Harry potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J. K. Rowling, is the sequel to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. It is the second book in the series of seven Harry Potter books.
Chapter 1: The Worst Birthday
“No cards, no presents, and he would be spending the evening pretending not to exist.“—Description of Harry’s 12th Birthday
Harry sitting on a bench, unaware of someone in the bushes
Harry Potter has returned to the Dursleys for the summer holiday in mid-1992, and things are very bad for him. Over the summer, the Dursleys have become so fearful of Harry’s new-found magical abilities that they have locked away all of Harry’s magical supplies (e.g. his wand, his broomstick, spellbooks, etc.) immediately after his arrival home. They have also banned Harry from saying words such as “magic” in the house, as evident in Uncle Vernon’s outburst at breakfast. This has become a problem for Harry himself, who begins to worry about what his teachers at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry will think if he heads back to them without back homework done, and whether or not he’ll be banned from the Gryfindor House Quidditch team since he has not been able to practise. The only thing the Dursleys let him keep in his room, however, is his pet snowy owl Hedwig, but have put a padded lock on her cage to keep her inside day and night to avoid suspicion from the neighbours. This does not go well for the bird, because every time she has become bored, her screech has rung throughout the house, causing an irritated Vernon to warn Harry that if he cannot control her, she will have to go.
On 31 July (Harry’s twelfth birthday), Harry has never felt so lonely, for he misses Hogwarts and his best friends there, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Neither of them have written to him all summer, not even to send birthday wishes. The Dursleys seem to have also forgotten his birthday, because they are too busy preparing for a dinner party meant for one of Uncle Vernon’s clients, Mr Mason, from whom Vernon is hoping to get a huge order. The only unchangeable thing on the Dursley’s schedule, however, is that Harry has to stay in his room for the night, making no noise and “pretending he doesn’t exist”. While Uncle Vernon and Dudley are preparing to drive into town to buy dinner jackets, Harry himself goes out into the garden in order to stay out of his Aunt Petunia’s way as she is cleaning, singing happy birthday to himself. He stares into the hedge, and sits bolt upright when he sees a pair of enormous green eyes staring back at him among the leaves. When Dudley comes waddling over and wishes his cousin a happy birthday, mocking him with the lack of celebrations. Harry gets annoyed and scares him away by pretending to think of a spell meant to bur the bush bare out loud, but Petunia comes out when Dudley calls for her and beats her nephew with a soapy frying pan. She then gives Harry some chores to do while Vernon and Dudley are gone, and once he is finished, it’s almost a half-hour before the Masons are due to arrive. Harry goes up to his room without making a sound during the party as promised, but when he gets there, someone else is on his bed.
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