Mark Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’: Chapter 16

In the sixteenth chapter of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Ginny acts weird, Percy is a douche, Lockhart is a horrible human being, Harry and Ron discover what’s in the Chamber of Secrets, they find where the Chamber of Secrets is, they convince Lockhart to come, and then there’s a slide. Whew. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Harry Potter.


I feel like I should write this review as a Wikipedia entry because LIKE 343523544534 THINGS JUST HAPPENED. Rowling ain’t slowing down!

  • But something happened in their first lesson, Transfiguration, that drove the Chamber of Secrets out of their minds for the first time in weeks. Ten minutes into class, Professor McGonagall told them that their exams would start on the first of June, one week from today.

are you serious. Like this is an opportune time to have these kids take tests. what the.

  • “The whole point of keeping the school open at this time is for you to receive your education,” she said sternly. “The exams will therefore take place as usual, and I trust you are all studying hard.”

I trust you are completely unaware of the circumstances of the past few months. I understand that this is a school, but GEEZ. CUT THEM SOME SLACK.

However, this bad news doesn’t last long, thankfully, as Professor McGonagall announces that the Mandrakes are ready and will be used to un-Petrify those who’ve been turned solid! And, of course, this fills one person with an unending sense of hatred.

  • There was an explosion of cheering. Harry looked over at the Slytherin table and wasn’t at all surprised to see that Draco Malfoy hadn’t joined in.

Funny thing here. I do feel that Draco is a product of his environment and am willing to cut him the tiniest bit of slack for his brand of racism. (By the way, cutting some slack =/= excusing his actions.) But there’s also a disturbing amount of conviction to what he believes in that is, in a sense, inexcusable. And the fact that he appears to genuinely wish Mudbloods and Half-bloods were dead is disturbing, to say the least. I’m not even sure how Hermione being un-Petrified affects Draco’s life, but….

Actually, that’s an absurd road to travel down. Much of racism doesn’t follow any sort of logical pattern of reasonable thought, so it’s best to understand these sort of actions by understanding the person’s perspective. In this case, Draco simply views these people as something less than human, which is ostensibly less than him. Their deaths please him because it removes them from his view and his life.

Ok. Enough brain vomit. It’s time to talk about Ginny Weasley, who is getting weirder by the page. I don’t get it.

  • Just then, Ginny Weasley came over and sat down next to Ron. She looked tense and nervous, and Harry noticed that her hands were twisting in her lap.

    “What’s up?” said Ron, helping himself to more porridge.

    Ginny didn’t say anything, but glanced up and down the Gryffindor table with a scared look on her face that reminded Harry of someone, though he couldn’t think who.

    “Spit it out,” said Ron, watching her.

    Harry suddenly realized who Ginny looked like. She was rocking backward and forward slightly in her chair, exactly like Dobby did when he was teetering on the edge of revealing forbidden information.

WELL, IF THAT ISN’T FOREBODING. What the hell is going on? I know she’s got a crush on Harry, but….what?????

  • Ginny opened her mouth, but no sound came out. Harry leaned forward and spoke quietly, so that only Ginny and Ron could hear him.

    “Is it something about the Chamber of Secrets? Have you seen something? Someone acting oddly?”

    Ginny drew a deep breath and, at that precise moment, Percy Weasley appeared, looking tired and wan.

    “If you’ve finished eating, I’ll take that seat, Ginny. I’m starving. I’ve only just come off patrol duty.

    Ginny jumped up as though her chair had just been electrified, gave Percy a fleeing, frightened look, and scampered away. Percy sat down and grabbed a mug from the center of the table.


Someone commented that I am misjudging Percy; he’s just being prefect Percy and that’s why he’s so weird. But SOMETHING IS GOING ON WITH HIM AND I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHY HE IS SUCH A BUTTFACE. God.

  • “Wee, er, if you must know, Ginny, er, walked in on me the other day what I was–well, never mind–the point is, she spotted me doing something and I, um, I asked her not to mention it to anybody. I must say, I did think she’d keep her word. It’s nothing, really, I’d just rather–“

WHY DID YOU SAY ANYTHING AT ALL, PERCY. This made it worse. Also, this sounds like Percy is a CHRONIC MASTURBATOR or something.

Yeah, sorry for NOW PUTTING THAT IN YOUR HEADS. am i going to regret typing that later probably

  • “Mark my words,” he [Lockhart] said, ushering them around a corner. “The first words out of those poor Petrified people’s mouths will be ‘It was Hagrid.’ Frankly, I’m astounded Professor McGonagall thinks all these security measures are necessary.

Ok, seriously. SERIOUSLY. I can barely tolerate anything Lockhart says or does at this point. This is nuts. HOW ON EARTH HAS NO ONE CALLED HIM ON HIS BULLSHIT? This is bogus. Surely the professors at Hogwarts are aware of how stupid this guy is, right?

Ron and Harry use Lockhart’s stupidity to briefly wander off from him, with the aim of finally grilling Moaning Myrtle, but Professor McGonagall catches them sneaking off on their own. Harry (brilliantly) makes up a story about how much they miss Hermione and they want to visit her and McGonagall totally buys it. And then starts crying. And then it’s kind of sad because Harry and Ron actually do miss Hermione a whole lot and their lie is…oh god it is SO DEPRESSING.

Even worse, Madam Pomfrey insists that a Petrified person cannot actually hear or feel anything, which is definitely more depressing than that last depressing thing. So Harry and Ron could talk to Hermione, but all it would do is temporarily provide them some comfort.

Are you sad yet? Too bad. Because shit gets real.

Harry spots a piece of paper in Hermione’s clenched hand, pulls it out, and finds a page torn out of a library book that explains what’s in the Chamber of Secrets: a basilisk.

