Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets

When I read it, I feel as if there is a new element in the world. What I mean is, it puts that childlike hope back into everyday life. Rowling captures magic in her tale. Somehow she manages to tap into that place when elves were real, and quests were possible, and that’s why this story works. Because Rowling is a story-teller. She digs past reason and touches hope and ignites the imagination so that Harry Potter is not a character, he is real. My favorite scenes are always the ones in the Great Hall: The Great Hall looked magnificent. Not only were there a dozen frost-covered Christmas trees and thick streamers of holly and mistletoe crisscrossing the ceiling, but enchanted snow was falling, warm and dry, from the ceiling. Dumbledore led them in a few of his favorite carols, Hagrid booming more and more loudly with every goblet of eggnog he consumed. I want to be in that Great Hall. I was getting ready for work earlier this week, and just thinking about the idea that Harry Potter is pretend. That he doesn’t really exist. That there is no Hogwarts. That none of it ever happened. Don’t you just want to laugh when you imagine that? Just two books in, and of course it happened! If we can imagine Harry Potter, then he is real. Because even though we cannot actually see Hogwarts because we are Muggles, it is there. That’s why I should reread this one day in 20 when I’m remembering it and wondering if I should bother. Somehow, with nothing but a twenty-six letter alphabet and her imagination, Rowling makes me laugh when I imagine a world without Harry Potter.

Next is The Prisoner of Azkaban! I’ve heard a few of you say recently that The Chamber of Secrets is your least favorite in the series. So I’m pretty excited that it’s all uphill from here! I love that the series apparently gets better and better, finishing with an explosive Book 7, according to many of you! I asked a girl at work the other day what her favorite book is. I work at a bookstore, so I assume we are all readers there and find “What is your favorite book?” a good ice-breaker. She looked embarrassed and squirmed a bit and finally listed a lot of high-brow literature as among her favorites before finally conceding that Book #7 in the Harry Potter coloring pages series is her favorite book of all time. “I know it’s not great literature, but it’s my favorite,” she said, blushing. “Why would you be embarrassed by that?” I asked. “Who cares about high-brow literature? Literature gets into us and comes to life. That’s what literature should do. Sometimes that’s through an intellectual awakening, and sometimes it’s because it sweeps us away. It doesn’t matter how it gets to us, just that it does.” Then I told her that one of my favorite books is the children’s book Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. And that I am currently reading Harry Potter for the first time, which inspired an eye-firing conversation which included her expressing complete jealousy that I am experiencing it for the first time. She can’t wait for me to get to Book #7. This is a magical book. I felt transported to a world under London that I believe “could” exist, while reading. I seriously smiled for the whole second half of this book.