Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Summary

After a marvelous year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry Potter is stuck spending summer break with his awful Muggle (non-wizard) aunt and uncle, Petunia and Vernon Dursley, and his equally horrid cousin, Dudley. On July 31, it's Harry's birthday, but no one remembers. All the Dursleys care about is their guests for the evening: important clients for Uncle Vernon's drill business. Uncle Vernon tells Harry to sit in his room and pretend he doesn't exist – he doesn't want Harry's freakishness (i.e., magic) wrecking his business. When Harry retreats to his room to stay out of the way, though, he finds someone unexpected waiting there: a house-elf named Dobby.

House-elves are bound in servitude to wizarding families. This particular house-elf has sneaked away from his Dark wizard family to warn Harry that something bad is coming to Hogwarts this school year. Harry can't go back to Hogwarts for his own safety; Dobby is determined to keep the Boy-Who-Lived alive. Harry doesn't care about random threats from the arch-nemesis who killed his parents, Lord Voldemort; he just desperately has to get away from the Dursleys and back to his best friends at school. Dobby is disappointed Harry won't promise not to return to Hogwarts. So Dobby takes desperate measures: he casts a charm that ruins the Dursleys' dinner party. Uncle Vernon loses his deal, and he blames Harry. So Uncle Vernon shuts Harry up in his bedroom with bars on the windows. He promises Harry will never get out.

However, Uncle Vernon doesn't count on the inventiveness of Ron Weasley, one of Harry's best friends, and his two brothers, Fred and George. They come flying up to the bars on Harry's windows in an enchanted car belonging to their father. They pull the bars from the windows and help Harry to escape. They bring Harry back to the Weasley household at the Burrow. Harry has an awesome time there until school starts, especially once he and Ron go into London to buy school supplies and meet up with their other best friend, Hermione Granger.

In Diagon Alley, the main wizarding street in London, Harry, Ron, and Hermione go to Flourish and Blotts (a bookstore) to buy their school textbooks for the year. The store is hosting a book signing by the new Hogwarts Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Gilderoy Lockhart. Professor Lockhart seems excessively vain and self-conscious; he immediately zeroes in on Harry as the famous Boy-Who-Lived and tries to use Harry's fame to get more attention for himself from the Daily Prophet newspaper. At Flourish and Blotts is also Harry's main school enemy, Draco, and his father, Lucius Malfoy. Lucius Malfoy gets into a fight with Mr. Weasley over Mr. Weasley's poverty and low social standing. The owner of the store finally has to break it up.

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Harry and Ron arrive at King's Cross Station to take the Hogwarts Express with the other Weasley kids who attend Hogwarts: Ginny, Fred, George, and Percy. But Harry and Ron can't get through the magical barrier to Platform 9 3/4. In a panic that they have missed the train to Hogwarts, they decide to take Mr. Weasley's flying car to Hogwarts. They succeed in reaching Hogwarts mostly safe (though they are spotted by some Muggles, which is strictly against wizard law), but the car loses power and crashes into a violent tree called the Whomping Willow. Harry and Ron survive, but the car is fed up and rolls off into the Forbidden Forest.

Harry and Ron get into huge trouble for arriving late at school and coming in a flying car. What's more, Ron snapped his wand in the crash, so his spells become unpredictable and undirected for the rest of the year. They don't get expelled, though, which is the important thing. Ron misses the Sorting of his younger sister, Ginny, who ends up in Gryffindor House, just like Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Ginny is very shy around Harry, but she clearly has a huge crush on him.

Harry starts to notice strange things around the castle: he hears a voice that no one else can hear, which talks about tearing, ripping, and killing. Harry worries that he is starting to lose his mind. Things come to a head when he, Ron, and Hermione are coming back from a ghost party on Halloween night. They find a huge pool of water on the floor. There is a creepy message painted on the wall: "THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS HAS BEEN OPENED. ENEMIES OF THE HEIR, BEWARE" (8.163). As well, Mrs. Norris, a cat who belongs to the Hogwarts caretaker, is hanging by her tail from a torch bracket. Her eyes are wide open, but she is stiff as a board. The whole school suddenly starts to suspect that Harry is responsible for this event.

The school's suspicions increase when Harry duels with Draco during the first (and last) meeting of Professor Lockhart's Dueling Club. Draco makes a snake appear, and the snake turns to attack a Hufflepuff second year, Justin Finch-Fletchley. Harry tells the snake to stop without ever realizing that he's speaking to it in Parseltongue, snake language. The ability to speak to snakes is one of the things Salazar Slytherin, one of the founders of the school and the supposed creator of the Chamber of Secrets, was known for. Because none of the other kids can understand Parseltongue, they suspect that Harry was encouraging the snake to attack Justin because Justin is a Muggle-born and not a pureblood wizard. The whole school starts to believe that Harry is the Heir of Slytherin who has opened the Chamber.

It doesn't help matters that the next victim of whatever is happening at the school is Justin Finch-Fletchley. Harry finds him Petrified on the ground along with Gryffindor ghost, Nearly Headless Nick. All of the Hufflepuffs (and many of the other students at Hogwarts) think that Harry must have been the one to attack Justin. When Colin Creevey, a Gryffindor first year who has been annoying Harry with his constant photographs, turns up Petrified as well, the school takes this as definite evidence that Harry has been up to no good.

Meanwhile, Harry, Ron, and Hermione have been trying to find the Heir of Slytherin on their own. They reason that the flood of water at Mrs. Norris's attack came from a nearby bathroom. The bathroom is haunted by the ghost of a former Hogwarts student, Moaning Myrtle. She didn't see anything from that night, though. Because Moaning Myrtle has such an awful personality, her bathroom is always empty. So Harry, Ron, and Hermione decide to use it as a base to create Polyjuice Potion. Polyjuice Potion allows you to take the shape of another person for an hour, as long as you have a hair from him or her to add to the potion at the last minute. Harry, Ron, and Hermione think that Draco Malfoy is behind the attacks, so they decide to take the shapes of his Slytherin friends to get a confession out of him.

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They are finally able to collect all of the ingredients and finish the potion by Christmas break. Harry and Ron change successfully into Draco's two dim-witted best friends, Crabbe and Goyle. But Hermione's potion has gone wrong. She used a hair from the robes of Millicent Bulstrode in her potion, but the hair turns out to have been cat rather than human. Hermione sprouts hair from her face and grows cat ears and a tail. Harry and Ron break into the Slytherin Common Room to talk to Draco, but they find out (disappointingly) that he's not the Heir to Slytherin. He does tell them that the Chamber was last opened fifty years ago, and that time, a Muggle-born died.

After this failed attempt at tracking down the Heir of Slytherin, things die down a bit at Hogwarts. There are no new attacks and Hermione returns to her normal human shape. Then, Harry finds out that Moaning Myrtle's bathroom has flooded again. Apparently, someone threw a blank diary into her toilet. Harry takes the diary and discovers that it once belonged to a Hogwarts Head Boy, Tom Riddle. Riddle enchanted the diary to hold on to some of his memories. When Harry asks the diary what happened fifty years before with the Chamber of Secrets, Riddle shows him that it was Hagrid, the current Hogwarts groundskeeper, who was keeping a monster secret in the castle. Harry loves Hagrid, so he doesn't want to believe it's true. Yet he knows that Hagrid has a weak spot for scary creatures, so Harry suspects that Hagrid was the one to open the Chamber the first time.

Just before his Quidditch match against Hufflepuff, Harry hears the voice in the walls again. Hermione has some kind of breakthrough and rushes to the library to research more, but she is Petrified before she can tell them what she realized. Now that Hermione is the fourth student attacked, things have come to a crisis point. Harry and Ron decide to sneak down to Hagrid's hut to confront him.

While they are at Hagrid's hut, a knock comes at the door. Under the cover of Harry's Invisibility Cloak, Ron and Harry watch Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic, come to arrest Hagrid. Fudge has no evidence, but he's under a lot of pressure from the school governors, and that was what Hagrid was expelled from Hogwarts for fifty years ago. As Hagrid leaves for Azkaban prison, he announces loudly that people should be watching the spiders if they want to learn something useful. Lucius Malfoy also appears to tell Professor Dumbledore that the school governors have voted to remove him from office in wake of these attacks. So Hogwarts is left without Hagrid or Dumbledore, its Headmaster. Harry and Ron return to the school truly discouraged.

Harry grows more and more determined to find out what is causing these attacks. Following Hagrid's instructions, Harry and Ron track a line of spiders from the castle into the Forbidden Forest. They arrive at a hollow in the ground where the monster Hagrid did bring to the castle, a huge spider called Aragog, confirms that he was not raised in the Chamber of Secrets. Aragog also never killed anyone. He is willing to let his children (other huge spiders) eat Ron and Harry, though. After barely escaping with their lives, Harry and Ron make it back to Hogwarts. They know Hagrid is innocent, but they don't know what to do next. Harry suddenly realizes: could the girl who died in the first Chamber of Secrets attacks have been Moaning Myrtle?

Harry and Ron try to go to Moaning Myrtle's bathroom, but Professor McGonagall (head of Gryffindor House) finds them. They claim that they were going to visit Hermione in the Hospital Wing, since they don't want to get into trouble for looking for the Chamber of Secrets. Professor McGonagall is moved and lets them go. In the Hospital Wing, Harry notices that Hermione has something clenched in her fist. It's a description of a monster called a basilisk, a giant venomous snake that can kill just be looking at you. Harry realizes that the monster in the Chamber of Secrets must be a basilisk, since none of the people who were Petrified looked at the basilisk directly. The fact that none of them made eye contact with the basilisk is the only thing that saved their lives. Harry can speak Parseltongue (snake language), which is why he heard it talking as it moved through the pipes of the school.

(Click the infographic to download.)

Harry and Ron discover that the basilisk has actually physically taken a student down into the Chamber of Secrets: Ginny Weasley. They decide to help bring her back. They go and find Professor Lockhart, who, as Defense teacher, is supposed to be going to fight the monster. However, Professor Lockhart is actually packing to run away. He has boasted all year of his great deeds, but he's actually a giant liar. Ron and Harry use their wands to force Professor Lockhart in front of them as they go to look for the Chamber of Secrets in Moaning Myrtle's bathroom.

Moaning Myrtle tells Harry and Ron that she died looking into a pair of golden eyes. They realize that she was murdered by the basilisk, and that it came out of a pipe at the sinks against the wall. Ron spots that one of the taps is shaped like a snake. Harry commands it to open in Parseltongue, and the sink opens to reveal a tunnel to the Chamber of Secrets. As Harry, Ron, and Professor Lockhart continue down the tunnel, Professor Lockhart tries to cast a Memory Charm to give Harry and Ron amnesia and save his own life. But he is using Ron's wand, which is broken. The wand backfires and Professor Lockhart is hit with his own curse. The force of the hex half-collapses the tunnel. Harry is trapped on one side of the tunnel facing the Chamber, while Ron and Professor Lockhart are on the other. Harry continues onward alone.

(Click the infographic to download.)

