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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Chapter Summary and Chapter Pictures


Chapter 1:The Worst Birthday

At 4 Privet Drive, the Dursley family is arguing. Vernon Dursley bellows at his nephew Harry Potter because Harry's pet owl, Hedwig, is noisy. Dudley Dursley, Vernon's spoiled and obese son, clamors for more bacon. When Dudley demands the frying pan, Harry mutters, "You've forgotten the magic word," and the family erupts into chaos.

The narrator explains the reason for the hubbub about the magic word. Harry Potter is a wizard, staying with the Dursleys for the summer after his first term at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Upon Harry's return from school, Uncle Vernon locked all of Harry's magical things—his spell books, broomstick, wand and cauldron—into a closet. The Dursleys are "Muggles," or non-magical people, and they were forced to adopt Harry when his own parents were killed by the greatest wizard of their time, the evil Lord Voldemort. Harry survived Voldemort's curse but was left with a lightening-bolt shaped scar on his forehead, beneath his unruly dark hair and above his usually broken glasses. For the survival of this powerful curse (thus destroying Voldemort's powers) and also for his scar, Harry Potter was famous in the wizard world before he was even old enough to remember. Harry did not even know himself to be a wizard until the previous summer, when Hagrid, the Hogwarts gamekeeper, arrived to whisk eleven-year-old Harry away to Hogwarts for his wizarding education.

The day the story begins, Harry is turning twelve, and the Dursleys ignore his birthday entirely. They are much more concerned with a dinner that night during which Vernon, who sells drills, hopes to make a business deal with a rich builder. During breakfast, Vernon asks his wife, Petunia, and his son, Dudley, to rehearse the things they will say to the guests. Harry is instructed to remain upstairs in his room and pretend not to exist.

After breakfast, Harry walks outside, saddened by the fact that he hasn't heard from his best friends from Hogwarts, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Suddenly, Harry notices a pair of giant eyes staring at him from inside a nearby hedge, but before he can investigate, Dudley waddles over and begins to taunt him for having no friends who call him on his birthday. Harry stares at the hedge, ignoring his rude cousin, until Dudley asks what he's doing, and Harry responds that he was trying to decide how to set the bush on fire. Dudley panics and wails for his mother. Harry's Aunt Petunia promptly punishes Harry by setting him to work around the house. When Harry finishes, she gives him bread for dinner and sends him upstairs. As Harry enters his room to collapse onto his bed, he finds somebody else already sitting on it.


Chapter 2: Dobby's Warning

The creature sitting on Harry's bed is small, has bulging green eyes and bat-like ears, and is wearing a tattered pillowcase for clothes. Harry, still shocked by its appearance, recognizes it as the thing that was staring at him from the bush earlier that afternoon. The creature stands and introduces himself as Dobby the house-elf, and Harry invites him to sit back down on the bed. Dobby bursts into noisy tears at being treated like an equal by a wizard, and this noise causes the dinner party voices downstairs to falter slightly. When Harry comments that Dobby must not know many nice wizards, the house-elf begins to bang his head on the window, explaining his behavior as a self-inflicted punishment for speaking disloyally of his masters, saying that he was bound to serve them until he died.

Dobby praises Harry for being famous, polite, good-hearted, and modest. Harry denies the praise until Dobby makes reference to Voldemort (calling him "He- Who-Must-Not-Be-Named"). We learn that Dobby wants to prevent Harry from returning to Hogwarts, as danger awaits him there. Harry protests, but Dobby will only respond by nodding or shaking his head. Their dialogue is interrupted by Dobby stopping to bang his head once more. This time, his yelps of pain are heard downstairs. Vernon Dursley reprimands Harry, and Harry quickly hides Dobby in the closet. Vernon leaves, and the conversation continues. Harry is furious to find that Dobby has been collecting all of his mail from Ron and Hermione. Dobby explains his actions as an effort to deter Harry from returning to school. Harry replies that he must return to Hogwarts, and Dobby leaps off the bed and enchants a violet pudding, causing the dessert for the dinner party to levitate. Dobby then causes it to crash to the ground in a failed attempt to persuade Harry to stay put.

The Dursleys are livid. They become angrier when a letter is delivered by owl and dropped on to the head of one of the guests. The guests leave, and the party is ruined. The drill deal is off. Harry fears for his life, especially when Vernon reads the letter aloud, which warns Harry that it is against wizarding rules for him to use magic outside of school. The Dursleys no longer fear that Harry will use magic on them, and Harry is locked in his room with the window barred, and he is fed through a flap in the door. His life has now reached an all-time low, and even in his dreams he is plagued by thoughts of being caged and taunted. He dreams that the bars of his cage are being rattled, and he wakes to see Ron Weasley, his best friend from Hogwarts, right outside his window.

Chapter 3: The Burrow

Harry, awakened from a dream in which someone is tapping at his cage, peers out his barred window to see his best friend, Ron Weasley, inside a car suspended in midair driven/flown by his twin older brothers, Fred and George. Ron explains that he was worried when Harry failed to answer his letters and so came to rescue him from the Dursleys. The four boys work together to yank the bars off Harry's window. Fred and George, two avid pranksters, pick the lock on Harry's door and tiptoe downstairs to collect Harry's trunk. They manage to escape out the window, but without Hedwig, who screeches loudly, waking Uncle Vernon, who runs upstairs in a fury. A game of tug-a-war ensues. The Weasleys pull on Harry's arms and Vernon pulls on his legs. The Weasleys win, and the boys all drive off through the night sky.

In the car, Harry recounts his experience with Dobby, and Fred and George inform him that house-elves usually belong to old, wealthy wizard families. This information leads Harry to believe that Dobby must live with Draco Malfoy, Harry's least favorite person at Hogwarts. Harry believes that Draco must have sent his house-elf to prevent Harry from coming back to school. Harry mentions the incident to the twins, who inform him that Lucius Malfoy, Draco's father, was a loyal follower of Voldemort, an evil wizard. The boys discuss Mr. Weasley, who works in the Ministry of Magic in the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Department, reversing the damage caused when bewitched objects do strange and dangerous things. The Weasley twins explain that their father loves anything having to do with Muggles, and bought this car so that he could tinker with and put spells on it.

 At dawn they arrive at the Weasleys' crooked and disorderly house, The Burrow, and they are met by a furious and frightened Mrs. Weasley. She greets Harry warmly, and then stormily chastises her boys, setting them to work de-gnoming the garden. Harry decides to tag along on this venture. Before they begin, Mrs. Weasley consults a book by Gilderoy Lockhart on how to remove household pests, and when she admires his moving, winking cover photo and praises his knowledge, it is obvious that she has a crush on the author. The de-gnoming consists of peering through their untidy lawn and pulling small, leathery potato-like gnomes from bushes and violently flinging them out into a nearby field, rendering them too dizzy to find their way back. Harry tries politely to drop a gnome over the fence, but it senses his hesitation and bites him, so he resorts to flinging them.

