Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Chapter Summary
Chapter 1: The Worst Birthday
Harry is having the worst birthday ever. Not only have the Dursley’s completely forgotten about Harry turning 12, but Uncle Vernon is having his boss over for dinner in order to complete a very important sales deal. This means that Harry has to spend the evening sequestered in his room, making no noise and pretending he doesn’t exist. He has gotten no cards, and no presents, and feels absolutely invisible. As he dully scuttles up to his bedroom when the guests arrive he’s surprised to find there’s a strange creature already sitting on his bed.
Chapter 2: Dobby’s Warning
The creature turns out to be a house elf named Dobby. To his horror, Dobby turns out to be highly emotional, and his weedy-thin voice carries down the stairs where Uncle Vernon is negotiating his dinner meeting with his boss. Harry know she’ll be in big trouble if the night goes awry, so he tries hard to keep Dobby quiet. It’s hard because Dobby worships Harry, and has come to tell him he must not return to Hogwarts. Dobby can’t tell him any specifics though. Harry is also livid to find out that Dobby has been stealing all of his mail so he would think he didn’t have friends at school. As Dobby refuses to give Harry back his letters, he makes Harry promise he won’t go back to Hogwarts and put himself in danger. Of course, Harry refuses, and to his dismay Dobby and the letters disappear. Harry runs downstairs to find him, and his heart stops when he sees Dobby in the kitchen, floating a gigantic pudding in midair. When Harry again refuses to stay home from Hogwarts, Dobby drops the gigantic pudding on the floor, sending it flying all over the kitchen. He’s promised death by Uncle Vernon, who manages to gloss the whole thing over. It ends badly, however, when an owl sent by the Ministry of Magic arrives and terrifies the guests. Harry is admonished by the Ministry for performing magic outside of school and when Uncle Vernon finds that Harry is not allowed to use magic during vacation he locks Harry up in his room and installs bars on his windows. Three days after his imprisonment, Harry wakes up to find Ron Weasley floating outside his window.
Chapter 3: The Burrow
Harry is amazed to find that Ron, Fred, and George have come to take him home in a flying car that their father owns. Using the car they pull the bars off Harry’s bedroom window and load Harry’s stuff in. Harry barely makes it away from the grasp of Uncle Vernon, but finally pulls free and they gleefully setoff into the night towards Ron’s home. As Harry catches them up on the Dobby fiasco, none of the boys really believe Dobby was telling the truth about there being a dangerous plot in Hogwarts. Harry is ecstatic when they finally get to the Burrow but it doesn’t last more than a moment when Mrs. Weasley, Ron’s mother, comes stalking out of the house, livid that the boys confiscated the car and risked so much to go get Harry. Her rage doesn’t last too long, however, and she makes them a delicious breakfast. Mr. Weasley gets a taste of his wife’s rage a bit later when he comes home from work and catches it from her for enchanting the car to fly. Harry and Ron retreat to his room to escape the battle and Harry admits to Ron that he loves the messy, scattered house that Ron calls home.
Chapter 4: At Flourish And Blotts
Life at the Burrow is completely different from life with the Dursley’s and Harry is very happy spending the last bit of summer vacation there. When booklists arrive from Hogwarts they plan to meet up with Hermione in Diagon Alley and all do their shopping together. They travel to Diagon Alley using Floo powder, which allows wizards to travel from one fireplace to another. Harry is nervous about traveling this way and, to his horror, he ends up in some dark magic shop. He overhears DracoMalfoy’s father, Lucius, selling a bunch a poisons to the shop owner and as soon as he can, he creeps out and starts looking for Diagon Alley. He’s very much relieved to bump into Hagrid, who quickly steers him the right direction and they meet up with the Weasley’s and continue their shopping. When they get to the bookstore they’re all surprised to see famous author Gilderoy Lockhart there signing copies of his latest book. He takes a publicity photo with Harry and then announces that he’ll be arriving at Hogwarts shortly to assume the post of Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. They bump into the Malfoy’s and Mr. Weasley and Mr. Malfoy almost get into a fight when Mr. Malfoy insults his family. Harry is definitely glad to get back to the Burrow.
Chapter 5: The Whomping Willow
They’re running extremely late the morning they all have to meet the Hogwarts Express. Tempers are high and Ron and Harry are the last ones to push through the barrier to meet the train. They’re both stunned, however, when the gate seals itself against them and they’re stuck at the Muggle station, unable to get through. They panic until Ron gets the brilliant idea to use the flying Ford Anglia to get to Hogwarts. They setoff immediately, following the train through the air. Just as they reach Hogwarts, however, the car dies and they crash into a gigantic tree on the grounds. Ron’s wand is broken almost in half and they quickly figure out that the tree they’ve landed in is intent on killing them. When they finally make it up to the school, they’re met by Snape, who promises them expulsion since Muggles saw them in the flying car. When Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall show up, however, they are relieved to discover they’re not expelled. They are still in a lot of trouble, though, but only get a detention. They’re the heroes of the Gryffindor common room that night and Harry is extremely happy to be back at Hogwarts when he finally climbs into bed.
