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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
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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second film in the Harry Potter film series, 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?

Chris Columbus' second and last venture as a Potter director. 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.

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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:

  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • Harry and Ron traveling 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 Malfoy, dives for it and catches it, and that's the end of it. In the film, Harry spots it and chases after it, but Malfoy 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 dueling and evading the basilisk all over the chamber.
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  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: Has its own page.
  • Adaptation Induced Plothole: Has its own page.
  • Adapted Out: Cuthbert Binns does not appear in the movie (justified, as he's a very boring teacher, and hard to turn into an interesting scene onscreen). His explanation about the history of the Chamber of Secrets given by McGonagall.
  • Always a Bigger Fish:
    • A minor example, but 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 school governers 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 License – 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. This goof is unique to the movie: in the original book, Riddle explicitly says that it can still smell Harry after it's been blinded.
  • Badass Longrobe: Interestingly, this is the only film where Harry keeps wearing his Hogwarts robes in the climax.
  • Blatant Lies: Uncle Vernon comes up with a slew of these in the first act of Chamber of Secrets, the first one being the most interesting, since it's a Double Subversion: When Dobby starts to bang 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 Tranfiguration 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. They don't even have the courtesy to reverse the Transfiguration on the poor rat. (This gets Harsher in Hindsight following a big reveal in the third book/film.)
  • Book-Ends: Almost. See Call-Back.
  • 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: "It's written in blood". Oh, thanks, Hermione, for the clarification. I thought it was written in ketchup.
  • 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.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: After Harry tricks Lucius into giving Dobby a sock by accident, Lucius pulls out his wand and attempts to curse Harry. In the second book, he gets blasted by Dobby before he can say anything. In the movie, he 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 God 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. 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 curse 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.
  • Foreshadowing: Done extremely well, and is so subtle that many fans who consider this their favorite 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • "I Know What We Can Do" Cut: "Maybe we should just go and wait by the car." "The car..."
  • I'll Kill You!:
    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.
  • 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.
    • Harry and Ron when they realise they are surrounded by giant spiders.
    • Riddle's expression when he finally comprehends that Harry is about to destroy the diary.
    • After Lockhart out gambits Ron and Harry and takes the former's wand. The two look genuinely terrified as he threatens to wipe both their minds for dragging him into chamber.....then he backfires the spell onto himself by mistake.
  • 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—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. Justified in that Harry couldn't look the basilisk in the eyes, or he'd, y'know, die.
  • 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.
  • Splash of Color: Harry in the flashback.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!:
    Lockhart: It might PROVOKE THEM!
  • The Stinger: Gilderoy Lockhart in a straitjacket on the cover of his book Who Am I? in the bookstore window.
  • Taking You with Me: In this version, Harry destroys the diary as he is dying from the Basilisk venom, then Fawkes heals him.
  • 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.

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