 By the time the de-gnoming is finished, Mr. Weasley has arrive home from a long night of work, and he talks for a moment about odd charms he saw throughout the evening. His wife is livid with him for enchanting their car. He apologizes but his guilt is clearly overridden by his childlike excitement at hearing the details of the car-flying experience. Ron takes Harry up to his bedroom, passing his younger sister Ginny on the way up, who blushes shyly and quite clearly has a crush on Harry. Ron's room is small and covered entirely with posters of Quidditch, a sport played on broomsticks; Ron is clearly self-conscious and apologetic about the small size and shabbiness of his house, but Harry is wide- eyed and thrilled by all of it.


Chapter 4: At Flourish and Blotts

Harry enjoys his weeks at The Burrow, and he marvels that every object in the house is enchanted in some way. Mr. Weasley pays a great deal of attention to Harry, asking him question after question about Muggle life. One day, letters containing school supply lists arrive by Owl-post. Ginny Weasley is remarkably clumsy whenever Harry is nearby. We meet another Weasley brother, Percy, the oldest child still living at home, who is studious, stuffy, annoying and harmless. All of the boys except for Percy spend an afternoon practicing Quidditch in a nearby hidden field, and while they fly through the air, Ron comments that his parents will have trouble paying for all of their new school supplies and robes. Harry feels a twinge of guilt, as he has in a wizard bank a fortune left to him by his parents; he never worries about money, and the Weasleys always do.

Several days later, the Weasleys and Harry prepare to travel to Diagon Alley to buy their school supplies. The travel method of choice is called Floo powder, and it is thrown into a lit fireplace, creating a passageway that will take the traveler to the destination fireplace of his or her choice. When it is Harry's turn to enter the flames, he swallowed a bit of hot ash and mumbled out "Diagon Alley," and so the Floo powder misunderstood him and took him instead to a fireplace inside a dark, dusty shop covered with evil-looking masks and human bones. Harry, not wanting to be seen, hides in a cabinet and ends up overhearing a conversation between the shop owner and Lucius Malfoy, who has just entered with his son Draco. Draco is complaining about how unfair it is that he is not allowed to play Quidditch yet, while Harry Potter is on his Hogwarts house's Quidditch team. Lucius warns him surreptitiously not to appear unfond of Harry, since he is a hero in the wizard world. Lucius then hands the shop owner a list of things he must sell immediately, in case the Ministry of Magic searches his house. Meanwhile Draco is touching objects in the shop and complaining, now about Hermione Granger, who gets better grades in all of her classes than he does, and Lucius responds unsympathetically, snapping that Draco should be embarrassed to be surpassed academically by a girl with no wizard blood.

The Malfoys leave, finally, and Harry darts out of the shop. He sees a sign indicating that he is in Knockturn Alley. Before he can decide what to do next, he is suddenly approached by Hagrid, Hogwarts' enormous and good-hearted gamekeeper. Hagrid whisks Harry away, warning him against Knockturn Alley, and soon they are back in Diagon Alley, where the Weasleys and Hermione are waiting, all worried about Harry's whereabouts and relieved to see him. Mrs. Weasley makes a beeline for Harry and fusses over him, while Mr. Weasley makes a beeline for Hermione's parents, both of whom are Muggles, and proceeds to ask them endless questions. The group heads toward Gringott's Bank, where goblins guard their money. A sad scene takes place when Mrs. Weasley scrapes every last sickle out of her family's vault, while Harry discreetly shoves handfuls of his large inheritance into his bag.

They wander around into several magical stores, eventually winding up at Flourish and Blotts, where they buy their schoolbooks. Inside, Gilderoy Lockhart is signing copies of his autobiography to a line of eager middle-aged witches. Lockhart catches sight of Harry and demands that they be photographed for the newspaper together. He then informs them that he will be teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts this coming year.

 Meanwhile, the Malfoys enter the bookshop and make a series of disparaging remarks to the Weasleys about their meager financial situation and about the non-wizard blood of the Grangers, who are standing nearby. Mr. Weasley and Mr. Malfoy get into a fistfight in the middle of the bookstore. The men are separated, and Mrs. Weasley is horrified. The Weasleys and Harry say goodbye to Hermione and her parents, before heading back to the Burrow.


Chapter 5: The Whomping Willow

Harry enjoys every minute of the summer at The Burrow. The night before leaving for Hogwarts, the Weasleys and Harry eat a delicious meal and dessert, set off wizard fireworks, drink a final mug of hot cocoa and finally go to bed. The next morning is pure chaos, with six children preparing their luggage for the year at Hogwarts. Mr. Weasley has enchanted his Ford Anglia so that it will fit all of them plus their luggage and pets comfortably, and after several returns for forgotten items, they finally arrive at King's Cross in time to catch the Hogwarts Express train at platform nine-and-three-quarters. The Hogwarts students arrive at the platform by walking through the wall between platforms nine and ten, and all of the Weasleys successfully do so. When it is time for Harry and Ron to go through the wall, the wall closes up and refuses to let them through. They miss the train, and in a flash of inspiration, they decide to follow the train in Mr. Weasley's flying Ford Anglia.

The ride to Hogwarts is relaxing. The boys skim the clouds, keeping sight of the red Hogwarts train below. Several hours later, night falls and the boys are bored and hungry and wondering how much longer the trip could possibly be. The Anglia runs out of gas and begins to fall toward the Hogwarts lake. Ron and Harry do their best to control it, but still the car engine dies and the car plunges straight into a strange sprawling tree in the Forbidden Forest. The tree is the Whomping Willow, the only tree in the forest that will strike back when struck. Its thick, angry branches wallop the car, Harry, and Ron. The boys manage to collect their things. They flee toward the Hogwarts castle just in time to spy through the windows the great feast and the "Sorting" process, in which first-year students try on the "sorting hat" are selected (through the judgment of the hat) for the four different houses, Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw. While the boys observe the professors' table, they wonder at the absence of Professor Severus Snape, the mean and slimy Potions professor, and as they speculate, Snape appears behind them and directs them into his office.

The boys explain their story, but Snape silences them, brandishing in their faces a newspaper article proclaiming that Muggles have noticed a flying car. Snape also reprimands them for damaging the Whomping Willow, an extremely valuable tree. Harry and Ron know that they are in trouble, and that Snape is delighted at the prospect of punishing them. Snape leaves to fetch Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster, and Minerva McGonagall, the head of Gryffindor House, where Harry and Ron live. When these two stern figures arrive, Harry and Ron are lectured further on what they have done, given detentions, and told that they will be permitted to remain at Hogwarts. Snape is severely disappointed by their easy punishment. Professors Dumbledore, Snape, and McGonagall return to the feast, not without leaving Harry and Ron a plate of sandwiches and a jug of pumpkin juice for dinner.

