The Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 18: The Chamber of Seacrest

At the risk of beating a dead basilisk into the ground, I want to talk about why Chamber of Secrets is one of my least favorite books in the series. And, for the record, I agree with Jennie that saying that is like picking your least favorite kind of chocolate chip cookie. But in the cookie comparison, Chamber of Secrets is like a thin and crispy chocolate chip cookie that softens when you dunk it in a glass of milk. However, it’s definitely not the thick and chewy chocolate chip cookie that’s warm from the oven, where the middle is still a little gooey. Both are frickin’ amazing and both have their place in the cookie spectrum, but MOST of the time I’m going to pick the warm cookie.

This time around I tried to figure out why I feel that way. And I think it’s because I don’t get the same warm, gooey feelings about the new supporting characters (*cough* Dobby and Lockhart *cough*) in this book as I do in the others. I’ve softened towards the house elf and the egotist with time, but it’s not enough to endear me to this book forever. So there’s that. Okay, thanks for letting me sort that out in my head and take the cookie metaphor too far.

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: DOBBY’S REWARD

So Harry, Ron, Ginny, and Lockhart find themselves in Professor McGonagall’s office, much to the relief of the Weasleys. I mean, they thought that their daughter was DEAD. That is horrifying. You know what else is horrifying? This picture that I saw on tumblr of The Chamber of Seacrest.

“One of my favorite things to cook is fondue. I’m Swiss. It’s a great social meal.” -Ryan Seacrest

“One of my favorite things to cook is fondue. I’m Swiss. It’s a great social meal.” -Ryan Seacrest

Harry recaps his adventure for the adults and Dumbledore gives us some interesting backstory about Voldemort. Mrs. Weasley asks about what Ginny had to do with the story. Ginny sputters out that she’s been writing in his diary all year. Mr. Weasley, who knows a thing or two about dark magic from his job, responds with, “Haven’t I taught you anything? What have I always told you? Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain. Why didn’t you show the diary to me, or your mother? A suspicious object like that, it was clearly full of dark magic!”

Okay, there’s a lot of wisdom in this and probably even some real life application to glean from it, but I’m gonna side with Ginny. Yes, it was definitely suspicious and nearly got her killed, but she comes from a wizarding family. When you see weird stuff happen on a regular basis, I can understand that it would be hard to tell what’s good and what’s bad. She was a lonely, homesick first-year, figuring out how to be on her own for the first time in her life. I’m just glad that she’s okay.

Dumbledore sees a bit of this, too, I think, which is why he sends her off to the hospital for a steaming mug of hot chocolate. We all know that the wizarding world is cooler than our own, but one of the legit coolest things about it is that chocolate is a prescribed form of medication. Dumbledore also says that the occasion of raising the victims merits a feast. Man, I love Hogwarts.

The now memory-wiped Lockhart gets in a hilarious line about Harry’s sword and is dismissed. Until next time, Gilderoy…

I like to think that his award-winning smile remains the same even after his accident.

I like to think that his award-winning smile remained the same even after his accident.

Dumbledore and Harry have one of their now-traditional end of semester talks about feelings and stuff. Only a true Gryffindor could have pulled Godric Gryffindor’s sword out of the Sorting Hat, which really gets to me. Finally, Dumbledore lets Harry go get some food. If I were Harry, I’d be starving right about now. Wizards be feastin’, yo.

On the way out of the office, Harry runs into Lucius Malfoy and Dobby on their way into the office. Dumbledore is awfully jovial about the whole encounter, which is reason #7,233 to love Albus Dumbledore. Basically everything is Malfoy’s fault, but there’s not a lot that Dumbledore and Harry can do about it. That’s a hard truth to learn and it’s one that I’m still trying to accept.

Harry can, however, get a tiny bit of comeuppance. With a bit of quick thinking, he takes his sock and stuffs it into the diary. Lucius tosses the sock aside and unintentionally frees his house elf. Dobby is free! He can do whatever he wants now in the way of magic and sends his former owner tumbling down the stairs. I have a really hard time with Dobby, but that was a total BAMF move. Oh, and it turns out that Dobby is the world’s worst clue-giver. “Dobby was giving you a clue. The Dark Lord, before he changed his name, could be freely named, you see?” What the…? Seriously, Dobby?

"Immortal Love Rodd" (maybe)

“Immortal Love Rodd” (maybe)

We get a tiny glimpse of the Hogwarts Pajama Party, which sounds like SO MUCH FUN. I wish that we got a whole chapter about the food that they served (jam doughnuts!) and what everyone’s pajamas looked like.

Finally, Ginny wasn’t the only one with a chamber of secrets this year… She spills the beans that Percy’s been using an empty classroom to snog his Ravenclaw girlfriend. Harry gives Ron his phone number–I’ll let you write your own Carly Rae Jepsen joke. Our adored trio finds themselves back at King’s Cross Station and thus concludes another year at Hogwarts.

SEACREST OUT.

Bonus!

My Canadian paperback of the book has a few extra pages in the back with letters written to J.K. from her fans. This letter is my favorite.

THE CUTEST.

THE CUTEST.

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27 thoughts on “The Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 18: The Chamber of Seacrest

  1. Kevin O'Shea says:

    I will forever be envious of your bonus letters edition.

  2. Lindsay says:

    Ahh, how I so wanted to see someone go with the Chamber of Seacrest thing…

  3. Ashley says:

    The Chamber of Seacrest is legitimately frightening.

