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Book Thoughts: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (J K Rowling)

Rowling, J K - Harry Potter #2 and the Chamber of Secrets


Title: Harry Potter (#2) and the Chamber of Secrets
Author: J K Rowling
Genre: Fiction / YA/ Fantasy    Pages: 251
First published: 1998
Edition: Paperback, published in 1999 by Bloomsbury Paperbacks

So after all these years I am finally re-reading the Harry Potter series, and you are not going to be pleased with me regarding this particular book. I already knew this was not my favourite of the Harry Potter series and that remains the case. I feel it is the weakest book. The tone is already a bit darker than the first book and I feel it is definitely less fun.

Let’s start with the things I do like. Simply put,  I do really like the characters and the overall plot. But to be honest,  I want to talk about the things I do not like. I do not like the way Rowling writes her overweight characters. They are always stupid or nasty. She always goes on about Dudley’s fat face or fat neck, same goes for Crabbe and/or Goyle,  and even Hagrid, who is written to be not the cleverest of men. There are no nice clever overweight characters as far as I can tell. That would not bother me so much if she did not emphasize the fact that they are fat every time she talks about an overweight character. I found it really bothered me.

Then of course there is the incompetence of the Hogwarths teachers. Why do the students always need to solve all the problems? If Dumbledore is so clever, why is he so blind to everything that is going at Hogwarts right under his nose? The mind boggles.

Overall, I did enjoy the read. Of course, a younger audience would not care about the above issues at all. But for me, this Harry Potter instalment does fall short.

That is not to say I do not like this series as a whole, but this one is just a bit meh.

4 out of 7 stars

5 thoughts on “Book Thoughts: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (J K Rowling)

  1. I never thought Dumbledore was blind to what was happening. Based on the events in the later books, I think he knew what was happening (to a degree), but also knew that he had to let Harry fight his battles. How could he be expected to defeat Voldemort without practice? It’s kind of horrible when you think about it, but a necessary evil in terms of plot. And who else but Harry could get into the Chamber (besides Voldemort, obviously)?

    Anyway, I do get where you’re coming from with Chamber of Secrets. I love all the books, but I’m not a huge Ginny fan, so I dunno…not crazy about this one?

    1. Thank you for taking the time to let me know your perspective. I love hearing other people’s opinions and interpretations. I am actually enjoying re-reading this series, as it has been so long. And knowing how popular the series is makes me extra nit-picky, I guess 🙂

      1. Me too. I finally replaced my old Goblet of Fire copy (it was falling apart and missing pages…oops!),so I’ll be re-reading again soon. I’ll either be just as nit picky or I’ll refuse to see the flaws as usual.😂

  2. At this point, it is hard for me to separate each individual book from the full story of the series. Obviously, in the context of the series each book becomes much stronger. That said, I think you are correct that this may be the weakest in the series. I have gone back and read the series in entirety a couple times, and it takes a certain level of restraint not to make a habit of doing so too often. This one has some essential information, introduces some good characters, and directs the theme within the series… but you are right, in terms of how strong it stands alone, it isn’t quite on the level of the rest of the series.

    As for the overweight characters, that is definitely there though it’s something I hadn’t given so much thought to before. I want to say that she broke from this a little more later in the series (Slughorn is one example of a nuanced character with positive and negative traits), but it still remained a continuing issue.

  3. Oh my God, THANK YOU. Someone else finally pointed out the rampant fat shaming. Of all people, why is Hagrid fat-shaming? I’m rereading the series and I can’t believe I ever liked that hypocritical oaf, ugh.

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