Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Chapter 17 Summary & Analysis | SparkNotes (2023)


After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.

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Harry lies, telling Quirrell that he sees himself in the mirror winning the house cup for Gryffindor. Voldemort tells Quirrell that Harry is lying. Wishing to speak directly to Harry now, Voldemort tells Quirrell to unwrap his turban. Harry is shocked to find Voldemort’s face on the back of Quirrell’s head—Voldemort is a shape-shifter and has been using Quirrell’s body. Voldemort tries to persuade Harry to give him the stone, which he knows is in Harry’s pocket. He tells Harry to join him rather than resist and be killed like his parents. Harry refuses and Voldemort orders Quirrell to seize Harry. Quirrell tries, but each time he grabs for Harry, his hand blisters as if burned. Harry grabs Quirrell, putting him in tremendous pain; meanwhile, the pain in Harry’s forehead scar is steadily increasing. As the struggle intensifies, Harry feels himself losing hold of Quirrell and falling.

When Harry regains consciousness, Dumbledore is standing over him. Harry starts telling Dumbledore that Quirrell has the stone, but Dumbledore tells him to relax. Harry realizes that he is in the hospital. He asks Dumbledore again about the stone and Dumbledore tells him that he arrived just in time to save Harry from Quirrell. Dumbledore adds that he spoke with Nicolas Flamel and they decided to destroy the stone. He explains also that Quirrell could not touch Harry because Harry was protected by his mother’s love. Dumbledore also reveals that it was he who left the invisibility cloak for Harry and explains that there was enmity between Snape and Harry’s father, much like the enmity between Malfoy and Harry. Furthermore, Dumbledore explains how Harry ended up with the stone; Harry was the only one who wanted to find the stone for itself rather than for what the stone could obtain.

Harry gets out of his hospital bed to go to the end-of-year feast. The dining hall is decorated in Slytherin colors to celebrate Slytherin’s seventh consecutive win of the championship cup. Dumbledore rises to speak and announces that in light of recent events, more points need to be given out. He awards Ron and Hermione fifty points each and Harry sixty points for their feats in getting to the stone. Gryffindor thus pulls into a tie with Slytherin. Dumbledore then adds that Neville has been awarded ten points for learning bravery. Gryffindor pulls ahead into first place, thus winning the house cup.

When school grades finally arrive, Harry and Ron do well, and Hermione is at the top of the class. They all pack and head to the train station to go back to their homes. Harry, Hermione, and Ron say their good-byes for the summer and Harry heads home, eager to use a little magic on Dudley Dursley.


Quirrell’s comment about the Sorcerer’s Stone and his affections for Voldemort that “[t]here is no good and evil, there is only power and those too weak to see it” evoke important philosophical ideas. The sentiments Quirrell expresses underlie one of the classic works of political theory, Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince. In this sixteenth-century work Machiavelli wrote about how rulers should expand their power with no regard for morality or justice. The distinction Quirrell makes here between “power” and “those too weak to see it” follows the principles that Machiavelli laid out. Quirrell’s statement also echoes the thought of nineteenth-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who argued that individual human will and striving are more important and relevant than morality and more impressive than flimsy notions of right and wrong. The ideas of these two philosophers emphasize the individual at the expense of the common good, and Voldemort embodies their values.

Read more about how Harry’s humility allows him to seize the stone.

By placing these sentiments in the mouth of Quirrell, who is as pathetic and squirrelly as his name suggests, Rowling rejects the idea that the world should be based on power and domination of others. It is fine to cultivate power; Dumbledore’s power, after all, is exceptional and praiseworthy. But the story suggests that with power comes responsibility toward others and that responsibility includes a sense of what is right and wrong. Dumbledore shows the students that Slytherin House may have acquired a lot of points but that victory should go to the house that has been engaged in a just and righteous struggle. This is surely also the reason that Flamel is induced to destroy the Sorcerer’s Stone; it is a source of incredible power, but there is no guarantee that its power will be used properly, and so it must be destroyed. Power is important, but morality is more so.

