Review: “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” by J.K. Rowling

In the last novel, Harry Potter was just realizing his new freedom and the possibilities in his future in the magical world.  To be honest, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is simply better than its prequel.

Harry is back for his second year at Hogwarts and he only sinks deeper into uncovering his own history; his friendships are strengthened, his enemies have returned and are twice as nasty, and a monster is on the loose in the school.  Harry’s personal problems never seem to end, and he always manages to end his term with a confrontation with Voldemort.  J.K. Rowling stated that the theme of her Harry Potter series is death, and it is unmistakable.  Harry approached death in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, but now he almost dies except for the intervention of Fawkes, a beautiful phoenix, in one of the most touching climaxes in the entire series.  Harry’s duel with a memory and a deadly basilisk creates some serious action and heroism, but nothing overly dramatic; Rowling keeps realism and fantasy always hand in hand.  Dumbledore stands as faithfully by Harry as Snape and Draco Malfoy despise him; their confrontations are just as thrilling to experience as the rest of the book.  The humor also rises to the occasion, especially with Harry’s and Ron’s entrance to Hogwarts in a flying car.

Interestingly, Harry is helped by both Ron and Hermione during the tests to access the Sorcerer’s Stone in the first volume, but here in the second volume Harry is accompanied by Ron and a very foppish, conceited professor only so far until he is ultimately left alone to save a fellow student and defeat the evil in the Chamber of Secrets.  Harry’s adversaries only seem to grow, whether a group of very large, hungry spiders in the Forbidden Forest or the increased loathing of the Slytherins.  Rowling seems to the select all participants that join the ensemble in her stories very carefully and intentionally, even the magical creatures involved.  Suspenseful and adventurous, there are poignant and humorous moments in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets while Harry proves himself to be an admirable fictional character.  Although Rowling still utilizes violence in a matter-of-fact way during the course of her narrative, her sequel ranks next to her debut novel in thrills and exciting scenarios against a backdrop of humanity, fantasy, and reality.

Original review: The sequel is even better than the first,


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