In the second book, the action grows as the characters grow older. I like the book and how it’s written. Prior to starting the Harry Potter series I haven’t read any books that follow the character as s/he grows older. This type of "Bildungsroman" is really enjoyable. Along the narrative lines of the novel you can almost feel some parts which are suitable for any stage in life. For example, I find myself now on the edge of learning German, building my life in Germany and all these seems to take me in a stage where I did attend school and did have some nice adventures with friends. Of course, for me right now it is much more similar since I do have to go every morning to school and learn German and afterwards do my homework and practice speaking. But, I should return to the novel and present a bit of my opinion on it.
The theme of the second book seems to be overcoming fear. Fear of not being good enough and finding courage through the unconditional acceptance given in a friendship relationship. Treating the problem of lineage, from which background the characters come, Rowling beautifully discusses the issue of friendship and how this can overcome any superficial and semantic barriers put by the society. Harry is a pure wizard, descending from both wizard parents; Ron comes also from a long line of wizards with only Hermione being of Muggle (non-wizard parentage). This mixture of background isn’t a problem for the trio, but in the face of Dark Magic it becomes problematic, as Voldermort and his followers try to exterminate all non-wizards. With Hogwarts being attacked from inside by a dark magical creature, the time is ticking for Harry, Ron and Hermione. They must find remedies to stop this creature from killing students. Following their attempts to discover who and what lurks inside the school, Hermione gets petrified and the two boys discover an important clue about the identity of the monster. It is a Basilisk and can kill only with a stare. This strange and powerful monster was summoned through a manipulation of Ron’s sister Ginny, which used an old diary of Voldermort, and in doing so transferred her energy to the Dark Lord. By this strange mixture of events, the identity of the Dark Lord is revealed as the young-bright Muggle born wizard Tom Riddle.
Of course Ron and Harry manage to find the entrance to the secret chamber, by using logic and the clues put together by their brilliant, but petrified, friend Hermione. Killing the Basilisk with its own venom and destroying the diary in the process, Harry rids the school of danger and can enjoy the rest of the school year with his friends.
It was an enjoyable second book, and I am glad that I could start right away to read the third book.