Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapters 4-6
Harry travels by Floo powder for the first time and completely fails. He is supposed to go Diagon Alley but ends up in Knockturn Alley instead, where all the dark wizards shop. He ends up in shop called Borgin and Burke’s which specializes in buying and selling dark magical objects. There are a lot of seeds planted in this book that Rowling will reap in Half Blood Prince and this scene at Borgin and Burke’s is one of them.
While Harry is there, Draco Malfoy and his father, Lucius, enter the shop. Lucius is looking to sell some poisons and other dark items he has in his house. The ministry is doing a lot of raids and he doesn’t want to have anything that is suspicious in his house if they come by. We learn a lot about the Malfoys in this chapter. Lucius is all about appearances. He tells Draco that it is not smart to appear to dislike Harry. We already know that Lucius was a follower of Voldemort’s but has convinced the ministry that he has either turned back to the light or was forced into it by dark magic. From the things he says to Draco though it is pretty clear that he is only pretending to have renounced Voldemort. He refers to him as the Dark Lord, something that only his followers call him.
We also learn that Draco complains to his father a lot. He has apparently gone on all summer about how much he hates Harry and Hermione. Lucius tells him that he is just jealous of Hermione’s better grades. So despite Snape’s favoritism, Draco is apparently not the best student.
A new year means a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and this year it is Gilderoy Lockhart. Lockhart is the most comedic Defense teacher in the series. He is a famous wizard for writing books about all his great achievements in defeating dark creatures. He is very good looking and all the ladies love of him. He also really loves himself. Even Hermione is enamored with him. It is pretty clear that Lockhart has no actual skills and Ron is the first to call it out.
One of my favorite running threads in this book is Lockhart’s fame mentorship of Harry. Lockhart is delusional in thinking he is more famous than Harry. He keeps downplaying Harry’s fame saying “a few people have heard of him”. He thinks that Harry is looking for attention and he keeps inserting himself to help Harry keep a level head. When little Colin Creevey asks Harry for an autographed photo, Lockhart assumes Harry was giving away photos of himself and he tells Harry he is too early in his career for such things. Lockhart is a complete idiot but I absolutely love him.
- While Harry is at Borgin and Burke’s he sees a lot of creepy items that will come back. Draco eyes the Hand of Glory, Harry hides in what could be the vanishing cabinet (he never closes it), and he sees the necklace Draco will later curse in Half Blood Prince.
- Arthur Weasley and Lucius Malfoy hate each other. A nice parallel to the trio’s constant feuding with Draco.
- Harry and Ron miss the train to Hogwarts and instead of waiting for Arthur and Molly to come back they take the flying car and fly themselves all the way to Hogwarts. It goes okay until they lose control of the car as they get near Hogwarts and land in the Whomping Willow. Ron’s wand gets broken and the car wanders off into the woods without them.
- Snape is more concerned with the damage they did to the tree than it did to them.
- Ron gets a Howler for his shenanigans – the first mention of letters that come to life and yell their message at you in the voice of the sender.
- Harry feels guilty after the car incident, not because they broke the rules but because it got Mr. Weasley in trouble.
- We meet little Colin Creevy, a muggle born first year boy who is just completely obsessed with Harry and all things magical.