Sunday, 4 December 2016

Re-reading Harry Potter #6 The Half-Blood Prince


I'm getting to the end of my Harry Potter series re-read, having now finished Half-Blood Prince. I know that this one is a lot of people's favourite, and although it's personally not one of mine I can see why it's so well loved. This is the one where the romance kicks in but you can also feel momentum building, pulling us towards the end of the series. I really enjoyed it.

New Thoughts this time:

Re-reading Harry Potter 6 immediately after 5 was interesting. First thing I noticed was that Harry seems to have got over Sirius's death very quickly (two weeks??) - especially considering it was kind of his fault, and how cut up about it he was initially. Not that I mind, really, as it's a relief to have Harry more emotionally stable than he was in Order of the Phoenix. But still. Second thing I realised, was that I actually don't mind Harry/Ginny. It's done so badly in the film, but even in the book it used to niggle at me, I always thought Ginny changed too much and that Harry's feelings came on too suddenly, but I've come to the conclusion that it's actually quite well done. And I liked Ginny more on this re-read. However, I do think Harry is less relatable in this one. He's not so humble as he used to be, I don't feel he takes his quidditch captaincy seriously enough and although his obsession with Malfoy turns out to completely justified, it's annoying. I love how sassy he is though. (On the necklace Lavender gives Ron for Christmas: "Classy. You should definitely wear it in front of Fred and George." On Dumbledore's dubious fashion sense in the pensieve: "Nice suit, Sir" and to a mis-judged comment by Snape : "There's no need to call me Sir, Professor.")

This time round, I also noticed quite a lot of similarities and links between this book and The Chamber of Secrets - and I wondered whether it was at all purposeful? There's the revelation of the Horcruxes (one of which turns out to have been Riddle's Diary, which first surfaced in Chamber of  Secrets) there's the thing with Malfoy fixing the Vanishing cabinets (first broken in Chamber of Secrets) we learn more about Voldemort's past, and his Slytherin bloodline, the Harry/Ginny romance is resurrected (although this time it's him that's got the unrequited crush on her) and Harry falls under the spell of the Half-Blood Prince when reading his old potions book, as he once did with Tom Riddle after reading his diary. And did you ever notice the book covers are the same colours? Blue and Green. None of the other books have repeat colours. I know, I'm 100% reading too much into this. But I did think it was interesting.

Favourite forgotten moments:

I'd forgotten just how much  Harry hates McLaggen and how funny it is. Especially when McLaggen loses Gryffindor a match by demonstrating to one of the beaters how to use his own club and knocking Harry out by mistake.

Favourite bits:

I love Harry's lessons with Dumbledore - the flashbacks to Voldemort's past are all dead interesting but I also like to see developing relationship between the two of them. Seeing Dumbledore trust Harry more (although still not enough) and the pair of them becoming (as Daniel Radcliffe described it on some programme once) more like soldier and commanding officer rather than student and teacher. The bit where they go to the cave is so dark, but also so exciting.

I love the bit where Harry takes Felix Felicious,  Luna's quidditch commentary and that moment in the hospital wing when Mrs. Weasley finally sees Fleur clearly - it always makes me cry.

Favourite Quotes:

"Well, it is clear to me that he has done a very good job on you," said Scrimgeour, his eyes cold and hard behind his wire-rimmed glasses. "Dumbledore's man through and through, aren't you, Potter?"
"Yeah, I am," said Harry. "Glad we straightened that out."

...he understood at last what Dumbledore had been trying to tell him. It was, he thought, the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking into the arena with your head held high. Some people, perhaps, would say that there was little to choose between the two ways, but Dumbledore knew - and so do I, thought Harry, with a rush of fierce pride, and so did my parents - that there was all the difference in the world.

...age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth.

"You thought I would not weesh to marry him? Or per'aps, you 'oped?" said Fleur, her nostrils flaring. "What do I care how 'e looks? I am good looking enough for both of us, I theenk! All these scars show is zat my husband is brave! And I shall do zat!" she added fiercely, pushing Mrs. Weasley aside and snatching the ointment from her.

