Put on Your Wizard Robes: Harry's Back

The new book isn't out yet, but Harry Potter fans are donning their wizard robes and lining up to see the second movie in the series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

The year since the release of the first movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, has been an eventful one for Harry's creator, J.K. Rowling.

When she first dreamed up the idea for the Harry Potter stories, Rowling was a divorced mother living on welfare. Now she's easily one of the wealthiest women in Britain.

In the past year, the author married Dr. Neil Murray and defended herself against a plagiarism lawsuit, which was ultimately thrown out of court.

Now Rowling is expecting her second child, and is finishing up work on book No. 5 — tentatively titled Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. There's no publication date yet. (Rowling says she's already mapped out seven books in the series.)

There have been other developments, as well: Richard Harris, the Irish actor who played beloved Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore, died Oct. 25 of cancer. It's unclear who will take on the role, or indeed, whether the young actors who play Harry and his two best friends might outgrow their roles before the series is finished.

Potter in Peril

But Daniel Radcliffe is back as Harry in The Chamber of Secrets, with Emma Watson as his brainy friend Hermione Granger and Rupert Grint as red-haired pal Ron Weasley.

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For those who may have spent the last few years under a rock, Harry is an orphaned young wizard raised by relatives who happen to be selfish, mean and Muggles (that's what wizards call non-magical folks).

In the second installment, Harry returns to his beloved boarding school, Hogwarts, only to find it's plagued by a disturbing series of attacks. Harry himself receives a dire warning from a strange elf, and he begins to hear a mysterious voice coming from the school's walls.

And if that wasn't enough, Harry and his friends still have to contend with snobby schoolmate Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton); creepy Professor Snape (Alan Rickman), who loathes Harry; and a new instructor who's both famous and absurdly conceited (Kenneth Branagh).

The new movie is a little scarier than the first installment; it's aimed at slightly older kids. But all fans can rest assured that Harry will triumph in the end — after all, the next movie, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, is already in the works.