The wisdom of limiting one’s desires is revealed at the end, when Dumbledore tells Harry that, for Nicolas Flamel, dying will be a pleasant experience of relief, “like going to bed after a very, very long day.” Dumbledore’s earlier advice to Harry to refrain from looking in the Mirror of Erised becomes relevant here, as Dumbledore suggests that while it is important to reflect on one’s deepest desire, it is also important to keep that desire in perspective and perhaps even to limit it. Eternal life—the very thing promised by the Sorcerer’s Stone and the very thing many have been desiring—might not be as valuable as those seeking it have thought. Flamel is close to achieving immortality, and yet he prefers to die. Dumbledore points out that living forever could actually become tiresome, and that the desire for it may be misinformed.

Read more about the theme of desire and the importance of restraint.

While Flamel and Dumbledore ultimately understand that eternal life may not be such a good goal, Voldemort’s fatal flaw is that he is misinformed about what is important in life but is never able to realize it. Voldemort lives for his own desires, but as we discover toward the end, he is not really living at all: he does not even have his own body, but must live by stealing others’ bodies (again, one meaning of the French word vol is “theft”). But Voldemort lacks more than a body; he lacks a soul as well. Living by desire, he has no real life. Nor does he have any love, as Dumbledore explains to Harry. Love is the one thing that Voldemort cannot understand, which is why he is burned by the traces of motherly love on Harry’s body. The greatest lesson learned throughout this adventure may be that love for others is more valuable than the pursuit of one’s own desires (which is really nothing more than love for oneself).

Read more about Dumbledore’s model of authority and power as a motif.


What happens in chapter 17 of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone? ›

Harry is shocked to find Voldemort's face on the back of Quirrell's head—Voldemort is a shape-shifter and has been using Quirrell's body. Voldemort tries to persuade Harry to give him the stone, which he knows is in Harry's pocket. He tells Harry to join him rather than resist and be killed like his parents.

What does Professor Quirrell reveal about himself to Harry in chapter 17? ›

Harry is confronted by Quirrell, who immediately says he was using Snape as a cover. Harry's confused, saying he thought Snape tried to murder him during Quidditch, but Quirrell reveals that was him.

What happens in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets chapter 17? ›

Summary. Harry enters the snake statue-lined Chamber of Secrets and approaches an enormous stone figure of Salazar Slytherin, at whose feet lies the still, small figure of Ginny Weasley. Harry runs to her and examines her, and while he is doing this he notices the misty, shadowy figure of Tom Riddle standing nearby.

What does Harry learn about Snape from Dumbledore in chapter 17? ›

Dumbledore was able to tell Harry that it was he that gave him the invisibility cloak and also that Professor Snape had a deep dislike of Harry's father when they were both at the school together, which was made worse by the fact that Harry's father had saved Snape's life.

What was Chapter 17 about in Harry Potter and the Half blood Prince? ›

Dumbledore believes that Voldemort cast a spell on Morfin, causing him to forget Voldemort's actions, and believe that he himself had killed the Riddles. Morfin even confessed to murdering the Riddle family. Lastly, Dumbledore knows that Voldemort stole the Gaunt family ring.

What happens in chapter 17 of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire? ›

Harry goes up to the Gryffindor dormitory. He's depressed and fearful: no one truly seems to believe that he didn't submit his own name to the Goblet of Fire. When Harry gets up to Gryffindor, he finds everyone awake and waiting to congratulate him. He was right: no one thinks he didn't put his name into the Goblet.

Who is in the last chamber in Harry Potter Chapter 17? ›

The man in the final chamber is Quirrell. But a changed Quirrell, no longer twitching, stuttering or timid. He tells Harry how Lord Voldemort possessed him while he was traveling abroad.

How did Harry defeat Quirrell? ›

Ordered to kill Harry, Quirrell is unable to touch him without getting burned; when Quirrell is preparing a killing curse, Harry grabs his face, causing him so much pain that he is disabled. Harry is also in much pain from his scar, triggered by Voldemort's nearness, and it causes him to pass out.

Why does Harry Burn Quirrell face? ›

That worked because when Lily was killed, she had tried to protect Harry and therefore gave him the most powerful weapon against Voldemort; Love. Love is the one thing that Voldemort is unable to handle and therefore when Quirrell was touched by Harry he burnt him with love.

What happens in chapter 17 of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban? ›

Chapter 17 Summary

Scabbers slips through Ron's fingers and runs away. Crookshanks and Ron follow him, and as Harry and Hermione struggle to catch up, “an enormous, pale-eyed, jet-black dog” (334) appears and drags Ron and Scabbers into the huge gap in the roots of the Whomping Willow.