"I never really gave up on you," she said. "Not really. I always hoped...Hermione told me to get on with life, maybe go out with some other people, relax a bit around you, because I never used to be able to talk when you were in the room, remember? And she thought you might take a bit more notice if I was a bit more - myself."
"Smart girl, that Hermione," said Harry, trying to smile.

"I am not worried, Harry," said Dumbledore, his voice a little stronger despite the freezing water. "I am with you."

See also:

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Re-Reading Harry Potter 5# The Order of the Phoenix


So I'm still working my way through the Harry Potters, currently coming to the end of 6 - so sadly I didn't get there before Cursed Child (review for that coming soon!) Still I'm enjoying them as ever, and now I don't have to rush so much anyway. I have a weird relationship with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. First time I read it I was a tiny bit disappointed - up until that point the books, for me, had just been getting better and better. Then we had the biggest wait ever after Goblet of Fire, punctured by the excitement of the first film, and the release of Fantastic Beasts and Quidditch through the Ages. Order of the Phoenix was the first time I queued outside a bookshop at midnight, it was bigger than the rest put together and it promised massive things - Voldemort was back, it was all going to be so different.... I think all that anticipation was a big part of the problem.

Book Five was good, and every time I've re-read I've enjoyed it more and more - it may even be one of my favourites now. But technically, I still think it's one of the weaker instalments in the series. J.K Rowling herself says it could have done with a good edit, and I reckon the plot isn't as tight as in her other books. It rambles a bit, and all that stuff about the weapon (what was that then? The prophecy? Why did anyone ever call it a weapon in the first place?) makes very little sense. Grawp is a plot that goes nowhere and the whole end section gets a bit mental and confused, particularly the bit in the department of mysteries. At the time though, my main concern was HARRY'S NEED TO SHOUT ALL THE TIME and embarrass himself. I was so relieved when the sixth one came out and he seemed to have got over the worst of his teenage angst/post-traumatic stress/semi-possession by Voldemort. It was tiring there for a while. All this aside, I do love Order of Phoenix, there are so many great moments, new characters and developments.

New thoughts this time:

I'm much more on Harry's side this re-read. I always thought he was kind of a brat in this one, but he's actually not (although he's so dumb at the end - what exactly did he think six teenagers could do on their own against Voldemort and the Death Eaters??) Dumbledore makes my blood boil. Going to tell him everything are you Albus? Nah, just go ahead and leave out the most important part, where you're raising him like a pig for slaughter (as Snape so eloquently put it). And why does Dumbledore think occlumency lessons with Snape would ever end well? Even if he couldn't teach him, I'm sure McGonagall could manage it. And he should have dealt with the Sirius situation better, supported him more, not just left him to stew in his childhood bedroom where he'd been so unhappy. I was never the biggest fan of Sirius, but I feel for the poor man. He's like a kid, particularly in this one where it's almost like he's regressed to his teenage self. Harry's the more mature of the two, which is bizarre. All the Marauders had pretty awful lives (except maybe James) and I wish She'd let at least one of them be happy. My other gripe - which is intensified having seen Cursed Child - is that this book makes me think that Harry chose the wrong career path after Hogwarts. Seriously, he should have been a teacher. Most of the influential people in his life were teachers and the DA proves he's good at it. But more than anything, it makes him happy. The DA is the main thing that keeps him going through the Umbridge period, and it's sweet how proud and pleased he is to watch his 'students' improving. Plus, Hogwarts is the only place he's ever really called home and once Voldemort's gone there'll be a spot for a full time Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher...