Harry and Ron eat and return to their part of the castle, Gryffindor Tower, through a portrait of a fat lady, to whom they must give a secret password ("wattlebird," a disapproving Hermione informs them). They are greeted in the common room by a delighted crowd, clamoring to hear about their flying arrival. Percy, Ron's brother and a Gryffindor prefect, moves towards them with a scolding look on his face, and Ron and Harry hurry up to their rooms, where they are welcomed as heroes by their awestruck roommates, Seamus Finnigan, Dean Thomas, and Neville Longbottom.


Chapter 6: Gilderoy Lockhart

At breakfast the morning after the arrival by car, Hermione is acting sulky and annoyed with Ron and Harry, although most of their other friends are still clearly impressed. Soon a flock of owls arrives, bringing the day's letters and packages. Errol, the Weasley's aged owl, falls into Hermione's milk jug, and when Ron digs him out and cleans him off, he notices that the envelope in his beak is red and beginning to smoke. It is a Howler, and Ron opens it….and the voice of Mrs. Weasley explodes loudly and furiously into the great hall, yelling at Ron for ruining the car, getting Mr. Weasley in trouble with his job, and putting his own and Harry's lives in danger.

From this point on, Hermione is friendly again, as she seems to feel that Harry and Ron have been punished enough. Together, the three friends walk to Herbology class, where Gilderoy Lockhart, dressed in flamboyant turquoise robes, is cheerfully and smugly advising a disgruntled Professor Sprout on how to doctor the Whomping Willow. Lockhart pulls Harry aside and says, with great pain and understanding in his voice, that he blames himself for the car incident. It soon grows apparent that he believes that ever since he gave Harry a taste of fame that day in the bookstore, Harry has been trying to recapture that fame by behaving recklessly. Harry is stunned and offended as he collects himself and joins his classmates in the greenhouse.

In the greenhouse, Professor Sprout is explaining that the lesson of the day will involve repotting seedling Mandrakes, which Hermoine explains are a strong restorative, used to return transfigured people to their original state. These plants are pale green, mottled-looking babies with leaves growing out of their heads and a cry that is fatal, so the entire class puts on earmuffs to handle them. Before they begin repotting, a boy from Hufflepuff House named Justin Finch-Fletchley introduces himself to Harry, Ron, and Hermione. He explains that he almost went to Eton (implying that he is Muggle-born since Eton is not a wizard school) and that he persuaded his parents to send him to Hogwarts after showing them Lockhart's books, persuading them how useful wizards can be. The students work with the Mandrakes, and the Gryffindor House second-years head over to Transfiguration class with Professor McGonagall, where Ron's broken wand malfunctions, casting putrid smoke everywhere.

On the way to his next class, defense against the dark arts, which is taught by Professor Lockhart, Harry is accosted by a small camera-clutching Gryffindor first-year named Colin Creevey, who shyly asks Harry for a signed picture to prove that they met. He makes a large sentimental fuss about Harry's history, Hogwarts, magic in general, the whole time humiliating Harry. To make matters worse, Draco Malfoy passes by them during this and loudly announces that Harry is giving out signed photos; when Ron steps up to defend Harry, Malfoy says dryly that one of the signed photos would be worth more than Ron's entire house. Before a fight can break out, Lockhart strolls through, overhears, and suggest that he and Harry both pose for a signed photo for Colin.

Afterwards, Lockhart gives Harry yet another bit of fatherly advice about why not to give out signed photos this early in his career. Harry is horrified and sits as far back in Lockhart's classroom as possible. Lockhart begins the class with a quiz to make sure they've been doing their reading of his many books. The quiz contains over fifty questions pertaining to Lockhart's personal interests, secret desires, favorite color, and greatest achievements. The day's assignment is dealing with pixies, who wreak havoc when Lockhart lets them out of their cage. He is unable to get them back into their cage, so he hastily leaves the room, asking Ron, Harry and Hermione to clean up the angry pixies.


Chapter 7: Mudbloods and Murmurs

Time rushes by uneventfully at Hogwarts. Harry avoids Gilderoy Lockhart and Colin Creevey as much as possible, and Ron's wand continues to muddle spells. Early Saturday morning, Harry is shaken awake by Oliver Wood, the captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, for a crack-of-dawn practice. Harry dresses quickly and on the way to meet the team in the locker room, runs into Colin, who eagerly asks him to explain the rules of Quidditch, which he does. The game's basic terms are this: the game is played with seven people on broomsticks, and during it the small golden Snitch flies around and must be caught by the Seeker (Harry's position) in order for the game to end. Two Bludgers fly around, trying to knock the players off their broomsticks, and two team members, the Beaters (Fred and George Weasley), try to beat the Bludgers away. Other than this, the game is similar to water polo, in that the remaining three members, the Chasers (Alicia Spinnet, Angelina Johnson and Katie Bell), aim to throw a ball, the Quaffle, through the goal posts and past the Keeper (Oliver Wood).

The team spends a long time in the locker room, listening to Wood explain moves. Finally, they head outside to practice and are greeted by Ron and Hermione and Colin Creevey, all watching from the bleachers. Colin is taking pictures and calling for Harry to look over and smile, and Harry is embarrassed and pretends not to know him.

Wood is beginning to grow suspicious that Colin is a spy for Slytherin. Slytherin's team enters the field, interrupting the practice and infuriating Wood, who had reserved the field already. The Slytherins refuse to leave, claiming that they must train their new Seeker. Draco Malfoy steps up, smirking and explaining that his father made a generous gift of seven top-notch broomsticks to the team. He makes several disparaging remarks about Fred and George's rather tattered broomsticks, and Hermione steps in and remarks that at least Fred and George were talented enough not to have to buy themselves onto the team. Malfoy gets angry and calls Hermione a "Mudblood," a word that causes the crowd to gasp and Ron to pull out his wand and cast a spell on Malfoy. Ron's spell reverses, causing him to belch slugs.

Hermione and Harry take Ron to Hagrid's cabin, where Lockhart is bidding adieu to a rather sullen-looking Hagrid. Hagrid cheers up when he sees the students, and he offers Ron a basin for his slug-belching, remarking cheerfully, "Better out than in." The students recount the story and Ron explains that Mudblood is a terribly derogatory term for a Muggle-born wizard. Hagrid soon changes the subject, and asks Harry for an autographed photo. Harry bristles until he realizes that Hagrid was joking. Hagrid shows off his magic-enhanced pumpkins, although Harry knows that ever since Hagrid was mysteriously expelled from Hogwarts and left to remain as gamekeeper, he is not allowed to use magic.

Harry and Ron are called to do their belated detentions for the flying car incident. While Ron is called to help the grouchy caretaker Filch polish trophies, Harry is called to help Lockhart answer his fan mail. Both boys believe they have the worst end of the deal. In Lockhart's office, as he is addressing envelopes and inserting signed photos, Harry hears a high, eerie voice murmuring, "Come to me….let me rip you….let me tear you…" and he jumps up, alarmed. He is alarmed further when Lockhart claims to have heard nothing. The thought of this chilling voice plagues Harry for the rest of the evening.


