There is a lot that happens in Chapter 11 of Chamber of Secrets, entitled The Dueling Club. The final ingredients for the Polyjuice Potion are acquired. The dueling club meeting takes place, which leads to Harry finding out he is a Parselmouth. And Harry discovers Nearly Headless Nick and Justin Finch Fletchley petrified in the hallway. Because so much is happening in this chapter I decided to pick a major theme found in the Harry Potter books and discuss how it shows up in each of the sections of this chapter. I decided to talk about Loyalty.
First off, I wanted to talk about the loyalty of Hermione. She volunteers to be the one to steal the potion ingredients because of her clean record. A little over a year ago Hermione was steadfast in her view of not breaking any school rules, but Hermione’s loyalty to Harry and his idea that they need to be the ones to gather the evidence they need to out Draco as the Heir of Slytherin has her ‘breaking about 50 school rules, I expect’ (CS9).
Next up, I’d like to discuss Lockhart and his loyalty to himself, or rather the version of himself in his novels. Lockhart is so loyal to maintaining the idea that he is some great wizard that he can’t help but keep putting himself in the spotlight, which ends up shining a light on just how horribly inept he is. There are many, MANY, examples throughout this book of this, but in Chapter 11 it’s the Dueling club. He uses the awful incident of Colin being petrified to show off his talents as a dueling extraordinaire because of course that’s what he is! What really happens is he proves he is sub-par at being able to defend himself. I always wondered why Lockhart didn’t just keep his head down, why he kept volunteering to do things that in the end proved him an idiot. If he really wanted to maintain the lie, you’d think that would be the best way. But his over-inflated ego gets in the way of that and the absurd idea that to maintain loyalty to the lie he has to act like the character in his books.
Moving on, I’d like to talk about Ron’s loyalty after discovering Harry is a Parselmouth. After Harry calls the snake off of Justin Finch-Fletchley everyone starts backing away and muttering. But, not Ron. He hurries to Harry’s side and ushers him to the common room so they can find out what just happened. Ron really shows character by sticking by Harry’s side, being able to speak Parseltongue has some very strong prejudices against it, but Ron’s loyalty to his best friend never wavers here.
Lastly, I’d like to discuss the loyalty of the Hufflepuffs to Justin Finch Fletchley. When Harry confronts the group of Hufflepuffs who were gossiping about him in the library, they don’t give in and tell Harry where Justin is, even though they are frightened Harry might come after them next. Ernie even goes so far as to call Harry out when he comes upon him at the scene of Justin and Nick’s petrification. He must feel real loyalty to Justin to want justice for him.
Loyalty is a major theme of the Harry Potter books, this minute proves that by revealing just how loyal all of these characters are in one particular chapter.
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Music: "Winter Chimes" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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