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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling Review

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

I have to say I've been surprised how much I have been enjoying forcing myself to read these last few days.  If you missed my first post, I started this blog in an attempt to read books before my children to see if they get Mom's stamp of approval.  And, as mentioned before, I'm not keen on reading (extremely impatient), but I'm making myself do it for them.So here's a summary of Rowling's second of the series:

The story begins with Harry on summer break after his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  Harry has continued to be treated horribly by the Dursley's, but he has been moved to a small bedroom upstairs.  After the Dursley's had enough of him, they locked him in the room only to be rescued by the Weasley boys and taken to live with Ron and the rest of his family for the remainder of the summer.  During his second year at Hogwart's, the old gang of Harry, Ron and Hermione get into more mischief while trying to investigate a series of attacks that have left petrified victims.  Throughout all this, Harry learns he has a very rare talent of being able to speak to snakes.  This talent helps him solve the mystery of the attacks and come face to face with the evil wizard Voldemort...again.  A lot happens in between, but I'll spare you all the details.

As with the first book, most of the spells that the children are learning are harmless things (and clever I might add).  For example, they have to turn rabbits into house slippers and buttons into beetles.  There's a little more grown up magic going on in this one, like disarming another person or petrifying someone.  As I said in my review of the first book, I don't really have a problem with this if you just raise the age level recommended.  Yes, it will be an easy read, but I'm basing this one on content.   An older child is going to enjoy delving into Rowling's imaginary world, but they aren't going to get so caught up in pretending it's real as a younger child.  And Rowling has a clear line between good and evil spells unlike many other video games and books in the same genre.  Something else I like about her stories is that the professors and adults (other than Professor Lockhart and the Dursley's) are respected and wise.  A lot of children's stories and TV shows these days always portray parents and adults as stupid and ignorant, one factor I think contributes to so much disrespect these days.  This book did not have the cursing in it like the first book, instead Rowling would write "Ron cursed as he stubbed his toe" or something to this affect. I guess I don't need to add any ink blots to this one because this, in my child's mind, would read, "Ron said "aww, man" as he stubbed his toe.""  The gang does receive punishment whenever they break rules, which I also like. As with the first book, Rowling gets Mom's stamp of approval again on this one.

RFMK Stats

Rating: * * * * *

Age Level: 14- adult

RMFK Stamp of Approval: Yeppers

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Book vs. Movie Challenge

I found myself laughing several times throughout this book thinking "ooooh, that's what they were saying!"  We may not want to admit it, but sometimes things do get lost in the translation from..um...well English to English.  The book had so many more back stories on characters like; Argus Filch, Arthur Weasley, Ginny Weasley, Fred and George Weasley, Percy Weasley, Nearly Headless Nic, Moaning Myrtle and Lucius Malfoy just to name a few.  I think you get my point about that.  Not to mention entire characters are left out like Professor Binns.  I don't even think Professor Binns is in any of the movies, at least I don't remember him at all. 

I can't totally bash the movie though.  It's amazing to watch how well the movie matches Rowling's descriptions.  It really brings it alive, not to mention the special effects. I loved watching the whomping tree come to life, the phoenix living/dying and the moving portraits (also in the first movie).  I especially loved reading about and watching Professor Lockhart.  I once had a teacher just like this, wavy hair and all.  Professor Lockhart was hilarious!  He is my favorite character from this one, probably because I was reliving so many moments I had with my own Professor Lockhart.

For this challenge, BOOK DEFINITELY WINS. You just can't beat knowing all those other stories and funny moments with characters that are missed in the movie.  I laughed out loud picturing ginger head Ron Weasley fully dressed in orange standing in an orange bedroom. It would be like standing inside a radioactive pumpkin, ha! I felt they did a better job following the book with the first movie, but to their defense a lot more happened in this book than the first and you just can't fit all that into a two hour movie.  On to year three.

Happy Reading!

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