Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Chapter 11 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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In Chapter 11, the brewing of the polyjuice potion has begun, the trio has to cause a distraction in Snape’s class, the Dueling Club has it’s first very eventful meeting, and the monster strikes again . Let’s go!

Now that Harry’s arm is all mended, it’s time to get back to business. Polyjuice time! Ron and Hermione have started the brewing process in Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom (because let’s be honest, who’s gonna look for them there?) and have done everything they can without those last few ingredients. That they will have to steal. From Snape. No possible way for this to go wrong.

Hermione decides she should be the one to actually steal the stuff because she hasn’t gotten into any trouble before. And, let’s be honest, she knows what she’s looking for. I don’t know if I would trust Ron to find the proper things. Sorry Ron. The distraction actually works – Harry throws a firecracker into one of the cauldrons during class, and in the ensuing chaos, Hermione is able to slip into Snape’s office and get the ingredients they need. Harry can tell though, just by the way Snape is looking at him, that Snape knows Harry did it. He has no proof though, so Harry is safe for now.

We get lots of excellent Snape scenes in this chapter, the next one being the Dueling Club, which Harry is excited to join, until he sees that Lockhard is running it. Ugh. He has talked Snape into assisting him and it is rather funny seeing Snape throw Lockhart across the room. This scene is more than just fun and games though, and it leads to another revelation about Harry. When Malfoy uses a spell to attack Harry with a giant snake, Harry finds out that the snake listens to him. We’re reminded of how the snake at the zoo in the first book responded to Harry in much the same way. A neat little connection.

The other students are not cool with this. They are completely weirded out. Turns out that the ability to talk to snakes, called being a Parselmouth, was something that Salazar Slytherin was famous for. It’s just one more thing that connects Harry to these attacks and leads everyone to believe that Harry might be the Heir of Slytherin. Top that off with the fact that the Sorting Hat had wanted to put him in Slytherin originally, and Harry starts really wondering if he could be related to Slytherin somehow.

Rumors spread all over school, especially in Hufflepuff. At the Dueling Club, Harry’s attempts to call off the snake looked like he was driving the snake towards a Hufflepuff Muggleborn named Justin. Which he wasn’t, of course. Harry was trying to make the snake go away. But if someone was rushing at me and a large snake, speaking a weird hissing language, I’d be weirded out too. The Hufflepuffs, and most of the rest of the school, don’t trust Harry at all anymore. It’s really sad. Harry had found a home at Hogwarts and is back to being treated like a pariah. I feel so bad for him!

The next attack, of course, happens soon after Harry confronts a group of these Hufflepuffs, and of course, Justin is one of the people who was attacked. This time it’s different, though. There is another victim.

Nearly-Headless Nick

How does something attack a ghost? How do you hurt someone that’s already dead? This is the creepiest part of the story yet!

Harry is caught at the scene of the crime, yet again. Wrong place, wrong time. We know he’s innocent, but it also looks really, really bad. Professor McGonagall tells Harry that there is nothing else she can do.

They marched in silence around a corner and she stopped before a large and extremely ugly stone gargoyle.

“Lemon drop!” she said. This was evidently a password, because the gargoyle sprang suddenly to life and hopped aside as the wall behind him split in two. Even full of dread for what was coming, Harry couldn’t fail to be amazed. Behind the wall was a spiral staircase that was moving smoothly upward, like an escalator. As he and Professor McGonagall stepped onto it, Harry heard the wall thud closed behind them. They rose upward in circles, higher and higher, until at last, slightly dizzy, Harry saw a gleaming oak door ahead, with a brass knocker in the shape of a griffin.

He knew now where he was being taken. This must be where Dumbledore lived.

Oh boy, here we go!

Tune in next time for Chapter 12!

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