Chapter 6: Gilderoy Lockhart
Their first day back does not start off well. Ron gets a Howler from his mother, who is furious with him for stealing the car. Then Professor Lockhart accuses Harry of stealing the car to earn himself a bit more fame, even when Harry assures him whole-heartedly that this is not so. Lessons prove to be extremely difficult, and Harry feels that everything he learned the previous year fell out of his head over the summer. His first class with Lockhart proves to be unbelievable. Lockhart is completely in love with himself and doesn’t teach them anything useful at all. He brings along a cage full of Cornish pixies and when they prove to be almost impossible to control, he assigns Ron, Harry, and Hermione the task of capturing them and leaves quickly with the rest of the class.
Chapter 7: Mudbloods And Murmurs
Harry tries hard to avoid Lockhart the rest of the week and by the time the weekend comes he’s ready for a break. His newest fan, first year Colin Creevey, follows Harry down to Quidditch practice and keeps adding fuel to the fire as he hero-worships Harry constantly. Harry is dismayed to find out that Draco Malfoy is Slytherin’s new Seeker and bought his whole team brand new brooms. He calls Hermione a terrible word, “Mudblood”, and Ron is horrified when he tries to curse Malfoy with his broken wand and ends up cursing himself. Harry finds out later that afternoon that his detention will be with Lockhart, of all people, helping him respond to his fan mail. As he’s in the office with Lockhart he hears a strange, whispery voice that Lockhart can’t hear at all. Later, this voice proves to be the Basilisk. He’s unnerved about it when he goes to bed that night.
Chapter 8: The Death day Party
When the Gryffindor ghost, Nearly Headless Nick, gets Harry out of trouble with Filch one day, Harry is so grateful he agrees to come to Nick’s death day party on Halloween night. When he, Ron, and Hermione show up, however, he can’t wait to leave. It’s creepy and uncomfortable and full of other ghosts. When they finally manage to sneak out, Harry again hears the scary voice in the walls. Even though Ron and Hermione are right next to him, they couldn’t hear it at all. It whispers about killing someone and Harry races down the hall after it. They follow it into a hallway where they’re shocked to find a message written in red, proclaiming the Chamber of Secrets to be opened again, and Filch’s cat, Mrs. Norris, frozen and dead looking.
Chapter 9: The Writing On The Wall
When Dumbledore shows up they immediately follow him into Lockhart’s office, where Harry is strangely reluctant to tell him about the voice only he can hear. The next few days all anyone can talk about is the Chamber of Secrets. In their History of Magic class, Professor Binns tells them that the legend of the Chamber goes back centuries. Apparently Slytherin built a secret chamber within the school and sealed a monster inside it magically. No one but Slytherin’s true heir would be able to open the chamber but once they did the monster would purge the school of all Muggle-borns. Harry, Ron, and Hermione spend the evening obsessively discussing the Chamber of Secrets and poking around for clues. Harry begins to think that Malfoy might be the Heir of Slytherin and they quickly come up with a plan to find out. They’re going to try to make Polyjuice Potion, which will make them look like someone else, and sneak into the Slytherin common room to interrogate Malfoy.
Chapter 10: The Rogue Bludger
They trick Lockhart into giving them permission to use the Restricted Section in the library and take out the book they need to brew up some Polyjuice Potion. They’re horrified when they realize they’re going to have to steal a bunch of the ingredients and that the potion will take a month to brew but they resolve to go forward with the plan. During the first Quidditch match of the season Harry realizes that someone has cursed one of the bludgers because it won’t stop going after him. Fred and George do all they can do to protect him but Harry decides to take care of it on his own by out-maneuvering it. Just as he is about to catch the Snitch, however, it hits his arm hard and breaks it. He manages to reach out with his other hand, grab the Snitch, and win the game for Gryffindor. As soon as he lands he passes out from the pain and when he comes to he finds Lockhart standing over him, attempting to cure him. When he casts the spell he ends up removing Harry’s bone, not mending it. He has to spend the night in the hospital wing as Madam Pompfrey regrows the bones in his arm and in the middle of the night he’s awakened by Dobby of all things. He’s livid when he finds out it was Dobby that prevented him from getting on the train and apoplectic when Dobby admits to cursing the Bludger. He still can’t tell Harry what’s happening at Hogwarts and wants him to go home so he isn’t killed. Suddenly Dobby vanishes when he hears someone coming as Dumbledore walks in to the hospital wing with Professor McGonagall. They’re carrying someone who is stiff as aboard and when Madam Pomfrey comes in she’s horrified at what she sees. Colin Creevey has been petrified just like Filch’s cat, Mrs. Norris. Harry overhears Dumbledore saying the Chamber of Secrets has indeed been opened again.
