Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- See Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for the movie adaptation or Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for the game adaptation.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J.K. Rowling, is the sequel to Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. It is the second book in a series of seven Harry Potter books. The book was published in 1998. A film was theatrically released in November 2002.
Plot of the book
The book begins with the Dursleys' guests, the Masons, coming over for dinner, an event during which Harry is to spend his time in his room "making no noise and pretending he doesn't exist". This is the culmination of Harry's generally miserable summer, during which Harry missed Hogwarts very badly, and worse, received not a single letter from anyone, not even his best friends, Ron and Hermione. However, as Harry enters his room in order to follow the orders issued to him, preferably by sleeping, he finds a House-Elf named Dobby already present on his bed.
Dobby warns him not to return to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as scheduled, but cannot explain why because the wizard family who owns him has forbidden it. He also admits that he has been intercepting Harry's letters, hoping that if Harry thinks that his friends have forgotten him he will not want to return to Hogwarts. When Harry insists on going, Dobby uses a Hover Charm to destroy Harry's aunt's pudding. Believing that Harry performed the charm, the Ministry of Magic sends him a warning that if he does any more magic outside school he may be expelled from Hogwarts.
Uncle Vernon, after reading the Ministry's letter and realising that Harry isn't allowed to do magic outside school (which Harry "neglected" to tell them), locks him in his room. Vernon reasons that if he uses magic to get himself out, he will be expelled anyway. This method of locking Harry in works well for three days until one night Ron Weasley, Fred Weasley, and George Weasley, worried about not hearing from Harry all summer, borrow their father's enchanted Ford Anglia, which is capable of flight, and come to the rescue. It is a tight escape (as Vernon wakes up in the middle of it and tries to prevent it), but an escape nonetheless.
Harry is taken to The Burrow, the Weasleys' house, for the first time, and is introduced to some other members of the Weasley family: Arthur, Molly, Percy, and Ginny (all of whom he had briefly seen in King's Cross railway station the year before, apart from Arthur). Ginny, who is enrolling at Hogwarts this year, has a very obvious crush on Harry (which figures into the plot later). Bill and Charlie Weasley were not there.
Harry stays at the Burrow until his departure for Hogwarts. During that period, he and the Weasleys travel to Diagon Alley with Floo powder in order to get their school supplies. Harry has difficulty with the smoke around him, however, and accidentally lands in a shop in Knockturn Alley instead. There he sees Lucius Malfoy selling items related to Dark Magic to Mr. Borgan, a dark arts salesman. Malfoy explains that the ministry has been conducting more raids on wizard houses in order to uncover illegal artifacts, so he is selling the more problematic artifacts in his possession. He also expresses his disdain for a rumoured Muggle Protection Act, which he (rightly) assumes Arthur Weasley is behind.
Harry leaves the shop to be encountered by a very suspicious witch who clearly wants to take advantage of the fact that he is lost. Fortunately, he is found by Hagrid and taken back to Diagon Alley to reunite with the Weasleys. In Flourish and Blotts, he and the Weasleys meet the famous wizard/author Gilderoy Lockhart, who announces that he will be taking over as Hogwarts' new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. He also grabs Harry in order to have his picture taken with him for the main page of the Daily Prophet and gives him all of his books free of charge. (However, Harry discreetly deposits them in Ginny's cauldron and buys his own.)
They also meet Draco and Lucius Malfoy there. The elder Malfoy continuously taunts and insults Arthur and his family and eventually, despite Molly's warning, Arthur lunges at him. During the fight Malfoy grabs one of the Weasleys' second-hand books, and subsequently throws it at Ginny, telling her that it is all that her father can give her.
On the first day of the new term, when Harry and Ron try to go through the barrier to platform nine and three quarters, the gateway seals and refuses to allow them entry. Harry and Ron thus decide to fly Mr. Weasley's flying Ford Anglia to Hogwarts. Instead of landing smoothly on the grounds as they had planned, however, they crash into the Whomping Willow; their flying car had also been seen by several Muggles. Professor Severus Snape attempts to have them expelled, but fails to convince the headmaster, Professor Albus Dumbledore. No points are docked from Gryffindor House for the boys' exploits (the incident having occurred before the start of the school year), but they are both given a warning and detention.
