This chapter introduces the character of Dobby the house-elf. Dobby has much more of a presence in the books than he has in the movies, so he’s important to the series.
Harry goes upstairs while the Dursleys are having their dinner party, and finds Dobby in his room. Their conversation happens much the same as in the film, with a few details added in such as Harry longing for his Hogwarts friends.
Harry ran up the hall into the kitchen and felt his stomach disappear. Aunt Petunia’s masterpiece of a pudding, the mountain of cream and sugared violets, was floating up near the ceiling. On top of a cupboard in the corner crouched Dobby.
Yes, we know what happens here. This is pretty faithfully adapted from the book to the film, except the pudding is dropped on Uncle Vernon, not on his guests.
Aunt Petunia was just passing around a box of after-dinner mints when a huge barn owl swooped through the dining room window, dropped a letter on Mrs. Mason’s head, and swooped out again. Mrs. Mason screamed like a banshee and ran from the house shouting about lunatics. Mr. Mason stayed just long enough to tell the Dursleys that his wife was mortally afraid of birds of all shapes and sizes, and to ask whether this was their idea of a joke.
It’s not the pudding falling on the Masons that kills the deal, it’s the owl that comes in and drops a letter. The letter spells out that there was a Hover Charm detected at Harry’s place of residence and underage wizards are not allowed to use magic outside of school.
“You didn’t tell us you weren’t allowed to use magic outside school,” said Uncle Vernon, a mad gleam dancing in his eyes. “Forgot to mention it… Slipped your mind, I daresay…”
Yup, there’s the end of Harry’s fun.
As in the film, Uncle Vernon has bars put on Harry’s window. He’s determined that Harry will never come out and go back to Hogwarts. They slip him small amounts of food through a cat-door in the door to his room, and let him out twice a day to use the bathroom.
Supposing he was still alive in another four weeks, what would happen if he didn’t turn up at Hogwarts? Would someone be sent to see why he hadn’t come back? Would they be able to make the Dursleys let him go?
There’s more depth to Harry’s misery living with the Dursleys. Knowing that Dumbledore has been watching him, I can’t imagine he would have let Harry disappear from Hogwarts without question.
He’s so miserable, but doesn’t know how to fix the situation. At night he has a dream about being in a cage at the zoo.
He opened his eyes. Moonlight was shining through the bars on the window. And someone was goggling through the bars at him: a freckle-faced, red-haired, long-nosed someone.
Ron Weasley was outside Harry’s window.
I think the way the scene with the pudding played out in the film was good for the film. This way, it cut out the whole owl coming to deliver Harry a letter. The audience in the films is just presented with Uncle Vernon knowing Harry can’t do magic outside of Hogwarts, which is contrary to the end of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone where Hagrid tells Harry to threaten Dudley to keep him in line. The book makes more sense this way, but to cut a few things for time, the adaptation does well.
Previous chapter (link): Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Chapter 1: The Worst Birthday
Next chapter (link): Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Chapter 3: The Burrow