As with the movie I found the second book to diddle around a bit too much without moving the story of Harry Potter himself forward. It’s fantasy magic mystery, as colourful and inventive as it’s predecessor yet it doesn’t really present anything new. There’s a feeling that we’ve done this before.
There is some nice History tidbits on Hogwarts but nothing as of yet mind blowing in book two. The scenes featuring characters being petrified or ghosts who were previously students and killed is a bit heavy for the younger reader and there’s a definite morbidity even though it keeps the tone light mostly.
The most interesting part that I was looking forward to was Tom Riddle’s diary, reading his diary in the book is a lot more fun than the exposition of it onscreen. The mystery is pretty much straight forward as in most children’s adventure stories but there are some nice twists in it, particularly with Ginny.
The book plays around with the theme of identity. Are we who we are because of where we came from or are we our own person. What defines a person’s life. Harry still being a child has to face this question and worries over it greatly as he starts to feel and hear a connection to something evil that he learns he is related to. More interesting is that at this early stage (even earlier than the movies I think) we discover that Voldemort transferred some of his own powers to Harry on the night he gave him that scar. In the end it’s what Harry and Voldemort do that defines them and it’s interesting to see that Harry having slytherin heritage does not mean he has to embrace it and Voldemort too having a Human mother does not make him sympathetic to muggles but more racist and hypocritical as all racists are. Harry’s worry is always about becoming what he fears but in reality they are two people going in opposite directions.
Favorite Quote: “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” – Dumbledore