The next day several problems occur. Ron receives a Howler and both Harry and Ron have their first lesson with Lockhart, which is a complete disaster. Much to Harry's chagrin, he receives constant attention from Lockhart and Colin Creevey, both of whom constantly interact with him on the base of his fame (Colin constantly treats Harry as a celebrity and Lockhart hopes to actually bring him to that state). Harry also faces unwelcome attention from Ginny (Ron's sister), but due to it being a much less intrusive and vocal brand, he doesn't react to her as negatively.
Ron serves his detention with care-taker Argus Filch cleaning medals and trophies, but Harry—rather than joining him—is made to help Lockhart answer his fan mail. During this unpleasant detention, Harry hears a disembodied voice which Lockhart is unable to hear.
In return for a favour (distracting Filch just when he's about to give Harry severe punishment), Harry promises he'll come to Nearly Headless Nick's Deathday Party on Halloween. He brings Ron and Hermione along as well, but the three of them quickly get tired of the ghostly party and return to the Great Hall. Before they get to the Halloween feast, Harry hears the voice (which Ron and Hermione also cannot hear) and follows it to the second floor, where he finds the bathroom flooded and Mrs. Norris, Filch's cat, petrified—coupled with a message on the wall, reading
- THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS HAS BEEN OPENED.
- ENEMIES OF THE HEIR, BEWARE.
Filch and Snape try to get Harry in trouble for this, but Dumbledore says that it is powerful dark magic that no second year student could perform, and that Harry is innocent until proven guilty. They decide that Professor Sprout's mandrakes will be used to create a draught capable of reviving Mrs. Norris.
Hermione tries to read up on the Chamber, but all the copies of Hogwarts: A History have been borrowed from the library, so she talks Professor Binns (the History of Magic teacher) into telling the class about it. He explains that one of the founders of Hogwarts (Salazar Slytherin) got into an argument with the others about whether Muggle-borns should be admitted and, when the rift grew too large for his taste, he left the school. According to legend, he built a going-away present to the school in the form of a secret chamber that could only be opened by his true heir. This chamber, the "Chamber of Secrets", contains a monster that, once released, would purge the school of all Muggle-borns. Binns assures the class that the Chamber does not exist and that the school has been searched many times and no such chamber has been found. The students are very sceptical of this, but they fail to get any more information out of Binns, who would rather discuss historical fact than myths and legends.
Harry, Ron and Hermione decide that the heir is probably Draco Malfoy. To try to prove it, they decide to use the Polyjuice Potion which could change their appearance into somebody else's for an hour. Hermione says it would take them the breaking of several school rules (culminating in stealing an ingredient from Snape's private storage) to assemble all the necessary components and properly prepare the potion; after they do, she informs them that it takes a month to brew.
During the month that it takes the Polyjuice Potion to brew, a Quidditch match between Gryffindor and Slytherin takes place—a match that is loaded with unusual levels of animosity, mainly due to the fact that Draco Malfoy has been made Slytherin's new Seeker (on the merit of his father's generous contribution to the team: a set of Nimbus 2001 brooms). During the match, one of the Bludgers takes after Harry and focuses completely on him. Since Bludgers are not supposed to do this, the crowd immediately realises that this Bludger has been tampered with. Harry still manages to catch the Snitch and Gryfindor wins. However, the Bludger breaks his arm, and Lockhart, attempting to fix it, gets rid of all the bones in his arm instead. Madam Pomfrey gives Harry Skele-Gro potion so his bones will grow back, and Harry is forced to stay in the hospital wing overnight.
During that night, Dobby visits Harry in the Hospital Wing and reveals that he made the Bludger chase after Harry, and was also responsible for the barrier of platform nine and three-quarters not letting him in—all in hopes of Harry leaving or never arriving at Hogwarts. He also reveals that the Chamber of Secrets has been opened before, and immediately punishes himself, as he is not supposed to reveal anything. After Dobby disappears, Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Pomfrey enter with Colin Creevey, who had apparently been petrified. He was found with a camera containing film that has been burnt to the melting point.
