YESSS!! It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for – a guest post by one of the most awesome people you will ever meet! *drumroll*dramatic voice* The one… the only… my husband… Brett Osterwyk!
As you may or may not recall, in 2014 Brett and I are each reading a book a month of the other’s choosing. For January I made Brett read the second installment of the Harry Potter series. He has finally finished his book report (cost him a letter grade for tardiness) and here it is:
1. Title, author, copyright date, and genre?
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling. 2 June 1999, Fantasy
2. Summarize the book without giving away the ending. [Please read in Brett's dramatic story-telling voice]
After spending a miserable summer with his unloving extended family, Harry Potter was dreaming of going back to his magical boarding school, Hogwarts. Unfortunately a semi obnoxious house elf named Dobby tries to warn Harry that if he goes back to the school terrible things will happen. Harry ignores the warnings, forcing Dobby to take drastic measures to keep Harry from going and eventually staying at this school of witchcraft and wizardry. Danger in the castle rises and is eventually linked to the Chamber of Secrets and the monster of Slytherin. Harry and his friends must find the Chamber of Secrets and the one controlling the monster that is petrifying inhabitants of the school. As Harry digs deeper into the the mystery surrounding the chamber and the monster, Harry discovers a much darker plan from an unlikely wizard.
3. What did you think of the main character?
I think Harry is really rebellious and brave. He always seems to get into trouble, but it’s often for a good purpose. I think he has a strong sense of right and wrong, but doesn’t really think about the consequences to his actions. To me, it makes him more relative.
4. Which character could you relate to best?
I relate to Arthur Weasley, because we both are curious about the world outside of our own. We want to learn about different cultures. We both like to tinker.
5. Were there any other especially interesting characters?
I thought Dumbledore was super interesting. He seems so wise and knows how to work the system. He is respectable and wise, and I like that. Also Dobby is pretty interesting. He’s a slave that runs away from home to help Harry, yet he goes back to his master. His logic is wack. He tries to save Harry, but by doing these horrible things to him. It’s interesting and doesn’t make much sense.
6. From whose point of view is the story told?
7. Were the characters and their problems believable?
Seriously? …It’s fantasy. But on a deeper level, the themes run into real world problems, like racism, trust, terrible professors, guilt, and how to deal with giant snake monsters.
8. How did the main character change during the novel?
At the beginning of the book, Harry is so focused on how miserable his life is and how much better it would be once he arrived at Hogwarts that it makes him irresponsible and reckless. He doesn’t think about how his actions will affect others. After taking Mr. Weasley’s flying car to get to the Hogwarts he feels remorse after hearing that Mr. Weasley’s career might be at risk. Then at the end of the book, Harry finally changes his heart toward Dobby after finding out who his master is and that he really was just trying to help him out. Dobby goes from being an annoying pest to a meek and helpless slave with a huge heart.
9. What was the book’s central question, and how was it answered?
Does our heritage define us? See question 15 a.
10. Did you learn something new from the book?
How to play quidditch.
11. Was the book different from what you expected?
Yes, it was longer than the movie.
12. Was location important to the story?
Yes, because the whole story revolves around a secret chamber somewhere in the castle.
13. Was the time period important to the story?
Not really, the story just has to take place somewhere after 1886 after the first car was created. Other than what goes on in the muggle world the story could take place during the middle ages, because the school still acts like it’s stuck there.
14. What alternative title would you choose for this book?
Harry Potter Spends a Great Deal of Time in the Girl’s Restroom.
15. Share a quote or two from the book.
A. “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” – Albus Dumbledore
B. “Tell me, what exactly is the function of a rubber duck?” – Arthur Weasley
16. Share a favorite scene from the book.
My favorite scene is when Harry meets T. M. Riddle in person in the Chamber of Secrets. I like this scene because I feel like there is a lot of truth in this moment. When Riddle reveals that his diary has been feeding off of Ginny’s soul, which she was pouring into the diary. To me this has a rich and biblical theme. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” [Matthew 6:21]. Ginny treasured the diary, and in doing so she placed her heart in it. She was placing her trust and soul into a false treasure. He was a deceiver and only was using her to get what he wanted. After a while she realized what the book was doing to her and tried to stop it, but Riddle’s roots were too deep in her soul. To me this seems to be a clear representation of sin in our lives. We go to it thinking it is a good thing, but it isn’t until it’s too late that we realize the evil in it. Sin’s roots are so deep in us that we become a slave to it.
17. What did you like most about the book?
The last two chapters.
18. What did you like least?
I didn’t like how incompetent the wizarding world is. Even with evidence of Voldemort still present in the world, they still don’t take measures to stomp out the dark wizards that still follow the dark lord.
19. Did you like the way the book ended?
Yes and no. I liked how the book ended with all the bad guys getting what they deserve, but I don’t like how Hogwarts keeps sending Harry back to the Dursleys. It’s clearly an abusive family. The could at least let him stay in the castle and study more over the summer.
20. What do you think will be your lasting impression of this book?
It was pretty good at bringing up deep themes without being too blatant about it.
21. What did you think of the cover?
The cover looks a little childish for my tastes. I think it would appeal more to me if it had some art like LOTR does. But then again, I don’t think the target audience is really meant for me.
22. For banned books: Why was this book banned?
It’s banned only in some places, because of witchcraft. Duh. Although I think it’s really kind of silly. If you banned this book because of that. If that’s the case, then you should get ride of most Disney movies, fairy tales, LOTRs, and Chronicles of Narnia. I think there are really great christian undertones.
23. Would you recommend this book? How would you rate it?
I probably wouldn’t recommend this book, but I did enjoy it. I would give it a 5 out of 10. [BLASPHEMY!]