Hi! My name is Anna, "You'd really like me if you got to know me. I've known me for years and I love me."
word count: about 80 000
rating: thank fuck we have J.K. Rowling
This book was surprisingly good. I remember not liking Chamber of secrets all that much. Now I realize that the film and the book got confused in my head:
e.g. I hate Dobby. At least that's what I thought. But now I realize I simply hate the animated version. More than that, I hate the Polish dubbed version of Dobby. But in my head it all got ruined... So yes. This re-read was most definitely necessary.
I'll be brief (that's what she said... Ha ha)
I love the characters (apart from Ginny, but in this case it's also probably film's fault; the movie contributed to my negative feelings. Sorry Bonnie Wright, you may be pretty but you can't act for shit.)
Fred and George? Brilliant and funny. Comic relief is not a nice thing, it's necessary. At least for me. I love to laugh, therefore my favourite books usually have some sort of humour in them (preferably sarcasm, but I'll gladly settle for mischief - like in this case).
While we're talking about characters I'll use this review as an opportunity to refer to an internet article about parallels in HP books (aaaaand any chances of this review being short are gone. I should not have promised that, damn it)
A DIGRESSION (feel free to scroll down to the end of it)
It basically states that the old gang (Sirius, James, Remus, Peter) is parallel to the new one (Ron, Harry, Hermione + Neville) and the major difference is in Neville Longbotom - a boy that was in a similar situation to Peter Pettigrew, yet made different choices and ended up in a completely contrary position.
I'd argue something more, I'd say that the old and a new gang (so to speak) are mirrored images of each other - the same but at the same time opposite.
Let's look at the pairs one by one. Sirius and Ron. Not the same at all. Sirius was popular, attractive, good with girls and cocky - as the article says "snarky and fun, loyal to a fault, mired in self-doubts".
Ron is awkward as a duck, not as funny as F&G, not as handsome as Bill, not as cool as Charlie, and not as smart as Percy - a totally different situation than Sirius had to face. They both come from pure blooded families, but those families are different as can be. Sirius was cool - Ron, not so much. Sirius is good with girls - Ron, seriously? Nope. But he gets a one girl that matters. Sirius is cruel - Ron is full of compassion. Ron is a different kind off cool, one that does not intimidate, one without the air of superiority.
Harry and James - you've got to be fucking kidding me with this one. James was a stuck up asshole. James craves popularity - Harry is famous, but tries to avoid attention, he doesn't chase it. James loved being the centre of attention - Harry hates it. James was cruel - Harry always stands up for others. James has no empathy - Harry has too much of it (IMO). So what if they're both good at quidditch? That's only a superficial quality.
Remus and Hermione - they're both smart and have excellent grades. But where Lupin craved acceptance so much he'd let James and Sirius do whatever, Hermione always voices her opinions. If Ron and Harry don't like it, too bad. She will not bend for them. Her conviction is strong. Remus did homework for his friends (I bet) Hermione is willing to help others, but will not do work for them.
I love the fact that there's this contrast between the old generation and the new one. That they're similar on the surface but different as can be at the core.
END OF THE DIGRESSION
Now, about the Chamber of Secrets.
There were fewer logical stumbles than in the previous one, but one of them was major. What led Harry and Ron into the Chamber? Stupid fuckery, apparently.
Why did Lockhart open the door and let them in? Why did he tell them the truth? He should be a great liar! He could give them a thousand reasons (or none, after all he owed them no explanation). But ok, he tells them the truth, tries to erase their memory and gets disarmed. Good.
What do Harry and Ron do now? Go to the chamber! Even though just 5 minutes ago they intended to tell the teachers all about it. But suddenly, for no reason whatsoever, they go themselves.
Let's say they feel there's no time to explain and convince other people. Fine. But why take Lockhart with them? Is it supposed to be a punishment for him? A precaution so he doesn't stop them? So what if he tells other teachers where they've gone! He'd be doing them a service! Informing others, so that if they fail McGonnagal can fix things. And taking him with them is just a burden. Now they have an enemy within...
In other words the way they end up in the chamber sucks hairy balls.
That's a negative. What's positive? Well, Harry is a brat. He's not a brave fighter with a grand plan. His 'strategy' consist mostly of panicking. The blind luck saves his life. That, and his character, his moral spine. Which is nice. He's only 12 I didn't think him young when I first read the book because I was 12 too. But now I see a child in him. And that is great. He shouldn't be a skilled fighter.
I like the variety of characters and enjoy a growing complexity of our heroes and, of course, amazing worldbuilding.
In the end I liked this book a lot more than I remembered. Much smoother than the Philosopher's stone.
The adventure continues... soon.