Today I’ll be discussing chapter 2 of Chamber of Secrets, “Dobby’s Warning.”
‘There is a plot, Harry Potter. A plot to make most terrible things happen at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry this year.’ This year. Why this year? Why did Lucius Malfoy wait until this year to hatch this plot? Why not before, why not later?
Snape confesses in Spinner’s End (HBP2) the Death Eaters believed that Harry was a powerful dark wizard; they couldn’t fathom how a baby could defeat their Dark Lord otherwise. Dobby seems to think that Harry in particular is in danger with the Chamber of Secrets plan, (or at least is only concerned about Harry’s safety; if he was concerned with everyone’s welfare why didn’t he go to Dumbledore?). Perhaps hearing that Harry defeated Voldemort again at the end of the school year, and we know that this topic was discussed at Malfoy Manor, Dobby says so … perhaps hearing that Harry defeated his master again Lucius decided he needed to do something to get rid of this ‘dark wizard’. Lucius probably heard about how meddling Harry was and knew that somehow he would get involved and injured; his death and those of as many Muggle-born students as possible was the ideal outcome.
Another crucial part of deciding to enact this plan now was to get rid of the diary. In CS12, Draco confides in Harry and Ron, who are disguised by Polyjuice Potion to appear as Crabbe and Goyle, that their manor was raided recently by the Ministry of Magic to look for dark arts objects. Lucius knew this could be a possibility and thus another point in the pros column to enact this plan ‘this year’: Harry Potter’s second year at Hogwarts.
A bonus to these nefarious plans was the idea to plant the diary on Ginny Weasley. This would hit them close to home, Ginny being the sister of Harry’s best mate, plus Lucius could further embarrass and discredit Ginny’s father, Arthur Weasley. Being one of Lucius’ rivals discrediting Arthur would cast scrutiny on his Muggle Protection Act, which Lucius opposed.
I’ll discuss why any further plots weren’t made when I get to chapter 18.
Something that stands out in this chapter for me is when Harry is so kind to others. When Dobby explains his situation he genuinely wants to help. When he and Hedwig are locked up he shares with her what he can from his sad excuse for a meal. He’s so young, yet very aware and empathetic to others.
A connection to note for the future: Mafalda Hopkirk, from the improper use of magic office, is mentioned for the first time in this chapter. She pops up a couple more times in the series, most notably as the woman that Hermione uses Polyjuice potion on in order to infiltrate the Ministry in The Deathly Hallows.
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