders knew nothing" (9.102).
- No one can open this hidden chamber except a direct heir of Slytherin.
- Slytherin's heir would be able "to unseal the Chamber of Secrets, unleash the horror within, and use it to purge the school of all who were unworthy to study magic" (9.103).
- Professor Binns dismisses this legend as nonsense and goes back to his usual lesson.
- After class, Ron claims that Salazar Slytherin was a loony.
- Harry starts to worry about himself: after all, the Sorting Hat initially wanted to put Harry in Slytherin rather than Gryffindor.
- As they rush down the hall to their next class, Harry sees Colin Creevey.
- Colin tries to tell Harry, "a boy in my class has been saying you're —" (9.125).
- But the crowd pushes Colin on before he can finish.
- Harry realizes that there are rumors going around that he is Slytherin's heir.
- Harry, Ron, and Hermione go back to the scene of the crime to see if they can find anything.
- They do notice something weird: a line of spiders trying to get out of the castle.
- Ron admits that he hates spiders: "If you must know, when I was three, Fred turned my – my teddy bear into a great big filthy spider because I broke his toy broomstick...you wouldn't like them either if you'd been holding your bear and suddenly it had too many legs and" (9.148).
- Harry recalls that there was a lot of water on the floor that night.
- It must have come from the nearby girls' bathroom.
- They go in to have a look.
- The bathroom is home to a miserable, whining ghost girl named Moaning Myrtle.
- She is extremely quick to take offense: "My life was nothing but misery at this place and now people come along ruining my death" (9.167).
- She doesn't recall seeing anything the night that Mrs. Norris was Petrified.
- She was too busy being a giant drama queen.
- As Harry, Ron, and Hermione come out of the girls' bathroom, Percy Weasley spots them.
- He's furious that they are breaking school rules and worrying Ginny.
- So he takes five points from Gryffindor and gives them detention. Percy's a prefect, which means he can discipline other students for misbehavior.
- In the Common Room that night, Harry, Ron, and Hermione discuss what to do next.
- Ron is sure that the Heir of Slytherin must be Draco Malfoy.
- Draco obviously agrees that Muggle-borns have no place at Hogwarts and his whole family is in Slytherin. He must be the Heir!
- To prove it, Hermione suggests that they make Polyjuice Potion.
- Polyjuice Potion allows you to transform into someone else for an hour.
- If she, Harry, and Ron turned into friends of Draco's, they might be able to get him to confess.
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