Literature: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
— Albus Dumbledore
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second book in the Harry Potter series. Published in 1998. The only parts which seem to have been absorbed by Popcultural Osmosis are Dobby warning Harry not to go to Hogwarts this year and that Flying Car. After all, they were prominently in the trailer for The Film of the Book.The main plot involves the Chamber of Secrets, a hidden chamber within Hogwarts built by Salazar Slytherin. A big fan of Fantastic Racism, Slytherin built the Chamber to house a monster which can only be controlled by his heir and which is intended to attack all those Muggle-borns "unworthy to study magic". Now, someone has opened the Chamber, implying the Heir of Slytherin has returned to Hogwarts, but who is it?You may have noticed this storyline has rather little to do with the overall Story Arc. Chamber is often accused of essentially being devoted to a Wacky Wayside Tribe for this reason. In reality, the book is just an Innocuously Important Episode, and introduces a major Chekhov's Gun among other bits of Foreshadowing for several later books, particularly Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Tropes exclusive to this book or at least especially prominent in it:
Bat Scare: Non-flying example: Huge crawling masses of spiders flee from Hogwarts. They do no harm, but badly frighten Ron, an arachnophobe.
Becoming the Boast: Subverted. Lockhart seems like a Know-Nothing Know-It-All with a grossly inflated ego. In reality...he's exactly that, plus amoral enough to steal other people's accomplishments and leave a child to die. When the staff suggest he go after the Basilisk, it's clear they're doing it to watch him squirm. When Harry and Ron *force* him to accompany them, since he's the closest thing they've got, he betrays them at the first opportunity.
Big Bad: Lucius Malfoy or the memory of Tom Riddle.
Break the Haughty: Lucius avoids prison time but suffers several blows to his ego. A twelve-year-old both stops his plan and tricks him into freeing Dobby, who takes the first opportunity to pay Lucius back for years of abuse by effortlessly blasting him down a flight of stairs. And Lucius also lost his job as one of the governors of Hogwarts, something he could have avoided if he hadn't threatened the other governors' families.
Contrived Coincidence: All the victims of the basilisk happen to see it indirectly, despite the fact this is highly unlikely once, let alone thrice.
Though to be fair, Hermione knew what she up against, so she and Penelope were extra careful.
Cover Identity Anomaly: Harry and Ron use Polyjuice Potion to pretend to be Crabbe and Goyle, but their infiltration of Slytherin House is stymied by the fact that they don't know how to get in to Slytherin's chambers. They ask a passing student, but she's from Ravenclaw. Fortunately, Crabbe and Goyle are so dim that they're not really acting out of character.
Critical Research Failure: In-universe - Tom Riddle seems to think that werewolves are way more animalistic than they actually are, considering that his false accusations towards Hagrid involved raising "werewolf cubs".
He could have been implying that Hagrid would think so. He doesn't think very highly of werewolves anyways, as he demonstrates in the first chapter of book seven (Again, using the word "cubs" to refer to a werewolf's offspring).
Didn't Think This Through: Harry and Ron when they steal Mr. Weasley's Flying Car. Granted, they're twelve years old at the time. Lampshaded by McGonagall when she points out other, more reasonable, things they could have done to get to Hogwarts, and Harry reluctantly admits to himself that stealing a car was pretty stupid. Then again, Fridge Logic kicks in when you realize that it would've been almost as odd for an Owl to fly off from a train station and back. Not as freaky as a flying car, but still odd for Muggle standards. And Dobby had no trouble intercepting Ron's and Hermione's owls to Harry; he could have intercepted Hedwig too.
Dinner With The Boss: Mr. Dursley's potential client and his wife come over to discuss a promotion over dinner. When Harry retires to his bedroom, Dobby the house elf appears and begs Harry not to return to Hogwarts. When he refuses, the house elf levitates a cake over Harry's head and drops it.
Disney Death: Ginny Weasley gets one in the Chamber of Secrets.
Does This Remind You of Anything?: Harry has to save Ginny by going into a chamber of secrets and fighting a giant snake that belongs to a very weird, much older guy that's been corrupting Ginny for the whole book. With a legendary sword that holds strange powers. Uh-huh.
Harry Potter's (and presumably Ginny Weasley's) interaction with Tom Riddle's Diary is extremely similar to that of an online chat room, as well as the part about the person being conversed with being revealed to not be trustworthy at all to begin with, a similarity made even more apparent in the film.
Do Wrong, Right: Arthur Weasley is far more pleased than his wife when his sons steal his flying car and use it to pick up Harry.
Eating Optional: When Harry visits Nearly Headless Nick's Deathday party, there's a banquet of rotten food laid out for the ghosts. Hermione figures they let the food rot so that the flavors are strong enough for the ghosts to actually taste.
Hammy Herald: Fred and George show their support for Harry not by squashing rumors about him, but rather by following him around crying "Make way for the heir of Slytherin! Seriously evil wizard coming through!"
Heartwarming Moments: Subverted in-universe. What McGonagall thinks is is a CMOH is just the first lie Harry could come up with so he and Ron wouldn't get in trouble. Ends up being relevant to the plot because actually following through on the lie leads them to figuring out the mystery.
Holding It For A Friend: Filch claims that the Kwikspell letter on his desk is for a friend so that Harry doesn't guess that he has no magic.
