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Film / Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

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"Salazar Slytherin wished to be more selective about the students admitted to Hogwarts. He believed magical learning should be kept within all-magic families – in other words, "pure-bloods". Unable to sway the others, he decided to leave the school. Now according to legend, Slytherin had built a hidden chamber in this castle, known as the Chamber of Secrets. Though shortly before departing, he sealed it... until that time when his own true heir returned to the school. The heir alone would be able to open the chamber and unleash the horror within, and by so doing, purge the school of all those who, in Slytherin's view, were unworthy to study magic."
Professor Minerva McGonagall

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second film in the Harry Potter film series, directed like the first one by Chris Columbus, and released in 2002.

The main plot involves the "Chamber of Secrets" being opened at Hogwarts, a hidden chamber built by Salazar Slytherin, one of the founders of Hogwarts. 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?

The tone is very similar to that of the previous movie, but to some it came off as feeling a little more bloated and less spirited. Others focus on the film's highlights — its high faithfulness to the book, and Kenneth Branagh's inspired turn as Gilderoy Lockhart.


Followed by Harry's third year at Hogwarts, in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Dumbass: In the original book, the Trio left the potion-laced cupcakes for Crabbe and Goyle on a random banister — it's not exactly smart to eat food you just found lying around, but it's nothing next to eating food you find just floating suspiciously around in the air, which is where the Trio left their bait in the film.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Snape's rant at Harry and Ron after they crash into the Whomping Willow comes across as Anger Born of Worry, whereas in the book he was gloating about their possible expulsion.
  • Adaptational Personality Change: Tom Riddle's reaction throughout the fight in the film was significantly calmer compared to the book. In the film, outside of yelling "No!" in shock and stating that the Basilisk can still use its other senses (see below), he does not react in any way to the Basilisk missing Harry. In the book, Tom Riddle is repeatedly yelling at the Basilisk to smell Harry when it is repeatedly missing Harry in their fight.
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  • Adaptational Wimp: In the book, Ron (reluctantly) and Harry look around for spiders and then when entering the forest, Ron is brave. In the film, Ron is completely scared and reluctant to go into the forest and follow spiders (possibly because Rupert Grint's arachnophobia made him scared for real).
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • Harry and Ron's trip to Hogwarts in the flying car. Whilst the journey is smooth save for being spotted in the book, the film features the car nearly getting hit by the train and Harry almost falling out.
    • The Quidditch match. In the book, directly after Harry's arm is broken by the rogue bludger, he spots the Golden Snitch near Draco, dives for it and catches it, and that's the end of it (this moment is supposed to illustrate Draco's lack of talent compared to Harry, since the Snitch is within arm's reach of him). Since that wouldn't translate to film well, Harry spots the Snitch, chases after it... but Draco manages to keep up, turning it into a race - through a tight series of wooden beams at high speeds, at that - before the arm breaking and snitch catching occurs.
    • Similarly, the Chamber of Secrets climax is given a big blockbuster treatment, with Harry duelling and evading the basilisk all over the chamber.
    • The end of the movie has a post-credits scene (the only HP movie to have one), showing Flourish and Blott's bookstore in Diagon Alley promoting Lockhart's last book, a ghostwritten autobiography called Who Am I?.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: Has its own page.
  • Adaptation Induced Plothole: Has its own page.
  • Adaptational Explanation: In the book, there's no clear reason as to why Harry couldn't just use parseltongue to convince the Basilisk not to attack him. In the film, Riddle's memory tells him that the Basilisk only obeys Slytherin's true heir, meaning Harry couldn't command her even if he tried.