Chapter 8: The Deathday Party

October arrives, bringing rain. Quidditch practice continues. One evening as Harry is walking back through the castle corridors, he encounters Nearly- Headless Nick, the not-quite beheaded Gryffindor ghost. Nick is looking gloomy and Harry asks why, only to hear Nick explain that he has just been rejected from the Headless Hunt on account of his head being unable to come all the way off. The conversation ends in a flash, as they are spied by Mrs. Norris, Filch the caretaker's cat, and Nick warns Harry to hurry off, so as not to get in trouble for tracking in mud. Filch spies Harry and drags him into his office, begins to write up a punishment complaint, but is interrupted by a large crash. Filch rushes out. While he is gone Harry peers curiously into an open envelope on the desk and finds a mail-order course called "Kwikspell" for wizards who are not fully magical. He returns it before Filch returns, gleefully telling his cat that Peeves the Poltergeist will certainly be expelled for damaging a valuable cabinet. Filch stops mid-sentence when he notices that the Kwikspell envelope is so close to Harry's elbow, and he asks hysterically whether Harry read it. Harry lied that he hadn't, and Filch seems quite alarmed and lets Harry go.

Outside, Nick explains that he had told Peeves to cause a distraction, and Harry is quite grateful and asks if there is anything he can do to help with the rejection from the Headless Hunt. Nick replies joyfully that he could attend his 500th Deathday party, taking place on Halloween, and during it mention to the other headless ghosts how terribly impressive and frightening all the students find Nick. Harry agrees to come, and he invites Ron and Hermione. On Halloween, the three head to the dungeons where they hear awful, scratchy music, they smell rotting food, and they glimpse hundreds of see-through figures. Nick welcomes them and they take a look around, watching the ghosts dance and walk through the table of rotting food, trying to taste it. Hermione spies a ghost from the girls' bathroom, Moaning Myrtle, and quickly leads her friends away, hoping not to get into a conversation with her.

Peeves approaches at this point, mentions having heard the three speaking of Myrtle, and calls Myrtle over. Hermione says hastily that they were just saying how nice she looked tonight, but Myrtle moans that they were making fun of her, and she proceeds to list all the attributes they might have mocked: fat, ugly, moping. Peeves notes that she had forgotten pimply, and Myrtle flees tearfully from the party. Nick arrives at this point, introduces them to the (headless) head of the Headless Hunt, and the three living students are past ready to leave. They hurry off during Nick's speech, and in the passageway Harry hears an eerie murderous voice saying that it is time to kill. He tears off in the direction from which it comes, his friends close at his heels, and they arrive in a deserted corridor and see scrawled on a wall, "The chamber of Secrets has been opened. Enemies of the Heir, Beware." Then from the ceiling they see a stiff, hanging cat-Mrs. Norris. Suddenly the halls rumble and fill with people coming out of the feast, and Draco Malfoy calls out, grinning and delighted, "You'll be next, Mudbloods!"


Chapter 9: The Writing on the Wall

Filch spies Mrs. Norris hanging from the ceiling, and explodes at Harry, accusing him of killing the cat. Dumbledore appears at this time and whisks Harry, Ron, Hermione, Filch and Mrs. Norris away, into Lockhart's nearby office, which Lockhart eagerly volunteered. They sit tensely among all of Lockhart's preening portraits of himself. Dumbledore examines the cat, Professor McGonagall frets quietly, and Snape sneers. Lockhart reassures them all in his curse-reversing expertise and Filch sobs. Dumbledore explains that the cat is not dead, but petrified, and that second- year students could not have possibly mastered the magic necessary for that degree of a dark spell. Dumbledore also says that soon the school will have enough grown Mandrakes to make a restorative potion, which Lockhart eagerly volunteers to make. Filch is unconvinced and explains that Harry knows he is a Squib and therefore attacked his cat, and Snape interrupts and says that the three students were in a peculiar place on the night of the Halloween feast. Ron, Harry, and Hermione explain the Deathday party, and Snape asks why they didn't come straight to the feast afterwards. Not wanting to explain about the eerie, disembodied voice, Harry explains that they were tired and wanted to go to bed. Snape does not believe them and recommends that Harry be taken off the Quidditch team until he is ready to tell the truth. McGonagall and Dumbledore quickly say that this will not be necessary. The three students walk up to their dorms, Ron explains what a Squib is, and Harry ponders what the Chamber of Secrets could possibly be.

Filch keeps a close watch on the scene of the crime, Justin Finch-Fletchley runs from Harry, seeming to believe that he is the instigator of the crime, and Ginny Weasley seems in utter terror of everything. In History of Magic class, while Professor Binns, the small, elderly, and boring ghost who teaches it, drones on, Hermione raises her hand and persuades him to explain the history of the Chamber of Secrets. We then learn that the original founders and namesakes of the four houses created Hogwarts as a place to bring up bright young witches and wizards, and that all went smoothly until Salazar Slytherin offended the other three by expressing his wish to exclude all Muggle-born wizards from the school. Slytherin left the school over this disagreement, but only after he built a hidden Chamber of Secrets, which contained a monster that would wipe out all non-pureblood wizards from Hogwarts. He said that only his heir would be able to control it. The students bombard Binns with questions until he grows annoyed, says it's all folklore, and returns to the original lesson plan.

This knowledge causes Harry to worry. When he was sorted by the hat the previous year, the Sorting hat had told him that Slytherin would make him great. When Harry thought how much he didn't want to be in Slytherin, the hat placed him in Gryffindor. He hopes he is not somehow connected to Salazar Slytherin. However, much of the school seems to think that he is. As Harry, Ron, and Hermione walk through the corridor with the writing on the wall, speculating where all the water came from the night of the attack and noticing a line of spiders hastily escaping through the window, they decide to look into Myrtle's bathroom for clues. Myrtle is as gloomy as ever, and the bathroom itself is rather depressing as well. After a few minutes they leave, only to run into Percy Weasley, who scolds them terribly for being in a girls' bathroom and for being in a suspicious place; this exchange upsets both Ron and himself.

That night, Harry, Ron, and Hermione speculate on whether Malfoy is the Heir of Slytherin, and Hermione suggests that they could find out by making a Polyjuice potion, thus turning themselves into Slytherins and eavesdropping on Malfoy in their House common room. Ron and Harry are skeptical, but Hermione persists, saying that she could have a teacher write her a note to check out a book from the restricted section of the library, where that potion would be.


Chapter 10: The Rogue Bludger

After the incident with the pixies, Lockhart reverts to role-playing in his Dark Arts class. Hermione approaches Lockhart at the end of class and asks for permission to get a book out of the restricted section of the library, in order to better understand the tactics employed in one of his books. Lockhart is very flattered by this attention paid to his works, so he signs the slip, and Harry, Hermione, and Ron hurry into the library, where they are given the book. They read about the painful and complicated steps to making and using Polyjuice potion, and by the end Hermione is the only one still interested in trying to make it, although she persuades the boys to join her.