What was the punishment for Harry and Ron in chamber and secrets? ›

They are punished by being secluded for their meal and given a detention, but never once is food withheld. Even while in dire trouble at Hogwarts, direr than Harry could have mustered at Privet Drive, he is still kept above a certain respectable standard of living.

What did Voldemort do to Harry in Sorcerer's Stone? ›

So, when Voldemort turned his wand on him, instead of Harry dying, it broke Voldemort apart (and this was when Harry ended up getting his famous lightning bolt scar). It was also this love and protection that meant Quirrell was unable to touch Harry.

What was the purpose of Snape killing Dumbledore? ›

He expected that the Elder Wand's power would die with him; Snape would win its allegiance by killing Dumbledore, and then the wand would rest in Dumbledore's tomb. When Snape passed, undefeated, the power of the wand would end.

What did Harry see in Snape's tears? ›

In these memories Harry saw Snape's frantic conferences with Dumbledore about the prophecy and how he begged for some way to keep Lily safe from Voldemort; and later, when her death made him wish for his own.

Did Dumbledore plan Snape's death? ›

Here is Dumbledore's optimal latent plan as originally conceived: Dumbledore arranges for Snape to kill him and thereby become, without knowing it, master of the Elder Wand. If the active plan fails, Snape, as master of the Elder Wand, will have the power to destroy the now horcrux-free Voldemort.

In what chapter does Ron get poisoned? ›

We're about to find out how Voldemort deals with relatives and watch Ron get nearly poisoned. It's chapters 17 and 18 of The Half-Blood Prince—A Sluggish Memory and Birthday Surprises. Index to the reread can be located here!

What chapter did Ron get poisoned? ›

Brief summary of scene: Ron is poisoned.

What does half-blood mean in Harry Potter? ›

A half-blood is someone with magical powers, having only one pure-blood parent, the other being either Muggle or Muggle-born.

Who destroyed the goblet? ›

The cup, which was made a Horcrux with Hepzibah's death, was left with Bellatrix Lestrange who kept it at Gringotts. Griphook and an Imperiused Bogrod helped Harry, Ron and Hermione break into Bellatrix's vault and recover the Horcrux. The cup was destroyed by Hermione Granger, using a fang from the Basilisk's corpse.

Who did Harry Potter saved from the lake in Goblet of Fire? ›

Harry grows gills, and can swim quite easily. At the bottom of the lake he finds the village of the mer-people, and he sees Ron, Hermione, Cho, and a girl who must be Fleur's younger sister, all asleep and tied together. Harry uses a rock to free Ron, and he waits to see if the others will be rescued.

What happened in the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire? ›

Chapter 1 Summary

The townsfolk of Little Hangleton blame Frank Bryce for the muder of the Riddle family even though there was no evidence to prove his guilt. He still lives in the Riddle house, and takes care of it for the wealthy man who now owns the property, but never stays there.

What happens to Harry at end of Sorcerer's Stone? ›

At the end of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, good conquers evil on many levels. Most obviously, Harry – with the help of his friends – keeps Voldemort from taking the Sorcerer's Stone. By doing so, they stop the Dark Lord from getting eternal life. Phew!

How does Harry end up catching the snitch? ›

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

After his Nimbus 2000 is destroyed, Harry is sent a brand-new Firebolt broomstick, which he rides in the second match against Ravenclaw. Harry catches the Snitch easily, winning the match.

Who replaced Mcgonagall head of Gryffindor? ›

After the Second Wizarding War, Neville Longbottom was known to have taken over the job as Head of Gryffindor.

Was Quirrell A Death Eater? ›

It should be noted that despite his fear of Voldemort and that he was not a Death Eater, Quirrell was one of Voldemort's only followers who referred to him by name, the others being Barty Crouch Jr. and Peter Pettigrew.

Why did the stone burn Quirrell? ›

Professor Quirell got burned because Voldemort was merged with him, the spell was burning Voldemort but Quirell being a part of Voldemort at that time suffered the spell as well.

