I’ve read recently that J.K. Rowling thinks Harry and Hermoine should have ended up together. I think that’s the influence of the two actors who did a tremendous job. Being raised an only child myself, I know the craving for a large, extended family. I think both Harry and Hermoine felt that way which is why it makes sense that they would attach themselves to the Weasleys. In this chapter, readers are introduced to that entire family and all of the craziness, chaos, and love they represent.
Harry’s mouth fell open as the full impact of what he was seeing hit him. Ron was leaning out of the back window of an old turquoise car, which was parked in midair. Grinning at Harry from the front seats were Fred and George, Ron’s elder twin brothers.
Imprisoned by the Dursleys after the disaster at the dinner party, Harry is stunned when Ron, Fred, and George show up to rescue him.
“What’s been going on?” said Ron. “Why haven’t you been answering my letters? I’ve asked you to stay about twelve times, and then Dad came home and said you’d got an official warning for using magic in front of Muggles —”
While they manage to break Harry out of his bedroom by pulling the bars off (and not waking the Dursleys), in the book his trunk, broomstick, and all of his Hogwarts things are locked in the cupboard under the stairs, his former bedroom. Fred and George enter the bedroom and pick the lock on Harry’s door, then head down to the cupboard to get what he needs while Harry is left to hand anything in his room that he needs to Ron in the car. Everything seems to go well, until Harry almost forgets Hedwig.
Harry tore back across the room as the landing light clicked on — he snatched up Hedwig’s cage, dashed to the window, and passed it out to Ron. He was scrambling back onto the chest of drawers when Uncle Vernon hammered on the unlocked door — and it crashed open.
As they travel to The Burrow, Harry fills them in on what happened with Dobby.
“Well,” said Fred, “put it this way — house-elves have got powerful magic of their own, but they can’t usually use it without their master’s permission. I reckon old Dobby was sent to stop you coming back to Hogwarts. Someone’s idea of a joke. Can you think of anyone at school with a grudge against you?”
The book also gives more information about house-elves. They usually are owned by wealthier families with big houses.
“Yeah, Mum’s always wishing we had a house-elf to do the ironing,” said George. “But all we’ve got is a lousy old ghoul in the attic and gnomes all over the garden. House-elves come with big old manors and castles and places like that; you wouldn’t catch one in our house…”
The Weasleys are acutely aware of their position in life. They are not part of the wealthy wizarding families.
“Percy’s been acting very oddly this summer,” said George, frowning. “And he has been sending a lot of letters and spending a load of time shut up in his room… I mean, there’s only so many times you can polish a prefect badge… You’re driving too far west, Fred,” he added, pointing at a compass on the dashboard. Fred twiddled the steering wheel.
Percy is a more important character in the books than he is in the films. In the films, we only see him really in the first two films and then glimpse him in the last film. He’s going to have much more going on throughout the series of books.
It looked as though it had once been a large stone pigpen, but extra rooms had been added here and there until it was several stories high and so crooked it looked as though it were held up by magic (which Harry reminded himself, it probably was). Four or five chimneys were perched on top of the red roof. A lopsided sign stuck in the ground near the entrance read, THE BURROW. Around the front door lay a jumble of rubber boots and a very rusty cauldron. Several fat brown chickens were pecking their way around the yard.
The description of The Burrow in the book is interpreted pretty well by the films.
Molly Weasley is outside when they arrive, so the confrontation over the boys taking the car happens outside rather than inside. There’s an indication of some sibling rivalry when it comes to Percy. It seems like Fred, George, and Ron resent him for being treated as if he’s “perfect” and Molly states they could take a leaf out of Percy’s book.
Ginny comes down and then runs back upstairs once she sees Harry eating breakfast with the other boys, as in the film. Molly sets the boys to de-gnome the garden as punishment. Molly pulls a book from the shelf, and readers are first introduced to Gilderoy Lockhart.
Harry looked at the cover of Mrs. Weasley’s book. Written across it in fancy gold letters were the words Gilderoy Lockhart’s Guide to Household Pests. There was a big photograph on the front of a very good-looking wizard with wavy blond hair and bright blue eyes. As always in the wizarding world, the photograph was moving; the wizard, who Harry supposed was Gilderoy Lockhart, kept winking cheekily up at them all. Mrs. Weasley beamed down at him.
I’d say Kenneth Branagh nailed this character on the screen.
The reader is introduced to garden gnomes, which really aren’t seen much in the films and never really explained. They do not look like the garden gnomes we muggles have.
It was small and leathery looking, with a large, knobby, bald head exactly like a potato. Ron held it at arm’s length as it kicked out at him with its horny little feet; he grasped it around the ankles and turned it upside down
When Mr. Weasley arrives back home, the boys go back into The Burrow. It’s after breakfast, so they aren’t gathered around the table eating when he comes in. After giving a short description of his night – Mundungus Fletcher is mentioned for the first time – Molly gives him a dressing-down about his car. The scene where Arthur Weasley asks Harry about a rubber duck was completely ad-libbed by Mark Williams, the actor who portrayed him in the film.
Ron and Harry go up to Ron’s room.
Harry stepped in, his head almost touching the sloping ceiling, and blinked. It was like walking into a furnace: Nearly everything in Ron’s room seemed to be a violent shade of orange: the bedspread, the walls, even the ceiling. Then Harry realized that Ron had covered nearly every inch of the shabby wallpaper with posters of the same seven witches and wizards, all wearing bright orange robes, carrying broomsticks, and waving energetically.
Do Quidditch teams have alternates, in case someone got hurt? Why wouldn’t they be featured as part of the team if they do? It seems like the sport is ripe for injury.
We also see Scabbers in Ron’s room. That’s his rat which will figure prominently in the next book.
Ron seems embarrassed by his room, but Harry declares that this is the best house he’s ever been in.
Previous chapter (link): Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Chapter 2: Dobby’s Warning
Next chapter (link): Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Chapter 4: At Flourish and Blotts