Harry signs up for a Dueling Club which is (to Harry's great displeasure) taught by his two least favourite teachers, Gilderoy Lockhart and Severus Snape. During the first meeting, Draco Malfoy conjures a snake to attack Harry. Harry is frozen in place and Snape, assuming that Malfoy won the duel, lazily says he will get rid of it; Lockhart insists on doing it himself, but rather than banishing the snake he causes it to leap into the rows of watching students. Harry sees that the snake is advancing on a Hufflepuff student named Justin Finch-Fletchley and, instinctively, tells it to stop, which—to Harry's great surprise—it does. The others are less than ecstatic about this, however. All they saw was Harry speaking Parseltongue, the language of snakes, and since they cannot understand it, it seemed to them that he was egging the snake on. Harry remembers speaking to the Boa Constrictor in the Zoo during Dudley's birthday last year(an event seen in the first book), and tells Ron and Hermione that he thought all Wizards could do it. It turns out that Parseltongue is a very rare gift that is closely associated with Salazar Slytherin. Due to this, Harry becomes the number one suspect among students for being the heir of Slytherin. Hermione even tells him that since Salazar Slytherin lived so long ago, he might actually be.
As Harry walks the school's halls, desperate for a way to prove his innocence, his incredible bad luck strikes again, as seconds after leaving a conversation with Hagrid he runs into a petrified Justin Finch-Fletchley and a black, smoking Nearly-Headless Nick. Peeves alerts the whole school to this, and a Hufflepuff called Ernie Macmillan claims that Harry has been caught red-handed. For the first time, Harry is taken to Dumbledore's office, and there he witnesses Fawkes—Dumbledore's phoenix—bursting into ashes and being reborn. Dumbledore says that he doesn't believe Harry to be behind the attacks, but a large portion of the school is now sure that Harry is Slytherin's heir.
Harry, Ron and Hermione all sign up to remain in the School during Christmas, since Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle have done so as well, and this gives them the perfect opportunity to use their Polyjuice potion. When Christmas arrives they drug Crabbe and Goyle via chocolate cakes, take their hairs and assume their form. (Hermione tries to use a hair she thought she got off of Millicent Bullstrode, but it was actually a cat's hair and Hermione is transformed into a cat/human hybrid. Hermione remains in the hospital wing for a few weeks before she returns to normal.) As Crabbe and Goyle, Harry and Ron interrogate an unsuspecting Malfoy and discover that even though he wishes he were, Draco is not the heir of Slytherin. They also hear that the last time the chamber was opened was fifty years ago, a muggle-born girl died and whoever was responsible was expelled. As a bonus, Malfoy lets it slip that his family has a secret chamber for illegal artifacts under the drawing room, and Ron obviously resolves to inform his father of this.
Weeks later, Ron and Harry overhear Filch shouting loudly at the amount of work he has to do and leaving. When they investigate, they arrive at Moaning Myrtle's bathroom to find it flooded. Myrtle explains that she had flooded it because somebody flushed a diary down the toilet and onto her. Harry picks it up; it turns out to have belonged to one T.M. Riddle and to be completely blank. Ron remembers the name—it was on one of the trophies he had to clear during detention with Filch—T.M. Riddle had won an award for special service to the school fifty years before. Hermione (after leaving the hospital wing) deduces that since this co-incides with the last time the Chamber was opened, Riddle might have received his prize for catching whoever was responsible for the attacks back then. Even though all attempts to extract information from the diary fail, Harry feels a strange compulsion to keep it; the name T.M. Riddle sounds oddly familiar to him, as if he were a childhood friend he had long forgotten.
Later in February Ron and Harry are dismayed to find out Lockhart has endorsed Valentine's Day, and even spread miniature cupids (actually dwarves with golden wings and harps) throughout the school to receive and deliver Valentines. Harry's worst fear becomes reality as a cupid-dwarf shouts for him. Nervous at the thought of being given a valentine in front of a queue of first-years, which happens to include Ginny Weasley, Harry attempts to edge out of the Dwarf's range. Things do not go as planned and Harry trips and falls, the contents of his bag spilling all over and ink spilling all over them. The dwarf takes this opportunity to read out the valentine, which is a short, simile-rich poem. As Harry attempts to gather his things Malfoy picks up the diary, and Ginny catches sight of both Harry and the diary, looking terrified. Harry manages to hit Malfoy with an Expelliarmus spell and get the diary back.
