Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
by J.K. Rowling
Education Quotes in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
We have received intelligence that a Hover Charm was used at your place of residence this evening at twelve minutes past nine.
As you know, underage wizards are not permitted to perform spells outside school, and further spellwork on your part may lead to expulsion from said school (Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery, 1875, Paragraph C). (2.103-104)
This Ministry notice to Harry scolding him for a Hover Charm that he didn't even cast (it was Dobby!) seems terribly unfair. It's the first definite evidence we get that the Ministry of Magic is not the world's most competent governing body. After all, how can you send someone an official warning without even knowing for sure if that person is the one who broke the law?
All three of Mrs. Weasley's sons were taller than she was, but they cowered as her rage broke over them.
"Beds empty! No note! Car gone – could have crashed – out of my mind with worry – did you care? – never, as long as I've lived – you wait until your father gets home, we never had trouble like this from Bill or Charlie or Percy – [...] You could have died, you could have been seen, you could have lost your father his job —"
It seemed to go on for hours. Mrs. Weasley had shouted herself hoarse before she turned on Harry, who backed away.
"I'm very pleased to see you, Harry, dear," she said. "Come in and have some breakfast." (3.105-110)
The Burrow is the first wizarding house Harry has ever seen, so it's filled with things that are still new to him. It's not just the house itself that is new; this is also Harry's first experience of family life that isn't completely abusive and hostile to him. Mrs. Weasley yells at her kids, sure, but they have scared her to death. She shrieks because she worries. She also welcomes Harry with open arms. Harry is learning what a loving family looks like. No wonder he gets so attached to all of the Weasleys and not just Ron.
"This is what you have to do," [Ron] said. He raised the gnome above his head ("Gerroff me!") and started to swing it in great circles like a lasso. Seeing the shocked look on Harry's face, Ron added, "It doesn't hurt them – you've just got to make them really dizzy so they can't find their way back to the gnomeholes."
He let go of the gnome's ankles: It flew twenty feet into the air and landed with a thud in the field over the hedge [...]
"See, [the gnomes] are not too bright," said George, seizing five or six gnomes at once. "The moment they know the de-gnoming's going on they storm up to have a look. You'd think they'd have learned by now to just stay put."
Soon, the crowd of gnomes in the field started walking away in a straggling line, their little shoulders hunched. (3.141-149)
The Harry Potter series is set in a school, so of course it's about education. It also focuses on Harry (and the reader) learning more about the larger wizarding world. The Burrow isn't just a house where wizards live; it's also a magical place in its own right, filled with creatures like these (cute) gnomes and the ghoul in the attic. These scenes teach both Harry and us how different the day-to-day life of wizards truly is. By making Harry unfamiliar with wizarding culture, Rowling has a plot-level reason to explain cool details like the gnomes. All of this stuff is as new to Harry as it is to us, so of course he's curious and wants to know more – which is great, because we want to know more, too.