Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Lost in Adaptation

The Harry Potterathon continues with a look to see if the Chamber of Secrets stuck to the book any better than the first film.

About The Dom

Reviewer of games, TV shows and movies. The Dom also likes to look at film adaptations of books and talk about what got lost transitioning from page to screen.


  1. First!! You’ve been hit by *bam,bam* You been struck by *bam* a Smoooooth Criminal!! Oooh!
    So the Squib subplot is in the movie and the scene with Malfoy and his dad in the shop? Weird; I grew up watching a VHS copy that cut that out. Between this and the miserable job on Bednknobs and Broom sticks, you could do a Lost in Adaptations based on VHS cuts and the origional films.
    Speaking of which, will you ever do Bedknobs and Broomsticks? That movie take a lotof libertiesbut is much better for it. Unlike 1999 Mansfield Park,….
    Hermione did get much more shrieky in this film; though I didn’t notice the pacing on that arguement.
    This Trevor bloke is alright; now I have something to associate Hufflepuff with other then spinless and annoying laymen….sorry….
    Can’t wait for next AAAAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHH!!! Holy cow, man….the credits…what the heck….I’ll never be whole again….the horror…the horror…
    Great review

  2. The sword was forged by goblin – of course it’s small!

    BTW, may be it’s magical and changes its size to suit the person who drew it.

  3. On the issue of localization: Just because England & the US share a language doesn’t mean the meanings quite match up. But it does mean we’re not going to grab for the dictionary because we think we know what it means even if we’ve got it completely wrong.

    For example “pavement” is any paved area that’s not blacktop. This means that if they walk on the pavement, they could be walking down the middle of the street, something that we don’t want to encourage children to do. “Bin” is more likely to be taken as a storage bin (plastic things smaller than the size of a child that are generally full of winter bedding or utility items).

    My personal favorite British term has to be “torch” since in America this word conjures images of wooden sticks that are on fire. The first time I encountered a story with someone reading under the covers of their bed with a torch, my instinct as a child was not to get a dictionary but instead to wonder WTF was wrong with British people and why the child’s bed wasn’t on fire and he wasn’t dead yet.

    While I’ve gotten more used to Britishisms over time and exposure, localization can be important, especially when you’re dealing with 8 year olds. I will, however, agree with you on the Philosopher’s Stone. They should have left that one alone.
    On the issue of localization: While Americans

    • I’m reminded of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” the joke in section about Veet Voojagig would have been lost if they’d used the British term, biro. They substituted with ballpoint pen. This was before the internet and I doubt an America dictionary would have had the term. Even so, looking it up would have ruined it since it’s a joke meant to be take in context.

      On the other side, it was years before I got the Ford Prefect joke because they never sold that model hear. I kind of figured it had something to do with cars, because of the Ford part and the thing about misunderstanding the dominant life form, but the joke didn’t work in the U.S.

      To be honest, it probably doesn’t work anywhere anymore since the car hasn’t been made in over 50 years.

      It’s even worse, as you say when we have the word, but it doesn’t mean the exact same thing. Some can work for adults that have been exposed to enough of the media (e.g. the above mentioned torch, boot when referring to a car), but it probably won’t work in media aimed at children.

  4. I do agree this film was a big improvement over the first. Which makes it probably the best adaptation in the series as the rest cut far too much stuff out. Also, I like Terrence, are we going to see more of him?

  5. Incidentally, Rowlings doesn’t seem to know a whole lot about snakes:

    1. Snakes do not have external ears. They cannot hear. At best, they can pick up faint vibrations through the ground, but generally have to rely on heat and scent to track prey. The Basilisk should have tracked Harry through its tongue. (However, I am willing to concede that Parseltongue is likely a magical language that works through snake-like sounds, but is actually telepathic in nature.)

    2. Snakes do not have eyelids. They cannot blink.

    Incidentally, I once tried to put a stick of butter in my beer once; it didn’t come out as well as planned.

    Whoever designed that Hermione Cat-girl needs to watch more anime, or read more Batman comics.

    • Rowling doesn’t know much about basilisks, either. They’re half-chicken half-snakes, and not all that big. (That’s always bugged me.)

      Their traits have been well-established for centuries.

  6. Ah, Dom… er, Terrence. You, sir, seem to have channeled my every thought about these film adaptations! It’s so gratifying, I must say, to hear someone else say what was always on my mind. I am very much looking forward to the next one, though for a different reason. The second movie was my favorite of the whole run, actually, because it retained the whimsy of the wizarding world and it remained more faithful than all of the others. And then the third book was my favorite of the seven, but the movie was my absolute least favorite. (Half-blood Prince a close second.) I can’t wait to see you take on the changes made to the Marauders generation.

    Much love for this series, good sir.

  7. I know barely anything about Harry Potter so this was interesting. I laughed my butt off at… Lady Dom (?) dancing to “Milkshake”.

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