  • Adapted Out: Cuthbert Binns does not appear in the movie. His explanation about the history of the Chamber of Secrets is instead given by McGonagall.
  • Always a Bigger Fish:
    • Lucius Malfoy's first appearance is reminiscent of this trope. Draco jeers "Oh look, Potter! You've got yourself a girlfriend!", only to be pushed aside by his father, who steps up from behind:
      Lucius: Now, now, Draco! Play nicely!"
    • In many respects, Lucius really is the bigger fish in this film. While Draco may be Harry's greatest nemesis within Hogwarts, Lucius is largely the one who instigates the terror at Hogwarts this year by secretly slipping Tom Riddle's diary to Ginny Weasley. Not to mention blackmailing the board of governors into permitting Dumbledore's suspension later in the year.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Unlike the book, where Snape was gloating at Harry and Ron and threatening them with expulsion, Alan Rickman's delivery sounds more like this trope. He lists every reason to be mad at the boys such as exposure of the wizarding world and the damage they allegedly wrought on the Whomping Willow. However, he comes off rather distraught and almost resembles a worried parent (even the expulsion threat sounds more like You Are Grounded than the Evil Gloating in the book). After Ron points out that he and Harry suffered more damage than the Willow, Snape angrily snaps at him and everything but his words confirms that this was his major concern.
  • Artistic Licence – Biology: After Fawkes' gouges out the basilisk's eyes, Riddle says, "Your bird may have blinded the basilisk, but it can still hear you!" Except that snakes are deaf—they "hear" through vibrations in the ground. Possibly handwaved in that it's a magic snake. However, Riddle may not have known that snakes are deaf.
  • Badass Longrobe: Interestingly, this is the only film where Harry keeps wearing his Hogwarts robes in the climax.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: At the end, with Harry and Ron in Dumbledore's office, Dumbledore is telling them he could expel them for the sheer number of rules violations they committed in saving Ginny's life and defeating the person who had been petrifying students all year long.
    Therefore it is only fitting that you both receive —Beat — special awards for services to the school.
  • Blatant Lies: Uncle Vernon comes up with a slew of these in the first act, the first one being the most interesting, since it's a Double Subversion: When Dobby starts to punish himself by banging his head on the side of the cabinet, the sound of his grunting and head hitting the furniture echoes to the living room where Vernon, Dudley, Petunia, and the Masons can hear it. Uncle Vernon, not knowing there is a house-elf, tries to cover for his nephew by stating that it's "just the cat".
  • Body Horror: During a Transfiguration lesson, the students are supposed to turn animals into water goblets. When Ron tries it with Scabbers the rat turns into a goblet... that's squeaking, furry and has a tail. Not only that, but Scabbers is actually Peter Pettigrew in his Animagus form.
  • Butt-Monkey: Neville lampshades this trope after getting hung on a chandelier by Cornish pixies, asking, "Why is it always me?"
  • Call-Back: The OST's final track is called "Harry's Wondrous World," as was the second track on the previous film's OST.
  • Captain Obvious: Hermione's "It's written in blood."
  • Chekhov's Gun: For the film series, the incantation Avada Kedavra becomes one due to Lucius's near-use of it, since it's only properly introduced in Goblet of Fire.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Hermione notes that "THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS HAS BEEN OPENED. ENEMIES OF THE HEIR, BEWARE" is written in blood. In the books, it was just paint.
  • Cover Identity Anomaly: In Chamber of Secrets, Harry forgets to take off his glasses when polyjuiced as Goyle. He quickly excuses them as reading glasses, causing Malfoy to remark that he didn't know "Goyle" knew how to read.
  • Dead-Hand Shot: The flashback of Tom Riddle shows a hand hanging from a corpse on a barrow, carried by four unnamed medic wizards down a stairway. We later learn that the dead girl is the very girl whose ghost haunts the ladies' room in the second floor, and that she was killed by the basilisk on the orders of none other than Tom Riddle himself.
  • Deathly Dies Irae: Heard as Harry and Ron are desperately trying to escape the Forbidden Forest while Aragog's spider children are closing in on them.
  • Decomposite Character:
    • In the book, Uncle Vernon tells a man to fit the bars on Harry's window, but in the film, Uncle Vernon fits the bars on Harry's window himself.
    • In the film, it is Professor McGonagall who tells the class about the history of the Chamber of Secrets instead of Professor Binns.
  • Demoted to Extra: Ernie Macmillan's role is diminished to a non-speaking part. The part where he and Hannah Abbott talk in the library about their theory of Harry wanting to attack Justin Finch-Fletchley was cut, but appears on the deleted scenes, however in the Study Hall. Also, Ernie is the one who blames Harry for attacking Justin when he is discovered, petrified, but in the film, Argus Filch finds Harry and wants to expel him. And in the book, it was Peeves who found him, and sung his funny song.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: After Harry tricks Lucius into giving Dobby a sock by accident, Lucius tries to attack Harry before getting blasted by Dobby before doing anything. In the movie, he goes for his wand and manages to get out an "Avada..." before he's blasted. "Avada" is the first part of "Avada Kedavra", the Killing Curse. Killing Harry in broad daylight in front of Dumbledore's office probably isn't the best course of action... Word of Godinvoked states that the script didn't specify a curse for that scene, so Jason Isaacs just ad-libbed the first one that came to mind.note  The closed captioning was changed to make Lucius say something like "Vera-"
  • The Dog Bites Back: After Harry causes Lucius to lose Dobby, Malfoy starts to cast the Killing Curse on Harry, ignoring Dobby. Dobby, who probably suffered abuse from the whole Malfoy family, promptly knocks him on his ass with a snap of the fingers.
  • Drives Like Crazy: As soon as Ron, Harry, and Hedwig realize that the Hogwarts Express is coming up fast right behind them (they're in the Flying Ford Anglia), this somehow causes Ron to start driving recklessly and making the car do side-flips.
  • Dutch Angle: This shot is used quite a lot in the climactic sequence with Harry, Riddle, and the Basilisk in the underground chamber.
  • Epic Rocking: The last three tracks on the OST are just 5 minutes long.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Riddle looks genuinely saddened when the Basilisk is killed.
  • Eye Scream: During Harry's battle with the basilisk, Fawkes shows up to gouge out his eyes so it can't petrify and kill Harry.
  • Failed a Spot Check: As Ron and Harry were visiting with Hermione in the infirmary after she had been petrified, Harry notices a piece of paper in her cupped hand. In it was a description of the basilisk that had been petrifying other students and even how Hermione believed it had been moving though the school—through the pipes. How the teachers had missed this was unconscionable. At least in the book, the paper was just barely sticking out of her fist and it took a few minutes to get it out without tearing the paper.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Done extremely well, and is so subtle that many fans who consider this their favourite movie don't notice it until it is pointed out to them. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are discussing how they can use Polyjuice Potion to impersonate Crabbe and Goyle (which will allow them to get information out of Draco). They are doing this in order to find out if Draco is the Heir of Slytherin. Afterwards, Hermione goes to the library and gets a book called "Most Potente Potions". To the right of the book she is reaching for is another book with only the word "TOM" written on the spine. Why do they need to make Polyjuice Potion? To find out if Malfoy is the Heir of Slytherin. Who is the true Heir of Slytherin? Lord Voldemort, also known as Tom Riddle. Bonus point: The book with "TOM" on the spine is the second book to the right of the one Hermione is getting, and Voldemort considers Tom Riddle to be his secondary, lesser identity since he became Voldemort.
    • As mentioned below, Voldemort's theme from the first film plays at various points in the film foreshadowing his involvement.
    • The tone of the film getting Darker and Edgier was already referenced in the main title, where, after the crescendo in "Hedwig's Theme" during the approach of the Warner Brothers logo, as the Harry Potter logo is revealed the theme reaches a brand new, quieter arrangement, that is quite foreboding and ominous compared to the existing arrangements from the previous film. The "and the Chamber of Secrets" subtitle is also revealed at the moment the bass strings enter.
