Alrighty, everyone. I am making progress on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and I have to say, I’m a little disappointed that the movies (and the Potter universe as a whole) don’t do more with the ghosts until much later in the series.
Let me explain. First of all, I forgot that this was the book that had Nearly Headless Nick’s Death Day Party in it. I knew it was early in the series somewhere, but I forgot which book until I was nearly at the party in this book. It’s such a bizarre scene, but it’s also oddly hilarious. Not only is it a 500th anniversary of Nick’s butchered beheading, but it’s also a political move for Nick–he wants into the Headless Hunt, but they won’t let him join because he’s not technically headless.
It just strikes me as particularly funny as an adult, to see that Nick is much like a child trying to fit in with the popular crowd and being shoved aside, even though he’s well over 500 years old and, you know, dead. Apparently the desire to fit in never dies.
But on top of that, let’s talk about the much-neglected Hogwarts ghost. Or should I say poltergeist?
I really wish he’d made it into the movies because I just want to see what Peeves actually does. It’s one thing to read about how he does all these pranks, but you really mean to tell me no one sees Peeves tampering with the stairs or whatever else he does?
Also, for as clever as Peeves is, he’s also kind of dumb. Like, in the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry was able to convince Peeves that Harry was the Bloody Baron. (In Peeves’s defense, Harry was under the invisibility cloak at the time, but still.) And in this one, Nearly Headless Nick is able to trick Peeves. Like, shouldn’t the trickster be better at spotting tricks?
I rag on Peeves, but you always know something interesting is going to happen as soon as he enters a scene. While he’s not my favorite Hogwarts troublemaker (Fred and George would share that title), I can always expect something fun from him.
I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m forgetting a lot about Peeves’s backstory (or even if it was ever revealed). It’s been literally a decade since I last read Deathly Hallows and I can’t remember if Peeves’s story was revealed there. I’m always wondering why the Bloody Baron is the only one who can control Peeves. And why is Peeves even attached to Hogwarts? Who was he previously and why is he still there? I truly don’t remember. (If I’m going to read it soon, please don’t tell me!)
The ghosts, especially Nick, are certainly big parts of many of the subplots in the story. I wish in the movies (and even in the books, to some degree) that we got to see more of them.
Oh, and can we talk about Professor Binns? I know all of the students except Hermione are bored stupid at the fact that History of Magic is taught by a ghost, but how COOL would that BE? Can you imagine having the ghost of a Civil War soldier talk about history? I don’t even care if he talks about the Civil War or just what came before–that would be the coolest history class I’ve ever taken.
Poor Binns. He was cut from the movies entirely.
This Halloween, let’s celebrate Nearly Headless Nick, who will be celebrating his 526th Death Day. And still probably hasn’t become part of the Headless Hunt.