The Quidditch match between Gryffindor and Slytherin dawns, and during the Gryffindor team pep talk, Oliver Wood reassures his team that while the Slytherins have better brooms, the Gryffindors have better people on their brooms. He then tells Harry to get the Snitch or die trying. The game begins, and as soon as Harry is circling through the air looking for the Snitch, a Bludger streaks toward him, and continues to aim for him, even after knocked away by Fred and George. While the two beaters are protecting Harry, the Slytherins are scoring goal after goal, and during the time-out talk, Harry requests that Fred and George return to the game, allowing him to fend against the Rogue Bludger for himself while he looks for the Snitch. Malfoy, the Slytherin seeker, laughs at Harry for his twirling evasions of the Bludger, and while he is laughing, Harry notices the Snitch next to his face. Harry pauses, is whacked by the Bludger, recovers quickly and flies at Malfoy, grabbing the Snitch and falling out of the sky.

Harry wins the game but lands painfully, and he is greeted on the ground by Lockhart, who immediately sets to repair his broken arm but makes a mistake and de-bones it. Harry is sent to the hospital wing where he must stay the night, waiting for his arm to re-grow itself through a lengthy and painful process. During the night, he is visited by Dobby, who explains that he had closed up the train platform and bewitched the Bludger, both in hopes that Harry would give up and return home and away from Hogwarts, where his life would be threatened because the Chamber of Secrets had been opened again. Harry perks up at this knowledge, wanting to know more from Dobby, but the house-elf is adamant about saying nothing more, and soon footsteps sound in the corridor and Dobby disappears. Dumbledore enters with Professor McGonagall, together carrying a stony figure that Harry soon recognizes as Colin Creevey, who has been petrified with his camera in front of his face. Dumbledore gravely reiterates what Dobby had said, that the Chamber of Secrets has been opened again.


Chapter 11: The Dueling Club

When Harry awakes from his night in the hospital wing, his arm is healed and he is eager to tell Ron and Hermione about Dobby and Colin. He runs into Percy, who looks exceptionally happy, and then Harry heads into Moaning Myrtle's bathroom, where he finds his friends. Ron and Hermione have spent the morning concocting the beginning of the Polyjuice Potion, and they listen eagerly to the news about Dobby and the reopening of the Chamber of Secrets. Meanwhile, the entire school is all in a fright about Colin. Ginny Weasley is especially shaken up by the occurrence, and Neville Longbottom, a round and clumsy wizard, has started carrying around protective charms, since he acknowledges fearfully that he is almost a Squib.

In Potions class, Harry distracts Snape by throwing a firecracker into a Slytherin cauldron, splashing swelling potion on the faces of many students, while Hermione sneaks out of the room to procure Polyjuice ingredients from Snape's personal collection. When she returns with the ingredients inside her robes, the swollen faces are back to normal, and Snape is spitting with rage and looking straight at Harry as he threatens expulsion to the troublemaker.

A week later, Harry, Ron, and Hermione spy a poster advertising a new student dueling club, and they go to the meeting to learn to duel. It turns out that Lockhart is heading it, and when he practices his first dueling match, Snape, his opponent, disarms him by crying out, "Expelliarmus!" Lockhart quickly says that he had deliberately allowed Snape to win that one, and he divides the students into pairs, not wanting to lose another duel. Hermione is matched up with a large Slytherin girl named Millicent, and Harry is matched up with Malfoy. The two boys attack each other with all sorts of body-contorting charms, including a tickle-spell and a leg-jerking spell. The two boys are brought to the front of the room to demonstrate for the entire club, and Snape whispers something to Malfoy, who immediately conjures an angry black snake from his wand. Lockhart tries to help, but instead makes the snake angrier and sends it straight for Justin Finch-Fletchley. Without even thinking, Harry calls out at the snake to leave Justin alone, and the snake falls into a docile heap on the floor. Harry is relieved, but the class is terrified, and only after class does he find out through Ron and Hermione that he spoke Parseltongue-snake language-a feat for which Salazar Slytherin himself was famous. Harry begins to question if, in fact, he really could be the heir. Furthermore, he worries about the Sorting Hat's decision to place him into Gryffindor, when it mentioned first that he could be great through Slytherin.

The next day Harry is restless and goes to find Justin to explain what had actually happened, but as he looks for him in the library, he overheard several Hufflepuffs, led by Ernie Macmillan, discussing the probability that Harry was the heir, and that Voldemort had not succeeded in killing him only because the infant Harry already had powerful dark protective powers. Harry speaks to the Hufflepuffs and asks for Justin, and they all react fearfully and with accusations that anger and annoy Harry. As Harry returns to his house through the corridors, he runs into Hagrid, who is holding a dead chicken, and soon after he trips over the stone-hard figure of Justin Finch-Fletchley, lying near the airy floating figure of Nearly-Headless Nick. Soon Peeves the Poltergeist sees the scene and cries out, alerting the students and teachers, all of whom quickly rush into the corridor. Many angry faces glare accusatorily at Harry, and Professor McGonagall calls Harry to come with her. Together they walk to Dumbledore's room.


Chapter 12: The Polyjuice Potion

As frightened as Harry feels as he is brought to speak with Dumbledore, he still is deeply impressed by Dumbledore's office. He spies the Sorting Hat, and while waiting for Dumbledore to emerge from the back room, he tries it on. The hat repeats what it told him last year, that he would have done well in Slytherin. Desperate, Harry tears the hat off his head. His attention falls next on a sickly bird perched near the door, and before he can observe it for long, the bid bursts into flames and is gone. Harry yells, and moments later is reassured by Dumbledore that the bird, Fawkes, is a phoenix, and the time had come for his burning and rebirth. During this explanation, Dumbledore also mentions that phoenixes are excellent pets because they are faithful, can carry heavy loads, and can heal injuries with their tears. At this moment, Hagrid bursts into the room proclaiming Harry's innocence, and Dumbledore impatiently informs Hagrid that he does not think Harry is responsible for petrifying the students. Hagrid leaves, and Dumbledore then asks Harry if there is anything that Harry wants to tell him. Harry considers all of the things currently pressing on his mind, and then answers no.

The school is still frightened about the Heir, and Fred and George humor the situation by walking in front of Harry in the halls and crying out, "Make way for the Heir of Slytherin, seriously evil wizard coming through…" Harry appreciates this humor, because it reassures him that at least the twins think that the idea of him being the Heir is laughable.

Soon the term ends, and on Christmas day Ron, Hermione, and Harry open their presents and plan for their Polyjuice Potion adventure later that night. The feast is exquisite, as always, and afterwards Hermione instructs Harry and Ron to leave two sleeping-potion-filled cakes in easy places for Malfoy's large, hulking friends Crabbe and Goyle to find, and then to hide them in a closet and pluck out a few of their hairs to add to the potion. Ron and Harry do this, and within minutes the cakes have been eaten, the sleeping bodies hidden, the hairs plucked. Soon they are back in the bathroom with Hermione. Hermione already has her hair, it turns out, because the day she was paired to duel with Millicent, one of the hairs of the large Slytherin girl wound up on Hermione's robes. The three friends add their hairs to their respective potions and drink them, and soon Harry is a replica of Goyle, Ron of Crabbe. Hermione refuses to come out of her stall, so Harry and Ron set off alone.

