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. Every state school has one!
When student Tom Riddle was in his fifth year at Hogwarts, he achieved his goal of locating Salazar Slytherin’s Chamber of Secrets and used his ability to speak Parseltongue (a new language for the EBac) to open it. He further used this language ability to order the Chamber’s Basilisk to terrorise the school and hunt down the Muggle-born students. Eventually one, a Ravenclaw girl named Myrtle Warren, was killed. Riddle would later use this murder to infuse the journal with a piece of his soul, and transformed it into his first Horcrux.
Some time during the First Wizarding War, Lord Voldemort (AKA Tom Riddle) entrusted the diary to Death Eater, Lucius Malfoy. The plan was to use the diary to reopen the Chamber, but Voldemort fell before that plan came to fruition. However, Malfoy still possessed the diary and, in 1992, he planted it on Hogwart’s student Ginny Weasley, hoping to kill three birds with one stone by sabotaging Ginny’s Father, purging the school of Muggle-borns, and eliminating an incriminating Dark artefact (as SLT would do with a poor OfSTED report).
Ginny’s emotional vulnerability allowed the fragment of Voldemort’s soul within the diary to gain partial control of her mind and force her to re-open the Chamber of Secrets. Ginny was forced not only to paint terrifying threats in the school corridors, but also to release the Basilisk within the Chamber and strangle the school roosters (not in the film) to protect the Basilisk, all the while in a sort of trance, and never knew what she had been doing. The Basilisk attacked several members of the Hogwarts community.
It was Harry Potter who discovered the water-logged diary after Ginny had tried to flush it away down a lavatory in the girls second floor toilet. She suspected that it was she who had petrified the Muggle-borns, and that she finally realised that the diary was the cause. Soon enough, Harry was communicating with Tom Riddle through the diary.
I use the Tom Riddle analogy with students, the vast majority of who have either read the Harry Potter books or seen the films (or even both). In terms of marking I stress to them from the very onset of Year 7 that marking is a two way process that has to involve them writing back to me just like Tom Riddle does to Harry. It is this dialogue that is so important, so much so that there is no point in me marking their work if they never write back to me to act on the feedback I give. Marking for the sake of it to fulfil school policy, meet OfSTED criteria, please parents or because it’s what we thing we need to do is pointless, time-consuming and counter-productive. Marking should be enjoyable – no, honestly, it should. If it’s not then you’re doing it wrong. It shouldn’t be soul destroying (get it, soul destroying?!)
So what’s the Chamber of Secrets in this analogy then? Well, ultimately it’s knowledge and understanding. It’s the eureka moment when a student realises something new or understands a new theory or concept. It’s the new found confidence a shy student in class has as they are able to have a dialogue through their exercise book with their teacher.
Enemies of the heir beware!