Mark Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’: Chapter 12

In the twelfth chapter of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry learns that the professors at Hogwarts know he isn’t responsible for all the Petrifications. Hermione finishes the Polyjuice Potion and, in the best scene in the whole book, Harry and Ron become Crabbe and Goyle and finally find out Draco’s intentions. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Harry Potter.


My brain has turned to mush. What the fuck just happened?

Oh god, there is plot to discuss, characterization, hints to the future, and cats….oh god HOW DO I TALK ABOUT IT ALL.

Ok. Ok. Breathe. You’ll be fine.

  • He walked quietly around the desk, lifted the hat from its shelf, and lowered it slowly onto his head. It was much too large and slipped down over his eyes, just as it had done the last time he’d put it on. Harry stared at the black inside of the hat, waiting. Then a small voice said in his ear, “Bee in your bonnet, Harry Potter?”

    “Er, yes,” Harry muttered. “Er–sorry to bother you–I wanted to ask–“

    “You’ve been wondering whether I put you in the right House,” said the hat smartly. “Yes…you were particularly difficult to place. But I stand by what I said before”–Harry’s heart leapt–‘you would have done well in Slytherin–“

Oh great. Let’s make sure Harry freaks out even more than he already is about whether he’s a good person or not. THANKS, SORTING HAT.

Then, we’re introduced to Fawkes, one of Dumbledore’s pets. Fawkes is a phoenix.

  • Harry was just thinking that all he needed was for Dumbledore’s pet bird to die while he was alone in the office with it, when the bird burst into flames.

    Harry yelled in shock and backed away into the desk. He looked feverishly around in case there was a glass of water somewhere but couldn’t see one; the bird, meanwhile, had become a fireball; it gave one loud shriek and next second there was nothing but a smoldering pile of ash on the floor.

That’s an awesome way to traumatize a 12 year-old. Wow.

Once thing I miss in this book: there’s simply not enough Hagrid in book 2. Just not enough.

  • Before Dumbledore could speak another word, however, the door of the office flew open with an almighty bang and Hagrid burst in, a wild look in his eyes, his balaclava perched on top of his shaggy black head and the dead rooster still swinging from his hand.

    “It wasn’ Harry, Professor Dumbledore!” Hagrid said urgently. “I was talkin’ ter him seconds before that kid was found, he never had time, sir–“

    Dumbledore tried to say something, but Hagrid went ranting on, waving the rooster around in his agitation, sending feathers everywhere.

    “–it can’t’ve bin him, I’ll swear it in from o’ the Ministry o’ Magic if I have to–“

    “Hagrid, I–“

    “–yeh’ve got the wrong boy, sir, I know Harry never–“

    “Hagrid!” said Dumbledore loudly. “I do not think that Harry attacked those people.”

OH. OH. Oops.

Also: I love you, Hagrid. I’m right here. Waiting for you.

Build your own Blingee

I’m sorry.

One thing I don’t like: Dumbledore gives Harry the chance to be honest about what’s going on and Harry fucks it up by lying. Look, you’re talking to Dumbledore. He’s the most trusting, understanding man in the world. What is wrong with you?


Anyway, back to more Hagrid:

  • The Great Hall looked magnificent. Not only were there a dozen frost-covered Christmas trees and thick streamers of holly and misteltoe 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 becoming more and more loudly with every goblet of eggnog he consumed.

where is my drunk Hagrid

We need a Hermione party. Soon. Not yet, as I don’t think we’re ready for it, but this chapter has a hell of a focus on Hermione’s determination to help her friends and her fellow Muggle-borns. (Hermione’s nobility is proving to be one of her best qualities.)

And when she’s prepared to break the rules, she is prepared. She’s already planned how she’ll handle her own conversion with the Polyjuice potion:

  • “I’ve already got mine!” said Hermione brightly, pulling a tiny bottle out of her pocket and showing them the single hair inside. “Remember Millicent Bulstrode wrestling me at the Dueling Club? She left this on my robes when she was trying to strangle me! And she’s gone home for Christmas–so I’ll just have to tell the Slytherins I’ve decided to come back.”

You are a genius, Hermione. Your GIF party shall come soon enough.

I’d like to jump ahead because I really need to talk about Draco Malfoy. Really badly.

I think Rowling’s idea to have Ron and Harry become Cribbe and Goyle is genius on so many levels, not only because it brings forth some totally mind-bending plot twists, but they’re forced to experience (albeit briefly) life with Malfoy, which is actually slightly different that what I expected.

  • “That’ll give you a laugh,” he {Draco} said.