Another thing that struck me this time round was Ginny. I always thought Ginny had a bit of a personality transplant in book 6 - suddenly good at quidditch, popular, outgoing etc. But it's not sudden at all. Ginny is almost at that stage in Order of the Phoenix - and the change in her is explained by her choice to move on from Harry and see other people. As he says 'so that's why she talks now' in front of him. The inference is that Ginny's always been this person, but because we see things from Harry's point of view we only see this side of Ginny when he sees it. I also think that's why we don't notice her change so much in book five - Harry's still focused on Cho, so he doesn't see her as a potential love interest, and so neither do we.

Favourite forgotten moment:

At the very end, I'd forgotten how some of the Order go and threaten the Dursleys to make sure they'll be nicer to Harry next summer. I love that. Also Ron's reaction when he finds out Hermione is still in touch with Viktor Krum.

Favourite bits:

My absolute favourite bit - which I love in the film as well - is after Harry and Cho's kiss where he tells Ron and Hermione, and their reactions. I love all the stuff with the DA, all the bits with the Order at the beginning, and Harry's career advice with Professor McGonagall. I like getting to know Sirius a bit better (not that it lasts...) and being introduced to the gem that is Luna Lovegood. Oh, and when they bump into Lockhart in St. Mungos.

Favourite quotes:

She was looking at Harry as she had never looked at him before. And all of a sudden, for the first time in his life, Harry fully appreciated that Aunt Petunia was his mother's sister. He could not have said why it hit him so very powerfully at this moment. All he knew was that he was not the only person in the room who had an inkling of what Lord Voldemort being back might mean.

"Hello, Harry," said George, beaming at him. "We thought we heard your dulcet tones."
"You don't want to bottle up your anger like that, Harry, let it all out," said Fred, also beaming. "There might be a couple of people fifty miles away who didn't hear you."

"Good luck, Ron," said Hermione, standing on tiptoe and kissing him on the cheek. "And you Harry -"
Ron seemed to come to himself slightly as they walked back across the great hall.  He touched the spot on his face where Hermione had kissed him, looking puzzled, as though he was not quite sure what had just happened.

"I'm terribly sorry to have to contradict you, Minerva, but as you will see from my note, Harry has been achieving very poor results in his classes with me - "
"I should have made my meaning plainer," said Professor McGonagall, turning at last to look Umbridge directly in the eyes. "He has achieved high marks in all Defence Against the Dark Arts tests set by a competent teacher."

What do you think of Order of the Phoenix? Is it one of your favourites? Any favourite bits?
See also:

Thursday, 17 November 2016



My posts seem to have been nothing but books and films of late, but I just got back from a little jaunt to Dublin with my cousin so I thought I'd finally mix things up a bit. Our Laura rang me up a few weeks back to say there was a deal to fly for Dublin for two quid and did I want to go? Obviously, yes I did, so off we went Tuesday morning for two days. I'd been to Dublin a couple of times before, but only for a day each time so hadn't got to do much of the touristy stuff. We'd booked a Travelodge near St. Stephens Green that was really handy for the shops and Temple Bar (the main pub-y area) and also right by Trinity College. After a lot of walking in circles around the square where the bus dropped us off, we finally found where we were staying and were ready to crack on with our trip.

Day one we went to Trinity College first, home of 'The Book of  Kells' and the old library. The Book is an old manuscript of the four gospels, created by Irish monks circa 800 and considered one of Ireland's national treasures. There were images of the pages blown up around the exhibition, and the calligraphy and all the little pictures did look very beautiful. The book itself, though, was a bit underwhelming as being in the case we only got to see a couple of pages. Still, at least we can say we've been to see it, and our ticket also got us into the old library, which really was impressive. It was very Beauty and the Beast, with it's sliding ladders and rows and rows of old books that looked as if the pages might crumble if you opened them. It also housed the 14th century Brian Boru Harp, which is one of the oldest three surviving Gaelic harps and was used as a model for the Irish coat of Arms (and the Guinness Logo!)

