Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) spends the summer with the Dursleys without receiving letters from his Hogwarts friends. In his room, Harry meets Dobby (Toby Jones), a house-elf who warns him of something bad that will take shape if he returns to Hogwarts. Dobby reveals that he intercepted his friends’ letters, and ruins an important dinner for the Dursleys, who lock Harry up and prevent his return to Hogwarts. Harry’s friend Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and his older twin brothers, Fred and George (James and Oliver Phelps) , rescue him in their father’s flying Ford Anglia.

While purchasing school supplies, Harry and the Weasley family encounter Rubeus Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson). They attend a book-signing by celebrity wizard Gilderoy Lockhart (Kenneth Branagh), who announces that he will be the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. During a small confrontation with Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), Harry meets Malfoy’s father, Lucius (Jason Issacs), who discreetly slips a book into Ginny Weasley’s (Bonnie Wright) belongings, which only Harry notices, but he mentions this to no one. When Harry and Ron are blocked from entering Platform Nine and Three-Quarters at London King’s Cross railway station, they fly to Hogwarts in the flying car. They crash into the Whomping Willow upon arrival, and Ron’s wand is broken. Both boys narrowly avoid expulsion when Professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith) gives them detention.

During the detention, Harry hears strange voices and later finds caretaker Argus Filch’s (David Bradley) cat, Mrs. Norris, petrified, along with a message written in blood announcing “the Chamber of Secrets has been opened, enemies of the heir… beware”. McGonagall explains that one of Hogwarts’ founders, Salazar Slytherin, supposedly constructed a secret Chamber. He placed a monster inside that only his Heir can control, capable of purging the school of muggle-born students. Harry and Ron suspect Malfoy as the Heir, so Hermione suggests they question him while disguised using the forbidden polyjuice potion. They utilise a disused bathroom haunted by a ghost, Moaning Myrtle (Shirley Henderson), as their makeshift laboratory to brew the potion.

During a Quidditch game, Harry’s arm is broken by a Bludger. He is then visited by Dobby in the infirmary, who tells Harry that he both closed the portal to Platform 9 3/4 and made the Bludger chase after Harry, in an attempt to get Harry to leave the school. When Harry communicates with a snake, the school believes he is the Heir. On Christmas Day, Harry and Ron learn that Malfoy is not the Heir, but Malfoy mentions his father told him that a muggle-born girl died when the Chamber was last opened fifty years ago. Harry finds an enchanted diary owned by former Hogwarts student Tom Riddle (Christian Coulson), which contains a flashback fifty years prior where Riddle accused Hagrid, then a student, of opening the Chamber. When the diary is stolen and Hermione is petrified, Harry and Ron question Hagrid. Professor Dumbledore (Richard Harris) , Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge (Robert Hardy), and Lucius come to take Hagrid to Azkaban, but he discreetly tells the boys to “follow the spiders”. In the Forbidden Forest, Harry and Ron meet Hagrid’s giant pet spider, Aragog (Julian Glover), who reveals Hagrid’s innocence and provides them a small clue about the Chamber’s monster.

A book page in Hermione’s hand identifies the monster as a basilisk, a giant serpent that instantly kills those that make direct eye contact with it; the petrified victims only saw it indirectly. The school staff learn that Ginny was taken into the Chamber, and convince Lockhart to save her. Harry and Ron find Lockhart, who is exposed as a fraud, planning to flee; knowing Myrtle was the girl the Basilisk killed, they take him to the bathroom and find the Chamber’s entrance. Once inside, Lockhart uses Ron’s broken wand against them, but it backfires, wipes his memory, and causes a cave-in.

Harry enters the Chamber alone and finds Ginny unconscious, guarded by Riddle. Riddle reveals that he used the diary to manipulate Ginny and reopen the Chamber. When Riddle creates the anagram for his future new identity, “I am Lord Voldemort”, Harry realises that Riddle himself is Slytherin’s heir and Voldemort’s true identity. After Harry expresses his loyalty to Dumbledore, Fawkes flies in with the Sorting Hat, causing Riddle to summon the Basilisk. Fawkes blinds the Basilisk, allowing Harry to look at it directly without being killed or petrified. The Sorting Hat eventually produces the Sword of Gryffindor, with which Harry battles and slays the Basilisk, though he is injured by one of its fangs.

Harry defeats Riddle and revives Ginny by stabbing the diary with the basilisk fang. Fawkes’s tears heal him, and he returns to Hogwarts with his friends and a baffled Lockhart. Dumbledore praises them and orders Hagrid’s release. Dumbledore shows Harry the sword he wielded was Godric Gryffindor’s own sword, and says he is different from Voldemort because he chose Gryffindor instead of Slytherin. Harry accuses Lucius, Dobby’s master, of planting the diary in Ginny’s cauldron, and tricks him into freeing Dobby. The Basilisk’s victims are healed, Hermione reunites with Harry and Ron, and Hagrid is released from Azkaban.

In a post-credits scene, Lockhart is seen in a strait jacket, having published a new book, titled Who Am I?

This was the second film in the Harry Potter series. It is just slightly scarier with the Basilisk scene but otherwise appropriate for children, as well as the books. As I said in my review of the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, I am in love with these films. It would be amazing to go to Hogwarts. Even my 7 year old is into these films and looks like a clone of Harry Potter at a young age. These movies are perfect for anytime of the year but I particularly enjoy them during the fall and the winter. Each movie tells a powerful lesson, actually more than one. I am signing off with my favorite scene from the films.

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