Friday, October 2, 2009

Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets by J. K. Rowling (finished)

I just finished Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets by J. K. Rowling.

Harry meets a house elf named Dobby who tries to prevent Harry from attending Hogwarts because of some unnamed danger at the school. Harry, eventually, is able to get to Hogwarts. During the school year, kids are mysteriously petrified. There are rumors that the Chamber of Secrets has been opened and an unspeakably dangerous monster has been released into the school and this monster is responsible for the petrifications. Also, a mysterious diary that is able to write back to writer has been found. The diary belonged to Tom Riddle, a former student at Hogwarts. Riddle was a student at Hogwarts when the Chamber of Secrets was last opened. This book describes how Harry and his friends try to solve the mystery of the Chamber of Secrets, the petrifications and the diary.

There is very little that I can add to the discussions (or hubbub or brouhaha) about this book.

I liked it.

I thought it was well written.

I thought the pacing was good.

But something catch my interest as I read this again. (This reading was my second time through the book.) Harry doesn't follow the rules. He lies to his professors. He (and his friends) steal ingredients from Professor Snape for the polyjuice potion. Harry and Ron masquerade as Malfoy's friends to spy on him. And when Dumbledore addresses Harry's actions at the end of the book, Dumbledore congratulates Harry instead of chides him. The message of the book seems to be "Do what you think is right!" (although, this would be fine when it is coupled with wisdom) and "The ends justify the means."

I don't think that Harry is a good role model for young people. If young people felt that they were a Harry-Potter-like character in the story of their own lives, then chaos would insure in every family and school. I think that Harry may be a modern day version of Frederick Nietzsche's superman. In Dostoevsky's masterpiece, Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov thought that he was the superman but Dostoevsky clearly presents him as a person that is driven to madness by assuming the superman role. In Harry Potter, Harry takes on the role of the superman and he is congratulated and esteemed.

Also, why are the adults all naive? And why are the only savvy people the kids?


I think this series of books is more than just simply children's books. There is a reason why the masses have embraced Harry Potter so wholeheartedly. I think that Harry reflect the spirit of our age (zeitgeist). I think that we can learn a lot about society in general by examining the world views that are presented in this series.

Anyway, OVERALL, I liked the book. I would recommend it. I liked the writing, the pacing and the story. Good times.

If you read this review, please drop a like or a comment. It makes me happy.

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