Harry finds Ginny unconscious in the Chamber of Secrets. Near her is the blurry figure of Tom Riddle. Riddle finally explains that he has been using his diary to gain control of Ginny for much of the year. He is able to take physical form now because he is feeding off Ginny's soul. He lied when he told Harry that Hagrid was the one to open the Chamber of Secrets; it was actually Riddle himself when he was a student at Hogwarts. Riddle forced Ginny to go into the Chamber in order to lure Harry to him, since he wants to talk to Harry. Riddle has discovered that Harry is famous for defeating Voldemort as a baby. He wants to know how Harry did it, since Harry was just a baby and Voldemort was the greatest wizard who ever lived. Riddle knows that this is the case because he is Voldemort: "I Am Lord Voldemort" is an anagram for Riddle's full name, "Tom Marvolo Riddle."

Harry tells Riddle that he escaped with his life because his mother scarified her life for Harry, leaving him protected by her love. Riddle's wrong, though, if he thinks he's the greatest wizard that ever was. Harry says Professor Dumbledore is the greatest wizard. After this show of faith, Professor Dumbledore's phoenix appears carrying the Sorting Hat to Harry. The Sorting Hat gives Harry a ruby-colored sword, which Harry uses to stab the basilisk through the head. The basilisk bites Harry at the same time, leaving Harry dying in the Chamber. The tears of Dumbledore's phoenix bring Harry back to life, and he uses the basilisk fang to stab Riddle's diary and get rid of his spirit. Once the diary is destroyed, Ginny wakes up and she and Harry struggle back up the tunnel to Hogwarts.

With Harry's heroic deeds, the school is reopened and Professor Dumbledore returns. Professor Dumbledore tells Harry that he can speak to snakes because Voldemort can; when Voldemort tried to kill Harry eleven years ago, he left a bit of his power in Harry. Even so, this doesn't mean that Harry is going to become the next Voldemort. Professor Dumbledore confirms that Harry is truly a Gryffindor: he drew Gryffindor's sword out of the Sorting Hat. Harry has chosen to follow the path of good, which separates him from Voldemort.

During Harry's conversation with Professor Dumbledore, Lucius Malfoy walks in, accompanied by his abused house-elf, Dobby. He's furious that Professor Dumbledore has come back to the school. Since the other school governors have asked Dumbledore to return, though, there is nothing Lucius can do. In that moment, Harry realizes that it was Lucius Malfoy who slipped Ginny the diary during his fight with Ginny's father at Flourish and Blotts in the beginning of the novel. Dobby had been trying to protect Harry from his own master's evil behavior.

Harry hands the diary back to Lucius covered in one of his filthy socks. Lucius rips the sock off in a fury. As he throws the sock down, Dobby the house-elf catches it. Dobby has been serving the Malfoys against his will all of this time. By the terms of the house-elf's enslavement, if the master presents the house-elf with clothes, the house-elf can go free. When Lucius lets go of the sock and Dobby takes it, Lucius is accidentally freeing his house-elf. When Lucius realizes how Harry has tricked him into letting Dobby go, Lucius tries to curse Harry. Now that Dobby is free, though, he protects Harry from Lucius before disappearing from the castle.

By the end of Chamber of Secrets, Lucius Malfoy has been fired from being school governor, Professor Lockhart has gotten amnesia from his own backfired memory charm, Dobby the house-elf is free, Ginny is liberated from Tom Riddle's possession, and Harry has figured out that he is a true Gryffindor. All's well that ends well!

  • Chapter 1

    The Worst Birthday

    • Sadly, Harry Potter starts Book 2 in much the same way that he starts Book 1: having to deal with his horrible Muggle (non-magic) aunt, uncle, and cousin.
    • Harry tells Dudley, his cousin, to say "the magic word" (1.13) (i.e., please) when asking Harry to pass the frying pan.
    • Uncle Vernon shrieks, "WHAT HAVE I TOLD YOU [...] ABOUT SAYING THE 'M' WORD IN OUR HOUSE?" (1.15).
    • Obviously, the Dursley family prejudice against magic has not softened.
    • In fact, it's gotten worse: "Ever since Harry had come home for the summer holidays, Uncle Vernon had been treating him like a bomb that might go off at any moment" (1.24).
    • This night is particularly stressful because the Dursleys are expecting guests.
    • Uncle Vernon is trying to make a business deal, and he wants everything to go like clockwork.
    • To make sure that Harry doesn't ruin things, Uncle Vernon insists that Harry stays in his room "making no noise and pretending [he's] not there" (1.44).
    • Harry goes out to the garden to think glumly about how lonely he is.
    • No one has remembered that it's his birthday (July 31st), not even his best friends, Ron and Hermione.
    • He did think that he would get at least one letter from them over the summer.
    • Yet Harry hasn't heard a peep.
    • He's starting to wonder if they've forgotten him, or if he dreamed his year at Hogwarts altogether.
    • Harry startles as he sees "Two enormous green eyes" (1.69) staring back at him from the Dudley's garden hedge.
    • Before he can explore further, Dudley lumbers out into the garden to mock Harry for not receiving any birthday greetings.
    • Harry scares Dudley off with some fake magic.
    • Aunt Petunia punishes Harry for teasing his cousin, meaning that he has to spend the afternoon working hard.
    • His reward for all this work is that he gets to eat "two slices of bread and a lump of cheese" (1.91) at the kitchen table before being pushed upstairs to his room.
    • Uncle Vernon warns Harry once again to be quiet.
    • The only problem is, there is someone waiting in Harry's bedroom.
  • Chapter 2

    Dobby's Warning

    • There is a "little creature" on Harry's bed with "large, bat-like ears and bulging green eyes the size of tennis balls" (2.1).
    • Harry realizes that it was these eyes he saw peering out of the hedge that afternoon.
    • The creature tells Harry it's an honor to meet him.
    • The creature is called Dobby, the house-elf.
    • Harry invites Dobby to sit down, and Dobby bursts into noisy tears of gratitude.
    • Dobby has never been asked to sit down by a wizard.
    • Harry comments, "You can't have met many decent wizards" (2.20).
    • Dobby agrees, and then starts banging his head on the window to punish himself for speaking ill of his family.
    • Harry again frantically tries to get Dobby to shut up.
    • The thing is, as a house-elf, Dobby is magically bound to a wizarding family.
    • He is so deeply enslaved to them that he has to punish himself whenever he does anything they might think is wrong (even if they don't know about it).
    • Harry asks if he can help.
    • Dobby wails with appreciation.
    • Harry blushes and begs Dobby to be quiet.
    • Dobby finally comes to the point: "Dobby has come to protect Harry Potter, to warn him, even if he does have to shut his ears in the over door later...Harry Potter must not go back to Hogwarts" (2.48).
    • Dobby can't explain further where this threat to Harry's safety is supposed to be coming from.
    • All of the noise Dobby's making draws Uncle Vernon upstairs.
    • Harry hides Dobby just in time, but Uncle Vernon warns him, "One more sound and you'll wish you'd never been born, boy!" (2.68).
    • Harry discovers that Dobby has been stopping all of his letters from Ron and Hermione.
    • Dobby is trying to convince Harry that there is nothing at Hogwarts worth going back to.
    • Still, Harry stays stubborn. He absolutely refuses not to return to Hogwarts.
    • So Dobby tries one last, desperate tactic:
    • He goes downstairs and levitates "Aunt Petunia's masterpiece of a pudding, the mountain of cream and sugared violets" (2.87).
    • He drops the pudding to the floor and then disappears with a snap of his fingers.
    • There are screams from the living room and everyone rushes in.
    • Uncle Vernon tells the Masons, "Just our nephew – very disturbed – meeting strangers upsets him, so we kept him upstairs" (2.97).
    • Uncle Vernon might still have been able to make his deal if "a huge barn owl" had not swooped in to deliver mail after dinner.
    • Mrs. Mason, who is afraid of birds, "screamed like a banshee and ran from the house shouting about lunatics" (2.99).
    • So Uncle Vernon's deal is ruined, and he blames Harry.
    • Uncle Vernon reads the letter the huge barn owl dropped on Mrs. Mason's head.
    • The letter that the barn owl has delivered contains a warning against using magic as an underage wizard.
    • The Ministry of Magic seems to think Dobby's Hover Charm was actually cast by Harry.
    • So now, the Dursleys know that Harry isn't allowed to do magic outside of school.
    • They take advantage of Harry's weakness by locking him in his bedroom.
    • It's been three days since Harry has been locked in.
    • His aunt stuffs a small amount of food through a cat-flap in the door three times a day, and he gets to go to the bathroom once in the morning and once at night, and that's it.
    • Harry has no freedom at all.
    • That night, Harry falls asleep and has anxious dreams.
    • Something wakes him up, though: there is someone outside the window.
    • It's Ron Weasley.
  • Chapter 3

    The Burrow

    • Harry sees Ron leaning out "the back window of an old turquoise car, which was parked in midair" (3.2).
    • Ron's twin elder brothers, Fred and George, are doing the driving.
    • Ron bursts out: "What's been going on? [...] Why haven't you been answering my letters? I've asked you to stay about twelve times, and then Dad came home and said you'd got an official warning for using magic in front of Muggles —" (3.4).
    • (Ron's father works for the Ministry of Magic, which is how he knows.)
    • Ron, Fred, and George have come to take Harry away.
    • They use the car to drag the bars off Harry's window.
    • The noise wakes Uncle Vernon, who runs in and tries to catch Harry by the ankle as he goes out the window.
    • Uncle Vernon shouts, "Petunia! [...] He's getting away! HE'S GETTING AWAY!" (3.40).
    • Yet the Weasleys give an extra strong tug and pull Harry into their flying car.
    • Then they fly off into the night!
    • Harry explains to Ron all about Dobby.
    • Fred and George think it's suspicious because "house-elves have got powerful magic of their own, but they can't usually use it without their master's permission" (3.55).
    • They think "Dobby was sent to stop [Harry] coming back to Hogwarts" (3.55) as a joke.
    • Harry's mind immediately jumps to Draco Malfoy, his main enemy at school.
    • Fred and George point out that the Malfoys are an old wizarding family – just the kind of rich, high-status family to have a house-elf.
    • The Weasleys' plan is to get back to their house before their mother wakes up and their father comes back from work.
    • They didn't exactly fly to Harry's house with official permission.
    • Finally, as dawn breaks, Fred, George, Ron, and Harry approach Ottery St. Catchpole, the village where the Weasleys live.
    • Harry gets his first glimpse of the Weasleys' house: "It looked as though it had once been a large stone pigpen, but extra rooms had been added here and there until it was several stories high and so crooked it looked as though it was held up by magic (which, Harry reminded himself, it probably was)" (3.90).
    • This is the Burrow.
    • They try to sneak in, but Mrs. Weasley is too quick for them: "Beds empty! No note! Car gone— could have crashed – out of my mind with worry – did you care?" (3.106).
    • After scolding her kids for risking their lives, Mrs. Weasley welcomes Harry to the Burrow.
    • As Harry settles in to breakfast, he sees "a small, red-headed figure in a long nightdress, who appeared in the kitchen, gave a small squeal, and ran out again" (3.121).
    • This is Ginny Weasley, Ron's younger sister and the youngest Weasley child.
    • Apparently, she's been spending all summer talking about Harry – she has a crush on him.
    • After breakfast, Mrs. Weasley sends the boys to help de-gnome the garden.
    • The gnomes they find in the garden are "small and leathery looking, with a large, knobby, bald head exactly like a potato" (3.141). They are kind of funny-looking and they bite.
    • To get rid of these gnomes, Ron, Fred, and George teach Harry to grab them by their ankles, swing them in circles, and then hurl them over the hedge.
    • The idea is to get the gnomes so dizzy that they don't come back again.
    • Mr. Weasley comes home from his night duty at the Ministry.
    • He and Mrs. Weasley get into it almost at once. Mrs. Weasley shouts, "Your sons flew that car to Harry's house and back last night! [...] What have you got to say about that, eh?" (3.171).
    • Mr. Weasley scolds the boys, but he's obviously excited that the car worked.
    • Ron pulls Harry away from the argument and up to his room.
    • It's full of magic comic books and toys.
    • Harry tells Ron honestly, "This is the best house I've ever been in" (3.183).
    • Ron blushes.
  • Chapter 4