I Never Got Any Letters: In the first chapter, Harry is angry that his friends haven't written to him all summer. Then it's revealed that an elf has been intercepting their letters.
I Never Said It Was Poison: Dobby inadvertantly reveals that he has been stopping Harry's letters when he mentions that Harry's friends haven't written to him — which is something he shouldn't be aware of.
Informed Ability: In-universe: Lockhart completely fails to live up to any of his hype, as Harry and Ron are quick to point out.
When wondering what Tom Riddle got a Special Award for Service to the School for, Ron sarcastically suggests that maybe he killed Myrtle as "that would've done everyone a favor." Riddle did kill her and he got the award for successfully framing Hagrid as her murderer.
Another potential example: Hermione suggests that whoever flushed Riddle's diary may have been the culprit, trying to stop anyone from finding out details about the last time the Chamber was opened. It was the culprit (sort of), but they did it to stop the attacks.
Harry wonders if, due to his speaking Parseltongue, he's a distant relative of Salazar Slytherins. It turns out that, through the Peverells, he is related to Voldemort, so he actually is, in some fashion, related to Slytherin.
Not Me This Time: Harry and Ron use Polyjuice potion to imitate Crabbe and Goyle, Draco Malfoy's two mooks, in the hopes of getting Draco to admit that he's the heir of Slytherin, and thus the cause of all the shenanigans happening at Hogwarts that year. Instead, they hear Draco ranting about how thrilled he is that it's happening and how he'd love to congratulate whoever is actually behind it.
Portal Slam: Harry and Ron rebound painfully from the portal to Platform 9 3/4.
Post Mortem Comeback: The entire basis of the plot; Voldemort hid pieces of his memories in a book, who took the form of Tom Riddle, but it's inverted — Voldemort himself was already alive to begin with... somewhat.
Predecessor Villain: Salazar Slytherin was the guy who built the Chamber of Secrets and put the Basilisk there in the first place, but he's been dead for nearly a thousand years when the story begins.
Pun: Knockturn Alley, like its good counterpart Diagon Alley, is a punning name ("Nocturnally" or "Nocturne" Alley).
Ransacked Room: Ginny ransacks Harry's dormitory in order to get Tom Riddle's diary back.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Harry gives one to the memory of Riddle, gloating over how his Muggle-born mother reduced Voldemort to almost nothing.
Red Herring: Percy, Hagrid and Malfoy — and Harry — are all set up as possible Heirs of Slytherin, with Malfoy being the choice that's so obvious it's stupid, and Percy and Hagrid both having Really Big Secrets that make them act suspicious. Naturally, Malfoy is the one our heroes suspect and they spend half the book finding out that it isn't him.
Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Basilisk. Also the decoration of the Chamber of Secrets. Salazar must have been swapping design tips with Jafar.
Right Behind Me: Harry and Ron excitedly speculate on reasons why Snape is absent at the beginning of the year, not realizing that Snape is actually just behind them.
Villain of the Week: Subverted. Up until the last couple of chapters it looks like the series will be heading this way, with the Big Bad Voldemort introduced in the first book and the mysterious Heir of Slytherin being the main villain in the second book. Near the end however it's revealed that not only is Voldemort the Heir of Slytherin, but a memory of his younger self has been driving the plot the entire time. Starting with the third book, all of the main antagonists (except Umbridge) are explicitly linked to Voldemort.
Lucius Malfoy, who is a distinguished Ministry official despite being a former Death Eater. He manages this by attributing his past affiliation with the Big Bad to the Imperius Curse.
Lockhart is another example, although he's more of an Anti-Villain.
Weaksauce Weakness: The Basilisk would die at the crowing of a rooster (presumably because it is hatched from a chicken's egg incubated by a toad). One wonders just how effective a weapon a Basilisk would be to a dark wizard in any other situation, given everyone knows this and roosters aren't exactly hard to come by.
What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Those poor mandrakes. Even though everything suggests that they are sapient, social lifeforms (they get "moody and secretive" in their adolescent phase, enjoy partying, and when they reach adulthood, start moving into each other's pots), nobody seems to think chopping a mandrake up for a potion is any different than chopping up a carrot.
Who Would Be Stupid Enough / Description Cut / Gilligan Cut: At the very end of Chapter 9, "The Writing on the Wall", Hermione comes up with the idea of using Polyjuice Potion to get information from Malfoy. However, the book with info on how to make it is in the Restricted Section of the library, and they need permission from a professor to take out the book, which would raise suspicion from any professor they ask.
"Oh, come on, no teacher's gonna fall for that!" said Ron, "they'd have to be really thick..." [end chapter] [start of next chapter] Since the disastrous episode with the pixies, Professor Lockhart had not brought live creatures to class...
Wrote the Book: Inverted; even though Lockhart literally wrote the book on dealing with magical pests, that doesn't mean he has a clue about it.
Xanatos Gambit: Lucius Malfoy's plan has two possible outcomes: either Ginny is caught, thus disgracing Arthur Weasley and his Muggle Protection Act, or the culprit is not apprehended, and either kills every Muggle-born in the school or drives them all away. The former seems to be his preferred option, interestingly enough, but either would presumably satisfy him. Of course, his plan backfired worse than he could have possibly imagined, which we learn in Deathly Hallows.