Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Revealing Hidden Things

Theological Reflection

Harry and his friends have returned to Hogwart’s for their second year of magical matriculation. As classes pick up, Harry begins hearing an ominous voice promising death that no one else seems to hear, and students are turning up petrified. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are soon hot on the trail of whoever is terrorizing the teachers and students.

The first two Harry Potter books are the most childish in the series. These first two chapters in Harry’s tale read like the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew books with a magical twist. The story is far from epic at this point in the series. In fact, compared to what comes later in the series and what begins in the third book, The Chamber of Secrets is quaint.

This film is also substantially darker than the first film. The story centers on snakes and spiders and death threats, sure, but it also explores issues of secrecy and sedition. Harry begins, in this film, a practice that becomes typical of him throughout the series – he keeps information from those who care about him, preferring, it seems, to do everything on his own rather than trusting others to help and support him. He also begins flagrantly breaking rules to do what he thinks he needs to do.

Harry’s secret-keeping nature isn’t foreign to many of us. We too can be very private people. We think that we can do everything on our own. We justify this behavior by telling ourselves that we’re not unjustly burdening our loved ones with our problems. Truthfully, we don’t trust them, and we are afraid they are going to either hurt us, let us down, or both.

Through Christ, we must learn to trust others. After all, “love always trusts.” As we let people into our lives, we gain true friends, and we’re entrusted with the opportunity to be a true friend in return.

In the film, such secrecy isn’t celebrated either. The characters who hide their thoughts and intentions and keep to themselves do not profit by their actions. Secrecy causes more problems than it solves. This Harry Potter story invites us to trust. Our chambers of secrets need to be opened, so we can love others by trusting them with who we really are.

Discussion Questions

1) If instead of keeping what he was discovering to himself, Harry had shared his knowledge with his friends or Professor Dumbledore, how might things have turned out differently? Who blatantly lies in the story? Who is hurt by those lies?

2) Read all of Luke 8. Many things happen in this chapter, but consider them all in light of what Jesus says in verses 16–18 about how everything that’s hidden will be exposed. What questions do you have about what happens in this chapter? Why do you think Jesus tell the Gesarene demoniac to tell everyone what has happened and Jarius to keep his daughter’s resurrection a secret? Did Jesus’ commands to each of them work? Why is the woman who touches Jesus unable to hide? Who is “on the in” with God? Who is Jesus’ family? Who learns God’s truth? What do all these stories suggest about secrecy and truthfulness? Are there such things as secrets that stay secrets forever?

Related Scripture

No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a bowl or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on top of a lampstand so that those who enter can see the light. Nothing is hidden that won’t be exposed. Nor is anything concealed that won’t be made known and brought to the light. Therefore, listen carefully. Those who have will receive more, but as for those who don’t have, even what they seem to have will be taken away from them.
(Luke 8:16-18)