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"Of course, it was fifty years ago, so it was before his time, but he knows all about it, and he says that it was al kept quiet and it'll look suspicious if I know too much about it. But I know one thing — last time the Chamber of Secrets was opened, a Mudblood died. So I bet it's a matter of time before one of them's killed this time.... I hope it's Granger"
Draco Malfoy talking about the first opening of the Chamber of Secrets[src]

The plot to open the Chamber of Secrets was a set of events that first took place in 1943 and later in the 1992–1993 school year. The first plot started with Hogwarts student Tom Riddle locating Salazar Slytherin's legendary Chamber of Secrets and the monster within, a Basilisk. The opening of the chamber culminated in the death of student Myrtle Warren, for which third-year Rubeus Hagrid was framed, and expelled from school.

The second plot started with a piece of Riddle's soul, embedded into a diary, finding its way into the hands of an unwitting first-year Hogwarts student, Ginny Weasley, who was bewitched into reopening the Chamber. Hagrid was again framed due to his supposed involvement in the first plot, and was sent to Azkaban. These events culminated in the Petrification of several students and Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley being almost killed. It all ended with Harry Potter's destruction of Tom Riddle's diary and slaying of the Basilisk.


Background information[]

Chamber creation[]

"Reliable historical sources tell us this much. But these honest facts have been obscured by the fanciful legend of the Chamber of Secrets. The story goes that Slytherin had built a hidden chamber in the castle, of which the other founders knew nothing. Slytherin, according to the legend, sealed the Chamber of Secrets so that none would be able to open it until his own true heir arrived at the school. The heir alone would be able to unseal the Chamber of Secrets, unleash the horror within, and use it to purge the school of al who were unworthy to study magic."
Professor Binns explaining the legend of the Chamber of Secrets to second-year students in History of Magic[src]

The Chamber of Secrets was a enormous chamber built by the Founder of Hogwarts and Slytherin House, Salazar Slytherin in the 11th century. The chamber leads from the Second-floor girls' lavatory down through a chute to a circular room. That room has a hole that leads into a large room that has a door at the end of it. One has to speak Parseltongue to open it. The door leads into the main chamber, which is a very large room with a little swimming-pool at the end and a wall-statue of Slytherin himself. The mouth is used to hide an enormous Basilisk, which only emerges when the Heir speaks to it via Parseltongue.[1] On the long way to the end some snake-head statues are to be found. There is also a passage on the right which leads into a walk, with another long walk and a short walk. They both leads to the main chamber. However, in 1992, the circular room had a lot of rat-bones, and the large room with the door at the end was crushed, when Gilderoy Lockhart used Ronald Weasley's wand to perform the Memory Charm which backfired, and caused a lot of rocks to block the way, and the same room had a Basilisk-skin which had been shed.[2]

Tom Riddle (a.k.a. The Heir of Slytherin)[]

Main article: Tom Riddle
"I knew it wouldn’t be safe to open the Chamber again while I was still at school. But I wasn’t going to waste those long years I’d spent searching for it. I decided to leave behind a diary, preserving my sixteen-year-old self in its pages, so that one day, with luck, I would be able to lead an- other in my footsteps, and finish Salazar Slytherin’s noble work."
— Tom Riddle's soul speaking about his first opening of the Chamber of Secrets[src]

In 1926, a half-blood wizard named Tom Riddle was born (who would grow up to become the man known as Lord Voldemort), In 1938, Tom Riddle came to Hogwarts and was sorted into Slytherin. He learned about the Chamber of Secrets and Slytherin's heir, and found out, by 1943, that he himself was a direct descendant of Slytherin, and he plotted to purge the school of Muggle-borns, and others unworthy of the gift of magic.[1]


First stage[]

Tom Riddle: "I don’t think you meant to kill anyone. But monsters don’t make good pets. I suppose you just let it out for exercise and —"
Rubeus Hagrid: "It never killed no one!"
Tom Riddle: "Come on, Rubeus. The dead girl’s parents will be here tomorrow. The least Hogwarts can do is make sure that the thing that killed their daughter is slaughtered...."
— Tom Riddle framing Rubeus Hagrid for having opened the Chamber of Secrets[src]

In the 1942–1943 school year, while Tom Riddle was at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in Slytherin House and explored the school, he found out he came from the direct line of Salazar Slytherin himself, and he opened the Chamber of Secrets and awakened the Basilisk inside. With this monster he terrorised Hogwarts, petrifying a number of people and killing a Ravenclaw girl named Myrtle Warren, and laid the blame on Gryffindor boy Rubeus Hagrid for it. After what the school thought was the monster was scared away and Hagrid was expelled, the terrifying occurrences ended.[3][4]

Between stages[]

