Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
by J.K. Rowling
Choices Quotes in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"Harry Potter says he's not going back to school —"
"Say it, sir —"
"I can't —"
Dobby gave him a tragic look.
"Then Dobby must do it, sir, for Harry Potter's own good."
The pudding fell to the floor with a heart-stopping crash. Cream splattered the windows and walls as the dish shattered. With a crack like a whip, Dobby vanished. (2.89-95)
Obviously, Dobby has a really misguided notion of what is for "Harry Potter's own good." By letting Harry take the blame for the destroyed dessert, Dobby gets poor Harry locked up in his bedroom by the Dursleys – there are even bars on the windows! Even though Dobby acts with the best of intentions, by not giving Harry any choices about his protection, he makes everything much worse. Dobby's actions underline one of the major themes of the Harry Potter series: the importance of free will and personal choice.
My name was down for Eton, you know. I can't tell you how glad I am I came here instead. Of course, Mother was slightly disappointed, but since I made her read Lockhart's books I think she has begun to see how useful it'll be to have a fully trained wizard in the family. (6.67)
This passage of dialogue comes from Justin Finch-Fletchley, a Muggle-born Hufflepuff second year. He seems like a nice enough kid, if a little too trusting of Professor Lockhart. (By the way, Eton is a very expensive, old, and established boys' school in Britain. So, Justin must be pretty highly placed in terms of social class.) Not only does this passage go to show that Professor Lockhart's reputation has spread far and wide; it also indicates that the kids at Hogwarts come from lots of different backgrounds. It's hard to imagine that Justin's mother was "slightly disappointed" at Justin's choice to go to Hogwarts instead of Eton – how could you not be insanely excited that your son is going to be a wizard? Why do you think Justin's mother values Eton over Hogwarts? What might Eton mean to her or to her family, that she's excited about Justin going there? Can you imagine a reason not to attend Hogwarts?
"All right, Harry? I'm – I'm Colin Creevey," [a mousy-haired Gryffindor first year] said breathlessly, taking a tentative step forward. "I'm in Gryffindor, too. D'you think – would it be all right if – can I have a picture?" he said, raising the camera hopefully.
"A picture?" Harry repeated blankly.
"So I can prove I've met you," said Colin Creevey eagerly, edging further forward. "I know all about you. Everyone's told me. About how you survived when You-Know-Who tried to kill you, and how he disappeared and everything and how you've still got a lightning scar on your forehead [...] It's amazing here, isn't it? I never knew all the odd stuff I could do was magic till I got the letter from Hogwarts. My dad's a milkman, he couldn't believe it either." (6.84-86)
Colin Creevey is Harry's one-person cheering squad in Book 2. He's so admiring of Harry that it gets a little embarrassing. Yet we find Colin interesting for two other reasons. First, like Justin Finch-Fletchley in the same chapter, he's a Muggle-born. Yet his father's a milkman, so he comes from a lower social class than Eton-bound Justin. Still, Colin and Justin's Muggle social backgrounds don't seem at all relevant at Hogwarts. In fact, Hogwarts seems more diverse in terms of social class than most Muggle private schools. Second, Colin's enthusiasm about Hogwarts and all the neat stuff he can do with magic keeps the wonder going from Book 1 to Book 2. In Book 1, everything at Hogwarts is new to Harry and he keeps discovering new things around every corner. By Book 2, there are still strange things for Harry to find (like the Mandrakes or Fawkes, the phoenix), but Hogwarts itself is starting to appear familiar. Colin's response reminds us how marvelous the wizarding world still is.