    At Flourish and Blotts

    • Harry is really enjoying his holiday with the Weasleys.
    • At last, they receive their Hogwarts letters with instructions for the new year.
    • The book list contains a whole stack of textbooks by Gilderoy Lockhart.
    • The Weasleys' ancient owl Errol arrives with a letter from Ron and Harry's other best friend, Hermione.
    • She is excited to see them both at Diagon Alley next Wednesday, when they're all in London to buy their school books.
    • Fred and George notice that Percy, their older brother, has been sending a lot of letters this summer. To whom, and why? It's a mystery that'll last for most of the novel.
    • On the day when they are going to head to London to buy books, the Weasleys decide to use Floo powder to go to Diagon Alley.
    • (Diagon Alley is the big wizarding street in London.)

    (Click the map infographic to download.)

    • (Floo powder is a magic substance you thrown on fire to teleport to another destination on the Floo network.)
    • Harry watches Fred and George use the Weasley fireplace to go to London.
    • When Harry tries to do it himself, he coughs on the powder and says he wants to go to "D-Dia-gon Alley" (4.35).
    • Because he doesn't speak clearly, he winds up in a completely unfamiliar place: a dimly lit wizard's shop off a "dark, narrow street" (4.59).
    • Harry tries to get out of the shop, but he spots Draco Malfoy and his father, Lucius, coming in.
    • Harry hides in a cabinet and listens to their conversation.
    • Draco is complaining about Harry and his fame.
    • Lucius Malfoy wants to sell some things to the shop's owner, Mr. Borgin: "You have heard, of course, that the Ministry is conducting more raids [...] I have a few – ah – items at home that might embarrass me, if the Ministry were to call" (4.73).
    • Lucius and Draco get into a little tussle about Draco's grades – Lucius scolds Draco, "I would have thought you'd be ashamed that a girl of no wizard family beat you in every exam" (4.86).
    • When Lucius and Draco leave, Harry ducks out of his cabinet and sneaks out of the shop.
    • He finds himself on a street "made up entirely of shops devoted to the Dark Arts" (4.100).
    • This is Knockturn Alley.
    • Fortunately, before Harry can get into any more trouble, he hears a familiar voice shouting, "HARRY! What d'yeh think yer doin' down there?" (4.105).
    • It's Hagrid, the groundskeeper at Hogwarts.
    • Hagrid is in Knockturn Alley, buying Flesh-Eating Slug Repellent.
    • He guides Harry to Diagon Alley.
    • There, they bump into Hermione and the Weasleys almost at once.
    • Harry tells Mr. Weasley that he saw Lucius Malfoy in Borgin and Burkes.
    • Mr. Weasley is thrilled that Lucius is selling his stuff: "So he's worried [...] Oh, I'd love to get Lucius Malfoy for something" (4.135).
    • Mr. Weasley is also thrilled to meet Hermione's parents, who are both Muggles.
    • Once they have all visited Gringotts, the wizarding bank, they go their separate ways to shop.
    • Mrs. Weasley tells them, "We'll all meet at Flourish and Blotts in an hour to buy your schoolbooks" (4.141).
    • Harry, Ron, and Hermione walk off chatting happily.
    • At Flourish and Blotts, they see a book signing going on.
    • Gilderoy Lockhart, the author of their Defense books, is signing his autobiography, Magical Me.
    • Mrs. Weasley looks particularly thrilled to get to meet the man himself.
    • He is handsome and very well dressed.
    • There is a photographer from the newspaper the Daily Prophet snapping photos of the event.
    • Lockhart spots Harry in the crowd and drags him forward: "Nice big smile, Harry [...] Together, you and I are worth the front page" (4.158).
    • (As the Boy-Who-Lived – the baby who villain Voldemort tried to kill, only to be blasted himself – Harry is hugely famous in the wizarding world.)
    • After Lockhart makes a fuss over Harry, a voice hisses, "Bet you loved that, didn't you, Potter?" (4.164).
    • It's Draco Malfoy.
    • Ginny tells him, "Leave him alone, he didn't want all that!" (4.165).
    • Draco mocks Ginny for liking Harry, and then turns on Ron for being poor.
    • Meanwhile, Lucius Malfoy jeers at Mr. Weasley: "Dear me, what's the use of being a disgrace to the name of wizard if they don't even pay you well for it?" (4.176).
    • Mr. Weasley actually, physically attacks Lucius for his taunts.
    • After Hagrid pulls the two apart, Lucius hands Ginny her used Transfiguration textbook: "Here, girl – take your book – it's the best your father can give you —" (4.183).
    • Everyone seems a little glum as they say goodbye to Hermione and her family and head back to the Burrow.
  • Chapter 5

    The Whomping Willow

    • Harry is excited to get back to Hogwarts, but he's sad that his month at the Burrow is coming to an end.
    • The morning that the Weasleys and Harry head to Hogwarts, Mr. Weasley drives them in his flying car.
    • They reach King's Cross with fifteen minutes to spare before the Hogwarts Express leaves.
    • All of the other Weasleys go through the barrier to Platform Nine and Three Quarters.
    • When Harry and Ron try to go through, though, "Both [their] trolleys hit the barrier and bounced backwards" (5.21).
    • They can't get through, and they miss the Hogwarts Express.
    • Ron worries that maybe Mr. and Mrs. Weasley can't get through the magical barrier back into the station.
    • So Ron suggests that they take Mr. Weasley's magical flying car to Hogwarts.
    • As long as they keep the invisibility button on, they won't be visible to Muggles.
    • So Harry and Ron set off in Mr. Weasley's car.
    • They fly low over the Hogwarts Express to make sure that they don't get lost.
    • Yet, as the sun sets, Harry and Ron both start to notice the engine beginning to whine.
    • The car finally gives out right over the castle, and Ron and Harry hurtle towards the ground.
    • They smash into the side of a large tree.
    • Ron's wand snaps.
    • And Harry and Ron notice (sickened) that, "The tree they had hit was attacking them. Its trunk was bent almost double, and its gnarled boughs were pummeling every inch of the car it could reach" (5.101).
    • The car restarts just in time to reverse away from the tree.
    • This last burst of energy is also the last straw for the car, which spits out Harry and Ron's baggage and drives off into the Forbidden Forest.
    • When Ron and Harry sneak into the castle, they find that the Sorting has already started.
    • Ginny Weasley is waiting to find out which Hogwarts house (Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, or Ravenclaw) she will be a part of.
    • Harry notices that there is a new teacher at the High Table: Gilderoy Lockhart.
    • Still, one professor is missing – where is Severus Snape?
    • It turns out that he's right behind Ron and Harry.
    • Professor Snape grabs Harry and Ron and pulls them into his office.
    • He hands Harry and Ron the Daily Prophet.
    • The front page has an article: "FLYING FORD ANGLIA MYSTIFIES MUGGLES" (5.135).
    • Professor Snape promises Harry and Ron that they'll be expelled for almost revealing the wizarding world to Muggles.
    • Yet, when Professor McGonagall, the Head of Gryffindor House comes in, she lets the boys go with detention.
    • The Headmaster of Hogwarts, Professor Dumbledore, warns them: "I must impress upon both of you the seriousness of what you have done. I will be writing to both your families tonight. I must also warn you that if you do anything like this again, I will have no choice but to expel you" (5.157).
    • They have already missed the Sorting Ceremony, but Professor McGonagall informs Ron that Ginny's in Gryffindor (with all the other Weasleys!).
    • All's well that ends well, but this still leaves Ron with the question: "Why couldn't we get through the barrier?" (5.174).
    • Hermione greets Harry and Ron back at the Gryffindor Common Room: "There you are! Where have you been?" (5.181). She scolds because she loves.
    • All the other Gryffindors are impressed with Harry and Ron's entrance into the school.
  • Chapter 6

