The Halloween Countdown: 2 – Aragog from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

No spiders. Please. I hate spiders. No, why, please, don't do this to me... Number two!

Spiders. Not tiny spiders like those surging over the leaves below. Spiders the size of carthorses, eight-eyed, eight-legged, black, hairy, gigantic. The massive specimen that was carrying Harry made its way down the steep slope, towards a misty domed web in the very centre of the hollow, while its fellows closed in all around, clicked their pincers excitedly at the sight of its load. (…) And from the middle of the misty domed web, a spider the size of a small elephant emerged, very slowly. There was grey in the black of his body and legs, and each of the eyes on his ugly, pincered hair was milky white. He was blind.” J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

I was struggling to write this quotation down. I am so terribly afraid of spiders that even reading about these terrible creatures makes me shiver and afraid that spiders are approaching me from every direction. The bigger they are, the more terrified I am. So when I read this book for the first time, with this adventure in the Forbidden Forest and spiders the size of elephants, I was almost physically incapable of reading the rest of the book. I didn’t want to know what would happen next, I just wanted to close the book, and set fire to my house so as to make sure all spiders would die a gruesome death.

Here’s an anecdote to show how much I loathe, detest, and fear these creatures: Once upon a time I wanted to go to bed, but I saw this black spot in the corner of the room. Since I wasn’t wearing my contact lenses, I didn’t know what it was and moved closer in order to find out. When I realised it was an enormous spider, with big, black legs, I shrieked, I jumped up in the air (which was a bad decision because that meant I was closer to the spider), and then spent five minutes totally rooted to the floor, unable to move. I called some people, none of them able to help me, and eventually someone suggested using a vacuum cleaner on it. I had to be quick, for it was moving towards my clean and drying bed linen (and if it would reach it, I’d had to clean it again). Unfortunately, I aimed wrong, and it fell to the floor. I hacked away at the spider, and when I was sure the vacuum cleaner must have gotten it, I left the thing on for about fifteen minutes. Until this very day, I am still not sure whether I actually killed it.

I know I am not the only one suffering from arachnophobia, and that’s why this spider (and to be honest, every other literary monster spider) ranks so high on this list. Ron, for one, couldn’t agree more. Thankfully the spider episode in this book didn’t take too long; but then Rowling decided to bring Aragog back in part six – and his descendants in part seven. Seriously, writers all over the world, why can’t it be butterflies? Or ponies, or, I don’t know, salamanders?

What did you think of Aragog? Or do you not care about spiders at all? What are other spiders that could be included in this list? Share your opinion in the comments!

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