    Harry saw Ron’s eyes widen with shock. He read the clipping quickly, gave a very forced laugh, and handed it to Harry.

    It had been clipped out of the Daily Prophet, and it said:


    Arthur Weasley, Head of the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office, was today fined fifty Galleons for bewitching a Muggle car.

    Mr. Lucius Malfoy, a governor of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizadry, where the enchanted car crashed earlier this year, called today for Weasley’s resignation.

    “Weasley has brought the Ministry into disrepute,” Mr. Malfoy told our reporter. “He is clearly unfit to draw up our laws and his ridiculous Muggle Protection Act should be scrapped completely.”

    Mr. Weasley was unavailable for comment, although his wife told reporters to clear off or she’d set the family ghoul on them.

    “Well?” said Malfoy impatiently as Harry handed the clipping back to him. “Don’t you think it’s funny?”


It’s becoming more clear to me that Draco is mimicking his father, both in his hatred of Muggles, mudbloods, and anything that might be different than he is. His father, it’s interesting to note, immediately goes for an ad hominem attack in attempting to dismantle the Muggle Protection Act: the Act isn’t necessarily illogical, but the man behind it is a criminal, so therefore the law is pointless and unnecessary.

Draco applies the same sort of thought to people he meets. All that matters is what kind of wizard a person is, what type of family they have, not the kind of person they are.

And Draco only gets worse.

  • “Arthur Weasley loves Muggles so much he should snap his wand in half and go and join them,” said Malfoy scornfully. “You’d never know the Weasleys were purebloods, the way they behave.”

It says a lot of Ron that he hasn’t strangled Draco yet, but, unfortunately, it continues to go downhill from here.

  • “Well, go up to the hospital wing and give all those Mudbloods a kick from me,” said Malfoy, snickering. “You know, I’m surprised the Daily Prophet hasn’t reported all these attacks yet,” he went on thoughtfully. “I suppose Dumbledore’s trying to hush it all up. He’ll be sacked if it doesn’t stop soon. Father’s always said old Dumbledore’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to this place. He loves Muggle-borns. A decent headmaster would never’ve let slime like that Creevey in.”


  • Malfoy started taking pictures with an imaginary camera and did a cruel but accurate impression of Colin: “Potter, can I have your picture, Potter? Can I have your autograph? Can I lick your shoes, please, Potter?”

Notice a pattern? Draco’s not just content being an asshole. He’s got to put on a performance for everyone. Makes me wonder who sincere he is about what he believes in.

  • Ron’s jaw dropped so that Crabbe looked even more clueless than usual. Fortunately, Malfoy didn’t notice, and Harry, thinking fast, said, “You must have some idea who’s behind it all….”

    “You know I haven’t, Goyle, how many times do I have to tell you?” snapped Malfoy. “And father won’t tell me anything about the last time the Chamber was opened either. Of course, it was fifty years ago, so it was before his time, but he knows all about it, and he says that it was all kep quiet and it’ll look suspicious if I know too much about it. But I know one thing–last time the Chamber of Secrets was opened, a Mudblood died. So I bet it’s a matter of time before one of them’s killed this time….I hope it’s Granger,” he said with relish.

Not that it was a STUNNING REVELATION, but Draco isn’t the evil Slytherin heir. But he is still a scumbag.

But…oh boy. This took me by surprise.

  • Feeling that it would be a bit of a giveaway if Ron punched Malfoy, Harry shot him a warning look and said, “D’you know if the person who opened the Chamber last time was caught?”

    “Oh, yeah…whoever it was was expelled,” said Malfoy. “They’re probably still in Azkaban.”

    “Azkaban?” said Harry, puzzled.

    “Azkaban–the wizard prison, Goyle,” said Malfoy, looking at him in disbelief.

Holy shit WHAT. Foreshadowing for book 3?

One last twist: as Harry and Ron start to turn back into themselves, they dramatically ditch Draco and head back to the same bathroom. There’s a bit before they leave where Hermione says she’ll catch up with them, but she never shows.


  • Hermione let her robes fall and Ron backed into the sink.

    Her face was covered in black fur. Her eyes had turned yellow and there were long, pointed ears poking through her hair.

    “It was c-cat hair!” she howled. “M-Millicent Bulstrode m-must have a cat! And the p-potion isn’t supposed to be used for animal transformations!”

Poor Hermione. You know…..fuck it. it’s on.

LET US CHEER HERMIONE UP WITH A WONDERFUL HERMIONE PARTY IN THE COMMENTS. Bring on your best GIFS, folks. (And remember they must be hosted off Buzznet.)