    Gilderoy Lockhart

    • The next morning at breakfast, Ron receives a Howler from his mother.
    • A Howler is an enchanted letter that screams at the recipient.
    • The Howler announces to the whole dining hall: "STEALING THE CAR, I WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN SURPRISED IF THEY'D EXPELLED YOU, YOU WAIT TILL I GET HOLD OF YOU, I DON'T SUPPOSE YOU STOPPED TO THINK WHAT YOUR FATHER AND I WENT THROUGH WHEN WE SAW IT WAS GONE —" (6.17).
    • Ron and Harry both feel completely mortified.
    • The Gryffindor second years have their first lesson of the year with the Hufflepuffs in Herbology.
    • When they go to meet Professor Sprout, the Herbology teacher, they find her talking to Gilderoy Lockhart.
    • Professor Lockhart wants to borrow Harry for a second.
    • Professor Lockhart thinks Harry's got an itch to be famous.
    • That's what the flying car was about, claims Professor Lockhart.
    • He assures Harry: "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" (6.43).
    • No matter how often Harry tries to convince Professor Lockhart that he's not looking for fame, the man doesn't listen.
    • Finally, Professor Lockhart lets Harry go back to Herbology.
    • Today, they are repotting Mandrake roots.
    • Mandrakes are "a powerful restorative" used "to return people who have been transfigured or cursed to their original state" (6.47).
    • (Gee, we wonder if this is going to be a plot point?)
    • The Mandrake roots look like "small, muddy, and extremely ugly" (6.58) babies.
    • As they repot, a Hufflepuff boy comes over and introduces himself.
    • His name is Justin Finch-Fletchley.
    • He is a Muggle-born like Hermione, and he seems to admire Professor Lockhart a lot.
    • Next up, they head to Transfiguration with Professor McGonagall.
    • Ron has taped his broken wand together with "some borrowed Spellotape, but it seemed to be damaged beyond repair. It kept crackling and sparking at odd moments, and every time Ron tried to transfigure his beetle it engulfed him in thick gray smoke that smelled of rotten eggs" (6.71).
    • Ron doesn't want to write to his parents for a new wand because he doesn't want his parents to scold him for getting it broken in the first place.
    • Their afternoon class is Defense Against the Dark Arts.
    • During lunch, a small Gryffindor first year approaches Harry: his name is Colin Creevey, and he's carrying a camera.
    • A boy in his dorm has told Colin all about Harry and his defeat of Voldemort.
    • Colin is so impressed that he wants to take Harry's picture.
    • Draco overhears Colin and starts mocking Harry: "Everyone line up! [...] Harry Potter's giving out signed photos!" (6.87).
    • Colin and Ron both try to get Draco to shut up.
    • Draco turns on Ron: "Weasley would like a signed photo, Potter [...] It'd be worth more than his family's whole house" (6.95).
    • Professor Lockhart comes over to break up the fight.
    • When he hears the words "signed photos" (6.92), he wants to get in on that action: he pulls Harry in front of the camera and insists Colin photograph both of them together.
    • After sending the other kids off to class, Professor Lockhart warns Harry that it looks arrogant and bigheaded to hand out signed photos "at this stage of [Harry's] career" (6.105) – hypocrite!
    • In Defense Against the Dark Arts, Ron teases Harry for his new fan club – between Colin and Ginny, Harry's got quite a following. Harry is deeply embarrassed.
    • At last, they get to watch Professor Lockhart in action in the classroom.
    • First things first – he decides to make them take a pop quiz on the content of his own complete works.
    • The questions are all things like, "What is Gilderoy Lockhart's secret ambition?" (6.115).
    • Only one person gets perfect marks on this test: Hermione, who is listening to Professor Lockhart "with rapt attention" (6.118).
    • After a dramatic claim that he is going to "arm [them] against the foulest creatures known to wizardkind" (6.123), Professor Lockhart unleashes a bunch of Cornish pixies on the class.
    • The pixies are small, extremely fast, hard to catch, and mischievous.
    • As soon as they get out of their cage, they start breaking things, throwing around books, and generally causing a ruckus.
    • Professor Lockhart shouts, "Peskipiksi Pesternomi!" (6.136).
    • Yet the spell doesn't work.
    • Professor Lockhart leaves it to Harry, Ron, and Hermione to clear up and darts out of the room.
    • Hermione starts rounding up the pixies while Ron and Harry agree that "he didn't have a clue what he was doing" (6.141).
    • Hermione still thinks Professor Lockhart is pretty impressive.
  • Chapter 7

    Mudbloods and Murmurs

    • Now that Colin Creevey has introduced himself, he seems to be everywhere: he's constantly snapping photos of famous Harry Potter.
    • Ron's wand shoots out of his hand in Charms, "hitting tiny old Professor Flitwick squarely between the eyes, creating a large, throbbing green boil where it had struck" (7.2).
    • Oliver Wood, the captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, wakes Harry at the crack of dawn for Quidditch practice.
    • Harry is the Gryffindor Seeker – the youngest house Quidditch player in a century.
    • Colin Creevey rushes out with Harry so that he can watch Harry practice.
    • Harry sees the rest of the team: Fred and George (Beaters); Alicia Spinnet, Katie Bell, and Angelina Johnson (Chasers); and Oliver Wood (Keeper).
    • Oliver is clearly obsessed with winning the Quidditch Cup this year, and he has lots of new moves to teach his team.
    • He starts to wonder why Colin is taking so many pictures of their practice: is Colin a Slytherin spy?
    • Still, George points out, the Slytherins don't need to spy; they're on the field in person.
    • The captain of the Slytherin team, Marcus Flint, has a signed note from Professor Snape booking the Quidditch pitch so that the Slytherins can train their new Seeker.
    • Who is their new Seeker?
    • Draco Malfoy.
    • Of course.
    • It turns out that Lucius Malfoy bought everyone on the team top of the line Nimbus 2001 broomsticks – no doubt this gift encouraged Marcus Flint to accept Draco on the team.
    • Ron and Hermione come out to the Quidditch pitch to see what's going on.
    • Hermione mocks Draco: "At least no one on the Gryffindor team had to buy their way in [...] They got in on pure talent" (7.79).
    • Draco replies: "No one asked your opinion, you filthy little Mudblood" (7.81).
    • All the kids from wizarding families react incredibly strongly to this word; it's obviously really offensive.
    • Ron pulls out his taped-up wand and tries to curse Draco.
    • It backfires, though, and Ron finds himself spitting up slugs.
    • Harry and Hermione take Ron to the nearest adult: Hagrid, in his hut near the Forbidden Forest.
    • They find Professor Lockhart there, giving Hagrid advice about kelpies (water spirits) in wells.
    • Hagrid doesn't seem pleased.
    • Professor Lockhart leaves and Harry and Hermione drag Ron inside.
    • Hagrid's treatment suggestion is to just let Ron keep puking the slugs up: "Better out than in" (7.99).
    • Harry complements Hagrid on the giant pumpkins he has grown.
    • Hagrid admits that he's been using magic to help them along.
    • Harry knows that Hagrid "wasn't supposed to use magic. He had been expelled from Hogwarts in his third year, but Harry never found out why" (7.131).
    • Still, Harry is pretty sure that Hagrid keeps the fragments of his snapped wand hidden in an old umbrella. So, sometimes, Hagrid does a bit of magic on the sly.
    • Hagrid teases Harry about Ginny's crush on him; apparently, Hagrid saw Ginny near his cottage, and he thinks she was trying to get a glimpse of Harry.
    • That Saturday, Ron and Harry have to go to the castle to serve their detentions for the flying car thing.
    • Ron has to clean things for Argus Filch, Hogwarts caretaker and noted hater of students.
    • Harry has to help Professor Lockhart answer his fan mail.
    • Harry feels like he's going to die of boredom.
    • Suddenly, he hears a strange voice: "Come...come to me...Let me rip you...Let me tear you...Let me kill you..." (7.156).
    • Harry asks if Professor Lockhart heard the voice.
    • Professor Lockhart thinks Harry drowsed off and had a dream.
    • Back at their dorm, Harry tells Ron what he heard.
  • Chapter 8

    The Deathday Party

    • It's October and the weather is miserable, so Harry is spending most of his time inside the castle.
    • One day, he sees Nearly Headless Nick (the Gryffindor ghost) muttering to himself.
    • Nick wants to join a group of ghosts called the Headless Hunt, but he can't because he's only Nearly Headless – there's still some skin attaching his head to his body.
    • Their conversation is interrupted by the appearance of Mrs. Norris, Hogwarts caretaker Argus Filch's cat.
    • Nick warns Harry that he'd better go – Filch has been in a foul mood, and he'll punish Harry if he finds him standing around dripping mud on the castle floors.
    • Nick's warning comes too late, though. Filch appears, shouting, "Mess and muck everywhere! I've had enough of it, I tell you! Follow me, Potter!" (8.19).
    • Filch drags Harry to his office.
    • Before he can finish filling out a form detailing Harry's wrongdoing, Peeves the Poltergeist starts acting up somewhere nearby.
    • Filch rushes out of the office in a rage.
    • Left alone with Filch's papers, Harry notices an ad: "KWIKSPELL: A Correspondence Course in Beginner's Magic" (8.33).
    • Filch storms back in.
    • He looks embarrassed that Harry found his Kwickspell course.
    • He sends Harry off without punishing him.
    • Harry finds out that it was Nearly Headless Nick who persuaded Peeves to misbehave near Filch's office, thus distracting Filch from Harry.
    • Harry asks if he can do Nick a favor in return.
    • Nick is about to have a party celebrating the five-hundredth anniversary of his death, and he wants Harry to come and to bring Ron and Hermione with him.
    • Maybe Harry could even tell the leader of the Headless Hunt, Sir Patrick Delaney-Podmore, "how very frightening and impressive" (8.59) he finds Nick?
    • Harry agrees.
    • Harry is not looking forward to this party, but as Hermione reminds him, "A promise is a promise [...] You said you'd go to the deathday party" (8.67).
    • So on Halloween night, he, Ron, and Hermione troop down to the dungeons.
    • They find many ghosts floating around, wading through tables of rotting food and listening to screeching musical saws.
    • It's freezing in the dungeon, and they are sad to see Nick get laughed at by Sir Patrick Delaney-Podmore (a ghost who can actually take his head right off).
    • So Harry, Ron, and Hermione decide to head back up to Gryffindor Tower.
    • As they creep along, Harry hears that voice – "rip...tear...kill" (8.145).
    • It grows fainter, as though it is moving away from Harry.
    • Suddenly it shouts, "I smell blood... I SMELL BLOOD!" (8.157).
    • Neither Hermione nor Ron hear it, but Harry is sure it's going to kill someone.
    • Harry runs up the corridors until he finds words painted on the wall: "THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS HAS BEEN OPENED. ENEMIES OF THE HEIR, BEWARE" (8.163).
    • At the base of these words, there is a large puddle of water.
    • Mrs. Norris, the cat, is hanging by her tail from a torch bracket on the wall: "She was as stiff as a board, her eyes wide and staring" (8.167).
    • Just then, all the students and teachers come pouring into the hall from the Halloween Feast, which has just ended.
    • The noise dies down as they all see Mrs. Norris hanging.
    • Draco shouts, "Enemies of the Heir, beware! You'll be next, Mudbloods!" (8.173).
  • Chapter 9

