In Chapter 6 of Chamber of Secrets, titled “Gilderoy Lockhart,” we are introduced to two new magical items. Ron has the unfortunate privilege of allowing us to witness a Howler’s ability to deafeningly put someone in their place. And in the first Herbology class of the term we learn all about mandrakes and their fatal cries.
I thought it was interesting that both new items are, to put it simply, loud. Knowing that Rowling planned these stories meticulously I started wondering what purpose she had in mind by connecting these brand new items by their volume.
I don’t know for sure, but I think it’s meant to contrast all of the silence that occurs later in the book. For instance, the murmurs that only Harry can hear contrasts Mrs. Weasley’s reprimand to Ron that everyone in the Great Hall heard. Also, the victims of the Petrification are frozen and quiet, unable to tell anyone who attacked them. Their situation is opposite of the wriggly, crying baby mandrakes.
Something else that I thought was interesting, was that we also meet two new Muggleborns in the chapter as well: Justin Finch-Fletchley and Colin Creevey. Where we only really got to know one Muggleborn, Hermione, in the first book, meeting Justin and Colin for more than a passing moment should have alerted us that Muggleborns would be important to the rest of the story.
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Music: "Winter Chimes" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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