Harry is back at the Dursley’s for the summer and is visited by Dobby, a house-elf. House-elves are slaves for wizarding families and are only set free when they are given clothes. The family for which Dobby works treats him badly. Dobby tries to prevent Harry from going back to Hogwarts because bad things are going to happen there. Ron picks Harry up with his Dad’s flying car and takes him back to his house, the Burrow.
At Hogwarts, Harry hears voices in the walls that no one else can hear. In looking for the source of the voices Harry finds a message written in blood on a wall in the castle that says that the Chamber of Secrets has been opened. The Chamber of Secrets had been secretly built by Salazar Slytherin, one of the four founders of Hogwarts (Godric Gryffindor, Rowena Ravenclaw, Helga Hufflepuff, Salazar Slytherin). A monster resides in this chamber. The chamber had been opened many years ago and a muggle-born (mudblood) girl had been killed. Only the heir of Slytherin can open the chamber and unleash the monster within. The chamber has now been opened again and there are a series of attacks leaving the victims petrified
Harry is suspected of being the heir of Slytherin because he can talk to snakes (Parseltongue) and because he has been found at the scene just after ever attack. Harry starts to believe this himself until a visit to Dumbledore’s office eases his worry and the Sorting Hat stands by his decision to put him in Gryffindor house. Harry sees the sword of Gryffindor sitting in Dumbledore’s office along with his pet phoenix, Fawkes.
The Trio suspects Draco Malfoy of opening the chamber since he seems pleased that the attacks are happening and is in Slytherin house. The Trio takes Polyjuice Potion to turn into Draco’s friends and question him in the Slytherin common room. Draco says he is not the heir of Slytherin.
Harry finds a discarded, blank diary which turns out to be the diary of Tom Riddle, a young boy who was a student at Hogwarts when the chamber was first opened. Tom brings Harry into his diary and shows him his memories of the last time it was opened. Harry learns that Hagrid was blamed for opening the chamber the first time and expelled. Throughout the duration of the school year, several students are petrified by the monster unleashed from the Chamber, including Hermione.
Lucius Malfoy, Draco’s father, threatens the school governors to remove Dumbledore from the school. Dumbledore leaves the school. Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic, comes with Lucius to take Hagrid to Azkaban, the wizard prison since he was suspected of opening it the first time.
Ron’s sister, Ginny, is captured and taken down into the Chamber of Secrets. It is discovered that Ginny had been possessed by Tom Riddle through the diary for most of the school year and had been opening the Chamber to unleash the monster. Harry goes to save Ginny and is confronted with an almost real Tom Riddle emerging from the diary. Tom Riddle reveals to Harry that he is actually the young Lord Voldemort and then tries to kill Harry. Fawkes swoops in and leaves Harry the Sorting Hat, out of which Harry pulls Gryffindor’s sword. The chamber monster is a Basilisk, a giant snake that can kill by making eye contact. Harry kills the Basilisk by stabbing it with the sword, but he is bitten in the process. Fawkes cries a tear on Harry’s Basilisk wound, which heals it. Harry then stabs Riddle’s diary with a Basilisk fang. The Basilisk venom destroys the diary which bleeds and the memory and spirit of Tom Riddle disappears.
Dumbledore returns to the school. Lucius Malfoy shows up with Dobby in tow. Harry learns that Dobby is the Malfoy’s house-elf and Lucius had given Riddle’s diary to Ginny without her knowing. Harry gives Lucius back the diary, allowing Lucius to realize Harry knows what he’s done. Lucius throws the diary, which Harry previously put a sock in, to Dobby who sees the sock and is set free.
What You Need To Know
When Dumbledore was ousted from Hogwarts, he said that he will only have truly left Hogwarts when none there are loyal to him. He also said that help will always be given at Hogwarts for those that ask for it.
Dumbledore tells Harry that only a true Gryffindor could pull the sword out of the sorting hat. He also tells Harry that nothing but real loyalty could have called Fawkes to him when he was in danger.
This book highlights several similarities between Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort. In trying to kill the baby Harry, Voldemort transferred some of his own traits and powers to Harry, like the fact that he can speak Parseltongue.
Voldemort was the heir of Slytherin and was in Slytherin House. Harry struggles with the fact that, because the Sorting hat saw both Gryffindor and Slytherin-like qualities in Harry, it almost sorted him to Slytherin. However, because Harry requested “not Slytherin” the Sorting Hat put him in Gryffindor.
Although there are similarities between Harry and Voldemort, Dumbledore emphasizes the differences between them by telling Harry that it is our choices, not our abilities that show what we truly are.
What The Movie Doesn’t Tell You
Few people knew that Lord Voldemort was Tom Riddle. After Hogwarts, Tom Riddle sank deep into the dark arts and underwent many magical transformations. When he returned, no one recognized him.
The venom from the Basilisk fang destroyed Tom Riddle’s diary, which bled and, in a sense, died.
Tom Riddle was able to possess Ginny through the diary because she poured her heart and soul into it. Tom Riddle almost became human through Ginny.