    The Writing on the Wall

    • Filch pushes through the crowd.
    • He sees Mrs. Norris hanging there and accuses Harry of killing her.
    • Professor Dumbledore pulls Filch, Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Professors Lockhart, Snape, and McGonagall into Lockhart's office nearby.
    • Professor Dumbledore announces that Mrs. Norris isn't dead; she's Petrified.
    • Filch insists it was Harry: "You saw what he wrote on the wall! He found – in my office – he knows I'm a – I'm a – [...] He knows I'm a Squib!" (9.27).
    • (A Squib is a person born to magical parents who can't do magic themselves.)
    • Professor Snape agrees that "Potter and his friends may have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time" (9.31).
    • Then, why weren't they at the Halloween Feast?
    • Harry gives their airtight alibi: hundreds of ghosts saw them at Nearly Headless Nick's deathday party.
    • So, why didn't they come to the Halloween Feast afterwards?
    • Harry can't say that he heard a voice no one else could hear talking about killing.
    • He claims that they weren't hungry.
    • Professor Dumbledore reminds Snape, "Innocent until proven guilty" (9.42).
    • Professor Dumbledore promises Filch that they can heal Mrs. Norris just as soon as Professor Sprout's Mandrakes have gotten big enough to make a restorative potion.
    • Harry, Ron, and Hermione are allowed to go back to Gryffindor Tower.
    • Ron confirms that Harry was right not to say anything about the murderous voice: "Hearing voices no one else can hear isn't a good sign, even in the Wizarding world" (9.52).
    • Ron finally explains to Harry what a Squib is: "Kind of the opposite of Muggle-born wizards, but Squibs are quite unusual" (9.59).
    • Over the next few days, all anyone can talk about is the attack on Mrs. Norris.
    • Ginny Weasley seems particularly upset about it, since, Ron tells us, she is "a great cat lover" (9.63).
    • Hermione is spending all her time in the library looking for clues on what has happened.
    • Harry notices Justin Finch-Fletchley turning back and going the opposite direction the minute he sees Harry.
    • Harry is confused.
    • Hermione tells Ron and Harry that all the school library's copies of Hogwarts: A History have been checked out.
    • Everyone in the school is looking for information on the Chamber of Secrets.
    • Unfortunately, Hermione can't remember what the Chamber is.
    • During their History of Magic class with dead (and deadly boring) Professor Binns, Hermione interrupts his lecture to ask what the Chamber of Secrets is.
    • Professor Binns dismisses the Chamber of Secrets as a legend.
    • Hermione persists in asking him, though.
    • Professor Binns is so "thrown by such an unusual show of interest" (9.96) that he finally explains.
    • Hogwarts was apparently founded over a thousand years ago by two witches and two wizards: Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw, Godric Gryffindor, and Salazar Slytherin.
    • They worked together in harmony for several years, "seeking out youngsters who showed signs of magic and bringing them to the castle to be educated" (9.100).
    • Then, Slytherin and the other founders fell into a serious argument.
    • The other founders felt that the school should be open to all children who showed magical talent.
    • Yet Slytherin wanted to limit Hogwarts enrollment to students from magical families.
    • He didn't want any Muggle-born students at Hogwarts.
    • So Slytherin left Hogwarts when the other founders refused to give in.
    • Then, legend goes, "Slytherin had built a hidden chamber in the castle, of which the other founders knew nothing" (9.102).
    • No one can open this hidden chamber except a direct heir of Slytherin.
    • Slytherin's heir would be able "to unseal the Chamber of Secrets, unleash the horror within, and use it to purge the school of all who were unworthy to study magic" (9.103).
    • Professor Binns dismisses this legend as nonsense and goes back to his usual lesson.
    • After class, Ron claims that Salazar Slytherin was a loony.
    • Harry starts to worry about himself: after all, the Sorting Hat initially wanted to put Harry in Slytherin rather than Gryffindor.
    • As they rush down the hall to their next class, Harry sees Colin Creevey.
    • Colin tries to tell Harry, "a boy in my class has been saying you're —" (9.125).
    • But the crowd pushes Colin on before he can finish.
    • Harry realizes that there are rumors going around that he is Slytherin's heir.
    • Harry, Ron, and Hermione go back to the scene of the crime to see if they can find anything.
    • They do notice something weird: a line of spiders trying to get out of the castle.
    • Ron admits that he hates spiders: "If you must know, when I was three, Fred turned my – my teddy bear into a great big filthy spider because I broke his toy broomstick...you wouldn't like them either if you'd been holding your bear and suddenly it had too many legs and" (9.148).
    • Harry recalls that there was a lot of water on the floor that night.
    • It must have come from the nearby girls' bathroom.
    • They go in to have a look.
    • The bathroom is home to a miserable, whining ghost girl named Moaning Myrtle.
    • She is extremely quick to take offense: "My life was nothing but misery at this place and now people come along ruining my death" (9.167).
    • She doesn't recall seeing anything the night that Mrs. Norris was Petrified.
    • She was too busy being a giant drama queen.
    • As Harry, Ron, and Hermione come out of the girls' bathroom, Percy Weasley spots them.
    • He's furious that they are breaking school rules and worrying Ginny.
    • So he takes five points from Gryffindor and gives them detention. Percy's a prefect, which means he can discipline other students for misbehavior.
    • In the Common Room that night, Harry, Ron, and Hermione discuss what to do next.
    • Ron is sure that the Heir of Slytherin must be Draco Malfoy.
    • Draco obviously agrees that Muggle-borns have no place at Hogwarts and his whole family is in Slytherin. He must be the Heir!
    • To prove it, Hermione suggests that they make Polyjuice Potion.
    • Polyjuice Potion allows you to transform into someone else for an hour.
    • If she, Harry, and Ron turned into friends of Draco's, they might be able to get him to confess.
  • Chapter 10

    The Rogue Bludger

    • Professor Lockhart spends his Defense classes reenacting episodes from his own books.
    • After class one day, Hermione approaches him to ask for permission to get a Restricted book out of the library.
    • She pretends that "it would help [her] understand what [he says] in Gadding with Ghouls about slow-acting venoms" (10.10).
    • Really, though, it's Moste Potente Potions, a book with instructions to make Polyjuice Potion.

    (Click the infographic to download.)

    • Professor Lockhart is so puffed up with Hermione's flattery that he signs the permission form immediately.
    • Hermione still thinks Professor Lockhart is impressive, but Ron sums up our feelings: "brainless git" (10.18).
    • They hurry off to the library, permission slip in hand.
    • The school librarian, Madam Pince, brings out Moste Potente Potions.
    • Harry, Ron, and Hermione carry the book to Moaning Myrtle's bathroom to start brewing.
    • Hermione has never seen such a complicated potion.
    • They'll have to steal a ton of ingredients – including a bit of the people they're trying to turn into.
    • It'll take about a month to finish the potion.
    • In the meantime, the first Quidditch game of the year – Slytherin versus Gryffindor! – is coming up.
    • With all of the Slytherin players on brand new, top-of-the-line brooms, the Gryffindor team is at a disadvantage.
    • Oliver Wood warns Harry, "It'll be down to you [...] to show them that a Seeker has to have something more than a rich father. Get to that Snitch before Malfoy or die trying [...] because we've got to win today, we've got to" (10.46).
    • The two teams hit the field.
    • It soon becomes clear that something has gone wrong with one of the Bludgers, which keeps attacking Harry.
    • Fred and George (the team Beaters) spend all of their time trying to protect Harry from the Bludger.
    • As a result, the Gryffindors are getting destroyed by the Slytherins.
    • They're already sixty points behind.
    • Wood calls a timeout.
    • Harry tells Fred and George, "Listen [...] with you two flying around me all the time the only way I'm going to catch the Snitch is if it flies up my sleeve. Go back to the rest of the team and let me deal with the rogue one" (10.67).
    • The rest of the team thinks this is a very bad idea, but Harry doesn't want to forfeit the game to wait for an investigation of the Bludger.
    • So Fred and George leave Harry alone as he starts hunting for the Snitch.
    • He has to fly increasingly complicated maneuvers to avoid the Bludger.
    • Draco shouts insults at Harry.
    • As Harry turns to look at Draco, he sees that the Snitch is hovering right over Draco's shoulder.
    • Draco just hasn't noticed it because he's too busy laughing at Harry's flying.
    • As Harry hesitates, the rogue Bludger slams into his arm, breaking it.
    • Through the pain, he flies straight at Malfoy to catch the Snitch.
    • Harry collapses to the ground with the Snitch in his good hand.
    • Gryffindor has won the match.
    • Professor Lockhart pushes his way to Harry's side to heal his arm.
    • Professor Lockhart is an idiot, though, so he actually turns Harry's arm into rubber.
    • Professor Lockhart tells Hermione to bring Harry to Madam Pomfrey, the school mediwitch.
    • In the Hospital Wing, Madam Pomfrey tells Harry that she'll be able to re-grow the bones in his arm, but it'll be uncomfortable – he has to spend the night in the Hospital Wing.
    • Ron and Hermione agree that the Polyjuice thing has become urgent; clearly, Draco must have been the one to bewitch Harry's rogue Bludger.
    • Harry wakes in the middle of night feeling uncomfortable as his bones re-grow.
    • He finds Dobby waiting by his bedside.
    • Then the whole story comes out: It was Dobby who bewitched Platform 9 3/4, and it was Dobby who enchanted the Bludger.
    • Dobby is trying to drive Harry out of Hogwarts for his own good.
    • Harry tells Dobby he's not going anywhere, no matter what Dobby has to say.
    • The sound of footsteps interrupts their conversation.
    • Dobby disappears and Harry pretends to be asleep.
    • He sees Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall levitating a body into the Hospital Wing.
    • It's Colin Creevey. He has been Petrified just like Mrs. Norris.
    • He was holding a camera, which has now been melted on the inside.
    • Professor Dumbledore tells Professor McGonagall that the Chamber of Secrets has now been opened – but how?
  • Chapter 11

    The Dueling Club

    • The next morning, Madam Pomfrey lets Harry leave the Hospital Wing.
    • Ron and Hermione have already gotten started on the Polyjuice Potion.
    • Ron resolves, "The sooner we get a confession out of Malfoy, the better" (11.15).
    • Ron thinks Lucius Malfoy was the one to open the Chamber of Secrets the first time.
    • The news that Colin Creevey has been Petrified terrifies the whole school.
    • Harry, Ron, and Hermione all plan to stay at Hogwarts during the winter break.
    • They know that Draco is going to be at Hogwarts, too, so it'll be a perfect chance to try the Polyjuice Potion.
    • They need to steal some ingredients from Professor Snape's private stores.
    • Hermione plans to do the actual stealing, while Harry and Ron are going to create a diversion.
    • During Potions class, Harry tosses a firecracker into Goyle's cauldron full of Swelling Solution.
    • The whole class starts to panic as their limbs start to swell up.
    • While Professor Snape tries to quiet the students down and administer a Deflating Draught, Hermione creeps into Snape's office and takes what she needs.

    (Click the infographic to download.)

