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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

by J.K. Rowling

Principles Theme

By going down into the Chamber of Secrets, Harry proves that his principles include loyalty to his friends and courage in the face of terrible odds. By contrast, Lucius Malfoy, the book's most prominent pureblood, slips an eleven-year-old girl, Ginny Weasley, an enchanted diary with a piece of Voldemort's soul in it. He wants Ginny to become possessed and start killing Muggle-borns. That would discredit all of Mr. Weasley's efforts to pass the Muggle Protection Act. So Lucius Malfoy talks a good game about not "being a disgrace to the name of wizard" (4.176), but he's willing to stoop to attacking the daughter of a political rival to get his way. Where's the honor in that?

Questions About Principles

  1. Does Chamber of Secrets give us a sense of what Voldemort believes in? Does he have principles in any way? Where does Voldemort stand in relation to the pureblood bigotry that so many of his followers (including Lucius Malfoy) buy into?
  2. Professor Dumbledore is the Headmaster of a school. He emphasizes loyalty and hard work, and presumably he cares about his students' educations. At the same time, he hires Gilderoy Lockhart to be Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor. So what do you think Professor Dumbledore's principles of education are? What does he think it is important for Hogwarts students to learn?
  3. A lot of the characters in Chamber of Secrets have principles: Dobby has total faith in Harry, Harry believes in loyalty and protecting his friends. What about characters like Professor Lockhart? Does Lockhart have principles? In what does he hold real faith? How does he show that faith?

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