Chamber of Secrets
This book is near the bottom of my personal ranking for the series. I’m not entirely sure why. Perhaps it’s the fact that it comes right after the excitement of discovering the wizarding world for the first time in Philosopher’s Stone and just before Prisoner of Azkaban, which has been my long-time favorite. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that we are introduced to both giant spiders and a giant snake, both of which try to eat Harry. However, it really is a vital book in the series, as we later find out.
It took quite a while for Pottermore to release the second book after it had opened the first to the public. Gratefully, the Pottermore team seems to have listened to the feedback they got from the first book. I remember being impressed the first time I went through with the improvements between the first and second books.
Chapter 1: The Worst Birthday
Chapter thoughts: It’s our first time seeing our Harry the hero at the Dursleys (as opposed to “just Harry” we met in the last book), and it really does seem like he’s had a miserable summer. We get the classic summarization of the first book as well (known to many as the “info dump”). Standout moments include: “I’ll be in my bedroom making no noise and pretending I don’t exist”; the eyes in the hedge; and the appearance of someone on Harry’s bed.
Moment 1: The Magic Word
We start on the outside of Number 4, Privet Drive, and zoom into the house. It looks almost exactly the same as it did when we saw it in the last book, with a few additions. We also get a glimpse of our first Dursley. Dudley is falling backwards in shock in the kitchen. Characters in scenes are always an improvement for me, and the addition of background sound is nice for this moment as well.
Moment 2: Two Enormous Green Eyes
There’s a lot of random collecting in this moment: pruning shears, rose thorns, and more are hidden throughout. We finally see twelve year old Harry (hooray, a character!), but as this is really an introduction chapter, there’s not much to do.
And that’s really it for this chapter.
Chapter 2: Dobby’s Warning
Chapter thoughts: As we jump into the plot for this adventure, we meet one of the most beloved characters in the series: Dobby the House-elf. This first interaction, however, doesn’t really endear him to Harry. Notable moments include Dobby’s introduction and the hovering pudding.
Moment 1: Dobby the House-elf
This moment is lovely for detail in the art. I love how Harry’s bedspread is wrinkled, as Dobby has obviously just vacated it. We also hear Harry and Dobby’s first conversation as read on the audiobook. Other than that, though, this is a small moment. Mostly, the star of it is the bowing house-elf that now makes all of our eyes grow misty (we love you forever, Dobby!)
Moment 2: Aunt Petunia’s Pudding
Pottermore really listened to the users for this moment. It’s a game! Finally, something a little more interactive. Trying to keep the pudding up is just challenging enough to make it fun, but not so much that it gets frustrating. The part of me that is still a five year old is overjoyed with this. Moments like this were a definite improvement for the site.
And now, we leave poor Harry to be locked up in his room. But someone is coming to his rescue…
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