    • Professor Snape finds the burned firework in Goyle's cauldron and clearly thinks it's Harry's fault.
    • He can't prove it, though, so what can he do?
    • A week later, Seamus Finnegan and Dean Thomas tell Harry, Ron, and Hermione that the school has decided to start a Dueling Club.
    • They think it might be useful – until they see that the club is being run by Professor Lockhart.
    • Professor Lockhart's surprising assistant is Professor Snape.
    • The two face off against each other as a demonstration of wizard dueling technique.
    • Professor Snape knocks Professor Lockhart into a wall.
    • Professor Lockhart shakes it off and starts putting the students into pairs.
    • Professor Snape pairs Harry with Draco (a recipe for disaster, of course).
    • The two of them exchange vicious spells.
    • After a few brief minutes, Professors Lockhart and Snape stop the "dueling" – these haven't been formal duels so much as they have been a bunch of kids beating the tar out of each other.
    • To prevent the naked violence of the previous few minutes, Professor Lockhart decides to teach them all blocking spells.
    • Professor Snape suggests Draco and Harry as the perfect pair to demonstrate these charms.
    • Professor Lockhart demonstrates something he claims is a blocking spell to Harry, but it doesn't do anything.
    • Draco shouts, "Serpensortia!" (11.94).
    • A huge snake appears in front of Harry.
    • Professor Lockhart tries to get rid of it, but all he does is make it mad.
    • It goes for Justin Finch-Fletchley, who is standing nearby.
    • Harry tells the snake, "Leave him alone!" (11.99).
    • The snake backs off.
    • Harry looks around at his fellow students, and is surprised to see that everyone looks terrified. Of him.
    • Ron and Hermione pull Harry out of the hall.
    • Ron tells Harry he's a Parselmouth – a wizard who can talk to snakes.
    • That's not a great talent to have: generally, Parselmouths are dark wizards.
    • Hermione warns Harry: "It matters [...] because being able to talk to snakes was what Salazar Slytherin was famous for. That's why the symbol of Slytherin House is a serpent" (11.119).
    • After all, Slytherin lived so long ago that who knows? Maybe Harry is his descendant – the Heir of Slytherin.
    • Harry decides to go and see Justin Finch-Fletchley the next day to explain what really happened with the snake.
    • Herbology is canceled so that Professor Sprout can take care of the Mandrakes.
    • So, Harry goes to seek out Justin Finch-Fletchley in the library.
    • He finds a big group of Hufflepuffs gathered around.
    • One of them (Ernie Macmillan) is telling the others that Harry went after Justin because Justin is a Muggle-born.
    • Harry interrupts the conversation to say that he's looking for Justin.
    • Ernie refuses to tell Harry because he thinks Harry will hurt Justin.
    • Harry swears that he was telling that snake not to attack.
    • The Hufflepuffs don't believe him. They think he hates Muggles.
    • Harry is so angry that he walks right into Hagrid in the corridor.
    • Hagrid is carrying a dead rooster.
    • It's the second rooster killed this year, and Hagrid needs Professor Dumbledore's permission to charm the hen-coop against predators.
    • Harry doesn't want to talk about the Hufflepuffs' suspicions.
    • He walks up to Gryffindor Tower to get his supplies for Transfiguration.
    • On his way up, he finds "Justin Finch-Fletchley [...] lying on the floor, rigid and cold, a look of shock frozen on his face, his eyes staring blankly at the ceiling" (11.172).
    • Next to Petrified Justin is something even weirder: Nearly Headless Nick is floating "immobile and horizontal, six inches off the floor" (11.173).
    • Harry panics and can't figure out what to do next.
    • Peeves the Poltergeist finds him and the two Petrified figures and shouts, "ATTACK! ATTACK! ANOTHER ATTACK! NO MORTAL OR GHOST IS SAFE! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! ATTAAAACK!" (11.178).
    • Ernie appears and shouts, "Caught in the act!" (11.180), pointing at Harry.
    • Professor McGonagall shushes Ernie, but she still has to bring Harry to Professor Dumbledore's office.
  • Chapter 12

    The Polyjuice Potion

    (Click the infographic to download.)

    • Harry has never been inside Professor Dumbledore's office before.
    • It's a beautiful, large circular room.
    • He spots the Sorting Hat.
    • Harry puts the Sorting Hat on, "just to make sure it had put him in the right House —" (12.4).
    • The Sorting Hat agrees that Harry "would have done well in Slytherin" (12.7).
    • Harry's stomach sinks.
    • He takes off the Hat.
    • He hears a gagging noise and looks over. There's an old-looking bird in the corner. It looks really sick.
    • Suddenly, it bursts into flames.
    • There's nothing but a pile of ash left where the bird used to be.
    • Professor Dumbledore comes in and Harry stammers, "Professor [...] Your bird – I couldn't do anything – he just caught fire —" (12.14).
    • Professor Dumbledore explains that Fawkes is a phoenix.
    • Phoenixes burn up when it is time for them to die, and then they are reborn from the ashes.
    • Their tears have healing powers and they are hugely loyal.
    • Just then, Hagrid bursts in.
    • Hagrid swears to Professor Dumbledore that it couldn't have been Harry who Petrified Justin and Nearly Headless Nick.
    • Professor Dumbledore agrees that it wasn't Harry.
    • Yet he still wants to know if there is anything Harry wants to tell him.
    • Harry thinks about the voice he's been hearing and his suspicions that he is connected to Salazar Slytherin.
    • He decides not to tell Professor Dumbledore.
    • The Weasleys' parents are in Egypt visiting Ron's oldest brother, Bill, so Percy, Fred, George, Ginny, and Ron are all spending the holiday break at Hogwarts.
    • On Christmas morning, Hermione sneaks into their dorm room to tell Harry and Ron that the potion is finally ready.
    • They decide to use the potion that night.
    • Hedwig arrives with Harry's Christmas present from the Dursleys: a toothpick.
    • Still, he gets plenty of real presents from Ron, Hermione, Hagrid, and Mrs. Weasley.
    • Hermione comes up with a plan to get the "bits of the people [they're] changing into."
    • She already has a hair from Millicent Bulstrode's robes for her own transformation.
    • Ron and Harry are going to need hairs from Crabbe and Goyle.
    • She fills two chocolate cakes with Sleeping Draught.
    • Harry places these cakes on the banisters near the Dining Hall where Crabbe and Goyle have been having Christmas tea.
    • When they come out, they spot the cakes and eat them up right away.
    • They promptly pass out, and Harry and Ron take the required hairs.
    • Ron and Harry meet Hermione in Moaning Myrtle's bathroom.
    • The Polyjuice Potion is ready and waiting for the last ingredient: the hairs of the three Slytherins they will be impersonating.
    • They will have exactly one hour before the potion starts to fade.
    • The potion is disgusting and makes all three of them want to hurl.
    • They all survive, though. Harry looks like Goyle and Ron looks like Crabbe.
    • Hermione won't come out of her toilet stall, though – she tells Harry and Ron to go on without her.
    • The two of them sneak down to the Slytherin dungeons.
    • Oddly enough, they find Percy Weasley down there.
    • Draco comes upon the three of them and asks, "And what're you doing down here, Weasley?" (12.147).
    • Percy retorts, "I don't like your attitude!" (12.148) and storms off.
    • Draco wants to show Crabbe and Goyle something funny: a clipping from the Daily Prophet announcing that Mr. Weasley has been fined fifty Galleons for enchanting his car.
    • Draco keeps running his mouth off about the Weasleys, Harry, and Hermione.
    • Harry and Ron are disappointed to hear that Draco doesn't know who the Heir of Slytherin is.
    • He does know that the Chamber of Secrets was opened before, fifty years ago.
    • Then, a Muggle-born student died.
    • Harry and Ron start to turn back to their old selves, so they rush back to Moaning Myrtle's bathroom.
    • They want to tell Hermione everything, but she still won't come out of her bathroom stall.
    • Unfortunately, poor Hermione has made a slight miscalculation.
    • That hair she grabbed from Millicent Bulstrode's robe is actually a cat hair.
    • Polyjuice Potion isn't intended for non-human transformation.
    • Hermione has cat fur all over her face, two ears sprouting from her hair, and a tail.
  • Chapter 13

    The Very Secret Diary

    • Hermione stays in the hospital wing for several weeks recovering from her cat transformation.
    • Ron and Harry visit her regularly.
    • One evening, Harry and Ron are walking back from the Hospital Wing when they hear Filch complaining.
    • He's furious because someone has flooded the corridor near where Mrs. Norris was attacked.
    • The water looks like it's coming from Moaning Myrtle's bathroom.
    • Harry and Ron go to investigate.
    • Moaning Myrtle is crying even louder than usual.
    • She's upset because someone through a book into her toilet: "I was just sitting in the U-bend, thinking about death, and it fell right through the top of my head" (13.29).
    • Harry and Ron find the book on the floor. It's a fifty-year old diary with the name of the owner – T.M. Riddle – written on the first page.
    • Otherwise, the book is blank.
    • Ron recognizes the name of the owner: "T.M. Riddle got an award for special services to the school fifty years ago" (13.39).
    • Harry also realizes that Riddle must have been Muggle-born: the diary comes from a store on Vauxhall Road, in London.
    • When Hermione finally gets out of the Hospital Wing, she examines the book for hidden enchantments.
    • She can't find anything, though. It really does look like the diary is empty.
    • Harry keeps hanging onto the diary, nevertheless.
    • Harry also finds out that Riddle received "an old Medal for Magical Merit" (13.71), and that he had been Head Boy of Hogwarts in his time.
    • The Mandrakes are quickly approaching maturity, so Professor Sprout is confident they'll be able to cure the Petrified students, ghost, and cat soon.
    • There's been no sign of activity from the Heir of Slytherin.
    • Things seem to be calming down a bit.
    • To improve the school's morale, Professor Lockhart makes this boneheaded plan to celebrate Valentine's Day.
    • In addition to dressing in pink robes and filling the Great Hall with Valentine decorations, he also brings in "a dozen surly looking dwarfs […] wearing golden wings and carrying harps" (13.87) to deliver Valentines to people.
    • As Harry is going to Charms class, a "particularly grim-looking dwarf" corners Harry.
    • Harry tries to get away, but his bag tears and he has to stop to gather his things.
    • The dwarf forces him to accept a singing Valentine in front of a hallway full of students.
    • The Valentine is so hilarious that all the students present start laughing hysterically.
    • Draco notices Tom Riddle's diary lying on the floor with Harry's stuff and picks it up.
    • Ginny "[stares] from the diary to Harry, looking terrified" (13.108).
    • Harry spells the diary to fly out of Draco's hands.
    • Draco mocks Ginny for sending Harry such an awful Valentine.
    • She runs off, embarrassed.
    • Harry notices that Riddle's diary, which got soaked in ink, remains blank and pristine.
    • Later that night, Harry tries writing in Riddle's diary to see what will happen.
    • When he writes, "My name is Harry Potter" (13.118), the diary replies, "Hello, Harry Potter. My name is Tom Riddle. How did you come by my diary?" (13.121).
    • Harry and Riddle speak back and forth about Hogwarts and the Chamber of Secrets.
    • Riddle offers to show Harry his memories of that time fifty years ago, when the Chamber was last opened and a girl died.
    • Harry experiences Riddle's memories as though he is standing in the room.
    • He sees young Tom Riddle asking Headmaster Dippet if he can stay at Hogwarts over the summer rather than returning to his "Muggle orphanage" (13.157).
    • Headmaster Dippet refuses, "Particularly in light of the recent tragedy…the death of that poor little girl" (13.166).
    • Riddle wants to know, if he can find the person who killed the girl, if Headmaster Dippet would change his mind.
    • Riddle walks through the halls of Hogwarts, thinking hard.
    • A tall wizard "with long, sweeping auburn hair and a beard" (13.176) stops Riddle in the hallway.
    • It's young-ish Professor Dumbledore.
    • He tells Riddle to hurry off to bed.
    • Riddle doesn't, though; instead, he goes down into the dungeons, sits down, and waits.
    • At last, they hear someone coming.
    • The person is whispering, "C'mon…gotta get yeh outta here…C'mon now…in the box" (13.186).
    • It's Hagrid as a schoolboy.
    • Riddle tells Hagrid that he can't cover for Hagrid anymore: "I don't think you meant to kill anyone. But monsters don't make good pets […] The least Hogwarts can do is make sure that the thing that killed their daughter is slaughtered" (13.194-7).
    • A giant spider comes rushing out of the door of the castle.
    • Riddle raises his wand, but Hagrid tackles him to protect the spider.
    • Harry wakes up from Riddle's diary.
    • He tells Ron, "It was Hagrid […] Hagrid opened the Chamber of Secrets fifty years ago" (13. 207).
  • Chapter 14

