This is the third of a three-part question on the basilisk plot in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets that I'm looking for CANON COMPLIANT explanations for. By "canon compliant", I mean within the spirit of canon, answers directly from the book(s), or quotes from J.K. Rowling.¹
- How did Tom Riddle come to know about the Chamber and Slytherin's legend and the basilisk? How did he know where it was located when over at least 800 years no one else had been able to find it?
- How did Tom Riddle interact with the basilisk without being killed by the basilisk's gaze? Was it because he had created at least one Horcrux (the diary; the ring) by the time he made contact with the basilisk?
- As mentioned in question two, Professor Binns says, "Slytherin, according to the legend, sealed the Chamber of Secrets so that none would be able to open it until his own true heir arrived at the school. The heir alone would be able to unseal the Chamber of Secrets, unleash the horror within [...]" (CoS - pages 150-151 - US Hardcover) Why did it take 800+ years for Slytherin's "true heir" to be born? It would seem logical that there would have been numerous descendants of Slytherin's over the course of almost 1000 years. Why Tom Riddle as the "true heir"?
¹ I find the Harry Potter Wiki to be inconsistent and oftentimes incorrect. I am not looking for any answer(s) from the HP Wiki. Just an FYI.