The Very Secret Diary (CS)

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The Very Secret Diary is the thirteenth chapter of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Hospital wing

Hermione is confined to the hospital wing for several weeks due to the Polyjuice Potion miscalculation (CS12). Several students wonder if she's been attacked; Madam Pomfrey puts a curtain around her bed so that others won't see the girl's furry face.

Harry and Ron visit her every evening, and bring her each day's homework. One day, they spot a Get Well card she's hidden under her pillow: "To Miss Granger, wishing you a speedy recovery, from your concerned teacher, Professor Gilderoy Lockhart, Order of Merlin, Third Class, Honourary Member of the Dark Force Defence League and five times winner of Witch Weekly's Most-Charming-Smile Award."

While Harry and Ron are on the way back to the Gryffindor Tower so that they can finish their Potions homework, regretting not having asked Hermione how many rat tails have to be added to a Hair-Raising Potion, they overhear Argus Filch hysterically talking to himself on the hallway.

Monitoring his usual spot—the place where Mrs. Norris was petrified (CS9)—, Filch is shouting his displeasure at having to mop he flooded corridor. The boys hear also Moaning Myrtle wailing from her bathroom, from where the water is overflowing.


Harry and Ron enter the dark bathroom—all the candles were extinguished by the jet of water that flooded the place. Myrtle is crying harder than ever. "Who's that?" she sobs. "Come to throw something else at me?"

She tells the boys that someone—she didn't see who—threw a book at her. When Harry points out that it certainly went through her, she shrieks, "Let's all throw books at Myrtle, because she can't feel it! Ten points if you can get it through her stomach! Fifty points if it goes through her head! Well, ha ha ha! What a lovely game, I don't think!"

The small, black book is under the sink, wet as everything else in the bathroom. Ron points out that it may be dangerous: "Some of the books the Ministry's confiscated — Dad's told me — there was one that burned your eyes out. And everyone who read Sonnets of a Sorcerer spoke in limericks for the rest of their lives. And some old witch in Bath had a book that you could never stop reading! You just had to wander around with your nose in it, trying to do everything one-handed. And —"

Harry interrupts him, saying that he's understood. Despite the warning, Harry reaches for it; the book is obviously a diary from fifty years ago. He sees the name T. M. Riddle on the first page. Ron recognises the name; Riddle won an award for Special Award for Services to the School; Ron vomited slugs on the shield during his detention in the trophy room, and Filch made him polish it several times (CS7).

Harry quickly realises that the diary is empty. The only other inscription is the address of who printed it, a newsagent in Vauxhall Road, London. The boy deduces that the owner of the diary was a Muggle-born wizard, and keeps the diary for future scrutiny.


In the beginning of February, Hermione leaves the hospital wing with her regular appearance restored. Harry shows her the diary on her first evening back in the Gryffindor common room, and she excitedly tries to reveal the diary's secrets: she taps it three times and says, "Aparecium!", which would have made invisible ink appear; then she uses what seems to be a bright-red eraser—a Revealer that she bought in Diagon Alley—and rubbed on "January the first". Nothing appears.

Harry wonders why it was discarded in the first place, and why Riddle received the award. "Could've been anything," Ron says. "Maybe he got thirty O.W.Ls or saved a teacher from the giant squid. Maybe he murdered Myrtle (CS15), that would've done everyone a favour ..."

Hermione and Harry, however, follow the same trail of thought: the Chamber of Secrets was opened fifty years ago; perhaps Riddle received the shield for having caught the heir of Slytherin.


Despite the fact that the diary is empty, Harry is drawn to it, and finds himself constantly turning its pages. The following day, the Trio goes to the trophy room to examine Riddle's golden shield. They also find his name on an old Medal for Magical Merit, and on a list of old Head Boys.

Time passes, and no more attacks occur. Madam Pomfrey reports that the Mandrakes are becoming moody and secretive—they are leaving childhoods. As soon as the acne clears up, they will be repotted, and then it won't be long before Mandrake juice can be brewed.

Harry supposes that the heir of Slytherin is having a harder time opening the Chamber because the school is much more alert now. Ernie Macmillan does not share his view—he still believes that Harry is guilty—, and neither does Peeves, who has now invented a dance-routine to go with his "Oh Potter, you rotter" song (CS11).

Gilderoy Lockhart takes credit for the break in the attacks; he tells McGonagall that the culprit probably feared being caught by him. He then confides that he's had an idea to boost the morale of the school.

Valentine's Day

Harry oversleeps a bit on February 14, 1993, and descends to the Great Hall late for breakfast. He is astonished to see that all the walls are covered with flowers, and heart-shaped confetti falls from the ceiling. Lockhart himself is at the High Table dressed in pink robes to match the décor. The other teachers seem crossed; Snape looks as though he's been fed Skele-Gro.

Lockhart wishes the students a happy Valentine's Day, and mentions that he has received forty-six cards already. At his sign, twelve dwarfs enter the Hall, wearing golden wings and carrying harps.

"My friendly, card-carrying cupids!" Gilderoy announces. "They will be roving around the school today delivering your Valentines! And the fun doesn't stop there! I'm sure my colleagues will want to enter into the spirit of the occasion! Why not ask Professor Snape to show you how to whip up a Love Potion! And while you're at it, Professor Flitwick knows more about Entrancing Enchantments than any wizard I've ever met, the sly old dog!"

Harry's Valentine

The dwarves interrupt classes all day to deliver Valentines. When the Trio is on their way to Charms, one of them approaches Harry; the boy tries to escape, but the dwarf clutches his bag to prevent him from doing so. It rips open, and an ink bottle smashes on top of Harry's school supplies.

Draco Malfoy approaches the group, and so does Percy Weasley. Harry tries to run once more, but the dwarf holds on to his knees and sings:

His eyes are as green as a fresh pickled toad
His hair is as dark as a blackboard
I wish he was mine, he's really divine
The hero who conquered the Dark Lord

He does his best to laugh along with everyone else. Draco reaches down and picks up the diary. Harry asks him to return it; Percy, a Prefect, reinforces the request. Harry shouts, "Expelliarmus!" and the diary shoots out of Malfoy's hand.

Draco furiously turns to Ginny, who is passing by, and says, "I don't think Potter liked your Valentine much!"

Ginny covers her face with her hands and runs into class. Ron draws out his wand, but Harry prevents him from doing anything, for fear that his best friend will be vomiting slugs during Charms as well (CS9).

During Charms, Harry notices something odd: unlike the rest of his possessions, the diary is not drenched in ink. In fact, it seems to have absorbed all of it.

This chapter summary is not done yet. Please be patient.


"And while Harry was sure he had never heard the name T. M. Riddle before, it still seemed to mean something to him, almost as though Riddle was a friend he'd had when he was very small, and half-forgotten. But this was absurd."

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
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