Consequently Harry realises that even though ink was spilled all over the diary, it is not stained with ink at all. He tries writing to the diary and, to his surprise, the diary—or T.M. Riddle—writes back. Riddle explains that he was the one who caught the person who opened the Chamber of Secrets the last time, and he can show Harry what happened if he likes. Harry agrees and gets sucked into a virtual-reality "recording" of Riddle's memory. He witnesses the school's previous headmaster, Armando Dippet, informing Riddle that the school will be closed and Riddle, apprehensive of this, catching Hagrid fiddling with a large spider in a box. Riddle reports Hagrid to Dippet. During the memory Riddle also tells Dippet about his past—he was an orphan that did not want to go back to the orphanage, and his full name was Tom Marvolo Riddle. Having seen this, Harry wonders whether Hagrid was the one who opened the Chamber fifty years before and whether he is responsible this time.
Harry, Ron and Hermione, after a long discussion, decide not to ask Hagrid himself about it, hoping that the attacks have stopped—and indeed, almost four months after the attack on Justin and Nick, the disembodied voice keeps quiet and the attacks seem to have ceased. Weird things began happening again, however. Harry returns to his dormitory one day to find it a mess—drawers open, clothes strewn all over and their pockets turned inside out. Ron deduces that somebody has been looking for something, and Harry eventually notices that Tom Riddle's diary is gone. This greatly befuddles them, seeing as only a Gryffindor could have entered the dormitory—nobody else knows the password.
The next day, the scheduled Quidditch match between Gryffindor and Hufflepuff is cancelled due to yet another attack and Harry hears the voice again. This time McGonagall calls for Harry and Ron personally, and leads them to the hospital wing where they see Hermione petrified. She was found near the library with a Ravenclaw prefect, inexplicably holding a small, circular mirror.
Harry and Ron decide they now must talk to Hagrid. With the now constant supervision on students this is not easy, but they manage to do it by using Harry's Invisibility cloak. When they reach Hagrid's cabin there is a knock on the door—it turns out they were not the only ones who wanted a chat with Hagrid. Harry and Ron manage to hide under the invisibility cloak just before Cornelius Fudge—the Minister of Magic—and Dumbledore arrive at the scene. Fudge announces that Hagrid, who to the best of his knowledge opened the Chamber the last time, will be sent to Azkaban as a precaution. They are shortly joined by Lucius Malfoy, who declares that he and the other governors of Hogwarts have unanimously voted to suspend Dumbledore, despite the obvious logic that it would only worsen the situation. Both Hagrid and Dumbledore give last words. Hagrid says that if anybody wanted the truth they should "follow the spiders" and Dumbledore says that he will only truly have left the school when none there are loyal to him. He also stresses that if anybody at Hogwarts needs help, it will always be available.
Lockhart is acting incredibly self-assured after this. He claims again and again that he had known it was Hagrid all along and now, with Hagrid in Azkaban, the danger has passed. The students, however, are highly sceptical, and obviously would all rather have Dumbledore back in the school.
Harry and Ron decide to follow the spiders, as Hagrid's advice was easier to understand. Walking along the trails of the spiders, which are strangely all fleeing Hogwarts, takes them into the Forbidden Forest. Even though Ron is deeply archanophobic, the fact that Hermione has been petrified and that they may be able to help through this investigation gives him the willpower to go along anyway. There, they encounter Mr. Weasley's car, which had apparently taken to driving through the forest like some sort of wild animal. They eventually meet Aragog, a giant spider which had been the monster Hagrid had been "caught" setting on other students 50 years ago. Aragog explains that Hagrid was innocent, but rather than letting Harry and Ron go he decides to leave them as dinner for his children. Mr. Weasley's Ford Anglia comes blasting through the layers of spiders, however, and lets the boys escape in itself.
