Some content in this article is derived from information featured in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and, as such, spoilers will be present.
- "He was standing at the end of a long, dimly lit chamber. Towering stone pillars entwined with more serpents, rose to a ceiling lost in darkness, casting long, black shadows through the odd, greenish gloom that filled the place"
- —Description of the Chamber[src]
The Chamber of Secrets was created under the dungeons of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry during Medieval times by Salazar Slytherin, who disagreed with the other Hogwarts founders on the merits of blood purity.
The Chamber of Secrets was home to an ancient Basilisk, which, according to legend, was intended to be used to purge the area of Muggle-born students. The Chamber is flanked with towering pillars entwined with carved wood, and a tall statue of Salazar Slytherin is at the far end. The basilisk rests within the mouth of the statue, possibly symbolising Salazar Slytherin's ability to speak Parseltongue. Sometime before 1992, the chamber flooded with water.
Salazar Slytherin disagreed with the other Hogwarts founders about the importance of blood purity and the acceptance of Muggle-borns at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As the other Founders were against him in this matter, he left the school. According to legend, before he left, he created a secret chamber deep underground in Hogwarts Castle — known as the Chamber of Secrets.
This Chamber was home to a monster — a Basilisk — that was allegedly supposed to purge the school of all Muggle-born students. Only Slytherin's heir could open his room, through the use of Parseltongue. Over the centuries after Salazar Slytherin's death, many headmasters conducted searches of the school to find the Chamber. None, however, were successful, and the Chamber was dismissed as a mere legend by many. When the Chamber was opened in 1943 and 1992, it was revealed to be real.
There is clear evidence that the Chamber has been opened more than once between its creation and the twentieth century. When first created, the Chamber was accessed through a concealed trapdoor and a series of magical tunnels. However, when Hogwarts’ plumbing became more elaborate in the eighteenth century, the entrance to the Chamber was threatened, being located on the site of a proposed bathroom. The presence in school at the time of a student called Corvinus Gaunt — direct descendant of Slytherin —explains how the simple trapdoor was secretly protected, so that those who knew how could still access the entrance to the Chamber even after newfangled plumbing had been placed on top of it.
The Chamber was opened during the 1942-1943 school year by a young boy by the name of Tom Marvolo Riddle, later known as Lord Voldemort. Through his mother, he was the last remaining direct descendant of Salazar Slytherin, and he desired to see Muggle-borns driven from Hogwarts. In his fifth year, Riddle located the secret entrance to the Chamber of Secrets during his research on his heritage, and was able to control the Basilisk as he was the Heir of Slytherin. Riddle turned the beast loose on the school, injuring many.
The last victim was a student named Myrtle Warren, who was killed in the girls' bathroom. Hogwarts was due to be closed, which upset Riddle, who did not want to return to the Muggle orphanage in which he was raised. He framed fellow student Rubeus Hagrid, who had concealed a pet Acromantula named Aragog. Riddle convinced the Headmaster at the time, Armando Dippet, that Aragog was the monster that had terrorised the school. Hagrid was wrongfully expelled, and Riddle received an engraved trophy for Special Services to the School.
Albus Dumbledore, then the Transfiguration professor, distrusted Riddle and kept a close watch on him after that. As it was no longer safe to open the Chamber of Secrets, Riddle, not wanting his research to be for naught, created a diary in which to preserve his sixteen year old self, hoping it would one day lead someone to finish Salazar Slytherin's "noble quest." The diary was also made a Horcrux with the murder of Moaning Myrtle.
At some point between the death of Myrtle and the 1992 - 1993 school year, the Chamber flooded under unknown circumstances.
The Chamber was re-opened in 1992 when the bewitched diary of Tom Riddle manipulated and controlled Ginny Weasley, a first-year student who had got hold of the diary by Lucius Malfoy who slipped it in her cauldron when he was viewing her other spellbooks in Flourish and Blotts and fell under its influence. Ginny was compelled to vandalise the school by painting terrifying messages on the corridor walls. The first message read "The Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Enemies of the heir, beware." Opening the Chamber of Secrets let the Basilisk come out and made people look at it in different ways, petrifying many students. Hermione saw the Basilisk's reflection in the mirror Collin saw it though his camera Justin saw it through Nearly Headless Nick and Mrs Norris saw it through the flooded water floor.
She was made to open the Chamber, releasing the Basilisk. It petrified many students, including Colin Creevey, Justin Finch-Fletchley, Penelope Clearwater, and Hermione Granger, as well as the ghost of Nearly Headless Nick and the Caretaker's cat, Mrs Norris. They were later restored to their proper states through the use of Mandrake Restorative Draught. Fortunately, this time, no one was killed.
On 29 May, 1993, Ginny was taken down to the Chamber to die, while Riddle intended to feed off her life force to become fully alive again. Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and then-Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor Gilderoy Lockhart went to the Chamber to rescue Ginny, as a message had been left that she was being held prisoner there.
