Hermione figures it out

Even though Hermione has been Petrified, she manages to pass on a message to Harry and Ron with the answer to what did it.

Extract from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

by J.K. Rowling

Making sure that Madam Pomfrey was nowhere near, he pointed this out to Ron.

‘Try and get it out,’ Ron whispered, shifting his chair so that he blocked Harry from Madam Pomfrey’s view.

It was no easy task. Hermione’s hand was clamped so tightly around the paper that Harry was sure he was going to tear it. While Ron kept watch he tugged and twisted, and at last, after several tense minutes, the paper came free.

It was a page torn from a very old library book. Harry smoothed it out eagerly and Ron leaned close to read it too.

Of the many fearsome beasts and monsters that roam our land, there is none more curious or more deadly than the Basilisk, known also as the King of Serpents. This snake, which may reach gigantic size, and live many hundreds of years, is born from a chicken’s egg, hatched beneath a toad. Its methods of killing are most wondrous, for aside from its deadly and venomous fangs, the Basilisk has a murderous stare, and all who are fixed with the beam of its eye shall suffer instant death. Spiders flee before the Basilisk, for it is their mortal enemy, and the Basilisk flees only from the crowing of the rooster, which is fatal to it.

And beneath this, a single word had been written, in a hand Harry recognised as Hermione’s. Pipes.

It was as though somebody had just flicked a light on in his brain.

‘Ron,’ he breathed, ‘this is it. This is the answer. The monster in the Chamber’s a Basilisk – a giant serpent! That’s why I’ve been hearing that voice all over the place, and nobody else has heard it. It’s because I understand Parseltongue ...’

Harry looked up at the beds around him.

‘The Basilisk kills people by looking at them. But no one’s died – because no one looked it straight in the eye. Colin saw it through his camera. The Basilisk burned up all the film inside it, but Colin just got Petrified. Justin ... Justin must’ve seen the Basilisk through Nearly Headless Nick! Nick got the full blast of it, but he couldn’t die again ... and Hermione and that Ravenclaw Prefect were found with a mirror next to them. Hermione had just realised the monster was a Basilisk. I bet you anything she warned the first person she met to look round corners with a mirror first! And that girl pulled out her mirror – and –’

Ron’s jaw had dropped.

‘And Mrs Norris?’ he whispered eagerly.

Harry thought hard, picturing the scene on the night of Hallowe’en.

‘The water ...’ he said slowly, ‘the flood from Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom. I bet you Mrs Norris only saw the reflection ...’

He scanned the page in his hand eagerly. The more he looked at it, the more it made sense.

The Basilisk flees only from the crowing of the rooster, which is fatal to it! ’ he read aloud. ‘Hagrid’s roosters were killed! The heir of Slytherin didn’t want one anywhere near the castle once the Chamber was opened! Spiders flee before the Basilisk! It all fits!’

‘But how’s the Basilisk been getting around the place?’ said Ron. ‘A dirty great snake ... Someone would’ve seen ...’

Harry, however, pointed at the word Hermione had scribbled at the foot of the page.

‘Pipes,’ he said. ‘Pipes ... Ron, it’s been using the plumbing. I’ve been hearing that voice inside the walls ...’

Ron suddenly grabbed Harry’s arm.

‘The entrance to the Chamber of Secrets!’ he said hoarsely. ‘What if it’s a bathroom? What if it’s in –’

‘– Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom,’ said Harry.

They sat there, excitement coursing through them, hardly able to believe it.


Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

by J.K. Rowling