After this, Harry and Ron feel that they have reached dead ends everywhere, until one possible last hope occurs to them. Aragog said the monster's last victim died in a bathroom and it occurs to Harry that Moaning Myrtle might have been the victim. Of course, with the school under such security, it will be almost impossible to sneak in the girls' bathroom near where the first attack occurred. There is some good news, however - the Mandrake draught is finally ready and soon the monster's victims will be awakened.
Later that same day, Harry and Ron manage to trick Lockhart - who is leading them to their next class - into letting them go by stroking his ego. Just as they pat themselves on the back, they get caught by Prof. McGonagall, and Harry has to make up an excuse - they were going to see Hermione in the Hospital Wing, where visitors were now barred. Having used that as an excuse they decide to go along and do just that, but rather than simply hanging around her petrified form, this time Harry notices a piece of paper tightly clutched in her hand. This piece of paper reveals what Hermione had found out before she was attacked. She had discovered, based on strong circumstantial evidence, that the monster in the Chamber of Secrets was a basilisk. As a basilisk is a giant snake this explains why Harry could hear it and no one else could. The Basilisk kills people by looking it in the eye, but no one died, because nobody had looked it directly in the eye. Colin saw it through his camera, Justin saw it through Nearly-Headless Nick, Mrs. Norris saw a reflection of it in the waters of the flooded bathroom, and Hermione used a mirror to look around corners (and told the first person she saw - Penelope Clearwater - to do the same). There is also a note about how spiders fear the Basilisk (which explains them fleeing Hogwarts) and the rooster's call being potentially fatal to it (which explains Hagrid's roosters having been mysteriously killed during the year). On the note is also scribbled a single word, "pipes". The serpent moves around through the plumbing.
Harry and Ron decide to go to the staff room and tell the teachers what they had learned. However, when they get there, they overhear the teachers talking about another attack having occurred. Harry and Ron decide to hide in a wardrobe to hear more details, and learn that the heir of Slytherin has left another piece of writing under the previous one:
- HER SKELETON WILL LIE IN THE CHAMBER FOREVER
Harry and Ron also hear that the student taken to the Chamber was Ginny Weasley, and that Hogwarts will be closed. The teachers also send Lockhart to deal with the monster, as he has been claiming he could handle whatever is responsible for the attacks, irritating the rest of the staff to no end. Looking very crestfallen, he leaves for his room.
That day, proclaimed "probably the worst day in Harry's entire life", the whole dormitory is very quiet and Harry and Ron feel utterly useless and helpless... until it occurs to them that if the serpent uses the plumbing to get around and the last time the chamber was opened a girl died, then the chamber entrance must be in the bathroom Moaning Myrtle occupies.
Harry and Ron decide that if Lockhart is going to deal with the monster they might as well tell him what they know. They go to his room, only to find him frantically packing and planning to run away while muttering excuses. To their questions about why he is running away if he is such a talented, heroic wizard, Lockhart admits that he is a fraud and that he put memory charms on the people who really did the things that he claimed to in his books. He then attempts to put a memory charm on Harry and Ron as well, but they manage to disarm him using the expelliarmus spell they learned at the duelling club and, under wand threats, take him to Moaning Myrtle's bathroom.
Moaning Myrtle explains her death, saying the last thing she saw was a pair of enormous eyes by one of the sinks and also that the tap there has never worked. Harry finds a snake carved on the tap and then opens the Chamber of Secrets by speaking Parsletongue to it.
Harry, Ron and Lockhart slide down a large pipe and find themselves in maze-like tunnels far under the school. Down there, they encounter a snake skin left by the Basilisk. Just then, Lockhart feigns fainting and when Ron tries to help him up he steals Ron's wand. Victoriously proclaiming that he will now erase Harry and Ron's memories, return to the castle and tell everybody he was too late to save Ginny and that Harry and Ron lost their sanity at the sight of her mangled body, Lockhart fires. Due to Ron's wand being broken the charm backfires, erases Lockhart's memory and causes a portion of the ceiling to cave in, trapping Harry in the direction of the chamber and Ron in the direction of the castle. Ron has no choice but to stay behind and clear a path through the rocks so they can get back through. Harry then encounters a wall with stone snakes on it, opens it by speaking Parsletongue and enters the Chamber itself.
