Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Chapter 4

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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.

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