Sunday 26 June 2022

Failing Rereading Chamber of Secrets


This blog post is gonna get messy (not sure if in a good way or a bad way, but we shall see!). Allow me to explain. As you all probably know, I am in a huge reading slump. Probably one of the worst I have been in since I started book blogging over ten years ago. This is due to anxiety and other outside forces that I won't get into at the moment, but you would know that, while I am audiobooking and slowly reading, it's become a struggle. 

Now, normally, when in a reading slump, I usually reread a book I love and know inside out. Normally, I reread Sabriel by Garth Nix. But seeing as I reread a few years back and I know it inside out (it's one of my fave fantasy reads), I wanted to reread something else. I was thinking of rereading either The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman or Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling. I decided in the end to reread Chamber of Secrets as I relistened to a few podcasts that's rereading Harry Potter, chapter by chapter, and thought this would be a good idea as, while I know the story well, Chamber isn't my fave book in the series. 

So, I started to reread it. And I stopped as I started chapter eleven: the Duelling Club. 

I have reasons. Reading slump, the fact I disagree with JK Rowling, the fact the world is burning (UK and US politics - I mean, what the ACTUAL F**K?!). But the biggest reason is, while I know this story really well (how many times have I reread this since it was first published in 1999?), rereading this made me be more cynical. Not only that, I looked at certain things and went "If this character did [insert idea here] or just told [insert character name here], then NONE OF THIS WOULD HAPPENS! WHY ARE YOU ALL SO STUPID?!"


Sorry. But rereading this made me a little angry and my adult, reading slump brain spotted things that my 12/13 brain didn't.

For example: Within the first few chapters, Dobby tells Harry that something awful is about to happen at Hogwarts. Why didn't Dobby tell Dumbledore? Or Harry tell a responsible adult like Mr or Mrs Weasley? Or send an owl to Dumbledore or McGonngall? Plus, if Dobby knew the plan, this means that his Master (Lucius) told someone. Who?! His wife? A friend? Bobby himself as Lucius thinks Dobby is useless and deaf?! WHO ELSE KNEW?!

And then, little things creep up that made me go "Wait, hang on". Mr Weasley's job, for example. Mr Weasley (one of my fave adult characters, FYI) works in the Minstry of Magic department of Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office - and yet, knows nothing about Muggles and you have to ask why he was put in that department. 

But wait! We haven't got to Hogwarts yet! And that, gentle folks with your preferred pronouns, is when I really started spotting things and where I lost my "Why are you all so dumb?!"

First of all, Quidditch. Now, I know you all love Quidditch. I do too. But during chapter ten, when Gryffindor is playing Slytherin and the rogue Bludger is attacking only Harry, we discover that if Gryffindor demand a enquiry over why the Bludger is doing that, they would have to forfeit the game. Doesn't matter if they are right to call the enquiry or not, to get the enquiry, they must forfeit. I'm sorry, HOW HAVE I NEVER NOTICED THIS BEFORE?! I don't know ANY SPORT where this is allowed. Plus, CHILD SAFETY! 

Though, at Hogwarts, child safety seems to be very low on the list as, when the first student is attacked and is Petrified, the school does... well... nothing. We had a cat attacked/Petrified on Halloween so the first human attack happened in November/December. And yet... the school does nothing. They don't send all children home for Christmas break, they don't find another castle to move the students to so they can be taught in safety while Hogwarts is investigated by Aurors and Magizoologists. THEY DON'T EVEN SEND THE PETRIFIED STUDENT TO A MAGICAL HOSPITAL OF ST MUNGO'S (where we visit in book 5) OR GET IN CONTACT WITH THEM FOR AN ANTIDOTE AS SURELY, SURELY, A HOSPITAL WOULD HAVE ANTIDOTE?! 

And what about the student's parents? Does Hogwarts tell them what happened? Are they kept in the dark? Do the parents make a decision to keep him in Hogwarts's hospital wing or were they overruled? When the student is un-Petrified (at the end of the school year), did they resit that year ago or move on into the next year? 

Also, side thoughts: do Hogwarts have Substitute teachers? Surely they would be better than Lockhart?

I have so many questions. OH, SO MANY! I could go on, but I'm going to stop here as... well... you've seen why. So yes, I became nit-picky and pulling the plot apart (and, during the Whomping Willow chapter, changed the word wand to willy - I'm not sorry at all). 

Plus, I heard a fan theory that made me howl with laughter (I think it was from the podcast Goblet of Wine. If I can find the episode in question, I shall link), where I'm going to leave you. But the theory is, if the Basilisk is getting round the school via the pipes and we all know how thick castle walls are built during the Medieval ages, then how on earth did Harry hear it? Does Harry have super hearing or, more likely, was the Basilisk screaming to itself (in the same way we all scream-sing to Celine Dior because we are awesome!)

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