In the Chamber, he finds Ginny lying on the ground, pale as marble and just as cold. He drops his wand and runs to her, trying to get a response from her, but to no avail. He then hears a voice speak to him, turns around and sees Tom Riddle smiling at him and holding his wand. Harry obviously wonders how it is possible for him to meet Riddle as he was at Hogwarts fifty years ago and asks him so. Riddle says he is not a ghost, but a memory, which had been preserved in his diary for fifty years.
He than explains what had happened. Riddle had opened the Chamber of Secrets fifty years ago and planned to purge the school of muggle-borns and half-bloods; however, when he learned that the school was going to close down due to the attacks and that Dumbledore was keeping a closer and closer watch on him, he had no choice but to cease the attacks and frame Hagrid for doing it. Not wanting to waste all the years he spent on figuring out where the chamber was and how to get to it, he left behind a diary containing the memory of his sixteen-year-old self in hopes that it would, one day, fall into the hands of an unsuspecting victim who would help him finish "Salazar Slytherin's noble work".
Ginny, he reveals, had been writing in the diary all year. Riddle had written back sympathetically and Ginny grew to love the diary. In writing to him, Ginny confessed about her fears, hopes and feelings - she poured some of her soul into him, which was exactly what he wanted. He gradually grew more powerful and eventually managed to pour some of his soul back into her. However, eventually Ginny became suspicious of the diary and decided to get rid of it by flushing it down the toilet in Moaning Myrtle's bathroom. This is when Harry found it.
When Ginny saw Harry with the diary on Valentine's Day, she panicked and worried that perhaps Riddle had told all of her secrets to Harry. So she waited until Harry's dormitory was empty and stole it back. It began taking control of her again, but this time for another purpose. Riddle's goals had switched from killing Muggle-borns to killing Harry, so he had Ginny write her own farewell on the wall and come down to wait, luring Harry to the rescue and, consequently, his doom.
Riddle's first question is how Harry managed to defeat Lord Voldemort. Harry asks Riddle why he cares, as Voldemort was after his time. Riddle replies the Voldemort is his "past, present and future." He then writes in the air with Harry's stolen wand:
TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE
Riddle than waves his wand and the letters rearrange themselves into
I AM LORD VOLDEMORT
Needless to say, this means that Riddle became Lord Voldemort at some point. Riddle then reveals that he is, in fact, a half-blood, and that his mother had named him Tom after his Muggle father. He asks Harry whether he really thought that he was going to keep his father's name when he is Salazar Slytherin's descendant; instead, he fashioned himself a new name, which he knew people would fear as he became the most powerful wizard in the world.
To spite him Harry retorts that he must be mistaken, because the greatest wizard in the world, as everybody knows, is not him but Dumbledore. Even when Voldemort was at the peak of his power he was afraid of Dumbledore, and now he's barely alive. Riddle angrily answers that Dumbeldore has been driven out the castle by the mere memory of him. Harry yells that Dumbledore is not as gone as Riddle seems to believe. In this he summons Fawkes the phoenix to him, who also brings with it the Sorting Hat. Riddle finds this greatly amusing and decides to "match the power of Lord Voldemort, heir to Salazar Slytherin, against the famous Harry Potter and the best weapons Dumbledore can give him."
Riddle then summons the Basilisk and commands it to kill Harry. However, the "songbird," as Riddle mockingly called it, isn't as defenceless as one might initially think, and pecks out the Basilisk's eyes, thus making it safe to look at.
The basilisk can still smell Harry and is still very dangerous, so Harry tries playing his only remaining card by putting on the sorting hat, desperately wishing for help in his mind. Instead of an answering voice, Harry receives a heavy sword with a hilt embedded with rubies (which falls on his head and almost knocks him out, but considering the situation is quite useful). After several missed strikes from the blinded Basilisk, Harry plunges the sword into the roof of its mouth, killing it. However, one of its poisonous fangs sink into his arm, injecting a deadly poison. Thankfully the poison has no effect - Fawkes cries on the wound, and since Phoenix tears have healing properties, Harry is cured.
Harry then plunges the Basilisk fang into Riddle's diary. Ink begins pouring out of the book and the memory of Riddle fades out of existence; Ginny immediately stirs and wakes up, worrying that she will be expelled. Harry tries to calm her down, and they both travel back through the Chamber to find Ron and Lockhart, who has - due to the memory charm that backfired - no idea of who or where he is.
