Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Chapter 10 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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In Chapter 10, Harry & Co. find a way into the Restricted Section, a Quidditch match takes a dangerous turn, we get another visit from a certain house elf, and a student is attacked by the monster, proving that the Chamber of Secrets is in fact real. Let’s go!

Harry has a really rough time in this chapter, folks. Starting off with Lockhart’s class, where he has become the teacher’s pet. Lockhart uses Harry to re-enact scenes from his books and, I have to admit, it sounds hilarious. I would have absolutely howled in the back of that class.

Luckily, Lockhart is clueless enough to sign a paper for them that will allow them into the Restricted Section of the library to find the book with the recipe for polyjuice potion. One of the things I do love about this book is how taken Hermione is with Lockhart. Sure, she is the smartest student in her year and keeps her nose in a book at all times, but she’s also just a girl with a crush on a teacher. I’ve had crushes on teachers before and it’s always hard, always awkward. Poor Hermione. She really is my spirit sister.

The polyjuice potion is very complicated, partially because they need to find some of the rare ingredients. Including bits of whoever they are going to change into. I agree, Ron. I would not want to drink anything with toenails in it either. Ugh. It doesn’t help that the illustrations in the book make the transformation look very painful. At this point, I would be backing out of this plan, especially once they decide that they have to break into Snape’s private supplies in order to get what they need. He already hates Gryffindors and Harry specifically, but sure, let’s antagonize Snape even more, shall we? The potion takes a month to brew, but this is the only plan they have, so they go with it.

Quidditch! I love Quidditch so much, and really appreciate how they designed it for the films. It’s just so exciting! Another thing I love about it is how this is something that makes Harry just another kid. He’s had so much to deal with, but during Quidditch, he’s just another kid on his school sports team. They are playing Slytherin, their archnemesis, and things aren’t quite what they seem. For starters, one of the Bludgers seems to have been compromised. Instead of flying around trying to hit as many people as possible, it is targeted only on Harry. Eventually, it hits him hard and breaks his arm. Ouch!

This is such a funny scene, both in the book and the movie, and another instance of how clueless Lockhart actually is. He tries to heal Harry, but instead of fixing his broken bones, he removes the bone entirely! Whoops! Madame Pomfrey to the rescue! I have to say, Madame Pomfrey doesn’t get enough love in the fandom community. She is one of my favorite minor characters in the series, always there to patch them up after one of their escapades, without asking too many questions. She is able to fix Harry’s arm using a potion called Skele-Gro, but it takes a full night to regrow.

And that night, who should appear in the hospital wing? Dobby!!

Turns out Dobby was behind the barrier at Platform 9 3/4 not letting them through, as well as the Bludger going haywire, in an attempt to either keep Harry away from Hogwarts or to send him home. Even though Dobby has been behind all this unpleasantness, it’s hard to not feel sorry for him. He’s just so pathetic.

“Ah, if Harry Potter only knew!” Dobby groaned, more tears dripping onto his ragged pillowcase. “If he knew what he means to us, to the lowly, the enslaved, we dregs of the magical world! Dobby remembers how it was when He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was at the height of his powers, sir! We house-elves were treated like vermin, sir! Of course, Dobby is still treated like that, sire,” he admitted, drying his face on the pillowcase. “But mostly, sir, life has improved for my kind since you triumphed over He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Harry Potter survived, and the Dark Lord’s power was broken, and it was a new dawn, sir, and Harry Potter shone like a beacon of hope for those of us who thought the dark days would never end, sir . . . And now, at Hogwarts, terrible things are to happen, are perhaps happening already, and Dobby cannot let Harry Potter stay here now that history is to repeat itself, now that the Chamber of Secrets is open once more -“

And just like that, the story intensifies again. When we first met Dobby, Harry wondered if someone had sent him as a joke. Now we know that no only is Dobby no joke, but Dobby is in the thick of everything that is going on right now, or at least knows about it. We also learn that the Chamber of Secrets, which Professor Binns had written off as a myth, has been opened before. Dobby isn’t capable of spilling the beans, and Harry isn’t about to just leave, not when one of his best friends is a Muggleborn and as such, could be a potential target.

We get even more confirmation that the Chamber is indeed real and dangerous when Colin Creevy is brought to the hospital wing, petrified just as Mrs. Norris was. He is brought there by Dumbledore and McGonagall, his camera still clutched in his hand. No pictures of the attacker – whatever was powerful enough to petrify Colin also fried his camera – but Dumbledore already knows what has happened. Whatever monster lives in the Chamber of Secrets, it’s out and it’s hunting.

Tune in next time for Chapter 11!

Categories: Chapter-A-Long

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