    Cornelius Fudge

    • Harry, Ron, and Hermione can't believe that Hagrid was the Heir of Slytherin who opened the Chamber fifty years before.
    • They decide that they won't say anything to him unless there's another attack.
    • Harry hasn't heard the voice in weeks, though, and nothing seems wrong at the castle.
    • Over Easter break, Hermione starts talking about what classes they'll get to choose for third year.
    • Harry has no idea what to do, since he was raised as a Muggle and doesn't understand what might help in the future.
    • Finally, he just goes with all the classes Ron picks, so at least he'll have a friend.
    • Harry continues to train in Quidditch, since there's an upcoming match between Gryffindor and Hufflepuff.
    • On his way back from one of the practices, he finds Neville Longbottom panicking.
    • In their dorm room, Harry sees that all of his stuff has been turned inside out and upside down.
    • Riddle's diary is also gone.
    • The morning of the match against Hufflepuff, Harry is on his way to the game when he hears that voice again – "Kill this time…let me rip…tear" (14.47).
    • Ron and Hermione still can't understand the voice.
    • Then Hermione seems to have some kind of breakthrough.
    • She rushes off to the library without explaining.
    • Harry goes out to the Quidditch pitch for the game.
    • However, Professor McGonagall appears to announce, "This match has been canceled" (14.63).
    • There has been an emergency: Hermione and a Ravenclaw prefect, Penelope Clearwater, have both been Petrified.
    • Professor McGonagall brings Harry and Ron to the Hospital Wing.
    • There, they find Hermione lying Petrified in a hospital bed.
    • Professor McGonagall shows them a mirror that was found near her body.
    • She asks if they can think of any explanation.
    • They can't.
    • Professor McGonagall leads them back to the Common Room and announces new rules: there's a 6:00 PM curfew, students must be accompanied to each lesson by a teacher, no student is allowed to go to the bathroom without a teacher, and Quidditch has been canceled.
    • All the students are in an uproar.
    • Harry and Ron decide that it's time to see Hagrid.
    • They sneak out of the castle using Harry's Invisibility Cloak.
    • Hagrid opens his cottage door looking extremely nervous and distracted.
    • He invites Ron and Harry in for tea.
    • Before they can really settle in to talk, there's a knock at the door.
    • Harry and Ron hide under the Invisibility Cloak.
    • It's Professor Dumbledore and a stranger with "rumpled gray hair and an anxious expression […] wearing a strange mixture of clothes: a pinstriped suit, a scarlet tie, a long black cloak, and pointed purple boots" (14.104).
    • This stranger is the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge.
    • He has come to arrest Hagrid for the attacks on Muggle-borns at the school.
    • He points out that Hagrid's record is against him, and the Ministry has to do something.
    • They're going to take him straight to Azkaban, the wizard prison, without a trial.
    • Just then, Lucius Malfoy comes in.
    • He has arrived to tell Professor Dumbledore that the school governors (including Lucius) have voted to remove Professor Dumbledore from office.
    • They can't trust him to run the school because, "At this rate, there'll be no Muggle-borns left at Hogwarts, and we all know what an awful loss that would be to the school" (14.124).
    • Professor Dumbledore agrees to go, but he also says very clearly, "I will only truly have left this school when none here are loyal to me. You will also find that help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it" (14.138).
    • Harry is sure that Professor Dumbledore knows he and Ron are there.
    • Hagrid also gives a parting word: "If anyone wanted ter find out some stuff, all they'd have ter do would be ter follow the spiders" (14.141).
  • Chapter 15

    Aragog

    • With Professor Dumbledore gone, the whole school falls into fear again.
    • Harry looks around for spiders as much as he can at school, but he's having trouble because none of the students are permitted to wander without a teacher present.
    • The only person who looks as though he's really enjoying himself is Draco Malfoy.
    • In Potions, Draco says openly, "I'm quite surprised the Mudbloods haven't all packed their bags by now […] Bet you five Galleons the next one dies. Pity it wasn't Granger —" (15.14).
    • Harry barely holds Ron back from attacking Draco.
    • One bright spot: during Herbology, Ernie Macmillan apologizes to Harry for suspecting him.
    • He knows that Harry would never hurt Hermione.
    • From the Herbology greenhouse, Harry also spots several large spiders "moving in an unnaturally straight line as though taking the shortest route to a prearranged meeting" (15.27).
    • They're heading to the Forbidden Forest.
    • Harry and (a reluctant) Ron agree to sneak into the forest under Harry's Invisibility Cloak, with Hagrid's large dog Fang for protection.
    • First, though, they have Defense Against the Dark Arts.
    • Professor Lockhart appears thrilled: he is sure that the Minister of Magic would not have arrested Hagrid without sure proof that he is guilty.
    • None of the kids are convinced by this logic.
    • That night, Harry and Ron creep out of the castle to Hagrid's cottage to get Fang.
    • They then follow the spiders through the forest for at least half an hour, until Harry hears "something moving over there […] sounds like something big" (15.174).
    • There's a sudden blaze of light in the darkness.
    • It's the headlights of Mr. Weasley's enchanted Ford Anglia.
    • It's been in the Forbidden Forest all this time.
    • Distracted by the car, Harry doesn't notice something coming up behind him until it grabs him.
    • It takes Ron and Fang, too.
    • The thing carries Harry, Ron, and Fang to a large hollow in the ground, which is absolutely crawling with spiders.
    • It is a giant spider.
    • It drops Harry, Ron, and Fang in the hollow and calls for Aragog.
    • Aragog is "a spider the size of a small elephant [….] There was gray in the black of his body and legs, and each of the eyes on his ugly, pincered head was milky white. He was blind" (15.104).
    • Aragog is confused: "Hagrid has never sent men into our hollow before" (15.113).
    • Aragog tells Ron and Harry that Hagrid raised Aragog from an egg.
    • When Aragog was found and blamed for the death of a student, Hagrid sneaked Aragog out of the castle.
    • Aragog describes the monster in the Chamber of Secrets as "an ancient creature we spiders fear above all others" (15.127).
    • The spiders will not even speak its name.
    • Harry and Ron try to leave, but Aragog won't let them: he won't eat them out of respect for Hagrid, but he can't deny his family their rights.
    • As the spiders approach, a horn sounds.
    • It's the honking of Mr. Weasley's Ford Anglia.
    • Ron, Harry, and Fang climb in and the car races to the edge of the Forbidden Forest.
    • They walk safely up to Hogwarts, leaving the car in the Forbidden Forest.
    • Now, Harry and Ron have learned for sure that Hagrid is innocent.
    • They don't know what to do next, though.
    • Suddenly, Harry has a revelation: that girl who died?
    • What if she's Moaning Myrtle?
  • Chapter 16

    The Chamber of Secrets

    • The next morning, Professor McGonagall announces that exams will be beginning as usual at the beginning of June.
    • Seamus Finnegan asks how they can possibly have exams with all that's been going on.
    • Professor McGonagall reminds him that this is a school and they're supposed to be running it as normally as possible. Why else keep Hogwarts open?
    • Three days before the exams start, Professor McGonagall announces that Professor Sprout is ready to start brewing the Mandrake Restorative Draught.
    • Everyone starts cheering.
    • Once the Petrified people wake up, they'll be able to tell who attacked them.
    • Ginny comes to sit next to Ron at the Gryffindor table.
    • She looks fearful.
    • She tells Harry and Ron that she needs to speak to them, but, before she can finish, Percy walks in and interrupts.
    • Ron scolds Percy, but Percy tells him that it's nothing. Percy seems to think Ginny's secret has to do with him.
    • Now that the Petrified people are about to wake up, Professor Lockhart doesn't think there's any point in guarding the students between their classes.
    • Harry and Ron take advantage of his carelessness to sneak down to Moaning Myrtle's bathroom.
    • Before they can arrive, though, Professor McGonagall catches them.
    • Harry lies that they were on their way to see Hermione.
    • Professor McGonagall seems moved: "Of course, I realize this has all been hardest on the friends of those who have been…I quite understand. Yes, Potter, of course you may visit Miss Granger" (16.61).
    • Madam Pomfrey lets Harry and Ron into the Hospital Wing.
    • Hermione clearly has no idea that they are there, though: she's frozen.
    • Harry notices something in Hermione's hand.
    • It's a piece of paper describing the basilisk: a giant snake that can live hundreds of years.
    • The basilisk is so deadly that it can kill just by looking at you.
    • Spiders run away from basilisks, "for it is their mortal enemy"; basilisks run "only from the crowing of the rooster, which is fatal to it" (16.72).

    (Click the infographic to download.)

    • All the pieces start to come together for Harry.
    • The monster in the Chamber of Secrets is a basilisk.
    • It's been using the plumbing pipes at Hogwarts to get around.
    • That's why Harry's been hearing the voice through the Hogwarts walls: because he's a Parselmouth, and he's the only one who can understand snakes.
    • Finally, Ron and Harry both realize at the same time that the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets must be in Moaning Myrtle's bathroom.
    • Harry and Ron rush to the staff room to tell the faculty.
    • They hear an announcement magically amplified from Professor McGonagall: "All students to return to their House dormitories at once. All teachers return to the staffroom. Immediately, please" (16.97).
    • They hide in a cabinet to hear what is going on.
    • Professor McGonagall announces to the other teachers that "A student has been taken by the monster. Right into the Chamber itself" (16.103).
    • The Heir of Slytherin left a message, "Her skeleton will lie in the Chamber forever" (16.105).
    • It's Ginny Weasley.
    • Professor Lockhart bursts into the staff room at just this moment.
    • The other Hogwarts professors tell him to go to the Chamber of Secrets and fight the monster, since that's what he's been saying he would like to do all of this time.
    • Professor Lockhart tries to object, but the other professors insist.
    • They really want to get him out of the way while they plan what they should do.
    • The school is going to have to close down.
    • The Hogwarts Express will arrive to take all of the students home the next day.
    • Harry, Ron, Fred, and George sit in the Gryffindor Common Room worrying.
    • Ron remembers that Ginny must have known something.
    • She came to talk to the two of them at breakfast because she'd "found out something about the Chamber of Secrets" (16.131).
    • That must have been why she was attacked.
    • Harry and Ron are so desperate to do something that they decide to bring their story to Professor Lockhart.
    • He may be useless, but they should still try to help him fight the creature.
    • When they find Professor Lockhart in his office, though, he's packing his bags.
    • He's running away.
    • After all, Professor Lockhart didn't actually do any of the things he wrote.
    • His only really talent is for memory charms.
    • So he modified the memories of all of the people who actually banished banshees or saved villages from werewolves so they believed he did it.
    • Professor Lockhart has been getting famous by taking credit for other people's work.
    • In order to cover his tracks, Professor Lockhart tries to cast a Memory Charm on Harry and Ron.
    • Harry hits him with a Disarming Charm before he gets that far.
    • Harry kicks Professor Lockhart before forcing him at wandpoint to go first as they walk to the Chamber of Secrets.
    • At last, in Moaning Myrtle's bathroom, Harry asks her how she died.
    • She is thrilled to tell the story at last.
    • That day, Myrtle was hiding in the bathroom and crying because one of her schoolmates teased her.
    • She heard someone speaking in a strange language.
    • It was a boy, so she unlocked her stall to tell him to get out of the girl's bathroom.
    • Then, she looked up into a pair of "great, big, yellow eyes" (16.173).
    • And she died.
    • Harry and Ron figure out that the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets is a sink with a tap shaped like a serpent.
    • Harry tells the tap to open in Parseltongue.
    • A large pipe opens up in front of them.
    • Ron sends Professor Lockhart through the pipe first.
    • They go down and down, deep under the castle.
    • They land in a tunnel.
    • The tunnel is littered with small animal bones.
    • They eventually come across an enormous shed snake skin. The basilisk must be huge!
    • Professor Lockhart tackles Ron and takes his wand.
    • He raises Ron's wand to Obliviate the two of them.
    • Of course, Ron's broken wand backfires on Professor Lockhart.
    • He's the one who is hit by the overwhelmingly powerful memory charm.
    • The force of the blast also partially collapses the tunnel.
    • Harry is on the side facing the Chamber, while Ron and Professor Lockhart are on the other side.
    • Harry goes on while Ron tries to clear some of the rock away.
    • Harry finds a wall with two "entwined serpents […] their eyes set with great emeralds" (16.232).
    • Harry commands the snakes to open.
    • The wall cracks and parts, letting Harry into the Chamber of Secrets.

