Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Chapter 6 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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In Chapter 6, we see Harry’s first day of class at Hogwarts and meet some new faces. Let’s go!

There is a lot to unpack in this chapter, but one of the funniest things in the chapter (possibly the whole book) are howlers. Mrs. Weasley sends Ron a howler, which is basically an exploding letter that loudly yells at him. It’s the best. Honestly, it is a good thing that howlers aren’t real, because my daughter would be in trouble. I’d use them all the time.

Another thing that is nice about this chapter is that we get to see more class time and get to know the Herbology professor, Professor Sprout. We didn’t see her much in Sorcerer’s Stone, so it’s nice to see what her classes are like. They are repotting mandrake plants, which is messy and potentially dangerous, but nothing that pink, fluffy earmuffs can’t handle. What’s funny is that we also see Sprout before class coming back from the Whomping Willow carrying bandages. It has a boo boo!

We also see Gilderoy Lockhart. So let’s talk about him. He is, truly, one of the most annoying people. First, he pulls Harry aside before Herbology and gives Harry some very unasked for advice about being famous, since Lockhart believes Harry took the flying car to Hogwarts in order to generate publicity. Which of course he didn’t, but that’s beside the point. Later, when Harry meets a new first year, Colin Creevy, who is star struck by Harry and wants to take his picture, Lockhart jumps in again to advise Harry that posing for pictures might make him seem a bit pompous, and maybe he shouldn’t do that in this stage of his fame.

Ugh. Harry is much more famous than Lockhart, but he also doesn’t necessarily want to be famous at all. It’s not as if he is famous for a good thing, or anything he had any control over. Lockhart’s assumptions are ridiculous at best, but by the end of this chapter, we start to wonder whether or not Lockhart might just be a fraud. His class, which starts off with a ridiculous quiz, asking questions like “What is Gilderoy Lockhart’s favorite color?” but ends with Lockhart releasing a bunch of pixies out of a cage and being unable to get them back in. Instead, he runs away and let’s a bunch of twelve year olds clean up the mess for him. Hermione is still infatuated with Lockhart, but Ron is the first one to say out loud that maybe Lockhart has made up his adventures.

Quote for the day comes from another class they had that day, Transfiguration:

Ron was having far worse problems. He had patched up his wand with some borrowed Spellotape, but it seemed to be damaged beyond repair. It kept crackling and sparking at odd moments, and every time Ron tried to transfigure his beetle it engulfed him in thick gray smoke that smelled of rotten eggs. Unable to see what he was doing, Ron accidentally squashed his beetle with his elbow and had to ask for a new one. Professor McGonagall wasn’t pleased.

Books I've Read

Book Review: Throne of Glass

throne of glassTitle: Throne of Glass

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: Throne of Glass #1

Edition: Ebook

Blurb: After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her … but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead … quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Review: I picked up this book after being emphatically told that I must read this series by my very dear friend and former podcast co-host, Jess. Actually, what she said was more along the lines of, “I need you to read these books right now because I really really really need to talk to someone about them before I lose my mind!!!” She has done this to me before, and usually, she recommends good stuff. Our reading tastes are very similar, which is why we get along. I also noticed that, back in 2016, I had read this book and gave it a 4 star review on GoodReads, but never read the rest of the series. This makes it eligible for my “Complete the Series” challenge, an added bonus.

I have to say, I read this book very quickly. I was immediately pulled into this world and these characters. Maas is very good at making the story seem simple at first, but leaving little hints of the depth of the world behind it all. It is very easy to be captivated by Celaena’s story and struggles to win the competition, but it is also very clear that there are deeper mysteries that she will need to contend with.

I really liked Celaena as a character. She is feisty, sarcastic, and does not take any crap. While the love triangle thing is played to death, especially in YA, I also really like the two men who in her orbit. Dorian is the son of a terrible, cruel king, but Dorian does not want to be like his father. He is kind and compassionate and will hopefully survive to become a benevolent ruler. Chaol is the captain of the guard, keeping his feelings close to his chest, but you can also tell that his grudging respect for Celaena will grow into something more.

The plot and pacing of the story was good, very exciting. The competition aspect was good, but adding the whole intrigue layer with champions being attacked and killed just upped the ante. The final battle, both of the competition and of the book itself, we both satisfying and open enough to make you want more.

GoodReads rating: 4 stars, but probably more like 4 1/2