After the introduction of Philosopher's Stone, Chamber of Secrets delves a little deeper into the world of Harry Potter. Readers meet again favourite - and some not so favourite - characters, and are introduced to new characters integral to this book and the series as a whole.
Harry is beginning his second year at Hogwarts, yet a mysterious house-elf, Dobby, tries to prevent Harry from returning to school - and later, from remaining. He warns Harry of a devious plot being put into action that will put him in harm's way. So begins a year of stressful and somewhat terrifying events that Harry finds himself in the middle of - despite his best efforts to remain out of trouble.
I love Rowling's magical world, and CoS offers more of an insight into it, with a bit of history of the school and it's founders; Riddle; and the Ministry. It parallels our world so well, and it's easy to imagine it could be true. (How much do I wish?!) From here on out it all starts to come together a bit more, I feel. The threat of the Dark Side becomes just that little more real with the introduction of Lucius Malfoy, and the lengths he is willing to go to 'purify' both the school and the wizarding world. Plus, Harry's struggle with who he is - and what makes him so - intensifies. I've always felt for Harry, caught in the middle of so much. He's a true hero. Though I will admit, sometimes he gets away with a lot, and he does have a nose for trouble! While I'll never agree with quite the dislike Snape has, sometimes the Potions Master has a point!
My love for the Weasley family developed thanks to this book, and it has never waned. They are such a loving family, each with such brilliantly portrayed personalities. Dysfunctional to a T, and perfect for Harry. Her characters are a merit to Rowling and her writing - they are what make the books for me. The Weasley's, in all their good heartedness; Hermione, in all her know-it-all best; Snape, in all his bitterness; Neville, in all his well meaning blundering; Dumbledore, in all is dottering manipulation (I mean it in a good way!); Draco, in all his bullying-too-big-for-his-own-boots! I love even the most hated, because they move the story. They are what grab me and hold on until long after the end. Here, their stories are just beginning.
Chamber of Secrets is a great lead into a world that is to get much darker. I can never put these books down once I start, desperate as I am to find out what happens - even now when I know. I can still be so thoroughly caught up in the action, I could be reading it for the first time!
To conclude, my favourite scene. I do love the fist fight between Lucius Malfoy and Arthur Weasley at the beginning, and it fits with my favourite from Philosopher's Stone (like fathers, like sons, yeah?), but I've decided to go with a brilliant little Snape bit - again, it makes me laugh. This is during the Duelling Club scene, where Lockhart and Snape are about to demonstrate duelling, and Lockhart, in all his misguided glory, assures the students he will not harm their Potions Master.
'Snape's upper lip was curling. Harry wondered why Lockhart was still smiling; if Snape had been looking at him like that he'd have been running as fast as he could in the opposite direction.'
Too true, Harry, too true, as Lockhart does indeed learn! Ah, Severus!