After Trinty college we jumped on the hop-on-hop-off bus tour around the city. It took us through the park where the Irish Prime Minister lives (much nicer than Downing Street if you ask me) past lots of famous Dubliners' houses (Oscar Wilde, Jonathon Swift and The Duke of Wellington - who was less than proud of being Irish and apparently said that 'living in a stable doesn't make you a horse.' Rude.) We also went past Kilmainham jail - if I went again I'd like to do the prison tour. I enjoyed the bus tour but we were very cold by the end from sitting on the top deck (and sick of the whiny woman who sang on the tour guide tape between locations - she sounded like the girl from Peaky Blinders and that is not meant as a compliment...) so we followed it up with some doughnuts, a cup of tea and a warm back in the Travelodge. There are loads of doughnut shops in Dublin! Would definitely recommend The Rolling Doughnut.

After we were sufficiently warmed, we got ready to go out and went into town for some food. We had a gorgeous meal at an Italian called La Gondola and afterwards went to the actual Temple Bar, which I was expecting to be a bit tacky and overpriced, but was actually great. There was a really nice atmosphere, loads of Christmas decorations and Irish music playing. There seemed to be plenty of locals in there too, it wasn't dead touristy. Not going to lie though, it was a bit over-priced. After Temple Bar we went to another pub which had a guy playing live music - he did a great playlist, and we knew pretty much all the songs.
Day two we were up early again for the Guinness Tour, which ended with a drink in the Gravity bar at the top of the building, that had panoramic views of the city. I couldn't quite face my complimentary pint of Guinness at that hour of the morning, but I did have a sample (it came in a mini pint glass) as my hair of the dog. We followed up the Guinness tour with a poke around the cathedral and then Dublinia which was an exhibition on Viking and Medieval Dublin. Apparently Dublin was founded as a Viking City, primarily used as a slavers port. You see, I learned something! There was a lot more to the exhibition than I expected and it was actually pretty interesting - there was lots of interactive stuff too so I think it'd be good for kids, although again you do have to pay to get in.

Anyway, for a spontaneous two day trip I had a really good time, although I was pretty knackered by the end. It's a really nice city, small enough to get around easily and with lots to see and do. Would recommend!

Monday, 14 November 2016

Harry Potter Blogathon


So over the past few weeks I've gone a bit Harry Potter mad again. I've been re-reading the series (see previous posts!) Fantastic Beasts is out in a few days and at the end of the month I'm off to London for the Cursed Child. No better time then to participate in a 'Harry Potter Blogathon' hosted this week over at First Impressions Reviews. Have a mooch over there this week and see what people are writing - or it's not too late to join in yourself (I don't think so anyway). You can check out the details here. My post is on Friday, when I'll be reviewing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but because it's an adaptation I'm going to be awkward and put it up on my other blog  Based on the Book instead.

Oh, and did I mention my Cursed Child tickets came? We're probably not going to be able to see a thing from the balcony, but hey ho. I've got my binoculars ready.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Re-reading Harry Potter 4# The Goblet of Fire

So I've been re-reading my way through the Harry Potter series over the last few weeks (although I think I might have to speed it up a bit - only 17 more days until I see Cursed Child!!!) and I've been looking forward to this book most of all. Goblet of Fire has been my long-time favourite, but it's also the one I've read least recently, so I was apprehensive. What if I didn't love it as much this time around? I needn't have worried however. It has retained its place of honour! The final few chapters especially really had me gripped, despite the stupid amount of times I've read them before.
New thoughts this time:

The tone of Goblet of Fire is different, I think, from all the other books in the series. The innocence of the early books is still present in a lot of ways, but the clouds are gathering - it feels like the beginning of something big. It's a big book and we end in a very different place from where it begins. In this one, Voldemort returns, Hermione and Ron's 'thing' (whatever it is at this point) is finally out in the open and there's a lot of death. Not just villains getting their just deserts, or historical deaths recalled by other characters from a safe distance, but real, immediate and un-nerving deaths. Cedric of course (and he's so lovely - someone for us Hufflepuffs to be proud of) but also Frank Bryce (murdered in chapter one) Bertha Jorkins (tortured by Voldemort and killed once she's of no further use) Barty Crouch senior (disposed of actually within the Hogwarts grounds) and Barty Crouch Junior  - who technically doesn't die but is subject to the dementor's kiss, which is even worse. It's definitely a darker book, more adult. The jeopardy has been upped again.