    • Unlike in the book, Lockhart refers to the Bandon Banshee as "him." Given Banshees are female spirits, this is an early clue he is a fraud.
    • A Freeze-Frame Bonus when Lucius returns Ginny's book: If you look closely, you can see him slip two books into her bag instead of one.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: The Howler Ron's mother sends him begins with one "RONALD WEASLEY!"
  • Gender Flip: Here, Lockhart refers to the Brandon Banshee as being male when it was female in the book and banshees are Always Female in mythology, foreshadowing the reveal that he is a fraud.
  • Giant Spider: The Acromantulas, to the scale that the BBFC actually considered this a trigger for arachnophobes and included it in the content description. The DVD has a little game where you flee from them: fail and...
  • Greeting Gesture Confusion: At the end of the film, Hermione hugs Harry right away but has an awkward hesitation with Ron that turns into a handshake.
  • Hand Wave: Many book readers wondered why Harry didn't use his ability to speak parseltongue to control the basilisk himself. Here, Riddle tells Harry that the serpent will only obey himself and Harry's ability is useless.
  • Homage: Chris Columbus shot the scene with Harry climbing onto Salazar Slytherin's head as an homage to the climax of North By Northwest, where the main characters climb onto one the heads of the famous Mount Rushmore.
  • "I Know What We Can Do" Cut: "Maybe we should just go and wait by the car." "The car..."
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Dobby asks Harry why he wants to go back to Hogwarts when his friends won't even write to him, something Harry didn't mention and makes him realize that Dobby has his letters.
  • I'll Kill You!: Filch after Mrs. Norris gets petrified.
    Mr. Filch: I'll kill ya. [beat] I'LL KILL YA!
  • Large Ham: Gilderoy Lockhart. You have to admire a man who installs, at the front of his classroom, a painting of himself in Renaissance costume, painting a self-portrait. Kenneth Branagh is clearly having a blast.
  • Laughing at Your Own Jokes: Gilderoy Lockhart does this with his Bandon Banshee joke. (In his book, it just says "He waited for them to laugh; a few people smiled weakly.")
  • Literal Cliff Hanger: Harry has one of these. Not necessarily from a cliff, but from the passenger seat of the flying Ford Anglia.
    • Above the Hogwarts Express on the train tracks, no less.
  • Loophole Abuse: Only tenuously can Lucius be said to have given Dobby clothes.
  • Matching Bad Guy Vehicles: Harry and the Gryffindor Quidditch team all have their own brooms. The Slytherin team, on the other hand, are all equipped with shiny black Nimbus 2001 brooms, as Lucius bought them to bribe the team into taking Draco on as their Seeker.
  • Monochrome Past: The flashback to fifty years ago, as presented in Riddle's diary, is shot in a sepia tone. This winds up combining with Splash of Color (see below) as Harry is still in color with a bright red sweater on.
  • Mood-Swinger: Once Harry arrives at the Burrow, Molly switches back and forth between scolding her three sons to welcoming Harry to her home.
  • Musical Spoiler: When Harry converses with Tom Riddle's diary, Voldemort's theme from the first film plays foreshadowing the reveal that Tom Riddle is a young Voldemort.
  • Never Learned to Read: Goyle, if Draco Malfoy is to be believed, although he might have just been insulting his intelligence.
  • Not Enough to Bury: Defied Trope, Snape explains this is why it's a terrible idea to have Harry & Ron duel together, as Ron's wand was broken.
    Severus Snape: "Weasley's wand causes devastation with the simplest spells. We'll be sending Potter to the hospital wing in a matchbox."
  • Oh, Crap!: Hedwig's expression at seeing the train coming up behind the car.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Instead of putting Tom Riddle's diary into the sock when giving it to Lucius Malfoy like in the book, Harry hides the sock inside the book. Comes off as far less silly and also not as careless on Malfoy's part like in the books, where he just threw the sock away even though he knew of the clothing rule.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Harry and Ron attempt to convince Lockhart to help find Ginny in the Chamber. After finding out he is a fraud and has every intent of leaving her to her fate, they resort to plan B of dragging him there by wand point as a human shield. Lockhart retaliates and accidentally disposes of himself before they can test that strategy against the basilisk or giant spiders, though they make bluntly clear beforehand that it's better him than them.
