The Chamber is opened

Mrs Norris is found petrified, and Filch accuses Harry of the attack

Extract from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

by J.K. Rowling

‘My cat! My cat! What’s happened to Mrs Norris?’ he shrieked. And his popping eyes fell on Harry.

‘You!’ he screeched, ‘You! You’ve murdered my cat! You’ve killed her! I’ll kill you! I’ll –’

‘Argus!’

Dumbledore had arrived on the scene, followed by a number of other teachers. In seconds, he had swept past Harry, Ron and Hermione and detached Mrs Norris from the torch bracket.

‘Come with me, Argus,’ he said to Filch. ‘You too, Mr Potter, Mr Weasley, Miss Granger.’

Lockhart stepped forward eagerly.

‘My office is nearest, Headmaster – just upstairs – please feel free –’

‘Thank you, Gilderoy,’ said Dumbledore.

The silent crowd parted to let them pass. Lockhart, looking excited and important, hurried after Dumbledore; so did Professors McGonagall and Snape.

As they entered Lockhart’s darkened office there was a flurry of movement across the walls; Harry saw several of the Lockharts in the pictures dodging out of sight, their hair in rollers. The real Lockhart lit the candles on his desk and stood back. Dumbledore laid Mrs Norris on the polished surface and began to examine her. Harry, Ron and Hermione exchanged tense looks and sank into chairs outside the pool of candlelight, watching.

The tip of Dumbledore’s long, crooked nose was barely an inch from Mrs Norris’s fur. He was looking at her closely through his half-moon spectacles, his long fingers gently prodding and poking. Professor McGonagall was bent almost as close, her eyes narrowed. Snape loomed behind them, half in shadow, wearing a most peculiar expression: it was as though he was trying hard not to smile. And Lockhart was hovering around all of them, making suggestions.

‘It was definitely a curse that killed her – probably the Transmogrifian Torture. I’ve seen it used many times, so unlucky I wasn’t there, I know the very counter-curse that would have saved her ...’

Lockhart’s comments were punctuated by Filch’s dry, racking sobs. He was slumped in a chair by the desk, unable to look at Mrs Norris, his face in his hands. Much as he detested Filch, Harry couldn’t help feeling a bit sorry for him, though not nearly as sorry as he felt for himself. If Dumbledore believed Filch, he would be expelled for sure.

Dumbledore was now muttering strange words under his breath and tapping Mrs Norris with his wand, but nothing happened: she continued to look as though she had been recently stuffed.

‘...I remember something very similar happening in Ouagadougou,’ said Lockhart, ‘a series of attacks, the full story’s in my autobiography. I was able to provide the townsfolk with various amulets which cleared the matter up at once ...’

The photographs of Lockhart on the walls were all nodding in agreement as he talked. One of them had forgotten to remove his hairnet.

At last Dumbledore straightened up.

‘She’s not dead, Argus,’ he said softly.

Lockhart stopped abruptly in the middle of counting the number of murders he had prevented.

‘Not dead?’ choked Filch, looking through his fingers at Mrs Norris. ‘But why’s she all – all stiff and frozen?’

‘She has been Petrified,’ said Dumbledore (‘Ah! I thought so!’ said Lockhart). ‘But how, I cannot say ...’

‘Ask him!’ shrieked Filch, turning his blotched and tear-stained face to Harry.

‘No second-year could have done this,’ said Dumbledore firmly.

‘It would take Dark Magic of the most advanced –’

‘He did it, he did it!’ Filch spat, his pouchy face purpling. ‘You saw what he wrote on the wall! He found – in my office – he knows I’m a – I’m a –’ Filch’s face worked horribly. ‘He knows I’m a Squib!’ he finished.

‘I never touched Mrs Norris!’ Harry said loudly, uncomfortably aware of everyone looking at him, including all the Lockharts on the walls. ‘And I don’t even know what a Squib is.’


Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

By J.K. Rowling