I found all the stuff about Rita Skeeter and the press really interesting this time around. It felt closer to home, in an era of internet trolls and the power of the tabloids. It's so horrible when Hermione gets hate-mail over the Witch Weekly article, or Hagrid shuts himself away after Rita tells the world he had a Giantess for a mother. I also wondered, thinking about the phone-hacking scandal of recent years (J.K Rowling was one of the celebrities who spoke up about it) whether she was writing this book around the time she was getting hacked and harassed, and Rita Skeeter was kind of a response to that? She's a deliciously hateable character anyway - possibly my favourite villain after Umbridge.

This book has so much great stuff - and I'm almost glad the film included so little. There are so many interesting scenes and interactions that haven't been coloured, for me, by the film's portrayal the way things sometimes are in the early books - and I think it feels fresher for that.

Favourite forgotten moments:

When Snape reads out the Witch Weekly article about Harry and Hermione in front of their potions class - such a squirmy moment. Harry buying a load of socks for Dobby as a thank you for saving his bacon in the second task. Best of all is Ron fighting against his jealousy to ask Krum for his autograph right before he leaves.

Favourite bits:

 I love when all the Weasleys are together (plus Harry and Hermione) at the Burrow before the world cup. They're such a lovely family and I love seeing all the dynamics between them when Bill and Charlie are home too. I feel like Harry grows closer to the Weasleys in this one - and I like that Mrs. Weasley and Bill come to see him in the third task.

In other stuff, I thought the bit with the trials in the pensieve was dead interesting. I also really enjoyed the scene where Harry is caught in the trick step in his invisibility cloak and almost caught by Snape and Filch. It's very tense, even more so when you realise that he's so close to discovering Moody's real identity. I like when Myrtle visits Harry in the prefects bathroom, when Hermione almost bashes down Hagrid's door when he's hiding because of Rita's article, and all the stuff surrounding the Yule Ball. And the final few chapters, especially 'The Parting of Ways' with Dumbledore and Fudge, are very dramatic and stirring. Yeah, this is definitely my favourite.

Favourite quotes:

"I've got two Neptunes here," said Harry after a while, frowning down at his piece of parchment. "That can't be right can it?"
"Ah," said Ron, imitating Professor Trelawney's mystical whisper. "when two Neptunes appear in the sky, it is a sure sign that a midget in glasses is being born, Harry..."

Some wise words from Sirius...

"If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals."

A little plant for book six...

'Fleur Delacour, Harry noticed, was eyeing Bill with great interest over her mother's shoulder. Harry could tell she had no objection whatsoever to long hair or earrings with fangs on them. '

And some classics from the final chapters....

"You are blinded," said Dumbledore, his voice rising now, the aura of power around him palpable, his eyes blazing once more, "by the love of the office you hold, Cornelius! You place too much importance on the so-called purity of blood! You fail to recognise that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be!"

"No good sittin' worryin' abou' it," he said. "What's comin' will come, an we'll meet it when it does."

These are getting longer aren't they? I apologise. Do you have a favourite bit in the Goblet of Fire? See also:

Monday, 31 October 2016

Re-reading Harry Potter: 3# The Prisoner of Azkaban


Happy Halloween! (I should probably be doing a suitably themed post right now, but I suppose Harry Potter fits into that category anyway.)  Last night I finished the third instalment in the series, as part of my big re-read before I go and see The Cursed Child. I had mixed feelings. The Prisoner of Azkaban has long been one of my favourites, and this time I appreciated anew just how much more complex and sophisticated both the story and the characters become at this point. This is definitely a good thing for the series, but at times I missed the lighter, more whimsical style of the first two books. This one is definitely darker - and you'd have to be a genius to guess the twist!

