This movie address memory, in both remembering and forgetting. Even the word “secrets” implies memories or stories not meant to be told.
In the beginning of the movie, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) thinks “his friends [have] forgotten him”. However, Dobby the house elf (Toby Jones) actually took the letters his friends had been sending in an effort to protect Harry.
I would even argue that Fawkes the phoenix is a representation of memory. He never truly dies, thus his memory is continuous. Also, he is potentially one of the most memorable creatures we encounter in the wizarding world.
Whenever Lockhart (Kenneth Branagh) goes into the Chamber of Secrets with Harry and Ron (Rupert Grint), he tries to perform a “memory charm” to erase the teenagers’ memories. However, the charm backfires and hits Lockhart instead. This produces a comical dialog between him and Ron, but also directly represents how memories can be manipulated in the magical universe. Lockhart cannot even remember his own name.
Tom Riddle’s (Christian Coulson) diary is another way memories are represented. It holds Lord Voldemort’s memories of what happened when he opened the Chamber of Secrets at 16-years-old. However, he offers Harry misleading memories when he blames the death of Moaning Myrtle (Shirley Henderson) on Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane). However, he is also truthful in revealing himself to be Lord Voldemort. Tom is a tricky character.
Memory is a fickle thing. Sometimes it can be helpful, like when Harry remembers that to free a house elf an article of clothing must be presented to the creature. However, it can also be misleading, like Tom’s diary. In the end, “it’s [all] just a memory.”
If you love geeking out about Harry Potter (as I do), check out Pottermore. It’s a place where fans can “share, participate in, and rediscover the stories”. Go have a look!
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