"I've only suffered writer's block badly once, and that was during the writing of Chamber of Secrets. I had my first burst of publicity about the first book and it paralysed me. I was scared the second book wouldn't measure up, but I got through it!"
-- J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second book in the series of Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling.
First British printing: July 2, 1998, Bloomsbury Books
First American printing: June 2, 1999, Scholastic, Arthur A. Levine Books
U.S. illustrations by Mary GrandPré, 1999
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – 85,141 words
Official Word Count Provided by Scholastic Inc TM & © 2004-1996. All rights reserved.
- day by day calendar of events in the book
- differences between the British and American versions
- edits and changes to the text
Reader’s Guide to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
A complete chapter-by-chapter guide with notes and commentary
In which we are reminded of the happenings during Harry’s first year at Hogwarts, uncle Vernon has a very important dinner guest coming, dinner plans are made, and Harry’s birthday is forgotten again.
In which Dobby, a house elf, arrives in Harry’s room to warn him not to return to Hogwarts, the Dursleys’ dinner party is ruined by Dobby’s antics, and Harry is locked securely in his room.
In which Ron, Fred, and George Weasley break Harry out of his room with the car and whisk him away to the Burrow. Harry helps de-gnome the garden after Mrs. Weasley speaks her mind.
In which Harry and the Weasleys receive their required book lists from Hogwarts and go to Diagon Alley via Floo Powder. There Harry arrives in Knockturn Alley, overhears the Malfoys, is found by Hagrid, meets author/teacher Gilderoy Lockhart, and Arthur Weasley and Lucius Malfoy come to blows.
In which the entire Weasley family and Harry cram into the Ford Anglia and drive to King’s Cross Station. Harry and Ron cannot get through to the train and decide to fly the car to Hogwarts. The trip is uneventful until the end, when they lose power and crash into the Whomping Willow.
In which Ron receives a howler, they learn about mandrakes in Herbology, Colin Creevey asks for an autographed photo, Lockhart is the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, and they learn about Cornish Pixies.
In which Harry begins Quidditch practice, words are exchanged with the Slytherin team, Ron’s spell backfires, Harry and Ron serve detention, and Harry hears a voice.
In which Harry is caught dripping mud on the carpet by Filch, is taken to Filch’s office, discovers Filch is not a wizard, and Nearly Headless Nick invites him to his Deathday Party which HRH attend on Hallowe’en night. Leaving the party, Harry hears voices again, and following the sound with Ron and Hermione discovers writing on the wall and a petrified Mrs Norris.
In which HRH are questioned about the petrified cat, Hermione asks about the Chamber of Secrets, they return to the scene of the crime, consult Moaning Myrtle, and puzzle about the mystery.
In which a note from Lockhart gets HRH into the Restricted Section of the library and a book on making Polyjuice Potion. At the Quidditch match, a rogue bludger chases Harry, breaking his arm but not stopping him from getting the snitch. Lockhart’s attempt to heal Harry removes the bones from his arm. Madam Pomfrey begins to heal him, Dobby pays a visit, and Colin Cheevey is petrified.
In which Harry is cured, goes looking for Ron and Hermione in the girl’s toilet where they are brewing the Polyjuice Potion, Hermione steals the ingredients from Snape’s office when Harry creates a diversion in class. A duelling club is started by Lockhart and Snape during which Harry learns he is a Parselmouth when a snake is conjured up by Malfoy. Rumours fly suggesting that Harry is responsible for the attacks on students, a rumour which is strengthened when he stumbles on the bodies of Justin Finch-Fletchley and Nearly-Headless Nick.
In which Harry is hauled before Dumbledore, witnesses the phoenix burning, and learns Dumbledore does not suspect him of wrongdoing. Christmas Day, presents are opened, the Polyjuice Potion is ready, Crabbe and Goyle are drugged and hair stolen and the potion drunk by HRH. Disguised as Crabbe and Goyle, Ron and Harry quiz Draco Malfoy and find he has nothing to do with the Secret Chamber. Upon returning to the girls’ toilet they find Hermione has taken on cat features.
