Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Choices

Choices

DOBBY: Harry Potter must say he's not going back to school.

HARRY POTTER: I can't. Hogwarts is my home.

DOBBY: Then Dobby must do it, sir, for Harry Potter's own good.

You've gotta hand it to Harry Potter—he never takes the easy way out. Dobby is threatening him and Harry knows he will get in major trouble but he refuses to say that he won't go back to Hogwarts. But even though Harry could lie to save his own skin, he still decides not to. This is a kid who makes good choices. Even if they get him in hot water.

PROFESSOR MCGONAGALL: Hogwarts was founded over a thousand years ago by the four greatest witches and wizards of the age: Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Salazar Slytherin […] Salazar Slytherin wished to be more selective about the students admitted to Hogwarts. He believed magical learning should be kept within all-magic families. In other words, pure-bloods. Unable to sway the others, he decided to leave the school.

Everyone has to pick their own journey in life. For Salazar Slytherin, it meant breaking off from the other three Hogwarts founders and pursuing the path of murder and genocide. So: not such great choices.

GILDEROY LOCKHART: On the count of three cast your charms to disarm your opponent. Only to disarm. We don't want any accidents here. One. Two—

DRACO MALFOY: Everte Statum!

Wow. Is there anything Draco Malfoy won't cheat at? He can't even wait until Lockhart counts to "three" before he's casting spells in dueling club. Draco is constantly making hateful choices throughout this movie. But is that all his doing? Or is he being influenced by someone else?

SORTING HAT: Bee in your bonnet, Potter?

HARRY POTTER: I was just wondering if you put me in the right house.

SORTING HAT: Yes. You were particularly difficult to place. But I stand by what I said last year. You would have done well in Slytherin.

HARRY POTTER: You're wrong.

The Sorting Hat seems pretty sure that Harry would have been a rock star in Slytherin (their Quidditch team certainly could have used him), but Harry isn't so sure. He may be questioning his place in the wizarding world, but he knows he wouldn't willingly choose to act like a Slytherin.

HARRY POTTER: It was Hagrid. Hagrid opened the Chamber of Secrets fifty years ago.

HERMIONE GRANGER: It can't be Hagrid. It just can't be.

RON WEASLEY: We don't even know this Tom Riddle. He sounds like a dirty, rotten snitch.

HARRY POTTER: The monster had killed somebody, Ron. What would any of us have done?

In retrospect, Hermione and Ron are right on the money about Hagrid and Tom Riddle, but Harry doesn't see it that way. What choice did Tom have? Hagrid's monster had killed someone. But Harry doesn't realize that he's just seeing Tom's choices through the skewed perspective that he's been presented.

CORNELIUS FUDGE: Bad business, Hagrid, very bad business. Had to come. Three attacks on Muggle-borns. Things have gone far enough. The Ministry's got to act.

RUBEUS HAGRID: But I never. You know I never, professor.

ALBUS DUMBLEDORE: I want it understood, Cornelius, that Hagrid has my full confidence.

CORNELIUS FUDGE: Albus, look, Hagrid's record is against him. I've got to take him.

RUBEUS HAGRID: Take me? Take me where? Not Azkaban prison.

CORNELIUS FUDGE: I'm afraid we have no choice, Hagrid.

The Minister of Magic claims he has no choice but to take Hagrid to Azkaban, but that's not quite true. Fudge decides to but his own political future above that of an innocent man. If he looks like he's taking action, then he must be. That's a choice real life politicians make all too often.

GILDEROY LOCKHART: The adventure ends here, boys. But don't fret. The world will know our story. How I was too late to save the girl. How you two tragically lost your minds at the sight of her mangled body. So you first, Mr. Potter. Say goodbye to your memories. Obliviate!

Geez. Even given a chance to redeem himself by helping Harry and Ron in the Chamber of Secrets, Lockhart still chooses to weasel out of the situation and keep living his lie. And he doesn't care who he hurts along the way. We only wish Ron would have hit him a little harder in the head with that rock.

TOM RIDDLE: Haven't I told you? Killing Mudbloods doesn't matter to me anymore. For many months now, my new target has been you[…] I fashioned myself a new name, a name I knew wizards everywhere would fear to speak when I became the greatest sorcerer in the world.

HARRY POTTER: Albus Dumbledore is the greatest sorcerer in the world.

TOM RIDDLE: Dumbledore's been driven out of this castle by the mere memory of me.

HARRY POTTER: He'll never be gone. Not as long as those who remain are loyal to him.

We'd be peeing our pants if the memory of Tom Riddle revealed that he was actually Voldemort, but Harry keeps his cool and stays loyal to Dumbledore. It's his choice to keep fighting the good fight and never back down that summons Fawkes down to the chamber and saves the day. Phoenix power!

HARRY POTTER: So the Sorting Hat was right. I should be in Slytherin.

ALBUS DUMBLEDORE: It's true. You possess many of the qualities that Voldemort himself prizes. Determination, resourcefulness, and if I may say so, a certain disregard for the rules. Why, then, did the Sorting Hat place you in Gryffindor?

HARRY POTTER: Because I asked it to.

ALBUS DUMBLEDORE: Exactly, Harry. Exactly. Which makes you different from Voldemort. It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices.

And Dumbledore sums it all up right here. (He's good at that.) Harry isn't in Slytherin because he didn't choose to be. He's doesn't have to worry about becoming a bad person. He is deciding to become a good person with every good choice he makes. Just keep being awesome, Harry, and you'll be all right.

LUCIUS MALFOY: Your parents were meddlesome fools too. Mark my words, Potter. One day soon you are going to meet the same sticky end.

Wow. Can you imagine if the parents of one of your classmates told you that one day you'd wind up dead just like your parents? Maybe you'd decide to back off a little? Not Harry Potter. Nope. He keeps on going for, like, six more movies. Take that, Mr. Malfoy.

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