Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Chapter 15 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

HPCS BannerIn Chapter 15, we get used to a Hogwarts without Hagrid and Dumbledore (which just feels wrong), find out what “follow the spiders” means (literally, it means follow the spiders, of course), and take an eventful trip to the Forbidden Forest. Let’s go!

Double Harry Potter today! Since it’s getting toward the end of the month, and I’m supposed to start Prisoner of Azkaban in March, I figured I’d better get cracking. And since these books get longer and longer, I should probably get used to it.

On to the review!

I don’t want there to be a Hogwarts without Hagrid! Or Dumbledore either, but especially not Hagrid! It’s not right!


Yeah, everything at Hogwarts is pretty terrible. Everyone is scared, no one is having fun, teachers have to escort the students to and from class. It’s awful. Besides that, Harry and Ron have no idea what to do with those last two clues that Dumbledore and Hagrid left them. Who are they supposed to ask for help? How do they follow the spiders when all the spiders seem to have vanished?

It’s very bleak, not gonna lie. The good news, if you can call it that, is that the other students have stopped suspecting Harry as the culprit ever since Hermione got attacked. They know he would never do anything to hurt one of his best friends. So that helps, a bit. I think.

Harry and Ron do get a lead about the spiders, finding some in their Herbology class, walking in a line headed towards the Forbidden Forest. They decide to head out under the Invisibility Cloak to see what they can find. See, I’m with Ron on this one. I don’t like spiders. They creep me out. Following a bunch of spiders into a spooky forest that we already know is filled with scary stuff . . . forget it. No way. Not gonna do it. They take Fang, Hagrid’s dog, with them to act as a guide and as some protection, but still. Nope. Nope nope nope.

Suddenly, they are suprised by . . . the car. Mr. Weasley’s Ford Anglia, which has taken up residence in the Forbidden Forest and has gone a bit wild. It has a mind of it’s own, apparently. It’s just enough to distract them from . . . the giant spiders that swarm over them and carry them to the big daddy giant spider. Aragog.

And from the middle of the misty, domed web, a spider the size of a small elephant emerged, very slowly. There was gray in the black of his body and legs, and each of the eyes on his ugly, pincered head was milky white. He was blind.

“What is it?” he said, clicking his pincers rapidly.

“Men,” clicked the spider who had caught Harry.

“Is it Hagrid?” said Aragog, moving closer, his eight milky eyes wandering vaguely.

“Strangers,” clicked the spider who had brought Ron.

“Kill them,” clicked Aragog fretfully. “I was sleeping . . .”

This is nightmare fuel, right there. Terrifying.

Harry yells out that they are friends of Hagrid’s in hopes that the spiders (who seem to be Hagrid’s friends??) won’t eat them or kill them or whatever spiders do. We proceed to learn that Aragog is NOT the monster from the Chamber of Secrets, although he was thought to be when Hagrid took the blame and got expelled. Aragog never attacked anyone. Aragog won’t tell them what the monster is though.

“The thing that lives in the castle,” said Aragog, “is an ancient creature we spiders fear above all others. Well do I remember how I pleaded with Hagrid to let me go, when I sensed the beast moving about the school.”

Let me just say this: anything that terrifies a spider the size of an elephant is not something I want to deal with, especially since it has children who are the size of horses. Again, nightmare fuel. Anyone with arachnophobia should really sit this chapter out.

Aragog decides that he is done talking and the rest of the spiders close in. Harry and Ron are lucky enough to be rescued by the car and escape the giant spiders. Wow, that’s a really weird sentence. They make it out of the Forest and think over what they have learned (after Ron throws up in Hagrid’s pumpkin patch). Hagrid was innocent. He never opened the Chamber, and never even knew what was inside it. Aragog had mentioned that the girl who died last time was found in a bathroom, which means that maybe . . .

“Ron – that girl who died. Aragog said she was found in a bathroom,” said Harry, ignoring Neville’s snuffling snores from the corner. “What if she never left the bathroom? What if she’s still there?”

Ron rubbed his eyes, frowning through the moonlight. And then he understood, too.

“You don’t think – not Moaning Myrtle?”

Yay! More Moaning Myrtle is always good!

See you next time for Chapter 16!


Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Chapter 14 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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In Chapter 14, Harry & Co. wonder what to do about Hagrid, Riddle’s diary is stolen, the monster strikes again, and we meet the Minister of Magic. Let’s go!

