Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
How we cite our quotes:
The dungeon was full of hundreds of pearly-white, translucent people, mostly drifting around a crowded dance floor, waltzing to the dreadful, quavering sound of thirty musical saws, played by an orchestra on a raised, black-draped platform. A chandelier overhead blazed midnight-blue with a thousand more black candles. Their breath rose in a mist before them; it was like stepping into a freezer. (8.83)
J.K. Rowling spends a lot of the Harry Potter series reminding us that death itself (while sad) is not necessarily something to fear. In the first book, when Harry destroys the Sorcerer's Stone that had been sustaining Nicholas Flamel's unusually long life, Professor Dumbledore promises that, to Flamel, death will be like the next great adventure. Here, we've got this rather hilarious deathday party. Nearly Headless Nick seems quite proud of having died 500 years before. All the ghosts seem so human – they want to chat and eat and play just like we do. It's hard to take death seriously in these early books – though that really starts to change in Book 4 and especially Book 5.
"Ah, if Harry Potter only knew!" Dobby groaned, more tears dripping onto his ragged pillowcase. "If he knew what he means to us, to the lowly, the enslaved, we dregs of the magical world! Dobby remembers how it was when He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was at the height of his powers, sir! We house-elves were treated like vermin, sir! Of course, Dobby is still treated like that, sir," he admitted, drying his face on the pillowcase. "But mostly, sir, life has improved for my kind since you triumphed over He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Harry Potter survived, and the Dark Lord's power was broken, and it was a new dawn, sir, and Harry Potter shone like a beacon of hope for those of us who thought the dark days would ever end, sir..." (10.148)
Dobby's statement of admiration for Harry as the defeater of Voldemort eleven years ago is really touching. At the same time, it's a bit at odds with the experiences of other magical creatures (the goblins, giants, and centaurs) who seem pretty ambivalent about choosing between Voldemort and the Ministry of Magic in Book 5. These creatures all resent the rights they have been refused by the Ministry, and they consider siding with Voldemort in order to get those rights. What might make the house-elf population different? Why are they not in a position to negotiate with Voldemort? How is the status of the house-elves different from the status of other magical creatures (such as the centaurs) in the wizarding world? What does Dobby fear will happen if Harry is killed? How might Dobby's own life be materially different if there were no Boy-Who-Lived?
The news that Colin Creevey had been attacked and was now lying as though dead in the hospital wing had spread through the entire school by Monday morning. The air was suddenly thick with rumor and suspicion. The first years were now moving around the castle in tight-knit groups, as though scared they would be attacked if they ventured forth alone. (11.23)
One of Voldemort's main weapons is fear. A few unexplained Petrifications are all it takes to start turning the Hogwarts student body against one another. Most of the other students think the Heir of Slytherin must be Harry, while Harry and his friends (equally unjustly) suspect Draco Malfoy. This theme of fear turning innocent people against one another is a huge topic in the Harry Potter series, particularly in Book 5, when even the Sorting Hat starts to worry that the Hogwarts House system is creating unnecessary division among the students.