Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry cannot wait to return to Hogwarts for his second year of magical schooling. But a powerful force seems determined to keep him away. From a meddling house elf to a flying car, Harry’s fight to get to school nearly gets him expelled! When he finally gets to Hogwarts, it is with a warning that someone at the school wants Harry Potter dead.

Harry’s second year continues to go downhill, with a clueless Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and a growing rivalry with Malfoy. Then, even worse, it is discovered that a monster is lurking in the castle. Students are being attacked, and Hogwarts is in danger of being closed—permanently. Can Harry discover what Slytherin’s monster is, with the help of Ron and Hermione? Or will Harry lose his new home and be forced to return to live the rest of his live with his horrible aunt and uncle?

The second installment of the Harry Potter series does not disappoint. The delightful cast from the first book is back, complemented by interesting new characters. The stakes have been raised, and the twisty plot will keep readers guessing at who—or what—is behind the mysterious attacks. Although the series revolves around magic, the story does not encourage children to try magic on their own. Spells involve simple words. For example, saying luminos creates light. The books advance throughout the series, becoming longer and slightly more mature, although still appropriate for elementary readers.

Another great book that will suck readers in, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is great for reluctant readers who are still developing a love for reading. There is also an illustrated version of this novel that will further engage reluctant readers with beautiful, full-page illustrations. Through Harry Potter’s experiences, readers will learn the importance of not jumping to conclusions about other people.

Sexual Content

  • None

Violence

  • When Harry gets in trouble, “he still had to duck as she aimed a heavy blow at his head with the soapy frying pan.”
  • Dobby is a house elf and has to punish himself when he disobeys his master. On one occasion, “without warning, he leapt up and started banging his head furiously on the window, shouting, ‘Bad Dobby! Bad Dobby!’”
  • Ron’s father and another man get into a scuffle in a bookstore. “There was a thud of metal as Ginny’s cauldron went flying; Mr. Weasley had thrown himself at Mr. Malfoy, knocking him backward into a bookshelf. Dozens of heavy spellbooks came thundering down on all their heads; there was a yell of, ‘Get him, Dad!’ from Fred or George; Mrs. Weasley was shrieking, ’No, Arthur, no!’; the crowd stampeded backwards, knocking more shelves over.”
  • Ron and Harry crash a flying car. “With an earsplitting bang of metal on wood, they hit the thick tree trunk and dropped to the ground with a heavy jolt . . . a golf ball-size lump was throbbing on Harry’s head where he had hit the windshield; and to his right, Ron let out a low, despairing groan.”
  • Harry breaks his arm during a Quidditch match. “The Bludger had hit him at last, smashed into his elbow, and Harry felt his arm break.”
  • Things get out of hand during a dueling class. “Millicent had Hermione in a headlock, and Hermione was whimpering in pain; both their wands lay forgotten on the floor.”
  • Two boys get in a fight over a secret pet, which is a giant spider. “The thing bowled him over as it scuttled away, tearing up the corridor and out of sight. Riddle scrambled to his feet, looking after it; he raised his wand, but the huge boy leapt on him, seized his want, and threw him back down.”
  • There’s an explosion when a teacher tries to use a broken wand. “The wand exploded with the force of a small bomb. Harry flung his arms over his head and ran, slipping over the coils of snake skin, out of the way of great chunks of tunnel ceiling that were thundering to the floor. Next moment, he was standing alone, gazing at a solid wall of broken rock.”
  • Lucius Malfoy abuses his house elf. The house elf tells Harry about it, and we see it at the end of the book when Lucius, “wrenched open the door and as the elf came hurrying up to him, he kicked him right through it. They could hear Dobby squealing with pain all the way along the corridor. Harry stood for a moment, thinking hard.”
  • Harry comes face to face with the heir of Slytherin in a battle that takes place over five pages. “Harry tripped. He fell hard onto the stone and tasted blood – the serpent was barely feet from him, he could hear it coming – There was a loud, explosive spitting sound right above him, and then something heavy hit Harry so hard that he was smashed into the wall . . . both its great, bulbous yellow eyes had been punctured by the phoenix; blood was streaming to the floor, and the snake was spitting in agony.”

Drugs and Alcohol

  • The defense against the dark arts teacher says “my ideal birthday gift would be harmony between all magic and non-magic peoples – though I wouldn’t say no to a large bottle of Ogden’s Old Firewhisky.”

Language

  • Malfoy calls Hermione a mudblood, which is a great insult. It means someone who is not a pureblood wizard, but was born of non-wizards.
  • The word git is used several times. For instance, Ron calls a professor a “brainless git” behind the professor’s back.
  • Percy’s brothers secretly “bewitched his prefect badge so that it now read ‘Pinhead.’“

Supernatural

  • Harry Potter goes to a school of wizards and is a part of an entire world of magic. His studies include potions, charms, and the care of magical creatures. His school is in a castle with ghosts, enchanted ceilings, and portraits that move and talk. He encounters giant spiders, a phoenix, and a basilisk. In short, Harry is surrounded by magic and supernatural occurrences every day of his life. As such, not all instances are listed here.
  • To cast a spell, wizards say a word and wave their wand. For example, saying luminos casts light. The book does not encourage readers to try to cast spells.

Spiritual Content

  • There are ghosts in the castle that behave like regular (although transparent) people. One of Harry’s teachers is even a ghost.

by Morgan Lynn

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