  • Punny Name: The silly name of "Diagon Alley" is the reason why Harry winds up in Borgin and Burke's Dark Arts magic shop in Knockturn Alley—he gets sent there after he poorly enunciates "Diagon Alley" as "diagonally." (In the book it's merely a matter of Harry getting a mouthful of fireplace dust.)
  • Recycled Soundtrack: Most of the music is carried over from the first movie, due to John Williams's intense workload (four films in 2002 were scored by Williamsnote , who took a much-needed year off afterward; Azkaban was his first movie coming off hiatus).
  • Rewatch Bonus: Lucius sneaking Riddle's diary into Ginny's bag is much more visible on later viewings.
  • Schmuck Bait: When Harry touches the Hand of Glory in Borgin and Burkes.
  • Shadow Discretion Shot: Used when Fawkes takes out the basilisk's eyes.
  • Shout-Out: A rather stealthy one to Home Alone 2, the scene where Ron tries to warn Harry about the surrounding spiders mirrors the same scene where Marv tries to warn Harry about the Pigeons preparing to attack them. Bonus points for not only having both characters say the name "Harry" in a similar nervous tone, as well as both movies being sequels to their respective firsts, and finally all four movies being directed by Chris Columbus.
  • Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification: The film is largely a Type 4 (Near Identical Adaptation) and is very close to the book in content.
  • Slow Clap: At the end of the movie, as (almost) everyone applauds the return of Hagrid. Except for Malfoy, Goyle, and a few Slytherins, when the former starts to cluelessly join in but Malfoy grabs him and sits him back down.
  • Splash of Color: Harry in the flashback, wearing a bright red sweater in the midst of the sepia-toned flashback.
  • Stealth Insult: Professor McGonagall to Professor Lockhart: "Your skills, after all, are legend."
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: Twice.
    • Lockhart, when "teaching" about Cornish Pixies as he unleashes them on the class.
      Lockhart: It might PROVOKE THEM!
    • Lucius, when Dobby is freed.
      Mr. Malfoy: "You lost me my SERVANT!!!"
  • The Stinger: An additional scene appears after the end credits, depicting Lockhart's newest book, Who Am I? This is the only film to have a scene occur after the end credits, if you do not count the next instalment's small Nox spell by Harry that turns out the light.
  • Taking You with Me: In this version, Harry destroys the diary as he is dying from the Basilisk venom, then Fawkes heals him.
  • Timeshifted Actor: Young Hagrid was played by Martin Bayfield, who stood in for Robbie Coltrane as his height double in all of the Potter movies. His voice was dubbed by Coltrane for the sake of consistency.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Unsurprisingly, Crabbe and Goyle who eat the floating cupcakes enchanted with Hermione's sleeping spell without a second thought. Ron is quick to comment on how ridiculously easy that trap was.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Dobby once he's set free.
    "You shall not harm Harry Potter!"
  • Truer to the Text: Among the Harry Potter films, this is easily the most accurate adaptation of the source material, with most of the major changes being holdovers from the previous film (e.g. McGonagall explaining the rumor about the Chamber due to Binns being written out).
  • Up to Eleven: At the end of the novel, Lucius Malfoy goes after Harry with intent to harm. In the film, he seemingly goes after Harry with intent to kill. Although this can be explained by Jason Isaacs ad-libbing the line — he probably shouted the first spell that came into his head.
  • Vocal Evolution:
    • Aside from Matthew Lewis (Neville), Alfie Enoch (Dean), and Harry Melling (Dudley), all of the regular male child actors' voices broke before filming started and sound much deeper than in the first film.
    • Richard Harris was dying from lymphoma, and you can tell because Dumbledore sounds a lot quieter and shakier. He clearly wasn't long for this world as he would pass away the same year that the film released.

Lucius: Well... let us hope that Mr. Potter will always be around to save the day.
Harry: Don't worry. I will be.

Video Example(s):


Brackium Emendo

Presumably, if executed properly, this spell would've fixed Harry's broken arm. But because Inept Mage Gilderoy Lockhart was the one performing it, instead the spell makes the bones in Harry's arm disappear.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / ComicallyIneptHealing

Media sources:

Main / ComicallyIneptHealing