This will probably be a controversial opinion on Harry Potter, even in my own house because book 2 of the series is my daughter’s favorite, which honestly shocked me considering her disdain for spiders. I guess she flipped through that section very quickly.
To provide some background, I am reading the Harry Potter series for the first time. And I have seen most of the movies, at least passively (eg, playing in the background on my TV at home while my daughter watches). After reading the first book, which I enjoyed, I didn’t feel that Harry Potter fervor that so many feel. It was a good book, good enough I was interested in reading the next one.
Halfway through The Chamber of Secrets I stopped and thought to myself – I really like this book. Maybe I am going to be one of those people who just loves this series. Maybe I am a Potterhead! It’s kind of like how much I really want to like mushrooms. Sometimes I think I do, but I want to like them so much I’m just not sure if it’s real or mind over matter.
I do know that I enjoyed the mystery of the Chamber of Secrets. But, more so I enjoyed the exploration of the school itself. I liked the details about magic and strange baby plants with piercing screams. I liked the car with personality. (I too could have done without the spiders.) I really liked that Hermione went from whiny to bad ass in this book.
Then I got to the end and I felt – underwhelmed.
How did I fall so far when I was so close to reaching that Potterhead status? Was I trying too hard? Did the movie ruin it?
Then I realized my issue. The end felt too similar to book one. Harry goes down into some dark dungeon-like place, again. Gets separated from his friends, again, and has to face the big bad alone, who is – shocker – Voldemort in some weird form, again. Help comes indirectly by way of Dumbledore, again. There’s concern Harry won’t survive! But we all know he will. And he does after coming near death, again.
It just felt too similar. I wanted something different. The diary was definitely unique. Perhaps if the Tom Riddle riddle had not already been spoiled by the movie, I would have felt that shocking revelation that makes books so memorial.
Still, I liked this book more than book 1. So my light keeps inching upwards. I think, like mushrooms, I’ll keep trying it. I’ll wait for final judgement after I’ve consumed the entire canon.