Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Introduction


Release Year: 2002

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy

Director: Chris Columbus

Writer: Steve Kloves

Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson


If you're anything like us, then you've dreamed of getting your Hogwarts letter since you were eleven years old.

But—again, if you're anything like us—the owl probably lost on its way to your house. And your poor Muggle parents just didn't know how to get to Diagon Alley to buy schoolbooks or how to catch the train at Platform 9 ¾. So you had to settle for a regular school where they taught kids boring things like math and reading.

Sigh.

But after watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets maybe you should be a teensy bit glad that owl got lost.

Harry and his friends at Hogwarts watch in horror as someone leaves ominous messages in the hallways about a mysterious Chamber of Secrets. Students are being attacked and petrified by an unseen creature and there are whispers about an "heir of Slytherin" who's come to kill Muggle-borns. Also the bathrooms just flood constantly.

Still want to hop aboard the Hogwarts Express?

Sure, the year before Harry was all caught up in the magic of Hogwarts. He was finding out about his past and his new wizard powers, flying on broomsticks, and learning spells. It's was all so enchanting. But now, things are taking a really dark turn. Now students and the school are in serious danger.

Cue the ominous (and iconic) music.

Back in 2002, Chamber of Secrets was just the second in a blockbuster Harry Potter movie franchise that would earn mega bucks and turn into a global phenomenon. But this slightly more sinister turn was important because it set the tone for what moviegoers could expect for future movies to come. By the time we get to Deathly Hallows, we're looking at a body count. Chamber of Secrets isn't gonna go full murder…but it's going to hint at the mayhem to follow.

  

What is Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets About and Why Should I Care?

Okay, so we have a couple of bits of info to get out of the way.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was one of only two Harry Potter movies that was never nominated for any Oscars. It's the second lowest grossing Potter movie in the series. And it consistency gets ranked among the worst books and movies of the original seven.

But this movie is most definitely worth your time. In fact, if you miss this movie, you'll be missing a whole lot of stuff that will become really important in later films.

Chamber of Secrets introduces a lot of big-deal characters like Lucius Malfoy and Dobby. Aragog has a part to play later, too. Even a necklace in that creepy Borgin and Burkes shop comes up again.

Oh, and there's this kid named Tom Riddle. You might want to be on the look out for him.

We'll find out more about what the young Voldemort is up to in future films, but Chamber of Secrets starts planting the seeds. This is where all the murderous madness begins, folks. Even Riddle's diary will become a major plot point right around the time Harry is turning sixteen. Trust us. The whole stabbing-the-book-with-a-basilisk-fang thing makes a whole lot more sense once you've seen Half-Blood Prince. And you figure out what a Horcrux is.

Seriously, just give it a few movies. You'll be right there.

So, yes, Chamber of Secrets might not make the tops of the official rankings list. But don't dismiss it just because it doesn't get the same number of stars as The Prisoner of Azkaban.

Because this movie sets the stage for everything that follows—from the darker tone to backstories. That kind of heavy lifting doesn't always get rave reviews, but its attention to world-building (and story-building) detail is delightful, fascinating and, as always, more than a bit magical.

Trivia

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second shortest book, but it's the longest Harry Potter film. Oddly enough, Order of the Phoenix is the longest book, but the second shortest film. (Source)

Rupert Grint is actually terrified of spiders in real life and has never watched the entire scene where he and Daniel Radcliffe are in Aragog's Hollow. We're with you there, Rupert. (Source)

The actress who plays Moaning Myrtle—Shirley Henderson—was actually thirty-seven years old at the time of filming. Sure Myrtle's ghost was fifty years old, but Myrtle herself was still supposed to be a Hogwarts student. (Source)

Sadly, Richard Harris, who played Dumbledore, died a few weeks before Chamber of Secrets was released. He was replaced with Michael Gambon in Prisoner of Azkaban. (Source)

J.K. Rowling has stated that Gilderoy Lockhart is based on a real person. She said that she had to endure knowing this guy for two solid years and that she "barely exaggerated" his personality. Here's hoping you never run into him. (Source)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Resources

Websites

Pottermore
The site for all things Harry Potter. Learn all about basilisks and figure out what exactly is the deal with Gilderoy Lockhart anyway.

J.K. Rowling's Website
The website of our incredible author. Magic in Internet form.

Harry Potter Wiki
Your source for every little detail in the Harry Potter world. Ever wonder where the Acromantula is native to? Or what's up with Tom Riddle's memory in that diary? Then hop on over to the Harry Potter Wiki and have all your questions answered.

Book or TV Adaptations

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Read the book that the movie it based on. It has all the action, adventure, and amazingly dangerous magical creatures as the film.

Articles and Interviews

Rotten Tomatoes
82% of critics can't be wrong. This film is certified fresh and certified magical.

Video

Chamber of Secrets Trailer
The epic second year at Hogwarts.

A Conversation Between J.K. Rowling & Daniel Radcliffe
Listen to Jo and Dan Radcliffe chat about how much the Harry Potter franchise has changed their lives. (Short answer—it has. A lot.)

Honest Trailers: Harry Potter
Okay, let's be honest—Hogwarts is a really dangerous place for kids.

Everything Wrong with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Hey, there's nothing wrong with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets! Okay, maybe a few things…

Crazy Kid Drivers
Ron and Harry fly the car to Hogwarts in this scene from the film.

Harry the Basilisk Slayer
Harry defeats one of the most dangerous creatures known to wizard kind in this movie clip.

Audio

Chamber of Secrets Soundtrack
Listen along to the magic and mayhem.

Images

Movie Poster
Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Dobby face off against the danger at Hogwarts. And no we don't mean the way Moaning Myrtle is constantly flooding the bathrooms.

The Writing on the Wall
It's never nice to graffiti…especially in blood.

Gryffindor vs. Slytherin
Two Quidditch teams face off in a battle of wits. Ron winds up with a mouthful of slugs.

Gilderoy Lockhart
The new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher poses with his most famous pupil.

Tom Riddle
The heir of Slytherin summons his pet. Nice snake?