Unfortunately, they don't know where the Slytherin common room is, so they wander around, accidentally asking a Ravenclaw girl, and suddenly they run into Percy, who is emerging from a side room. They regard him warily and he regards them back, just as warily, and finally Ron and Harry are saved by the approach of Malfoy. Malfoy leads them through corridors, to a black stone wall whose password is "pure blood," which opens into the Slytherin common room. Malfoy is pleased with himself for obtaining a copy of the Daily Prophet, a wizard newspaper, and he shows Ron and Harry an article about Ron's father being fined for bewitching a Muggle car. Ron is furious, but tries to conceal it. Malfoy then speaks of the last attack by the Heir, and how a girl was killed, and then how he hopes that this time Hermione will be killed. Then he says wistfully that he wished he knew who the heir was, so that he could help him, and finally he reveals information about a hidden chamber under his family's drawing room floor, in which dark wizarding paraphernalia is kept. Ron and Harry are a blank audience to all of this, but Malfoy doesn't seem to notice that they are any slower than the real Crabbe and Goyle. After some time the spell begins to end, and Ron and Harry dash out of the room and back to Hermione, who is still in the stall. Moaning Myrtle is in delighted humor, and the reason turns out to be because the hair in the potion turned Hermione into a cat. Ron and Harry persuade her to go to the hospital wing, while Myrtle gloats in her toilet.

Chapter 13: The Very Secret Diary

On the way back from visiting Hermione, who is in the hospital wing recovering from her cat-state, Harry and Ron hear Filch yelling at someone, and they round the corner to see a flood of water seeping out of Moaning Myrtle's bathroom. The boys step inside to look around, and they immediately spy a diary bobbing in the toilet. They examine it and see the name T.M. Riddle written on the first page, but the rest of the pages are blank. Ron recalls the name from his trophy-polishing detention as the boy who was rewarded for special services to the school fifty years ago. Harry feels a strange familiarity to the name, and so he pockets the diary. They show it to Hermione when she is fully cured, and she concludes that Riddle, who was commended fifty years before, must have caught the Heir of Slytherin, who had opened the Chamber of Secrets fifty years before. She tries to make words appear on the pages, but with no success.

At the beginning of February, the school is calmer; nobody else has been attacked, and the Mandrakes are becoming moody and secretive-in other words, entering adolescence-and soon will be ready to be made into an elixir. Lockhart believed that he had intimidated the monster into hiding, and by Valentine's Day he was in such a cheerful mood that he decorated the great hall in pink and organized a troupe of dwarves to deliver valentines. The dwarves were not quite so cheerful, however, and an embarrassing encounter occurs when a dwarf had to kick through the masses, knock Harry's bag out of his hands, and ultimately sit on Harry's ankles in order to deliver him a singing valentine, sent (we are fairly certain) by a nearby blushing Ginny Weasley. Once Harry has gathered his things and left the laughing crowds, he notices that all of his belongings are covered in his spilt red ink, all except Riddle's diary. This puzzles Harry, and he retires to bed early that evening and pages through the diary. He writes his name on a page and watches it disappear, and suddenly the ink rises up again, forming the words, "Hello, Harry Potter. My name is Tom Riddle. How did you come by my diary?" This begins a dialogue between the two boys with oddly similar appearances and pasts, separated by fifty years and connected through this secret diary. Riddle writes that he was in fact awarded his medal for catching the person who had opened the Chamber, and he invites Harry to visit his memory.

Harry agrees, and within seconds he is blown into the pages of the diary to the headmaster's room. Here he witnesses a conversation between Riddle and the then- headmaster in which Riddle's request to remain at Hogwarts for the summer holidays is turned down because of the recent dangers of the open Chamber of Secrets. Harry then follows Riddle through the corridors, once running into a younger, auburn-haired Dumbledore who warns Riddle to head back to his dormitory. Riddle and Harry wait in the dungeons for a long time, and finally they hear and follow nearby footsteps. The footsteps belong to a younger Hagrid, who is trying to conceal something inside a box. Riddle explains that he must turn Hagrid in for possessing the guilty monster, and Hagrid argues vehemently that the animal inside the box is innocent. Riddle pulls out his wand, casting open the box and releasing a giant, hairy spider that scuttles over him and out through the corridor. Harry is whirled back into real time, back into his dormitory, and he begins to tell Ron what he saw.


Chapter 14: Cornelius Fudge

Harry, Ron, and Hermione spend endless conversations discussing Harry's jaunt into the diary and the possibility that Hagrid could be the culprit. The three students debate asking him, but decide against it, at least until another attack occurred. Meanwhile, the school term continues: the Mandrakes are still maturing, once delighting Professor Sprout by throwing a wild party in their greenhouse, and the Hogwarts second-year students are busy choosing their classes for the following year. Ron and Harry sign up for the same few classes, while Hermione signs up for everything offered. Things are surprisingly normal during this time, and soon the Hufflepuff-Gryffindor Quidditch match draws apace. The evening before the big game, Harry is startled to find that his dormitory room has been broken into, his things torn, broken and rearranged, and Riddle's diary taken. He and Hermione are alarmed to conclude that a Gryffindor must have done it, as nobody else knows the House password.

The morning of the match, Harry hears the hissing, disembodied voice again, and Hermione leaps up and dashes to the library. Harry heads out to the Quidditch pitch, and no sooner than he has taken his position does Professor McGonagall step into the field and stop the game, instructing all students to return to their houses, and Harry and Ron to follow her to the hospital wing, where they find Hermione and a Ravenclaw prefect named Penelope Clearwater, petrified, with a small hand mirror lying next to them. The students all are told to remain in their House common rooms from six P.M. on, and always to be escorted by teachers to and from class. Professor McGonagall adds that the school will likely be closed down unless the attacks are halted. Ron and Harry decide that this is a moment to visit Hagrid. Because of the strict rules about wandering around unchaperoned, they decide to do this underneath Harry's invisibility cloak, a gift left to him by his late father.

The boys set out late that night, and as soon as they enter Hagrid's small wooden cabin, they hear a knock at the door and hide invisibly in a corner. Dumbledore enters with a man Ron immediately recognizes as Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic. Fudge explains apologetically to Hagrid that in light of the present circumstances, he must ask him to leave Hogwarts and reside in Azkaban, a frightful wizard prison, until the events stop or are solved. Dumbledore states calmly that he trusts Hagrid entirely, but Fudge says that he must act or else the ministry will think he is doing nothing to stop the attacks, and since Hagrid's history is muddled with rumors about the Chamber of Secrets, he should be the Ministry's first target. While this is being discussed, the door opens again, and Lucius Malfoy enters, explaining icily that the twelve school governors have signed a petition calling for Dumbledore to step down as headmaster. Dumbledore consents without argument, saying only these portentous words, "You will find that I will only truly have left this school when none here are loyal to me. You will also find that help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it." Hagrid leaves more reluctantly, calling out behind him two instructions heard by Harry and Ron: to follow the spiders to find the culprit, and to feed Fang, his dog.