Chapter 11: The Dueling Club
When Harry gets out of the hospital wing he meets up with Ron and Hermione, who have started working on the Polyjuice Potion. They decide to cause a diversion in Snape’s class so they can steal the ingredients they need and Hermione shocks them both by volunteering to do the actual stealing. The plan goes perfectly and they get what they need. Lockhart starts a Dueling Club later that week and the first meeting is a disaster when Malfoy and Harry duel and Malfoy shoots a snake out of his wand at Harry. All Harry does is tell the snake to go away but for some reason it terrifies all the students and Ron rushes him out of the room. Harry later finds out that he is a Parselmouth and can talk to snakes. Now everyone thinks he’s Slytherin’s heir and is responsible for opening the Chamber of Secrets. When another student is attacked, Harry is taken to see Dumbledore.
Chapter 12: The Polyjuice Potion
Before Dumbledore can confront Harry, Hagrid bursts through the door, screaming that Harry had nothing to do with the latest victim. Dumbledore quickly assures him that he does not believe Harry was involved but he asks Harry if there’s anything he’d like to tell him. Again, Harry does not reveal he can hear a voice in the walls and says nothing. During Christmas, Harry, Ron, and Hermione all stay at Hogwarts in order to finally get into Slytherin’s common room to question Malfoy. The potion is finally ready on Christmas Day, and to their amazement Hermione already has a well-thought-out plan for how it’s going to work. They put Crabbe and Goyle to sleep with enchanted cupcakes and use a piece of their hair to throw into the irrespective potions. Before they know it, Ron and Harry are looking just like Crabbe and Goyle. Hermione is hysterical foursome reason and refuses to come out of her restroom stall, so they leave without her. They quickly run into Malfoy and make it into the common room, where they’re shocked to discover that Malfoy has no idea who the heir of Slytherin is. They barely make it out of the common room without being detected after the Polyjuice Potion suddenly begins to wear off. When they make it back to the bathroom they finally persuade Hermione to come out of her bathroom stall and are horrified to discover she still looks like a cat after accidentally using a cat hair in her potion.
Chapter 13: The Very Secret Diary
Hermione has to stay in the hospital wing for weeks and is grateful to Ron and Harry for bringing her homework to her every evening. One evening, Ron and Harry are walking down the hall when they hear Moaning Myrtle sobbing harder than she ever has before. She informs them that someone threw a book at her and when Harry picks it up he’s intrigued because it looks just like a diary and he sees that it once belonged to someone named T.. M. Riddle. To his disappointment it’s blank but, not quite knowing why, he pockets the book. One night he starts writing in the diary and is amazed when the diary starts writing back to him, talking to him. The boy, Tom Riddle, tells Harry that he was the one that caught the person who opened the Chamber of Secrets the first time. Tom invites Harry into his world to see how he caught the person. Nervously, Harry agrees and is pulled into the diary. He follows Tom into a secret passageway and is shocked beyond belief when he discovers it was Hagrid that was responsible for opening the Chamber the first time.
Chapter 14: Cornelius Fudge
Harry, Ron, and Hermione are shocked that Hagrid could have anything to do with the Chamber of Secrets but they decide not to confront him about it. One day, Harry is surprised to find out someone pilfered his trunk, looking for something, and he quickly realizes that Riddle’s diary is gone. The next day on their way down to the next Quidditch match, Harry again hears the whispering voice. The game is just about to start when Professor McGonagall announces that the game has been cancelled and she brings a confused Harry and Ron up to the hospital wing. They’re shocked to find out that Hermione has been Petrified along with a Ravenclaw girl. After the latest double attack, security is tightened immensely. Desperate, Harry and Ron sneak to Hagrid’s house to ask him about opening the Chamber the first time. Before they start talking about it, however, they must quickly hide when someone else knocks on the door. They’re shocked when Dumbledore and the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, enter, shortly followed by Lucius Malfoy. Hagrid is taken away to Azkaban as a “precaution”, and Dumbledore is forced to step down as Headmaster. Before he leaves, Hagrid gives them a mysterious hint, telling them to follow the spiders if they want more information.
