Probably one of our utmost favourite things about the entire Harry Potter series put together was Dobby; the bravest house-elf that ever bashed himself on the head. This was the book in which we first met Harry’s new, well-meaning but also quite calamitous friend, when he turned up at Privet Drive begging him not to return to Hogwarts. Despite constant rebuffs, Dobby returned at numerous unwanted times to remind Harry that he was in great danger – not that Harry ever listened. As we quickly learnt, Dobby had Harry’s best interests at heart and a friendship was born: not to mention a great love of socks.
It was still something of a miracle that the flamboyant, humble-bragging Gilderoy Lockhart ever got the gig as Hogwarts’ new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher in the first place, but you can’t deny the man had charisma. After nearly fooling everyone thanks to his lovely, blond, tumbling tresses and his endlessly unrealistic-sounding novels (Year With the Yeti, Gadding with Ghouls…) Lockhart’s tenure came to a dramatic close when he erased his own memory with Ron’s broken wand. Kind of sad, but on the other hand…
We meet a lot of great new characters in Chamber of Secrets, and some not so great. If we thought the oleaginous ways of Draco Malfoy were as detestable as they got, it’s nothing compared to his dad, Lucius Malfoy. Upon meeting Lucius, there were instant bad vibes.
After a failed midnight duel in Philosopher’s Stone, the two adversaries came to blows during Duelling Club in their second year. Naturally, the witless Professor Lockhart got the two people who hate each other most in the entirety of Hogwarts to duel each other, and things turned ugly pretty fast. At the same time, we were secretly chanting ‘FIGHT! FIGHT!’ as we read this chapter.
For Harry’s second year, things turned very dark very quickly when Harry was tormented by a voice in the walls, and by the thought of a horrific monster that was Petrifying Muggle-born students. Chamber of Secrets was basically a horror movie for Harry. The eerie message ‘THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS HAS BEEN OPENED: ENEMIES OF THE HEIR, BEWARE’ message smeared across a wall was a genuinely haunting image, especially for a little 12-year-old just getting used to all this magic business.
She may have been maudlin, dramatic and unsubtle, but the books wouldn’t quite be the same without Moaning Myrtle; our favourite tortured ghost. During one of their many meet-ups in the girls’ bathroom (yep, it was a bit weird, wasn’t it?) Myrtle made quite the entrance. Myrtle turned into something of a comrade of Harry, Ron and Hermione, although you wouldn’t want to take her to say, the cinema, the library or anywhere where you need to value the art of silence.
Imagine being able to turn into any person of your choice, and all you need is a lock of their hair or a couple of toenails. Okay, so it wasn’t exactly a glamorous piece of magic, but the Polyjuice Potion was an incredible nifty concoction, allowing the drinker to become someone else. It is perhaps one of the greatest desires of Muggles to slip into another’s skin, although Crabbe, Goyle and a cat wouldn’t be our first choice, like they had to be for Harry, Ron and Hermione.
Harry had Tom Riddle’s diary; a mysterious tome that wrote back to him as the voice of Tom Riddle, a student that conveniently knew a lot about the Chamber of Secrets. Kind, knowledgeable and always ready to listen, Harry became quite friendly with the talkative book, but unknown to him, so did a young Ginny Weasley, which spelt disaster when we found out that this Tom Riddle fellow was not just a well-meaning agony aunt.
Was there such a thing as a friendly snake in the wizarding world? Apparently not, if the Basilisk was anything to go by. No wonder Harry was distressed to learn that he was a Parselmouth, and could actually speak the language of the snakes. Of all the creatures you’d want to have small-talk with, a horrifically venomous beast that could kill at a mere glance – or Petrify if you caught its reflection – is not one of them.
As if Dumbledore couldn’t get any cooler, we met his amazing pet phoenix, Fawkes, by far one of the most fabulous fantastic beasts. It was an amazing moment when the fiery bird swooped down into the Chamber, healed Harry’s venomous wounds and gave him the Sorting Hat which, as Harry promptly discovered, contained the Sword of Gryffindor. Handy! As well as saving Harry’s life, attaining the sword gave Harry the catharsis he needed after nearly two years of worrying whether he was supposed to be in Slytherin. And, also, it’s much more impressive than pulling out a rabbit.