In which Myrtle’s toilet floods, Harry finds Tom Riddle’s diary which he shows to a now fur-free Hermione, and they begin a search to discover who the owner was. Lockhart stages a Valentine’s party complete with dwarfs as cupids. That night Harry learns the secret of the diary, goes back in time and discovers that it was Hagrid who last opened the Chamber of Secrets.
In which HRH decide not to confront Hagrid, as time passes and there are no more attacks. Second-year students choose their courses for the next year, Quidditch practice becomes more frequent, Harry returns to his dormitory to find his belongings ransacked and the diary gone. Harry hears the voice again, Hermione runs to the library, and Gryffindor’s match with Hufflepuff is cancelled when Hermione and another girl are attacked. Harry and Ron visit Hagrid and overhear a conversation between Dumbledore, Fudge, and Lucius Malfoy. Hagrid is taken away and Dumbledore suspended as the Ministry tries to stop the attacks.
In which tension mounts in Hogwarts as everyone fears another attack – except Draco Malfoy, who is enjoying the situation. Acting on Hagrid’s hint about following spiders, Harry and Ron go into the Forbidden Forest, find the Ford Anglia, are captured by huge spiders, learn more about the Chamber of Secrets, and are rescued by the car.
In which the students learn that exams will be held as usual, Ginny acts strangely, Harry and Ron visit Hermione in hospital, find she has the answer to the Chamber’s secret (a basilisk), eavesdrop on the teachers, and learn Ginny has been taken by the monster. Lockhart attempts to flee, but Harry and Ron force him to accompany them to the Chamber via Moaning Myrtle’s toilet to rescue Ginny. They unlock the secret of the entrance. Lockhart attempts to escape by using Ron’s broken wand, but it backfires and blocks the tunnel. Harry goes on alone.
In which Harry finds an unconscious Ginny, meets Tom Riddle (who has had Ginny in his power through the diary) and hears his story. Fawkes the phoenix arrives with the Sorting Hat. Riddle (Voldemort) calls the basilisk to kill Harry, but the phoenix attacks and together they kill it, and by driving a serpent fang through the diary, get rid of Riddle as well.
In which Harry tells his story to McGonagall and Dumbledore, Ginny and Lockhart are sent to the hospital, Lucius Malfoy and Dobby arrive, and Harry tricks Lucius Malfoy into freeing Dobby.
Calendar and Dates
The events of the book take place between 31 July 1992 and approximately 19 June 1993, covering Harry's second year at Hogwarts. During this year the school is plagued by dangers small (a wacky Defense Against the Dark Arts professor) and great (a monster loose in the school petrifying students).
For Seán P. F. Harris, getaway driver and foul-weather friend.
Seán Harris was a friend of JKR's while she attended school at Wyedean. Seán owned a turquoise Ford Anglia and the two of them would escape in the car to hang out under the bridge by the Wye River, drinking and talking about life. Rowling has said that in many ways the character of Ron Weasley is similar to that of Seán, although she didn't intentionally use him as a model for the character. Obviously the Anglia owned by Mr Weasley has its origins in the old car Seán drove.
Interesting facts and notes
Bloomsbury (Britain) covers
Notes from the title pages:
First published in Great Britain in 1998
Copyright (c) Text J.K. Rowling 1998
Copyright (c) Cover Illustration Cliff Wright 1997
The moral right of the author has been asserted
Cover design by Michelle Radford
This cover of the US edition, by Mary GrandPré, shows Fawkes flying Harry, Ron, and Ginny (Lockhart is not shown) to safety after the defeat of Riddle in the Chamber of Secrets. This is unusual since most covers show the flying car.
Chamber of Secrets
From the Web
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on Wikipedia
In what way is 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' related to 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets'? from Rowling's original website, from the Internet Archive