The Worst Birthday & Dobby’s Warning
chapters one & two of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
After a dreary, lonely birthday, Harry retreats to his bedroom to find Dobby – and learns the house-elf is trying to prevent his return to Hogwarts. Harry refuses, so Dobby gets him in trouble and the Dursleys lock Harry in his room. When he wakes up a few nights later, though, Ron is outside his window.
Harry Potter wasn’t a normal boy. As a matter of fact, he was as not normal as it is possible to be.
Harry looked nothing like the rest of the family.
(by Edgar Torné)
More than anything else at Hogwarts, more even than playing Quidditch, Harry missed his best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. They, however, didn’t seem to be missing him at all.
He sang under his breath: “Happy birthday to me… happy birthday to me…”
(by Hala Zabaneh)
Harry suddenly sat bolt upright on the garden bench. He had been staring absent-mindedly into the hedge – and the hedge was staring back.
(by Sheena Kristen Sy)
“I know what day it is,” sang Dudley, waddling toward him.
The huge eyes blinked and vanished.
“What?” said Harry, not taking his eyes off the spot where they had been.
(by Keith James)
Harry… turned to collapse on his bed. The trouble was, there was already someone siting in it.
Harry knew instantly that this was what had been watching him out of the garden hedge that morning.
(by Laurence Peguy)
A sudden silence fell downstairs. Two seconds later Harry, heart thudding madly, heard Uncle Vernon coming into the hall, calling, “Dudley must have left his television on again, the little tyke!”
“No,” croaked Harry. “Please… they’ll kill me….”
[Harry] opened his eyes. Moonlight was shining through the bars on the window. And someone was goggling through the bars at him.
(by Jess Siswick)
about the chapters
Something You May Not Have Noticed
I think the most interesting thing about Dobby’s visit to Harry is that Dobby is able to visit Harry at all. After all, he seems to have an actual inability to betray his masters – he never actually does so, and every time he comes close he stops short and punishes himself for even getting that far. So then why is it that he can come to Privet Drive (often enough to be stopping Harry’s mail!) and only casually mention that he’ll have to punish himself when he returns home? Could he really spend that much time away from home without being ordered to do so? And if he was ordered to do so… well, then what the heck is up with that?
Life at Privet Drive
I can’t help but wonder what the Masons think of the Dursleys. Clearly they’re the type of people who are happy to come to a dinner party with Vernon to discuss a business deal; a little smarminess certainly isn’t going to put them off. But the Dursleys are so outlandishly over the top – I mean, Dudley’s going to tell Mr. Mason that he’s his hero? This is a prospective business partner of Vernon’s – can he have even met Dudley more than once or twice? Outrageous.
Something to Remember
It’s worth paying attention to what Dobby knows – or thinks he knows – about the “plot to make most terrible things happen at Hogwarts.” As we learn more about Dobby and more about the plot, the fact that he knows what he does will become very interesting indeed.
The Final Word
“I feel sorry for Dudley. I might joke about him, but I feel truly sorry for him because I see him as just as abused as Harry. Though, in possibly a less obvious way. What they are doing to him is inept, really. I think children recognize that. Poor Dudley. He’s not being prepared for the world at all, in any reasonable or compassionate way, so I feel sorry for him.”–J.K. Rowling, November 2000