Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Chapter 5

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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.

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