What gave Harry the idea of writing in Tom Riddle's diary in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets?

It is clear that if Harry hadn't seen that story from the past through Tom Riddle's diary, he wouldn't have moved ahead in cracking the mystery of the Chamber of Secrets. And he could get all that info only by interacting with Tom Riddle through a written conversation via that diary. But what gave him the clue to write something in a blank diary?

I mean, in the movie, it's not even some accident by which he figured out that writing in it would help. He literally took an ink pen and first dropped some ink and when it disappeared he started writing in it.


1 Answer 1


The script for Chamber of Secrets describes the scene thusly:

Harry starts to set the diary aside, then notices a BOTTLE OF INK sitting on the desk. An idea flickers. Taking his QUILL, Harry dips it, and hesitates. As he does, a DROP of INK hangs, suspended like a tear, then...


The ink BLAZES briefly, then... VANISHES... as if it were sucked into the page. Excited, Harry dips his quill again, and, this time, writes: My name is Harry Potter.

It seems as though the idea to try writing in the diary was just a random flash of inspiration - something Harry thought to try just on the off-chance it actually did something. It's not the most satisfying explanation, but it's the only one the script offers.

(For the record, this scene happens differently in the book. Harry's bag gets torn open and his ink bottle spills, but when he gets to class, he realises the diary is perfectly dry even though everything else is covered in ink. This is what gives him the idea to drip ink onto the diary. I assume this scene was cut for pacing reasons.)

  • 4
    Thanks for sharing the relevant excerpt from the book! The sequence of events there are much more logical.
    – CCCC
    Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 4:50
  • 28
    Imagine the confusion, being Tom Riddle's soul fragment in the diary, desperate to talk to anyone, and then all of a sudden you get your first communication in years - and it's just a torrent of ink from a spilled bag
    – Jake
    Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 13:06
  • 22
    Plus, it's a diary. It's for writing in. Riddle wanted people to write in it, so it might have been laced with a mild compulsion to encourage that. It's not like it's a textbook or antique grimoire... Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 13:33
  • 8
    Also, we later learn in Prisoner of Azkaban that disappearing inks, parchments that conceal text, etc. are common enough that Lupin is able to pass off the Marauders' Map to Snape as a trivial joke item. It may be that "see if you can write on this" isn't that uncommon a test to apply to a potentially magical item of parchment.
    – tbrookside
    Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 15:04
  • 3
    @AJFaraday I think you must have missed it on first read. The answer hasn’t been edited since it was posted. Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 17:14

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