Ugh, this is so hard. How would it feel to find out that someone you genuinely liked and trusted could possibly be behind horrible attacks against students? Like Harry, even the first time when I read this and thought Hagrid might be responsible, I never for a moment thought that he did it to deliberately harm someone. Hagrid likes interesting creatures. It is so easy to believe that he could have tried to take care of Slytherin’s monster and lost control of it.

It leads to another conundrum: what do they do? Do they confront Hagrid? Do they go to Dumbledore? If Hagrid was expelled before, wouldn’t Dumbledore already suspect? It also leads to questions about Tom Riddle. He turned Hagrid in, but only because he didn’t want to be stuck at a Muggle orphanage. Harry understands this, given that he is stuck with his unpleasant Muggle relatives over the summer. It builds up sympathy for the person who will eventually become the main villain of the entire series, even if we don’t know that yet.

But life goes on and, for the time being, the attacks have stopped. We get to see some more normal activities at Hogwarts, like picking their advanced classes for next school year.

Hermione took nobody’s advice but signed up for everything.

That’s my girl!

The next mystery to come their way: Harry’s belongings in their dorm is ransacked while he is at Quidditch practice. Things are torn up and thrown everywhere, but there is only one thing missing. Riddle’s diary. Only a Gryffindor could have stolen it, as they would be the only ones to know the password to get into Gryffindor Tower. I don’t remember who I suspected at this point the first time I read this. The only person to have shown any interest in the diary was Malfoy when he saw it during the singing Valentine incident. He shouldn’t have been able to get into the Gryffindor Common Room, but then, Harry and Ron shouldn’t have been able to get into the Slytherin Common Room either, and they did. So maybe I suspected Malfoy, or maybe I thought that someone else was no involved. Either way, the mystery deepens.

The next attack happens, and this time it hits closer to home. During a Quidditch match, Professor McGonagall comes onto the field and tells everyone to go back to their dormatories. She catches Harry and Ron and brings them to the hospital wing, where they see that Hermione has now been attacked, along with a Ravenclaw girl. She had been carrying a small mirror, which McGonagall asks them about, but Harry and Ron have no idea what she was doing with it. After returning to Gryffindor Tower, McGonagall tells the students that the school might be closed if the culprit isn’t caught.

It’s a clever mirroring of the Riddle situation. If the school is closed, what does that mean for Harry? Would he be stuck living with the Dursleys again? Where else could he go?

It’s serious now. Even though they don’t want to, Harry and Ron know it’s time to talk to Hagrid. They sneak down to Hagrid’s at night and Hagrid seems to know that he might be a suspect – he’s nervous as can be. They are interrupted by the arrival of Dumbledore and Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic.

Side note: it drives me crazy that the movies kept saying “Minister for Magic.” That’s not right and sounds weird!

Harry and Ron hide under the Invisibility Cloak as they watch Hagrid basically get arrested in front of their very eyes. This made me angry – he isn’t being taken away because they think he’s guilty, he’s being taken away because the Minister wants to be seen as at least trying to solve the problem. Fudge knows full well that removing Hagrid will do absolutely nothing to fix this, a fact that Dumbledore drums into him. To make matters worse, Lucius Malfoy also shows up with a letter from the school governors to remove Dumbledore as Headmaster because he hasn’t been able to stop the attacks.

This is all so stupid. Removing Hagrid and Dumbledore will do absolutely nothing to fix this. At all. Everyone knows that, but they are doing to do it anyway.

Before they are escorted out, Hagrid and Dumbledore each give some very cryptic information:

“However,” said Dumbledore, speaking very slowly and clearly so that none of them could miss a word, “you will find that I will only truly have left this school when none here are loyal to me. You will also find that help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it.”

Okay, I guess . . .

. . . Hagrid stood his ground, took a deep breath, and said carefully, “If anyone wanted ter find out some stuff, all they’d have ter do would be ter follow the spiders. That’d lead ’em right! That’s all I’m sayin’.”

Um, what??

See you next time for Chapter 15!

Added to GoodReads

Added to GoodReads – 2/25/19


Didn’t get to post a wrap-up on Friday, because Friday was CRAZY, but I will suffice it to say that I am working very hard at not falling into a reading slump again, and mostly succeeding. So yay!

Added to GoodReads is my way of sharing new books that I have discovered through this lovely community of book bloggers. If you have any books that you have found, or any other book bloggers that I should follow, please let me know!

Happy Monday everyone!