New thoughts this time:

Just how different in tone this book is to one and two. I always think of Goblet of Fire as the turning point, but really it's book three. Harry, Ron and Hermione are suddenly teenagers. They have to deal with a lot more on their own, with issues that aren't so black and white. We all know Voldemort is 100% evil and needs to be defeated, but the villains in this book are different. The dementors are horrible but employed by the Ministry for the schools' protection and Sirius Black is supposedly an escaped murderer but used to be Harry's dad's best friend.

I like that we start to discover the Marauders in this one, but with hindsight, this also makes for some uncomfortable reading. Harry yelling at Snape (although he is massively provoked on both occasions) that his father wasn't arrogant, or that Snape is pathetic for not listening to Sirius and Lupin just because they 'made a fool out of him at school' makes me want to slap him around the face. I know it's not Harry's fault that he doesn't have the whole story, but someone needs to tell him (other than Snape) that he doesn't know what he's talking about. However nice James turned out later on, Snape has good reason to hate the man. And to hate Sirius. And Lupin.

Saying that, the other uncomfortable thing about POA is that Harry and Ron spend a big chunk of time not talking to Hermione. I hate it when they fall out! It's mainly Ron causing the problems, but it gets so bad that Hagrid even invites the boys for tea so he can 'have a word'. Hermione has been down to see him a lot, and 'cried a fair few times' because she's been feeling lonely. It's painful because we love Hermione, but also, I think, because it's a realistic depiction of teenage friendships. People are always getting left out or falling out over stupid stuff. Anyway, I love that Hagrid steps in. Little things like that really show how the characters and their relationships are developing. I've also got this theory that Harry, Ron and Hermione each hit puberty (I know, I hate that word too) in a different book. Harry in book five (WHERE HE IS CONSTANTLY YELLING IN CAPITAL LETTERS) Ron in book 4 (he gets jealous and sulky, falls out with Harry and appears to finally realise he likes Hermione) and Hermione in this book. It could just be that she's got a lot of work on, but she is suddenly very emotional and having random flare ups of temper - slapping Malfoy, walking out on Trelawney etc.

Favourite bits:

There's so many! Hermione slapping Malfoy has got to be up there. I also love all the Quidditch in this one - the final match against Slytherin is properly exciting. I like how Lupin and Harry bond during those dementor lessons, how horrible Aunt Marge gets her just desserts and all the drama of the final few chapters. Also, Sir Cadogan is great comedy value.

Favourite forgotten moment:

Ron attempting to ring Harry at the Dursleys (and Uncle Vernon answering). And the 'tumultuous' applause, when Hagrid is announced as the new Care of Magical creatures teacher. It's touching to see it's not just Harry, Ron and Hermione who appreciate how great he is - even if things go wrong pretty quickly after that...

Favourite quotes:

When Harry first plays Cho Chang at Quidditch...

'"HARRY THIS IS NO TIME TO BE A GENTLEMAN!" Wood roared, as Harry swerved to avoid a collision. "KNOCK HER OFF HER BROOM IF YOU HAVE TO!"'

The moment that Ron and Hermione make up (after the news that Buckbeak has lost his trial ...)

'"I can't see any hope...nothing will have changed."
"Yeah it will,' said Ron fiercely. "You won't have to do all the work alone this time, Hermione. I'll help."
"Oh, Ron!"
Hermione flung her arms around Ron's neck and broke down completely. Ron, looking quite terrified, patted her very awkwardly on the top of the head.'

And this...

'"Godfather?" spluttered Uncle Vernon. "You haven't got a Godfather!"
"Yes I have," said Harry. "He was my mum and dad's best friend. He's a convicted murderer but he's broken out of wizard prison and he's on the run. He likes to keep in touch with me, though...keep up with my news...check I'm happy..."'