Chapter 15: Aragog

Spring continues its sweep through Hogwarts, but even the loveliness outside the castle cannot take Harry's mind off the terror inside the castle. He ponders Hagrid's advice regarding the spiders and Dumbledore's about help and loyalty, but he is not sure how to proceed with either. Malfoy, meanwhile, seems delighted by the state of things. He boasts that his father has finally gotten Dumbledore out, and he suggests that Snape apply to be the new headmaster.

In Herbology class, Ernie Macmillan apologizes for having suspected Harry, since after the attack on Hermione he now that Harry would never have been responsible for hurting a good friend. Harry accepts the apology, and minutes later during this same class, he spies a line of spiders moving toward the Forbidden Forest. He whacks Ron with his pruning shears, and Ron looks doubtful at the prospect of following them. They head next to Lockhart's defense against the dark arts class, during which a confident Lockhart gleefully waxes on about the safe state of the school now that Hagrid has been removed. Ron and Harry are extremely annoyed, and after the joint events of Lockhart's accusation of Hagrid combined with a glance at Hermione's empty seat, the two agree to follow the spiders that very night.

Beneath the invisibility cloak, Ron and Harry set out into the forest with Fang scampering nearby. They soon spy a few solitary spiders scuttling deep into the forest, away from the paths, and so they follow them for a long time. Eventually, they hear something large moving behind the trees, and they are greatly relieved to see that it is Ron's once-flying car, the Ford Anglia that hit the Whomping Willow and now is running wild in the Forbidden Forest. The boys laugh at their initial fright and prepare to continue when they and Fang are met and captured by a trio of clicking, horse-sized spiders. Ron, who fears spiders above all else, is speechless with fear, and Harry himself is terrified too.

The spiders carry them into a clearing with a giant domed web, where they are met with an elderly blind spider, Aragog, who first dismisses Ron and Harry to be killed, but then speaks with them when they claim to have been sent by Hagrid. The boys learn from Aragog that the school thought he was the monster within the Chamber, but really he had been given to Hagrid as an egg and raised in captivity. They learn also that the monster in the chamber is the creature most feared by spiders, and because of that its name is not spoken. They learn finally that the creature's victim was found in the toilet, and that soon after the event, Hagrid set Aragog free in the Forest. After informing them of this, Aragog instructs his children to eat the humans and dog. For a moment Harry and Ron know that they are doomed, and then all of a sudden they hear a horn and see the Weasley's car rumbling over to them. Panicked, they open the door, shove in Fang and themselves, and flee the Forbidden Forest.

Once they say goodbye to the car and head back up to the dormitory, feeling discouraged at having found no new clues. Only once Harry is back up in his bed does it occur to him that the girl found in the bathroom fifty years back could be Moaning Myrtle.


Chapter 16: The Chamber of Secrets

Ron and Harry speculate about ways to enter Moaning Myrtle's bathroom and question her about her death. With no good ideas, they head to class, only to be informed by Professor McGonagall that exams would take place in a week. Nobody has studied, of course, so everybody is in an uproar. Three days before the first exam, Professor McGonagall announces that the Mandrakes are ready to be cut and used to restore the petrified victims. Everybody is delighted, and in the midst of the cheering, a very nervous looking Ginny Weasley seats herself near Harry and Ron. Harry asks her if she wants to tell them anything and Ginny nods, only to be interrupted by Percy, who takes her seat. Ron is outraged at this and declares to Percy that Ginny may have known important information about the Chamber of Secrets, and Percy blushes and says that what she was going to tell them was not about the Chamber, but about something she saw him doing. He refuses to carry the subject further.

Later that day, Lockhart is escorting his students through the corridors and complaining about the extra precautions taken, and Harry and Ron agree and kindly suggest that he leave them to escort themselves to the next class. Lockhart is pleased and leaves, and Harry and Ron dash toward Myrtle's bathroom, only to run into Professor McGonagall. They lie that they were going to visit Hermione, and miraculously she lets them go. Not wanting to get caught in their lie, the boys trudge to the infirmary and find, clasped in Hermione's hand, a piece of paper that, once wrenched out, displays a paragraph of information about the basilisk that fits right in with all of the eerie things that have happened: it lives for hundreds of years, speaks in Parseltongue and so could be the voice Harry hears, kills with its stare, is the enemy of spiders, and is killed by the crow of a rooster. Underneath this information, Hermione had written "pipes," and Harry and Ron realize that she meant the pipes in Myrtle's bathroom.

The boys dash to the staff room to show their findings to McGonagall, only to hear an announcement that another attack has occurred and teachers must report to the staff room immediately. Hiding behind a row of robes, Harry and Ron listen to the staff meeting and learn that Ginny Weasley had been taken into the Chamber of Secrets, and that written on the wall were the words, "Her skeleton will lie in the Chamber forever." McGonagall then announces that the school will be closed, the students sent home the following morning. At this point, Lockhart enters the meeting and all the teachers turn on him, challenging him to take on the monster by himself, since he is so boastful that he knows how. Lockhart titters nervously and leaves the room, and soon Harry and Ron walk to his office to help him by telling him what they know of the monster in the pipes, and they find him in his office packing his bags.

An exchange follows in which Lockhart confides that he has never fought a dark arts creature before in his life, but rather he has interviewed the people who did the things he claimed to do, and then erased their memory of the encounter before writing up their adventures as his own. He then prepares to erase Ron and Harry's memories, but Harry yells, "Expelliarmus!" as he learned how to so in the dueling club, and Lockhart's wand flies into Harry's hands. Together, he and Ron push Lockhart into Myrtle's bathroom, where they question her about her death, which was in fact caused by a pair of large, yellow eyes, and where Harry spies a small snake carved onto the taps on her sink. Speaking Parseltongue, Harry tells the tap to open and it does, revealing a large pipe into which Harry, Ron, and a reluctant Lockhart descend.

Inside the pipes, the three come upon a giant snakeskin. As they examine it, Lockhart snatches Ron's wand and tries to destroy the boys' memories, but Ron's wand backfires and destroys Lockhart's own memory, also causing an avalanche of rocks to fall, creating a solid barrier keeping Ron and Lockhart on the close- to-home side, and Harry on the other side. Harry calls to Ron to try to make a hole in the wall, while he himself trudges on alone through the tunnel. Finally he comes upon a wall engraved with glittering serpents. Harry instructs it to open, and he enters.


