Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Lies and Deceit Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
"Harry, Harry, Harry," said Lockhart, reaching out and grasping [Harry's] shoulder. "I understand. Natural to want a bit more once you've had that first taste – and I blame myself for giving you that, because it was bound to go to your head – but see here, young man, you can't start flying cars to try and get yourself noticed. Just calm down, all right? Plenty of time for all that when you're older. Yes, yes, I know what you're thinking! 'It's all right for him, he's an internationally famous wizard already!' But when I was twelve, I was just as much of a nobody as you are now. In fact, I'd say I was even more of a nobody! I mean, a few people have heard of you, haven't they? All that business with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named!" He glanced at the lightning scar on Harry's forehead. "I know, I know – it's not quite as good as winning Witch Weekly's Most-Charming-Smile Award five times in a row, as I have – but it's a start, Harry, it's a start." (6.43)
Compared to the Defense Against the Dark Arts instructors we get later on in the series, Professor Lockhart seems vain and stupid, but mostly harmless. Still, it's definitely a bad sign about his character that he actually bothers to interrupt class to pull out one of his twelve-year-old students and assure that student that some day he'll be lucky enough to be as famous as Professor Lockhart himself. Professor Lockhart is absurdly jealous of Harry, which, again, given that he's about three times Harry's age, is pretty pathetic.
"That will do," [Professor Binns] said sharply. "[The Chamber of Secrets] is a myth! It does not exist! There is not a shred of evidence that Slytherin ever built so much as a secret broom cupboard! I regret telling you such a foolish story! We will return, if you please, to history, to solid, believable, verifiable fact!" (9.116)
First of all, it's sad that Professor Binns seems to think that anything interesting has to be fake, while "solid, believable, verifiable" fact has to be boring. Why can't things be both true and interesting in his class? Second of all, what do you think of Professor Binns's claim that history is "solid"? Doesn't history depend on who's telling it? Yes, history is based on research into contemporary documents and "verifiable fact." At the same time, the way you put together a historical narrative can really influence the impressions people get about who was right, who was wrong, and why things happened the way they did. For example, if it was Slytherin's followers telling us about the Chamber of Secrets, they would probably make it sound like the other three founders were being unreasonable and prejudiced against Slytherin's teachings when they drove him out of the castle. So, we think Professor Binns has too much faith in the power of history to be objective – and since the Chamber of Secrets does turn out to exist, we think J.K. Rowling is also being critical of his idea of "solid, believable" fact.
So, Harry [...] Tomorrow's the first Quidditch match of the season, I believe? Gryffindor against Slytherin, is it not? I hear you're a useful player. I was a Seeker, too. I was asked to try for the National Squad, but preferred to dedicate my life to the eradication of the Dark Forces. Still, if ever you feel the need for a little private training, don't hesitate to ask. Always happy to pass on my expertise to less able players. (10.15)
The thing that's odd about Professor Lockhart is less that he's willing to lie to make himself look better and more that he is so bad at it. How does anyone not see through this guy? Mrs. Weasley is a woman of the world, and yet she still seems really taken with Lockhart, and even after hearing this little speech to Harry, Hermione's crush continues on. Does Professor Lockhart remind you of anyone you know? What do you think drives his compulsive need to make himself look good all the time? Does Professor Lockhart believe that he is truly as great as he claims to be?