Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second novel in the
Harry Potter series written by J. K. Rowling. The plot follows Harry's
second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, during which a
series of messages on the walls on the school's corridors warn that the
"Chamber of Secrets" has been opened and that the "heir of Slytherin"
will kill all pupils who do not come from all-magical families. These
threats are followed by attacks which leave residents of the school
"petrified" (that is, frozen). Throughout the year, Harry and his
friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger investigate the attacks, and
Harry is confronted by Lord Voldemort, who is attempting to regain full
The book was published in the United Kingdom on 2 July
1998 by Bloomsbury and in the United States on 2 June 1999 by Scholastic
Inc. Although Rowling found it difficult to finish the book, it won
high praise and awards from critics, young readers and the book
industry, although some critics thought the story was perhaps too
frightening for younger children. Some religious authorities have
condemned its use of magical themes, while others have praised its
emphasis on self-sacrifice and on the way in which a person's character
is the result of the person's choices.
Several commentators have
noted that personal identity is a strong theme in the book, and that it
addresses issues of racism through the treatment of non-magical,
non-human and non-living characters. Some commentators regard the diary
as a warning against uncritical acceptance of information from sources
whose motives and reliability cannot be checked. Institutional authority
is portrayed as self-serving and incompetent.
The film version
of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, released in 2002, became the
third film to exceed $600 million in international box office sales and
received generally favourable reviews. However, The Lord of the Rings:
The Two Towers won the Saturn Award for the Best Fantasy Film. Video
games loosely based on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets were also
released for several platforms, and most obtained favourable reviews.