Main article: First Wizarding War

In 1945, Riddle graduated from Hogwarts, and teachers expected him to go on to become an employee at the Ministry of Magic, and in all probability Minister for Magic, but he turned down the offers and worked for Borgin and Burkes. He poisoned Hepzibah Smith to steal his ancestor's locket and Hufflepuff's Cup, when Hepzibah made an opprobrious remark about Burke buying the locket from a ragged woman, Riddle recognised the witch as his own mother. He disappeared from Britain for ten years and, in 1955, Riddle returned, as Voldemort, to seek the job as Defence Against the Dark Arts professor. Voldemort's first rise to power began after the job request was rejected by Dumbledore and the jinx on the post was cast.[5] Voldemort became severely weakened in 1981 in an attempt to kill Harry Potter. In 1991–1992, Harry Potter was accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry; Voldemort, who is on the back of Quirinus Quirrell's (the current Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher) head, forced Quirrell to try to steal the Philosopher's Stone and kill Harry Potter, if he could. This failed, and Quirrell died instead, which forced Voldemort to leave the body and search for another way to get back into the wizarding world.[6]

Second stage[]

— The first message left on the wall[src]
Trio writing on wall

The writing on the wall

Before the next school year, Death Eater Lucius Malfoy distracted the Weasleys while they were shopping at Flourish and Blotts, and slipped Tom Riddle's Horcrux Diary in the seventh Weasley's cauldron.[7][8] After the first couple of months, the memory of Tom Riddle took over Ginny, and forced her to petrify several students. Finally, Harry Potter found the diary,[3] but Ginny stole it back from him and then,[9] she finally went down into the Chamber of Secrets,[2] where Tom Riddle's memory came out of the diary and took human form. Harry travelled down to the Chamber and learned Riddle was indeed Lord Voldemort.[1]

"Now, Harry, I’m going to teach you a little lesson. Let’s match the powers of Lord Voldemort, Heir of Salazar Slytherin, against famous Harry Potter, and the best weapons Dumbledore can give him...."
— Tom Riddle's soul unleashing the Serpent of Slytherin upon Harry Potter in the Chamber of Secrets[src]
COS piercing through Serpent of Slytherin

Harry slaying the Basilisk

Harry destroying Tom Riddle's Diary GIF

Harry destroying the diary

Riddle then summoned the basilisk using Parseltongue, while draining Ginny's life from her. Riddle made it clear that his new goal was to kill Harry Potter instead of the Muggle-born students, since Ginny had revealed to him that Harry was meant to kill him in his future. There was then a battle and the basilisk was killed. Riddle tried to stop a dying Harry Potter from destroying his diary, but failed again. Harry was healed by Fawkes, a phoenix and was saved from death, then, he took the basilisk fang and plunged it into the diary, destroying the Horcrux and the fragment of Riddle's soul with it.[1]


Lucius Malfoy: "How should I know how the stupid little girl got hold of it?"
Harry Potter: "Because you gave it to her. In Flourish and Blotts. You picked up her old Transfiguration book and slipped the diary inside it, didn’t you?"
Lucius Malfoy: "Prove it."
Albus Dumbledore: "Oh, no one will be able to do that. Not now that Riddle has vanished from the book. On the other hand, I would advise you, Lucius, not to go giving out any more of Lord Voldemort’s old school things. If any more of them find their way into innocent hands, I think Arthur Weasley, for one, will make sure they are traced back to you..."
— Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore acknowledging Lucius Malfoy's responsibility for the plot to open the Chamber of Secrets[src]

After the battle Harry Potter, with Dobby's tacit hints, was able to correctly surmise Lucius Malfoy's involvement in the opening in the Chamber of Secrets, with Albus Dumbledore concluding that Lucius slipped the diary to Ginny Weasley for personal gain, in hope of sabotaging the Muggle Protection Act her father, Arthur Weasley, had recently proposed in the Ministry of Magic. As the diary lost its magic upon its destruction, there was not sufficient proof for these allegations, though Lucius did lose his position as a Hogwarts school governor for threatening his fellow eleven colleagues with curses, as he had used the incident in an attempt to remove Albus Dumbledore from Hogwarts.[8]

Discovery of Horcruxes[]

Four years later, In 1997, Albus Dumbledore and Harry discovered Voldemort's Horcruxes. His diary was a horcrux, as were Marvolo Gaunt's Ring, Salazar Slytherin's Locket, Helga Hufflepuff's Cup, Rowena Ravenclaw's Diadem and Nagini.[10] Dumbledore kept to himself the fact that Harry was actually the last Horcrux.[11]

Future openings[]

In 1998, During the Battle of Hogwarts, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger opened the Chamber to take a basilisk fang to destroy the Horcrux Cup.[12]





Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 17 (The Heir of Slytherin)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 16 (The Chamber of Secrets)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 13 (The Very Secret Diary)
  4. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 15 (Aragog)
  5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 20 (Lord Voldemort's Request)
  6. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 17 (The Man with Two Faces)
  7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 4 (At Flourish and Blotts)
  8. 8.0 8.1 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 18 (Dobby's Reward)
  9. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 14 (Cornelius Fudge)
  10. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 23 (Horcruxes)
  11. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 35 (King's Cross)
  12. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 31 (The Battle of Hogwarts)
  13. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 9 (The Writing on the Wall)
  14. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 10 (The Rogue Bludger)
  15. 15.0 15.1 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 11 (The Duelling Club)