    I think I know why the Chamber of Secrets is my least favorite chocolate chip cookie, too. The first book is the beginning, and I LOVE beginnings of stories, especially if they’re done well. One of my favorite things to do is to rewatch pilots of long running TV shows just for the pleasure of seeing how everything started out. But it was a simple book, short and to the point, and though it does hint at some deeper stuff, it never really GOES there.

    The same goes for book two, only, it’s not the beginning anymore. She ramped up the thematic resonance and character work SIGNIFICANTLY in POA, and the ending to that one, and Lupin for fuck’s sake . . . COS just pales in comparison. I mean, the battle with the basilisk is cool and everything, but it’s nothing in comparison to Harry getting a godfather and finding out about his father’s past and the deepening and maturing of the wizarding world that goes on later. Sigh. I can’t wait for POA.

    (So good thing it’s coming at noon PST.)

    • Gretchen Alice says:

      This is going to sound super cheesy, but CoS just isn’t as magical as PS and PoA. I always forget about how much stuff it sets up for book seven, though, so I guess it’s necessary.

    • Jen says:

      This blog is riddled with band geeks, so you can’t tell me that I was the only one that read POA as Pride of Arizona when I saw this the first time, even though that makes absolutely no sense in context.

  4. Jennie says:

    That letter made my ovaries hurt.

  5. Valerie Anne says:

    Super late to the game, but can I just say that I also don’t blame Ginny for trusting the diary that talked back. I mean, “Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.” seems like sorted advice considering their PICTURES MOVE. And not like gif-move, like, put curlers in their hair and hide and visit other frames and talk and everything. At first I thought it was the coolest thing, but when I realized it wasn’t just like capturing a little video of the moment into a photograph, it threw me. I still have a hard time wrapping my head around it. Like, are they sad they’re stuck in photos? Are they just capturing the likeness AND the essence of the person? Was that Goosebumps book right and every photo takes a tiny piece of your soul???

    I know, I know, the answer is probably just “magic”. But STILL.

    • Ashley says:

      Ooh! Ooh! I know this!

      Wizard portraits are enchanted to be sentient, meaning they can think, feel, and remember for themselves. This is usually something done by a skilled artisan (the enchanting bit, obviously also the painting). Normal wizard portraits have the personality of their subject and can mimic certain phrases and such their real life counterpart frequently used, but most don’t really know anything about them or who they were and essentially become their own *people*.

      The exception to this is Hogwarts headmasters who get portraits of themselves painted as soon as they are admitted to office and keep those portraits throughout their term as headmaster, teaching them everything about their lives. So Hogwarts headmaster portraits are essentially magical clones of the real life person, but not *actually* them.

      Wizard pictures are different. They are developed in a magical solution that animates them in a loop, but since they are not sentient, they are merely recreations of the time/mood/feelings that were going on at the time the picture was taken. (This is why Harry’s magical self could tug itself out of the frame when that didn’t actually happen.)

      • Valerie Anne says:

        I love you for having all of this information and sharing this with me. I obviously have not spent enough time in the Potterverse. I feel like a Philosopher Stone Neville for not knowing these kinds of things.

        So, for example, when Percy’s picture of Penelope got a stain on her nose, she started hiding. Does this mean she was feeling a little self-conscious when the photo was taken?

        • Ashley says:

          Are you on Pottermore? it’s not as fun as I thought it would be, but there is quite a bit of stuff on there that she didn’t get a chance to slip into the books.

          And yeah, I think it does! Which is adorable.

          • Valerie Anne says:

            I was for a while, but then too much time passed between books getting released that I stopped going in. I should do that more often.

            I WAS in there enough to get my wand, get sorted into Hufflepuff (which took me a while to come to terms with, but now I know it’s 100% correct), and realize that I would be absolutely dreadful at Potions.

          • Ashley says:

            I had to come to terms with being in Hufflepuff as well, but now I can’t imagine why I ever thought I would be anywhere else. I am *such* a Hufflepuff. And I suck at Potions, too! There is a Potions challenge in the 2nd book that you HAVE to pass and it took me FOREVER. I think it was making Polyjuice Potion. I kept fucking it up royally on the very last step and wasting hours of work.

            Yeah, I only go in when a new book is up. I think they just posted the first part of GOF but I’m waiting for the whole thing. It’s been taking them about 6 months per book, but I think I just read somewhere they’ve addeed screens to SS and COS so I have to go back in and do those ones now.

            Did you see the Lupin backstory? It’s a MUST READ.

          • Kevin O'Shea says:

            “come to terms with” For shame, ladies. Massive shame.

          • Valerie Anne says:

            I don’t know why it won’t let me reply in line, but – I’ll look for the Lupin story!

            And Kevin, sometimes a Hufflepuff secretly wishes they were brave like a Gryffindor or clever like a Ravenclaw, and it takes them some time to realize that maybe being loyal and true is the bravest, cleverest thing of all.

          • Ashley says:

            What Valerie said.

            Oh, and the replying this is my fault. I set it up so that it only allows three reply threads. I can probably change it, but they get ridiculously small when you go past four.

          • Valerie Anne says:

            It ended up falling into place somehow anyway. No worries! 🙂

      • I knew the bit about the pictures, but I didn’t know about the portraits. That is super cool.

      • Jen says:

        Yay! I should get on Pottermore and like, learn these things. Didn’t Dumbledore’s portrait not appear on the wall until after he died, though? Or am I remembering that wrong?

  6. Jen says:

    Also, now I want cookies.

  7. 🙂 I have the Canadian copy as well. Those letters at the back really are so cute!

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