Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Chapter 12

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Chapter 12

The Polyjuice Potion

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  • 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.

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