Is Prisoner of Azkaban one of your favourites? See also:

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Re-reading Harry Potter: 2# The Chamber of Secrets

In my quest to re-read all the Harry Potter books before I go and see Cursed Child (see Re-reading Harry Potter #1) I just finished The Chamber of Secrets. When I was a kid it was many people's favourite, although nowadays the reverse seems to be the case and it doesn't have as many fans as the other books. Maybe it's first sequel syndrome? Chamber of Secrets has never been a particular favourite of mine, but I was very much looking forward to the re-read. The early books are so nostalgic!

New Thoughts this time:

Firstly, this book felt very short. Is it shorter than the first one? It's very fast paced and we get away from the Dursley's and into the Wizarding World much quicker, which I like. I also always think of COS as quite a dark instalment, what with Ginny getting possessed, people getting attacked all over the place, and the mysterious disembodied voice whispering 'rip, tear, kill' (it definitely spooked me as a child.) The heir of Slytherin's final message - daubed in blood - is particularly intense. "Her Skeleton will lie in the Chamber forever." The jeopardy has definitely been stepped up. What I'd forgotten though, is how much humour there is to balance all that out. I laughed a lot in this one, and out loud. Lockhart is comedy gold, as are Harry's reactions to him - and Ron's reaction's to Hermione's reaction to him.

The Ron and Hermione stuff was also really interesting to look at this time around. It's odd, because they don't really bicker in this one, and Ron is more likeable for it. Yet you can still see the seeds of their love story being planted. It's Ron who gets the angriest when Hermione is insulted ("Let me at him," Ron growled as Harry and Dean hung on to his arms. "I don't care, I don't need my wand. I'm going to kill him with my bare hands - ") and most irritated with her crush on Lockhart. They spend a lot of time together without Harry around, whenever he's in the hospital wing or at quidditch practice. But I don't think either of them have realised that they like each other yet.

I also spotted an early plant of a later storyline! Last time I re-read this book, I noticed that Nearly-Headless-Nick has Peeves drop a valuable black cabinet to get Harry out of detention with Filch. Was this how the vanishing cabinet was broken? And when Harry is in Borgin and Burkes, he hides in a big black cabinet (although he doesn't vanish, but who knows what might have happened if he went further in?). Could these be the cabinets that form the passageway in book six?

Favourite bits:

I love the Valentine's day scene, where Harry is rugby tackled by one of Lockhat's 'card-carrying cupids' amidst a circle of onlookers and forced to listen to Ginny's singing Valentine "His eyes are as green as a fresh pickled toad...". Basically anything with Lockhart is good value, the same goes for Colin Creevey (I don't like to think about how he ended up). The bit with the spiders is always great, and this around I really enjoyed the 'Rogue Bludger' chapter. I also love the final confrontation with Riddle, it's very dark and dramatic.

Favourite forgotten moments:

Arthur Weasley brawling with Lucius Malfoy in Flourish and Blotts. Lockhart making Harry re-enact adventures from his books in Defence against the Dark Arts lessons ("Nice loud howl, Harry - exactly - and then, if you'll believe it, I pounced - like this - slammed him to the floor...")

Favourite Quotes:

'"What's all this, what's all this? Gilderoy Lockhart was striding towards them, his turquoise robes swirling behind him. "Who's giving out signed photos?"
Harry started to speak but he was cut short as Lockhart flung an arm around his shoulders and thundered jovially, "Shouldn't have asked! We meet again, Harry!"'

Why Hufflepuffs are the best...

'Ernie took a deep breath and said, very formally, "I just want to say, Harry, that I'm sorry I ever suspected you. I know you'd never attack Hermione Granger, and I apologise for all the stuff I said. We're all in the same boat now and, well - "
He held out a pudgy hand, and Harry shook it.'

Wise words from Dumbledore...

"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are. Far more than our abilities."

And my favourite...

"Why," demanded Ron, seizing her timetable, 'have you outlined all Lockhart's lessons in little hearts?"

Is The Chamber of Secrets one of your favourites? Any favourite bits or things you noticed on the umpteenth re-read? Let me know in the comments!