According to Riddle, the Basilisk attacked several students when the Chamber of Secrets was opened for the first time.

In my fifth year, the Chamber was opened and the monster attacked several students, finally killing one. I caught the person who'd opened the Chamber and he was expelled.
(Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 13, The Very Secret Diary)

Re-reading this came as a surprise to me as I'd always thought that Moaning Myrtle was the first and only victim. Yet Riddle says quite clearly that there were several attacks.

We know that large parts of Riddle's story in the diary are purposefully misleading at best and pure fiction at worst. His account isn't trustworthy. But is this nugget?

Was Riddle lying when he said that there were several attacks or was Myrtle the only victim?

I'm only interested in book answers relating to the first time the Chamber was opened (in the 1940s) please.

1 Answer 1


Riddle's memory that Harry witnessed does agree there were multiple attacks:

‘The thing is, Tom,’ he sighed, ‘special arrangements might have been made for you, but in the current circumstances ...’

‘You mean all these attacks, sir?’ said Riddle, and Harry’s heart leapt, and he moved closer, scared of missing anything.

‘Precisely,’ said the Headmaster. ‘My dear boy, you must see how foolish it would be of me to allow you to remain at the castle when term ends. Particularly in the light of the recent tragedy ... the death of that poor little girl ... You will be safer by far at your orphanage. As a matter of fact, the Ministry of Magic is even now talking about closing the school. We are no nearer locating the – er – source of all this unpleasantness ...’

Riddle’s eyes had widened. ‘Sir – if the person was caught ... If it all stopped ...’ ‘What do you mean?’ said Dippet, with a squeak in his voice, sitting up in his chair. ‘Riddle, do you mean you know something about these attacks?’

Dippet agrees that it's multiple attacks, and Myrtle's death pushed the Ministry over to edge to close Hogwarts, something Voldemort would hate to happen, as above all else, he loves the school as it's his first home.

  • 1
    Before we debate riddle changing the memory, remember slughorns memory he altered, he did a botched job of it, but thats because it was a difficult thing to do, and Slughorn is no slouch at magic, so while Voldemort is superior most likely creating an entire conversation that may or may not have ever happened at all seems pushing it imo. Especially since the point of the memory is to show it was hagrid at fault, which it did, while adding extra attacks for no reason would be pointless as a single death would be enough.
    – Himarm
    Oct 19, 2017 at 19:06
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    So are we to presume that the other attacks were non-fatal (ie petrification)? I think Myrtle is the only reported death, right? Oct 19, 2017 at 19:15
  • @TheDarkLord id believe thats a safe assumption, book 2 sheds no more lite on other deaths. -edited
    – Himarm
    Oct 19, 2017 at 19:15
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    Pretty poor track record for a monster that can kill on sight really, isn't it...? Oct 19, 2017 at 19:41
  • 1
    @Himarm Well you do make a very good point, yes. Or the - other - old argument (to use the words of Voldemort) - she's bad at 'maths'; Voldemort is 'bad at love' and 'she's bad at maths'. But there's another way of looking at it I suppose: we're expecting too much; after all we're all human and this type of thing would detract from the story (as you say). That or the fact Tolkien's world was so much more complete and that's my real joy? Either way I agree with you on all counts and it's probably the only realistic way of looking at it too.
    – Pryftan
    Oct 19, 2017 at 20:32

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