Harry, Ron, Ginny and Lockhart grab onto Fawkes and fly out of the Chamber. They return to the castle to find Dubledore, McGonagall, Arthur and Molly Weasley, who are very shocked that they are all alive. Harry is anxious at the thought that Ginny will get blamed for being the person behind the attacks, but to his great relief, Dumbledore rightly deduces that Voldemort is the culprit. After Ginny leaves to drink hot cocoa and get a much-needed rest, Harry and Ron both receive several hundred house points for Gryffindor and awards for special services to the school, and then Dumbledore asks Harry to speak to him on his own.
Harry expresses his concern that he belonged in Slytherin. Dumbledore reveals that Voldemort tranferred some of his powers to Harry when he gave him his scar, explaining his ability to speak Parsletongue. He asks Harry why the Sorting Hat put him in Gryffindor, and Harry admits that the only reason it did was because he had asked it to. Dumbledore confirms this and tells Harry that it is our choices, rather than our abilities, that reveal who we truly are. He points out to the sword Harry had drawn out of the hat - Harry now notices it has Godric Gryffindor's name on it. Dumbledore plainly says that only a true Gryffindor would be able to pull it out of the hat.
Lucius Malfoy picks this time to appear at Dumbledore's office, outraged that Dumbledore had returned to the school after being dismissed. Dumbledore calmly responds that the governors had asked him to return once they heard that Arthur Weasley's daughter was attacked. They were, he adds, apparently under the impression that Malfoy had threatened to curse their families if they did not vote for Dumbledore's dismissal in the first place. Dobby then runs into the room, and it is revealed that Dobby serves the Malfoys.
Dumbledore and Malfoy have a calm and venomous dialogue (respectively), during which Lucius asks who the attacker turned out to be and Dumbledore explains that just like last time, it was Lord Voldemort, only this time he was acting through somebody else; and it is indeed a great fortune that Harry had showed up and managed to defeat Riddle, or the fault would lay on Ginny and this could have grave implications on, say, the Muggle Protection Act Arthur Weasley had been suggesting. During that dialogue, Dobby repeatedly points to Malfoy, the diary and Malfoy again, until Harry finally understands and confronts Malfoy about him being the one who put the Diary in Ginny's old book (during the fight with Arthur in Flourish and Blotts). "Prove it," Malfoy utters venomously, and Dumbledore cheerfully replies that while not capable of proving such a thing, he would advise Malfoy to discontinue the distribution of Lord Voldemort's old school things.
Harry then tricks Malfoy into releasing Dobby by giving him a sock, which he promptly throws away to be caught by Dobby. (A master can only release a house-elf by giving them clothes). The petrified people are cured, Hagrid is released from Azkaban, Lockhart is sent to a hospital, Lucius Malfoy is fired from his post as school governor and Ginny Weasley is happy again. The book ends with Harry at King's Cross; Hermione says that the Dursleys will probably be proud of Harry, to which the latter responds that they will actually be furious that, given all of those wonderful chances to die, he failed to. With these words, he crosses the barrier back to the muggle world.
See Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (movie) for details.
See Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (game) for details.
- Many fans noted that Dumbledore said that Voldemort was the last remaining ancestor of Salazar Slytherin, instead of descendant. J. K. Rowling said this was a "deliberate mistake". This could support the theory that time travel will recur in the series (see "Rumour" note for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban). This mistake was fixed on further printings, though, so it's more likely to be a mistake that slipped past the editors than an actual hint. Some versions have put it back after Rowling's comment, perhaps overlooking the tongue-in-cheek nature of the term "deliberate mistake". This line was left out of the film.
- It was implied in the book that Ginny had sent Harry his singing valentine. Some members of the online fandom have questioned this conclusion, suggesting it being a prank by the Weasley Twins or a genuine overture from Moaning Myrtle as other possibilities; however, since further information about the incident is unlikely to come about and the event seems hardly important in terms of the overall plot, the supposed "true" identity of the singing valentine's sender is currently pretty much a moot point.
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