    (Click the infographic to download.)

  • Chapter 17

    The Heir of Slytherin

    • The Chamber is lined with columns in the shape of snakes.
    • Against the back wall is a huge statue of a wizard.
    • At the base of the statue is a "small, black-robed figure with flaming-red hair" (17.5).
    • Ginny isn't dead, but she won't wake up.

    (Click the infographic to download.)

    • There is a black-haired boy leaning against a nearby pillar.
    • It's Tom Riddle.
    • Riddle tells Harry that he is a memory, preserved in a diary for over fifty years.
    • Confused, Harry asks Riddle to help him get Ginny out of the Chamber.
    • Harry tries to lift Ginny while Riddle picks up Harry's wand.
    • Riddle tells Harry that he has been waiting for the chance to speak to Harry.
    • Harry finally twigs to the fact that something is wrong.
    • Riddle begins to explain.
    • Ginny has been writing in Riddle's diary for months and months, spilling her secrets to Riddle.
    • Riddle has been writing back to her, making friends with her, and slowly developing his power over her.
    • As Riddle's power grows, he begins "feeding Miss Weasley a few of [his] secrets, to start pouring a little of [his] soul back into her" (17.45).
    • Riddle uses Ginny to kill the roosters, paint threatening messages on the walls, and set the basilisk on four students and Mrs. Norris.
    • Harry is absolutely horrified.
    • Riddle continues: Ginny begins to suspect that the diary is responsible for her periods of lost memory and for the terrible things that are happening at the school.
    • She throws the diary away.
    • Luckily for Riddle, the next person to pick up the diary is Harry, the one person Riddle wants to meet more than anyone else.
    • Before Riddle can really get to know Harry, Ginny steals the diary back.
    • She won't let Harry be harmed by Riddle.
    • Still, Riddle knows by now that Harry will do anything to rescue his friends.
    • So Riddle forces Ginny to "write her own farewell on the wall" (17.64) and come down to the Chamber of Secrets to wait for Harry to arrive.
    • She is growing weaker and weaker as Riddle takes physical form outside of the diary.
    • Harry asks why Riddle cares about Harry at all.
    • Ginny has told Riddle that it was Harry who brought down Voldemort eleven years ago.
    • Riddle wants to know what's so special about Harry, since Voldemort was "the greatest wizard of all time" (17.66).
    • Riddle is eager to know because he is Voldemort as a young man.
    • Rearrange the letters in his name – Tom Marvolo Riddle – and you get "I am Lord Voldemort" (17.71).
    • Harry tells Riddle he isn't the greatest wizard in the world; that wizard is Albus Dumbledore.
    • As Harry says this, he hears sudden music: "It was eerie, spine-tingling, unearthly; it lifted the hair on Harry's scalp and made his heart feel as though it was swelling to twice its size" (17.81).
    • The song is phoenix song.
    • Fawkes has arrived, and he's carrying the Sorting Hat.
    • Riddle laughs at Harry, that these are the great reinforcements Professor Dumbledore sends his defender.
    • Harry doesn't care. At least he's no longer alone.
    • He tells Riddle that he survived because his "common Muggle-born mother" (17.94) died to save him.
    • Riddle is glad to hear that it was only lucky chance that saved Harry from Voldemort.
    • Riddle finally calls the basilisk to come out and kill Harry.

    (Click the infographic to download.)

    • Harry sees a massive snake slithering out of the mouth of the statue at the end of the hall.
    • Harry runs.
    • Fawkes swoops in and tears out the snake's eyes.
    • Maddened with pain, the snake continues to hunt Harry.
    • Harry grabs the Sorting Hat and jams it onto his head. He begs for help.
    • Something lands on Harry's head with a clunk.
    • It's a sword.
    • Riddle keeps egging the basilisk on to kill Harry.
    • The basilisk strikes, but Harry is fast enough to bury the sword into the soft palate of its mouth.
    • Still, the basilisk sinks a poisonous fang into Harry's arm.
    • Fawkes flies to Harry's side.
    • Riddle gloats: Harry is dying, and Riddle gets to watch.
    • Then, though, Harry starts to feel better.
    • He realizes that Fawkes's tears are healing him.
    • Riddle uses Harry's wand to zap Fawkes away, and then he raises his wand to Harry.
    • Fawkes flies overhead and drops Riddle's diary into Harry's lap.
    • Harry sticks the basilisk fang into the book.
    • Ink streams out in ribbons and Riddle screams and disappears.
    • At the other side of the Chamber, Ginny wakes up.
    • She cries and apologizes.
    • Ginny can't calm down. She's sure that she will be expelled.
    • Soon, Ginny and Harry reach the pile of stone.
    • They call for Ron, who is still there with Professor Lockhart.
    • Ron shouts, "Ginny! […] You're alive! I don't believe it!" (17.158).
    • Ginny climbs through the stones and Fawkes follows.
    • Harry comes last.
    • Ron explains that Professor Lockhart has completely lost his memory, thanks to that rebounded Memory Charm.
    • Fawkes flies Harry, Ron, Ginny, and Professor Lockhart up the pipe and away from the Chamber of Secrets.
    • Moaning Myrtle is astonished to see them all alive.
    • She's a little disappointed that Harry won't be joining her as a ghost.
  • Chapter 18

    Dobby's Reward

    • Harry, Ron, Ginny, and Professor Lockhart arrive, covered in grime and blood, at Professor McGonagall's office.
    • Mr. and Mrs. Weasley throw their arms around Ginny.
    • Professor Dumbledore is also standing by, as is Professor McGonagall.
    • Harry places the Sorting Hat, the ruby-covered sword, and Riddle's destroyed diary on Professor McGonagall's desk.
    • Then he explains everything that has happened.
    • Ginny confesses that she's been writing in Riddle's diary all year.
    • Mr. Weasley asks her, "Haven't I taught you anything? What have I always told you? Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain" (18.21).
    • Professor Dumbledore sends Ginny to the Hospital Wing to recover.
    • Professor Dumbledore turns to Professor McGonagall: "You know, Minerva […] I think all this merits a good feast. Might I ask you to go and alert the kitchens?" (18.28).
    • Ron explains to Professor Dumbledore about Professor Lockhart's total amnesia.
    • Professor Dumbledore asks Ron to bring Professor Lockhart to the Hospital Wing, too.
    • So, Harry is left alone with Professor Dumbledore.
    • Harry finally admits what's bothering him: "Riddle said I'm like him. Strange likenesses, he said" (18.51).
    • Professor Dumbledore tells Harry that, when Voldemort tried to kill him as a baby, he left Harry with some of his skills (Parseltongue, for example).
    • Harry chose to be in Gryffindor, though, which makes him very different from Voldemort.
    • The fact that Harry could draw this ruby-encrusted sword from the Sorting Hat is proof enough that Harry is a true Gryffindor.
    • After all, the sword belonged to Godric Gryffindor.
    • Lucius Malfoy appears at Professor McGonagall's office, seething with fury. Dobby is hiding behind him.
    • Lucius demands to know why Professor Dumbledore has come back.
    • Professor Dumbledore tells him, "the other eleven governors contacted me today […] They seemed to think I was the best man for the job after all. Very strange tales they told me, too…Several of them seemed to think that you had threatened to curse their families if they didn't agree to suspend me in the first place" (18.73)
    • Lucius goes pale with rage.
    • Professor Dumbledore shows him the diary that had contained Lord Voldemort.
    • Professor Dumbledore points out that, if Harry and Ron hadn't found the diary, Ginny might have taken all the blame herself.
    • Then what might have happened?
    • He continues, "Imagine the effect on Arthur Weasley and his Muggle Protection Act, if his own daughter was discovered attacking and killing Muggle-borns" (18.84).
    • Thanks to some signaling from Dobby, Harry suddenly realizes that it must have been Lucius who slipped Ginny the diary during that fight at Flourish and Blotts at the beginning of the year.

    (Click the map infographic to download.)

    • Professor Dumbledore admits that they can't prove anything, but he warns Lucius not to try anything like that again.
    • Lucius turns to leave.
    • Harry has a great idea, and turns to Professor Dumbledore for permission to give back the diary. Permission is granted.
    • Harry runs after Lucius with the destroyed diary in his hand.
    • He yanks off one of his grimy socks and sticks the diary inside.
    • Harry tells Lucius he's got something of his.
    • He jams the sock-covered diary into Lucius's hand.
    • Lucius pulls the sock off the diary and throws it to the floor.
    • Lucius warns him, "You'll meet the same sticky end as your parents one of these days, Harry Potter […] They were meddlesome fools, too" (18.107).
    • Lucius tries to order Dobby to follow him, but something is different.
    • Dobby has caught the sock Lucius threw down.
    • Lucius has given Dobby clothes, so Dobby is free of the Malfoy family.
    • Lucius pulls his wand on Harry, but Dobby commands Lucius to go.
    • Dobby weeps, thanks Harry for freeing him, and disappears with a loud crack.
    • The celebration feast that night is fabulous.
    • All of the Petrified people have woken up, exams are canceled after all, and Professor Lockhart has left the school.
    • Lucius Malfoy has been fired as school governor, and everything is right with the world.
    • On the Hogwarts Express, Harry asks Ginny what she saw Percy doing that he didn't want her to talk about.
    • Ginny caught Percy kissing Penelope Clearwater, the Ravenclaw prefect who got Petrified with Hermione.
    • That's who Percy was writing to all the previous summer.
    • Harry takes out his quill and writes his phone number down for Ron and Hermione.
    • He asks them to call, because he won't be able to take two more months of the Dursleys.
    • Hermione asks him, "Your aunt and uncle will be proud, though, won't they? […] When they hear what you did this year?" (18.144).
    • Harry thinks that's unlikely, but he still continues on into the Muggle world.