Magic and magical theory
Harry Potter Lexicon Minute

CS14: A Chapter Full of Doubts

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CS14: A Chapter Full of Doubts

There’s a lot of doubt that goes on in Chapter 14 of Chamber of Secrets, which is entitled “Cornelius Fudge.”

At the opening of the chapter Harry is still reeling from the apparent fact that Hagrid was the person who opened the Chamber 50 years ago. We find out later that what Tom Riddle had shown Harry wasn’t true, but at this time in the plot we have no reason to doubt Tom.

In fact, we are led to having more doubts about Hagrid then we are about the mysteriously helpful entity from the magical diary. We are reminded of the fact that Hagrid was seen in the shady Knockturn Alley at the beginning of the book. Hagrid’s judgement comes into question, as well, when Harry recalls the monsters that they encountered in their first year. This includes Norbert and Fluffy, both very dangerous magical creatures, owned by Hagrid. The trio leave us with their conclusion that they believe Hagrid was responsible, although they concede it probably was an accident that someone died.

Next, the diary is stolen from Harry’s dormitory, and we start to doubt all of the Gryffindors. Only a Gryffindor had access to their common room. How unsettling would it have been to sit in the common room, or in the Great Hall, knowing someone there had betrayed you? We don’t get to see this in the narrative for very long, though, because the double attack of Hermione and Penelope drives that from Harry’s mind.

It’s time for Harry and Ron to confront Hagrid with the information they have about the Chamber of Secrets. They are interrupted, however, by Dumbledore and Cornelius Fudge. This is the first time we are seeing Fudge, but he was mentioned in Book 1, by none other than Hagrid. And from that early point in the series we have reason to doubt the capabilities of the Minister for Magic. He is described as being a ‘bungler’ and always having to come to Dumbledore for advice. Fudge basically proves Hagrid’s point by his behavior in this book. His fidgeting and pleading while explaining why Hagrid needs to be taken to Azkaban does not inspire trust. Even worse is when he is alarmed at the fact of Dumbledore being suspended as headmaster. He shows no authority or confidence like any good leader should.

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Notes

In the Harry Potter Lexicon Minute podcast you’ll hear the voices of our editors sharing some of the many little things which delight us about the Wizarding World. In each podcast, just a couple of minutes in length, we’ll talk about anything from cool trivia and interesting canon passages to the latest Wizarding World news. We hope you’ll join us! And we’d love to hear from you as well. Feel free to use the comment section on the blogpost for each podcast to post your thoughts.

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Music: "Winter Chimes" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
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