Harry Potter the Chamber of Secrets – Apples to Oranges
In honor of JK Rowling’s recent release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child as well as her announcement that she will publish three new short stories based around Hogwarts in September, this month we will be analyzing the second book in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, the Chamber of Secrets, with its 2002 Warner Brother’s film.
Many (if not all) writers want JK Rowling’s successful career. She is beyond needing to work a day job to support her writing, this financial freedom has allowed her to be one of the most charitable authors on this planet and she has a legion of fans that devour anything related to Harry Potter including merchandise and amusement parks. We can reflect upon her success because her series is completed and she can sit back and relax. But this was not the case 15 years ago when she was the debut author of a surprising best-selling book and had to turn in the next installment in the series. Readers had such high expectations and critics were ready to bounce. Imagine being under that kind of pressure and not buckling.
She nailed it. Harry, Ron, and Hermione return to Hogwarts for their second year and in a clever plot twist must defeat he-who-shall-not-be-named as a teenager. This gave the author the opportunity to compare the lives of both orphans, Harry and Tom, and how their lives took drastically different turns. Some criticized that the storyline structure was too similar to the first novel but I disagree.
Now that readers knew about Hogwarts and our main characters, book two allowed JK to dig deeper into the wizarding world and the wide cast of characters. In this story, readers got a glimpse into the lives of extremes. On one hand, Harry spent time with the Weasley family in their loving home. They weren’t rich but they had each other’s backs. On the other side, through the eyes of Dobby, readers got a glimpse into a wealthy wizard family and their lack of compassion. JK showed viewers that even though wizards could cast spells and make potions, their families could be just as messed up as the Dursleys. Nothing was perfect but she made it all interesting to read.
Which version did I enjoy the best? Drum roll please… the Book!
There were many great things about the 2:40 hour movie, including the special effects of the flying car, the quidditch match, and the actual chamber of secrets but it was all the little things that didn’t make the cut of the film which made the book better. Examples include:
· Nearly Headless Nick’s 500th Deathday Party with rotten appetizers
· Valentine’s Day with singing dwarfs
· The entire lifecycles of the Mandrakes
· The Weasley’s Gnomes in their garden
· Observing the Malfoy family in Knockturn Alley
There is actually one line from the book that pulled all my heartstrings. On page 22, “Then he crossed the room to Hedwig’s cage and tipped the soggy vegetables at the bottom of the bowl into her empty food tray.” The Dursleys are punishing Harry by locking him in a room and barely giving him food. Although extremely hungry, he knows he’s not the only one suffering and he gives part of his rations to Hedwig who is locked in her cage. I could see how the family-friendly movie tried to gloss over Harry’s confinement as soon as possible but the book showed Harry’s true wonderful character. I think this is one of the many reasons why Harry went out of his way to help Dobby, my favorite character storyline from the Chamber of Secrets, but it was certainly why I selected the book as the winner.
Next month is October and in honor of Halloween, I would like to continue with the magical Harry Potter series with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Which version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban did you like best?
Columnist: Jessie lives in Oregon and writes to avoid the rain. She only feels compelled to kill her characters when she starts a new diet and if she hates the ending of a TV episode she’ll rewrite it to give everyone a happily ever after. Currently Jessie is an unpublished author but she works tirelessly to removed two letters – un – from that word.
Column book and movie tape drawn by Evangeline Owen