Luna Lovegood and the Chamber of Secrets - Part 9

post by lsusr · 2020-12-20T09:22:55.770Z · LW · GW · 14 comments

The Ministry-sanctioned tour of the Chamber of Secrets was pure propaganda. The Marauder's Map showed a second entrance to the Chamber of Secrets hidden in the Girls' Bathroom.

"Hss hsssss hsss," Luna copied from Harry Potter.

A sink opened up into a large tunnel.

"Lumos, Luna said.

Each tunnel segment was designed in the same pattern as the previous, as if to deliberately disorient adventurers. Luna closed her eyes in case Slytherin's basilisk was still alive.

"Nox," Luna said.

It was quiet under the school. The tunnels smelled faintly of mildew. Ministry tours turned left at every fork. Luna placed her right hand on the right wall. She felt destiny wrapping around her. Salazar Slytherin's secrets would be hers. Luna followed the right wall until she bumped into the bones of a giant monster.

"Lumos," Luna said.

Some Gryffindor had slayed the basilisk before it could pass on its secrets to the Heir of Slytherin. Ministry archaeologists had defanged the skeleton. So much for destiny.

Salazar Slytherin had circumvented the Interdict of Merlin. But why? If Slytherin had wanted secrets to be preserved then he could have just passed them on to his students. No. Ravenclaw had positioned her diadem to be discovered by someone hunting nargles. Slytherin had done something similar.

But who was his target? Only a Parselmouth could talk to Slytherin's basilisk. Only a Parselmouth could enter the Chamber of Secrets. If only a Parselmouth could talk to the basilisk then it made sense to make the entrance only allow Parselmouths in so that you didn't get a Gryffindor charging in and killing the basilisk before talking to it. Except Slytherin's security by obscurity had failed.

That left the question of why. Parselmouthes were not special. They did not have secondary characteristics. There was no reason for Salazar Slytherin to leave his greatest secrets to someone random to find. The only thing he would know about the Heir of Slytherin was that whoever opened the Chamber of Secrets:

  1. Could speak Parseltongue and could therefore communicate with Slytherin's basilisk.
  2. Would have opened the Chamber of Secrets.

Chamber of Secrets. Plural.

The mazelike passageways echoed Daedalus's Labryinth. The Heir of Slytherin was supposed to use Salazar's secrets to slay the monster Slytherin himself never could. Instead, a Gryffindor had broken into the Chamber of Secrets first, slayed Slytherin's basilisk, released the real monster, declared victory and returned home.

Luna bolted to the Ministry-sanctioned exit.

The Ravenclaw vs Hufflepuff semifinal duel was that evening. Luna faced two Hufflepuffs. It was supposed to be a doubles tournament.

"I'm not alone," Luna said to Wanda, "I have you."

Gilderoy Lockhart counted down. There was a bang from his wand.

"Protego," Luna said.

Luna's shield blocked the first Hufflepuff's sleep hex. The second Hufflepuff's stunning hex smashed through her shield. Luna collapsed.

The Hufflepuffs rushed up to check on Luna.

"Somnium," Luna whispered, "Somnium."

Luna felt around for the unconscious Wanda, who she stuffed in her pocket. Luna stood up and held her wand high.


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comment by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2020-12-20T22:50:48.227Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This stuff continues to be dope. Thank you.

comment by TheSimplestExplanation · 2020-12-20T19:49:45.276Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Luna felt around for the unconscious Wanda, who she stuffed in her pocket. Luna stood up and held her wand high.

Nice, i take that as proof.

Wanda exists.

comment by JenniferRM · 2021-04-29T02:34:00.749Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

> Parselmouthes were not special.

Not sure how the world building works here, but either the world is different than HPMOR or Luna is wrong. 

In HPMOR the hidden secret of the magic here is that one cannot lie in the language of snakes, so promises between two parselmouthes are real/binding/honest in a way that would normally be very expensive or slow. Maybe unbreakable vows are more powerful, but they are slow and costly.  So (maybe not in this story, but at least in the story it is based on) heirs of Slytherin can do easier faster negotiations between them, at vastly lower cost than other witches or wizards. This might help surmounting various n-body coordination problems.  If there is a cognitohazard about (related to "nargles"?) then such coordinated surmounting might be a way around the hazard?

comment by MondSemmel · 2020-12-20T12:06:05.823Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

According to this, you have to be a Parselmouth to open the secret entrance in the bathroom. Since you IIRC can't just randomly copy the sounds, this implies that Luna is a Parselmouth. However, this is seemingly contradicted by her making random snake sounds in front of HJPEV, who did not immediately react by treating her as a potential Voldemort clone.

But maybe I'm missing something?

Replies from: mingyuan, TheSimplestExplanation, kithpendragon
comment by mingyuan · 2020-12-20T18:53:22.800Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

No, in the 7th book Ron is able to open the Chamber of Secrets to get a basilisk fang just by copying the sounds Harry makes (it's weird and pretty throwaway, easy to miss, but it happens).

Replies from: Harmless
comment by Harmless · 2020-12-23T20:03:28.500Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Weird but self-consistent explanation: The Chamber of Secrets itself isn't a Parselmouth. It's not really using the Parseltounge API, it just uses the raw audio of the speaker.

comment by TheSimplestExplanation · 2020-12-20T19:40:48.122Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well technically we only know that she spoke not Parseltongue, not that she couldn't speak Parseltongue.

comment by kithpendragon · 2020-12-20T14:40:24.389Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

To get in the Chamber, a person needs to say "open" in Parseltongue. [1]

I can say lots of things in other languages, some things even with a passable accent. But I am fluent only in General American English.


comment by Pattern · 2021-06-25T04:53:21.407Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
Some Gryffindor had slayed the basilisk before it could pass on its secrets to the Heir of Slytherin. Ministry archaeologists had defanged the skeleton. So much for destiny.

This was either careless on their part, and an interesting peak into history we don't know about, or a fascinating characterization.

of Voldemort.

comment by MondSemmel · 2020-12-20T12:07:59.301Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


  • a second the entrance -> a second entrance
  • "Lumos,** Luna said. -> "Lumos,"
  • Luna followed the right wall until her until she bumped -> right wall until she bumped
  • could talk to the Slytherin's basilisk -> to Slytherin's basilisk
  • Parselmouthes -> Parselmouths
  • The only thing he would know is about the Heir of Slytherin was that she: -> ??
  • Labrynth -> Labyrinth
  • Ravenclas -> Ravenclaw


  • so that you don't get a Gryffindor -> didn't get
  • Parselmouthes are not special.-> were not special
  • They do not have secondary characteristics. -> did not
Replies from: lsusr, Measure
comment by lsusr · 2020-12-20T19:10:04.683Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Fixed. Thanks.

comment by Measure · 2020-12-20T22:49:16.640Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Also "had slayed" I think should be "had slain". Here and also at "slayed Slytherin's basilisk".

Replies from: MondSemmel
comment by MondSemmel · 2020-12-20T23:05:57.391Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It seems "slain" and "slayed" are both valid as the past principle of slay, though I did have the same thought before I looked it up.

Replies from: Measure
comment by Measure · 2020-12-21T04:21:15.737Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

From the linked article:

The alternative past tense and past participle form "slayed" is most strongly associated with the slang sense, "to delight or overwhelm":

In recent use, "slayed" is also often found associated with the other senses as well. However, this is widely considered nonstandard