Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

J. K. Rowling
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Chapter Four: At Flourish and Blotts

Summary Chapter Four: At Flourish and Blotts

This chapter also sets the stage for many of the crises that are coming to a head in the story. Lucius Malfoy's disparaging comments about wizards who lack pure wizard blood are rather cryptic and bigoted, and they foreshadow an immensely important conflict in the book's later chapters involving an attack by pure-bloods against these ill-termed "mud-bloods". The Malfoys' concern is reminiscent of the British aristocracy's attempts to keep its lineage separate from that of commoners.

The Weasley's financial situation becomes more important in this chapter than before, first with the trip to Gringotts when Mrs. Weasley takes out all of what little money they have, and second when Lucius Malfoy and Draco make so many shockingly rude comments about the shabbiness of the Weasleys' books, jobs, and friends. This, clearly, is a touchy subject, hence the fight that ensues.

Gilderoy Lockhart becomes a presence quickly, signing copies of his (we can only assume, self-glorifying) book entitled "Magical Me," flashing his brilliant smile, swishing his flower-blue robes, and eventually pouncing on Harry Potter and having their photos taken together, since both are in some degree famous. Harry, as one might imagine, is humiliated by this-and this is only the first in a long line of occasions in which Lockhart singles him out for special responsibilities, honors, attention and "privileges." Each of these events in Diagon Alley will eventually take on its own role in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, each with its own need for resolution.