Which, you know, is an EVERYDAY, COMMON, HOUSEHOLD TERM.

But basically, it’s a giant snake who can kill with a stare. And Harry realizes it explains the voice he can hear, but no one else can: Harry speaks Parseltongue.

As Harry starts to tie the narrative clues together (the basilisk travels through the piping, the Petrification happens because no one has actually looked at the snake directly, Hagrid’s roosters were killed as a preventive measure, the spiders were always leaving Hogwarts because they feared the basilisk), I couldn’t help be feel a bit…deflated. These realizations happened so fast that I didn’t feel like there was much time to digest them. it also felt a bit too much like the plot of the last book, especially with the clues and reveals all happening in the bulk of one chapter.

But it didn’t really matter how I felt, because then…..oh noes. 🙁

  • “It has happened,” she told the silent staffroom. “A student has been taken by the monster. Right into the Chamber itself.”

    Professor Flitwick let out a squeal. Professor Sprout clapped her hands over her mouth. Snape gripped the back of a chair very hard and said, “How can you be sure?”

    “The Heir of Slytherin,” said Professor McGonagall, who was very white, “left another message. Right underneath the first one. ‘Her skeleton will lie in the Chamber forever.'”

    Professor Flitwick burst into tears.

    “Who is it?” said Madam Hooch, who had sunk, weak-kneed, into a chair. “Which student?”

    “Ginny Weasley,” said Professor McGonagall.


Definitely did not expect this. MUCH BETTER, ROWLING. But what on earth are they going to do? I mean, Harry HAS to go down into the Chamber, but…how?

  • The staffroom door banged open again. For one wild moment, Harry was sure it would be Dumbledore. But it was Lockhart, and he was beaming.

    “So sorry–dozed off–what have I missed?”

    He didn’t seem to notice that the other teachers were looking at him with something remarkably like hatred. Snape stepped forward.

    “Just the man,” he said. “The very man. A girl has been snatched by the monster, Lockhart. Taken into the Chamber of Secrets itself. Your moment has come at last.”

Oh. Oh my god. Oh my god Snape. I love you. I have forgiven you for everything you’ve done. Oh man. YES.

As Lockhart comes to the realization that not only has he FINALLY been called on his bullshit, but that he’s going to have to continue this charade (which will inevitably lead to his death), he panics. And he leaves. And we can only hope he’ll be gone for a long time.

Fuck yes.

Harry and Ron head back to their dormitory, as Hogwarts has been cancelled for the year, but they’re obviously not content to leave, especially given Ron’s personal attachment to the situation. Since they know what’s in the Chamber, they decide their only option left is to confront Lockhart and, at the very least, provide him with some ammo against the basilisk.

Except…well, that’s not what really happens.

  • “You mean you’re running away?” said Harry disbelievingly. “After all that stuff you did in your books–”

    “Books can be misleading,” said Lockhart delicately.

    “You wrote them!” Harry shouted.

    “My dear boy,” said Lockhart, straightening up and frowning at Harry. “Do use your common sense. My books wouldn’t have sold half as well if people didn’t think I’d done all those things. no one wants to read about some ugly old Armenian warlok, even if he did save a village from werewolves. He’d look dreadful on the front cover. No dress sense at all. And the witch who banished the Bandon Banshee had a hairy chin. I mean, come on–“

Well, holy shit. Who knew Lockhart was not only racist, but an able-bodied fool? Because the only wizards people want to look at are white men with perfect bodies. Awesome.

  • “Harry, Harry,” said Lockhart, shaking his head impatiently, “it’s not nearly as simple as that. There was work involved. I had to track these people down. Ask them exactly how they managed to do what they did. Then I had to put a Memory Charm on them so they wouldn’t remember doing it. If there’s one thing I pride myself on, it’s my Memory Charms. No, it’s been a lot of work, Harry. It’s not all book signings and publicity photos, you know. You want fame, you have to be prepared for a long hard slog.”

Because cultural appropriation is just so incredibly difficult, guys. God, it is so hard. It is simply too much work.


  • “Awfully sorry, boys, but I’ll have to put a Memory Charm on you now. Can’t have you babbling my secrets all over the place. I’d never sell another book–”

    Harry reached his wand just in time. Lockhart had barely raised his, when Harry bellowed, “Expelliarmus!”

    Lockhart was blasted backward, falling over his trunk; his wand flew high into the air; Ron caught it, and flung it out of the open window.

I love these guys so much.

They force Lockhart to come with them and interrogate Moaning Myrtle, which gives us today’s dose of, “The Most Depressing Sentence(s) in the English Language,” courtesy of J.K. Rowling:

  • “I died in this very stall. I remember it so well. I’d hidden because Olive Hornby was teasing me about my glasses.”

Yeah, Myrtle died by bullying. 🙁 🙁 🙁

They find the entrance to the Chamber in one of the sinks and Harry opens it with his use of Parseltongue. Lockhart initially refuses to enter the opening, but Ron actually pushes him down in the hole. A+. Turns out there’s a large….tunnel? I think it’s a tunnel. It’s covered with slime and they get to SLIDE DOWN INTO THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS. We can only hope there’s a ball pit at the end.

Down in the cavern beneath the school, Lockhart is an idiot and a selfish fool. He attempts to cast a spell on Ron, but since he used Ron’s wand, it actually backfires, creates a cave-in, and causes him to be blasted to the ground.

Harry and Ron part ways as Harry, once again, realizes he has to continue down into the frightening depths alone.


A quick announcement before I wrap this up!

Mark Watches Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets begins on Wednesday, June 30, 2010, at 12:00pm PST. That’s 3:00pm on the east coast and 8:00pm in the UK.

We’ve got another comment record to break. Get your copies of the movie ready!