Chapter 15: Aragog
Harry and Ron finally find some spiders to follow, and they head into the Forbidden Forest after them. They are extremely unnerved by the creepy, dark forest. Amazingly enough, they find Ron’s dad’s car, the flying Ford Anglia, roaming about the Forest. Suddenly they’re captured by gigantic spiders and are taken back to a nest that is filled with thousands of other spiders. Ron, who has a fear of spiders, is completely petrified and Harry is too. He really doesn’t see how they’re going to get out of there alive. The leader, a gigantic spider named Aragog, tells them that Hagrid raised him from a tiny egg and protected him when the Chamber of Secrets was opened before. Aragog tells them that the beast that’s in the castle is one that spiders fear above all others but won’t tell them what it is. Just when Harry and Ron are about to be eaten, the Ford Anglia comes to their rescue and gives them a ride out of the forest.
Chapter 16: The Chamber Of Secrets
Harry finally figures out that Moaning Myrtle is the girl that was killed the first time the Chamber was opened, so the first chance they get, they sneak off to her bathroom to question her. They’re caught by Professor McGonagall, though, and tell her that they’re on their way to visit Hermione in the hospital wing. She buys the story but they have no choice after that but to head up and visit Hermione. While they’re up there, Harry spots a piece of paper in her hand and, once they tug it free, they read that she discovered what the beast was–a basilisk, which is a gigantic snake that kills people with it’s stare (people were Petrified because they saw the eyes indirectly, in different ways). Hermione also wrote down the word “pipes”, which is how the beast was getting around the castle. They immediately head to the staff room to tell Professor McGonagall this new information but overhear some tragic news. Ginny, Ron’s sister, has been taken captive by the monster. The other professors commit Lockhart to finding the monster since he’s always boasting about the thing she’s done, so Harry and Ron head to his office later to tell him the new information. To their amazement, they find him about to run away and he tells them that he never did any of the stuff he wrote about. He’s about to wipe their memory, but Harry threatens him. Since Lockhart has little skill, he drops his wand and they all troop to Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom to question her. She tells them where they can find the beast and they quickly set off through the tunnels to rescue Ginny. When Lockhart tries again to curse them and escape, Ron’s wand backfires on him and Harry and Ron get separated in the collapsed tunnel. Harry continues on to the Chamber alone.
Chapter 17: The Heir Of Slytherin
When he reaches the Chamber, he quickly finds Ginny, who is unconscious. Tom Riddle is also there and Harry is horrified when he realizes that Tom has stolen his wand and he’s the one that opened the Chamber–by possessing Ginny–and set loose the basilisk. She’s been writing in the diary all year and Tom took advantage of her through the diary. Harry finds out that Tom Riddle is really a school-aged Lord Voldemort. As Riddle talks, Harry tells him that Dumbledore is the best wizard there is. Fawkes, Dumbledore’s phoenix, suddenly shows up bearing the Sorting Hat. Harry’s not sure what he’s supposed to do with a hat as a weapon but when Riddle calls forward the basilisk to kill him, he doesn’t have to worry just yet. Fawkes swoops down and pokes its eyes out. Terrified, Harry wishes there was someone down there to help him and as soon as he mumbles this the Sorting Hat spits forth a beautiful sword. Harry is able to drive the sword into the roof of the basilisk’s mouth but is bitten on the arm in the process. Harry is sure he is dying and Fawkes flies over and cries over his arm, healing Harry with his tears. Fawkes then grabs the diary and drops it in Harry’s lap and, not quite knowing why, he stabs the diary with the fang that the basilisk left in his arm. This destroys Riddle and leaves Harry alone with Ginny in the Chamber. As they make their way back to Ron, Ginny is horrified over what she’s done. Fawkes helps them all out of the Chamber and they head immediately to Professor McGonagall’s office.
Chapter 18: Dobby’s Reward
Harry tells Dumbledore and the very relieved Weasley’s everything that happened down in the Chamber. Ginny is not punished for being tricked by Voldemort and Ron and Harry are both honored for their service to the school. When everyone else has left the office, Dumbledore shows Harry that he truly belongs in Gryffindor because the sword that came out of the Sorting Hat was Godric Gryffindor’s sword. When Harry leaves the office he runs into Lucius Malfoy and Dobby in the hallway. Dobby is cowering before his master, terrified, and suddenly Harry gets an inspiration. Dobby helps him figure out that it was Lucius that passed Ginny the diary before school started in Flourish and Blotts. Harry is able to pass Lucius the diary back in a dirty sock and when Malfoy throws away the sock in disgust Dobby catches it and is set free. Malfoy is livid that Harry lost him his servant but Dobby is more grateful than he can say for being freed. The end of term feast is one of the finest that Harry has ever seen and as he sets off back to the Dursley’s, he’s already looking forward to the end of the summer–when he can come back to Hogwarts.