Once in the chamber Harry met with the memory of Tom Riddle, preserved in the diary. A near-dead Ginny lay nearby, whose life force was being drained. As Ginny grew weaker, Riddle grew stronger. Riddle then reveals that he is, in fact, Lord Voldemort (rearranging the letters of his name from "Tom Marvolo Riddle" to "I am Lord Voldemort"), he then summons Slytherin's basilisk. Harry, knowing that eye contact with the basilisk would be fatal, ran from it, and was helped by the timely arrival of Fawkes, Dumbledore's phoenix who clawed the Basilisk's eyes out.
Now able to look freely, Harry battled the Basilisk with Godric Gryffindor's Sword, which materialised out of the Sorting Hat, that Fawkes brought down to the chamber, but a basilisk fang stabbed into his arm in the process. Near death, Harry used the fang to stab the diary, and it spurted out black blood like ink, and the memory of Riddle preserved in it was destroyed. This action also effectively destroyed the fragment of Voldemort's soul within it, as Basilisk venom is one of the substances capable of destroying Horcruxes. After the fight with the basilisk, Fawkes's tears healed Harry's wound, and he, Ginny, Lockhart, and Ron were carried by Fawkes out of the chamber.
On 2 May, 1998, during the Battle of Hogwarts, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger went back to the Chamber of Secrets to retrieve more fangs, since they needed Basilisk venom to destroy Voldemort's Horcruxes.
Ron was able to open the Chamber by mimicking the Parseltongue he had heard Harry use to open Salazar Slytherin's Locket. Once inside, Hermione stabbed Helga Hufflepuff's Cup with a Basilisk fang taken from the dead Basilisk's skeleton, destroying the Horcrux.
- "Next second, the sink began to move. The sink, in fact, sank, right out of sight, leaving a large pipe exposed, a pipe wide enough for a man to slide into"
- —The entrance to the corridor of snakes that leads to the Chamber[src]
The entrance to the Chamber is at a snake-engraved sink tap in the second-floor girls' lavatory, where a ghost of a girl named Myrtle Warren, more commonly known as Moaning Myrtle can often be found. A corridor may be entered by giving the command of "Open" or "Open up" to a snake engraved on the entrance in Parseltongue.
The engraved snake is on a tap over one of the sinks. The snake twist making the other snakes go back. According to Myrtle, the tap has never worked. A passage will open from the sink that leads to a corridor, which Harry Potter and Ron Weasley opened in 1993 and 1998 respectively.
Corridor of Secrets
This corridor is a passageway leading to the door of the Chamber. In the spring of 1993, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Gilderoy Lockhart found an old, shed Basilisk skin while travelling through the corridor. Lockhart accidentally caused a cave-in when he attempted to use Ron's broken wand to cast a Memory Charm, which backfired instead.
Behind the scenes
- Ginny Weasley opened the chamber under Tom Riddle's control; however, she only could open it because of Tom Riddle's ability to speak Parseltongue. She was unable to speak Parseltongue afterwards but Tom probably told her what to say.
- In the book, it says that Filch could not get the messages written by Ginny off of the wall. It is unknown if he ever did, and it has not been mentioned since.
- The Chamber is one of the few Hogwarts locations not to be on the Marauder's Map, as it was never found by the Marauders.
- Tom Riddle opened the Chamber of Secrets in June 1943, but it is unknown precisely which day, possibly the same day he caught Hagrid from talking with Aragog (13th June) or the day before. As Myrtle recalled, they took "hours and hours" to find her body.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, the Chamber of Secrets scene where Ron and Hermione enter and Hermione destroys the cup with a Basilisk fang is shown. Also, Voldemort caused the Chamber to flood and nearly kill them, and this is the scene when they kissed.
- The Chamber of Secrets happens to be the location of the destruction of two of Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes: the Diary and the Cup.
- The Chamber had a green hue in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, but in the second part of the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, its hue was blue.
- In The Deathly Hallows: Part 2, the snake head statues in the Chamber appeared to be more worn than in The Chamber Of Secrets, and had slightly bigger eyes.
- In The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 videogame, the chamber is recreated inaccurately. It has miles of caves, tunnels and doors in between the bone pit and the actual chamber. The chamber is also shown to be behind an ordinary metal door rather than the unique one in the films, and there is a ramp to get down into the chamber rather than a ladder.
- The statue of Salazar Slytherin in the film differs from the one in the book in that it only depicts Slytherin's head, rather than his full body. In Harry Potter Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey, it was revealed that the Chamber is flooded, and the water rose to the statue's head.
- Bonnie Wright (the actress that played Ginny Weasley) said that when shooting for the scene in the Chamber of Secrets, the floor was so cold, there was hot water bottles in her clothes!
- In the PS1 version of the game, the chamber is divided into several corridors, leading to a penultimate chamber with four connecting chambers, two on either side. They contain small trolls, animated suits of armour, giant slugs and rats. in the final chamber, Harry must use Flipendo jinx when the basilisk opens its mouth, and then use the Godric Gryffindor sword to deflect green lazer-like beams portruding from the basilik's fangs. Harry must also duel with Lockhart before he loses his memory.
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game) (Entrance only)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (play) (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Building the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- LEGO Creator: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
- LEGO Harry Potter
- Harry Potter for Kinect
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault
- LEGO Dimensions
Notes and references