Cover detail from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

I hope you are well and it has been a good week for you. We had a visit to the Cinema, joined a gym and I managed to confuse miles and kilometres and did a much longer workout then I was expecting leading to much soreness and piteous cries every time I sat down. When in pain, read something to cheer you up! That's my advice. And what better than my favourite of the Harry Potter stories. It's the second book in the series and features on the BBC Big Read list from 2003 at #23.

Read all about my BBC Big Read Re-Read Challenge

I loved celebrating the publication of the Harry Potter books in the bookshop where I worked and it was at this time that I firmly found out that people are surprising and fascinating. I made mention in a previous post about a ballon burst with certain balloons holding a small number of special tickets to open the first box at 1 minute past midnight. It was memorable because we nearly lost my manager, who was dressed as Professor McGonagall at the time, under 30 determined sets of stamping feet.

When the ballon burst winners were asked to assemble to open the box, (and righted my poor manager with a strong cup of sugared tea), a number of mini Harry's and Hermione's stepped forward along with a 50 something woman dressed in an owl costume. This wasn't a bought off the internet costume with only a passing resemblance to anything avian, oh no, this was a costume worthy of a film Oscar. I'm not even sure that real owl feathers weren't used in the making of this head to toe outfit, complete with soft down, an impressive headdress and owl make-up.

This person looked the least likely Harry Potter fan, but she was proud to be wearing that costume and dutifully opened the first box with her fellow competition winners. Good on her I say. On with the review!

The Plot

Harry Potter is a wizard. He is in his second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Little does he know that this year will be just as eventful as the last....

My Thoughts

One of the most impressive aspects of this novel is just how funny it is and how the humour caters for its different readers. There are bits that will make any child laugh out loud - imagine someone burping up slugs, but then there is the more adult side, mandrake plants who are ready to harvest when they try and move into each other's plant pots.

But without doubt the funniest character is Gilderoy Lockhart, the newly appointed Defence against the Dark Arts teacher, author of Magical Me and winner of Witch Weekly's Most Charming Smile award. Lockhart's attire is usually described 'robes of forget-me-knot blue', his magical pictures wear rollers at night and usually have a jaunty wink at any admirer during the day.

As we start the novel we become immersed in J.K.Rowling's magical world. We learn about floo powder, de-gnoming a garden and howlers. We enjoy lots of marvellous, magical feasts at Hogwart's school. We play Quidditch with our heroes and enjoy learning about duelling.

I would advise reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone first, it's a wonderful introduction to this world, and sets the scene for Harry's story. The plot is exciting - animals, people and ghosts are being 'petrified' by something roaming the corridors. No-one knows how it is getting into the school and where it has come from. Only one clue exists - the Chamber of Secrets has been opened. But what is the Chamber of Secrets and who opened it?

This is without doubt my favourite book in the series. It's funny, magical and brilliant.