Sunday, July 21, 2013

Harry Potter Read-Along/Discussion [5]

RECAP - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Chapters 1 - 4

          Yay! Here we are on book two of the Harry Potter series! Harry has completed his first year of school and is now back with the Dursleys for the summer. At the end of book one, Harry tells his friends he is going to have a great summer because his family doesn't know that he isn't allowed to use magic. Book two opens on Harry's 12th birthday. His summer hadn't been as great as he'd hoped because the Dursleys basically ignored him, rather than being nasty to him. They locked his trunk and all of his wizard belongings in his old sleeping quarters - the cupboard under the stairs - so that he cant practice at all, and he hadn't gotten any letters from any of his friends all summer.

          On his birthday, the Dursleys don't even acknowledge it of course, and are having a very important business dinner in order to secure a sale for Uncle Vernon. Harry is sent off to make himself scarce before the guests arrive. When Harry goes back up to his room to pretend he doesn't exist during this special dinner party, a little creature is sitting on his bed - a house elf called Dobby.

          Dobby tells Harry that he must not go back to Hogwarts because he will be in mortal danger, but he cant provide details, lest he begin bashing his head on the wall to punish himself. Dobby lets it slip that he'd been intercepting letters from Harry's friends - Harry is of course furious and tells Dobby he will be going back to Hogwarts.  Dobby says he has "no choice", goes downstairs and wreaks havoc by way of doing magic and destroying Aunt Petunia's pudding, effectively ruining the dinner party, Uncle Vernon's business deal, and the rest of Harry's life. The Dursleys lock Harry up in his room and tell him he cant ever go back to Hogwarts for what he has done.

          Harry falls asleep, miserable, thinking he will be expelled since the ministry of magic thinks that the magic Dobby did was done by Harry, and when he wakes, Ron, Fred and George are outside of his barred window in a flying Ford Anglia! Ron and his brothers break Harry out and take him back to their house, the Burrow. Harry is thrilled, only when the four of them arrive at the Burrow (the only entirely magical house Harry has ever seen), Mrs. Weasley is absolutely furious with her sons for doing something so dangerous - Harry on the other hand gets off very easy. Mrs. Weasley treats him lovingly and feeds him as much food as he wants, and Mr. Weasley is fascinated by him and asks him tons of questions about muggles and how they live.
          Right before school starts, Harry and the Weasleys meet Hermione in Diagon Alley to get their school things, including an entire list of books by the handsome Gilderoy Lockhart. The Weasleys travel by Floo Powder, which Harry has never done, and when he calls out the name of the grate he wishes to land in, he stutters, and after a rather nauseating ride, lands in the wrong grate, bruises himself, and breaks his glasses. Harry tries to sneak out of the door of the creepy dark-wizarding shop (Borgin and Burkes) he seems to have landed in, when Draco Malfoy and his father walk in. Harry hides and overhears them saying they want to sell some things to avoid them being found on a raid by the Ministry. Harry finds his way out and (thank goodness) is found by Hagrid in this bad part of town, Knockturn Alley.

          Hagrid reunites Harry with the Weasleys and Hermione and they make their way to Flourish and Blotts, which is packed for Gilderoy Lockhart's book signing. Lockhart immediately recognizes Harry and jumps at a photo opportunity for the front page. Lockhart announces thereafter that he is going to be the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts and gives Harry a free set of all of his books (which he kindly gives to Ginny). Malfoy teases him about being "famous" and Mr. Malfoy comes along, insulting the entire Weasley lot. Mr. Weasley ain't havin' it and takes a swing and they have it out in Flourish and Blotts! Hagrid thankfully breaks it up, and when Mr. Malfoy is dusting himself off, he sticks Ginny's book back into her cauldron (hmmm...) and stalks out....


So lets' say Dobby shows up in your room a month before you're supposed to go back to the only place that has ever felt like home. Harry is only 12 and, thankfully, stands up for himself and tells Dobby no, he will not stay at the Dursley's. Even when this never-before-seen creature is sitting on his bed, telling him that he will die if he goes back to Hogwarts, Harry refuses to stay. Do you think Harry was being brave, because he had just battled Voldemort a few months before? Or just being stubborn, rebellious Harry who doesnt like to take advice. I like to think he was being brave. He was definitely having a panic moment, thinking he was going to have to stay at the Dursley's for ever and ever, and he was not having that, mortal danger notwithstanding!

Harry is introduced to a new way of wizard traveling, Floo Powder. He's never really seen any others, other than the Hogwarts Express, and heard about Apparating. Harry doesnt exactly have the best time with Floo Powder, and ends up somewhere he does not want to be. For those of you that have read the entire series, what is your favorite form of wizarding travel? It surely can't be Floo Powder. I think Apparating is pretty cool, but I'm afraid I'd lose a limb while learning how to do it. Port Keys are such a pain in the ass. Its too much coordination to try to get somewhere. I'd rather drive a space-enchanted Ford Anglia than go by Port Key. I'd enchant all sorts of cool stuff into my car. Who cares if it takes longer? At least I'd have a really sweet car, haha.

I'd love to hear what you have to say on these two topics! (I know two seems like a small number, but I feel like all the great discussion happens after these few chapters) See you all next week for discussion of chapters 5 through 8!


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