Chapter 17: The Heir of Slytherin

Harry enters the snake statue-lined Chamber of Secrets and approaches an enormous stone figure of Salazar Slytherin, at whose feet lies the still, small figure of Ginny Weasley. Harry runs to her and examines her, and while he is doing this he notices the misty, shadowy figure of Tom Riddle standing nearby. Harry desperately asks Tom to help him rescue Ginny and escape the Chamber of Secrets, but Tom remains where he is, speaking in a lofty voice, unconcerned about the situation. At one point he captures Harry's wand, slightly alarming Harry, but more than anything else, rendering him more impatient to get himself and Ginny out of the way of the hidden basilisk. Harry finally asks Tom how Ginny got to be in her present state, and Tom smiles broadly and begins to speak.

He tells how Ginny found his diary and poured all of her worries about Hogwarts and her crushes on Harry into it, and how Tom wrote back, comforting her. Through this dialogue, Tom grew stronger and ultimately poured a little of his soul into Ginny, manipulating her to kill Hagrid's roosters and open the Chamber of Secrets. Inside of the diary, Tom explained, he had captured his sixteen- year-old self so that one day, he could lead another to finish the work begun by Slytherin himself. Harry got hold of this diary, delighting Tom, and when Ginny broke into Harry's dorm and stole it back, she had already put so much of herself into the diary that Tom could persuade her to write her own farewell, come down into the Chamber, and allow Tom to leave the pages at last. Tom then begins to question Harry about Voldemort, and Harry grows suspicious and more impatient. Tom then traces the letters of his name, Tom Marvolo Riddle, into the air, and rearranges them to read "I am Lord Voldemort," proclaiming himself the greatest wizard in the world.

Harry argues with this statement, declaring that Dumbledore is a greater wizard, and Tom grows angry. Suddenly, a strange singing bird appears, and Harry soon recognizes it as Fawkes, Dumbledore's pet phoenix, carrying in his beak the school Sorting Hat. Tom begins to laugh at the weapons sent by Dumbledore, and he commands Harry to explain how he survived his attack eleven years before. Harry angrily answers that it was because his mother died to save him, and Tom's smile widens at the thought that there is nothing genuinely special about Harry. He proceeds to point out certain odd similarities between them, in their origins, childhoods and appearances, and then he challenges Harry to a duel. Tom hisses for the basilisk to emerge from its chamber, and Harry closes his eyes and feels Fawkes leave his shoulder. He hears a great, weighty slithering noise and he begins to run, fearing for his life. From above him he hears a great spitting sound among all the hissing, and he squints open his eyes only to catch sight of Fawkes puncturing the basilisk's other eye. The blind snake sways madly about the chamber, and its tail sweeps the Sorting Hat into Harry's hands. Harry puts it on and wishes desperately for it to help him, and out of nowhere it produces a glittering sword, which Harry then slides into the mouth of the striking serpent, killing it, but getting injured by a fang in the process. Fawkes lands back on Harry's shoulder and begins to cry. Tom laughs, proclaiming that even the bird knows that Harry is dying, but then all of a sudden Harry's wound seals up, due to the healing properties of phoenix tears. Tom is angered by this and lifts his wand to exterminate Harry, but before he can cast a spell, Fawkes knocks the diary into Harry's hands, and Harry thrusts the basilisk tooth into the center of it, causing Tom to scream in agony and disappear.

At this time, Ginny begins to stir, and Harry collects her, his wand, the punctured diary, the sword, and the hat, and follows Fawkes out of the Chamber where Ron and a thoroughly vacant Gilderoy Lockhart await him. Ginny is weeping and fretting, and Ron has cleared a space in the fallen rock wall, and the four of them hold onto Fawkes' tail feathers and are pulled back up the pipes. Back in the bathroom, Moaning Myrtle is a bit disappointed that Harry didn't die, because she had developed a crush on him and was hoping that he might share her toilet. They all leave the bathroom and are led by Fawkes into Professor McGonagall's office.


Chapter 18: Dobby's Reward

Harry, Ron, Ginny, and Lockhart enter McGonagall's office to find Dumbledore and Molly and Arthur Weasley waiting inside. The Weasleys fling themselves on their daughter and ask Harry how he saved her. Harry tells them everything from the voice to Aragog to Moaning Myrtle, managing to avoid the parts involving Ginny and the diary. When asked directly about this topic, Harry instinctively looks to Dumbledore, who gently prods him to answer the question of how Voldemort managed to enchant Ginny. So the part of the diary comes out into the open, and Dumbledore sends Ginny to the infirmary for rest and hot chocolate, and he informs all of them that the Mandrake juice is presently being administrated to the petrified victims. Dumbledore calls for a feast for the entire school, and he awards Harry and Ron each two hundred points for Gryffindor House on account of their daring tasks in battling the monster. Dumbledore then sends the clueless Lockhart to the infirmary under Ron's care, and finally he asks Harry to remain.

While Dumbledore is alone with Harry, he explains that Fawkes came to his aid because of the true loyalty Harry showed Dumbledore down in the Chamber. Harry asks Dumbledore the question that has been bothering him for so long, whether he is in fact like Riddle, marked with evil potential and predestined for Slytherin House. Dumbledore explains here in a gloriously reassuring passage that the Sorting Hat put Harry in Gryffindor because Harry did not want to be in Slytherin, and that choices made are far more important than abilities. Dumbledore also adds that only a true Gryffindor could have pulled Godric Gryffindor's sword out of the Sorting Hat.

The door bangs open and Lucius Malfoy appears, Dobby squealing at his heals. Lucius is most upset that Dumbledore has returned to Hogwarts, and Dumbledore calmly explains that the attacks have been stopped, and that eleven of the school governors contacted him, begging him to return to Hogwarts and suggesting that they had been blackmailed into suspending him. When Dumbledore holds up the diary as evidence from the recent events, Dobby begins to make strange faces and gestures, which Harry ultimately understands to mean that Lucius had slipped the diary into Ginny's books in Flourish and Blotts, so many months ago. Lucius acts shifty and defensive when Harry accuses him of this, and he sweeps out of the room, yelling at Dobby to follow. Harry thinks quickly and wraps the diary inside one of his slimy socks, then hands it to Lucius. Lucius unwraps it and disgustedly throws down the sock, which Dobby retrieves with a thrilled expression on his face. In handing him an article of clothing, Lucius has inadvertently freed his house-elf, and Dobby thanks Harry profusely in front of the livid Lucius, and then the elf disappears with a crack.

Harry then attends the great feast. Hagrid returns, exams are cancelled, and Lockhart is officially removed from the school staff, and Gryffindor is given the House cup. Harry has not been this happy for a long time. The last bit of school passes calmly and happily. Defense Against the Dark Arts classes are cancelled, and Lucius Malfoy is fired as school governor. All is well. On the train ride back to London, Harry curiously asks Ginny what she caught Percy doing. She giggles and replies that he was kissing his girlfriend, Penelope Clearwater, in an empty classroom. Fred and George are pleased by this bit of knowledge, and together they all walk back into the Muggle world for their summer vacations.

These Chapter Pictures have been taken from the US edition of this book published by Scholastic and drawn by Mary GrandPre.


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