Did Snape know about Quirrell? ›

Snape's explanation to the Death Eaters was that he knew nothing of Voldemort's involvement, but "saw only greedy and unworthy Quirrell attempting to steal the stone." It was confirmed in Deathly Hallows that Snape had been "keeping an eye" on Quirrell on Dumbledore's orders.

Why did Quirrell turn to dust? ›

When the body Voldemort and Quirrell are sharing is horribly burned by contact with Harry, the former flees just in time to save himself, leaving the damaged and enfeebled Quirrell to collapse and die.

How old is Dumbledore? ›

Rowling said in an interview that Dumbledore was about 150 years old. However, on her website, she states that Dumbledore was born in 1881, making him either 115 or 116 at the time of his death.

Why does Quirrell have two heads? ›

In typical wizarding fashion, both meanings of "two-faced" are meant in referring to Quirrell: he has been two-faced in that he has been deceiving people and leading a double life, and he has been leading a double life literally, complete with two faces, since his failure to steal the Stone from Gringotts.

What book did Harry Potter turn 17? ›

His 17th Birthday (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows)

Considering the state of the wizarding world during the time Harry turns 17—Death Eaters abound—this birthday is pretty okay. Harry is prepping for his big Horcrux Hunting journey, but for one day he puts all of that aside and is showered with gifts.

Who betrayed them in Harry Potter 7? ›

They are betrayed by Mr. Lovegood and captured by Voldemort's Snatchers. Climax: The Snatchers take them to the Malfoy mansion, where Harry and Ron are imprisoned while Bellatrix tortures Hermione for information.

How did Ron break his leg? ›

Harry and Hermione dart after them and watch as the dog pulls Ron down inside the Whomping Willow, breaking his leg in the process.

Did Ron and Hermione kiss in the Chamber of Secrets in book? ›

Ron and Hermione finally lock lips during a distressing moment in Deathly Hallows — Part 2 when the characters are in the Chamber of Secrets.

Did Harry get expelled? ›

What happens in the book: Before his fifth year at Hogwarts, Harry gets an official letter stating that he is expelled for performing magic outside the school. He is ordered to appear at a hearing at the Ministry of Magic. Pleading self-defense, Harry is cleared of the charges against him.

Does Ron use the killing curse? ›

None of the good guys dare use the Killing Curse throughout the events of the movies and books, no matter how high the stakes and how difficult things are. But Ron Weasley is the exception, giving it a go in the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 movie when himself and Hermione look destined to die via Nagini.

What does Voldemort do to Snape? ›

Erroneously believing Snape is the master of the Elder Wand and that Snape's death will make him the master of the Wand, Voldemort kills Snape by having his pet snake Nagini bite him through the neck.

How did Harry survive Voldemort's death? ›

Voldemort unwittingly makes himself a Horcrux for Harry, although it might not be called that, by taking his blood earlier. In taking Harry's blood to regenerate himself, Voldemort ensures that Harry will not die if Voldemort kills him. The blood ties Harry to Voldemort's life, therefore Harry will live.

How did Voldemort possess Quirrell? ›

Quirrell was wandering through the Black forest when he met a nasty bit Voldemort and he agreed to become a death eater. Quirrell couldn't steal the sorcerer's stone so Voldemort attached himself to Quirrell.

Why is Snape's Avada Kedavra blue? ›

As for everyone's favourite child-bullying adult, Snape's Killing Curse was 'blue' due to the cyanish background of the film scene. It was actually green, but the camera and effects made a bluish overlay which overlapped the green spell.

Why Snape is half-blood Prince? ›

The name was accurate, as he was indeed from half-blood lineage. Snape's mother was a witch named Eileen Prince, while his father was Tobias Snape, a Muggle. In terms of story-writing purposes, it draws a parallel to Harry, who was also a half-blood because his mother, Lily, was Muggle-born.

What spell did Harry use on Draco? ›

Malfoy spots Harry and casts a Cruciatus curse; Harry, defending himself, using the Half-Blood Prince's Sectumsempra spell without knowing its effects. To his horror, it gashes Draco's face and chest, spilling his blood everywhere.

What were Snape last words? ›

12. Snape's Last Words. In the [Deathly Hallows] book, Snape's dying words to Harry were "Look at me". Right then we did not realize the significance of his words but in the very next chapter when Harry goes through Snape's memories in the Pensieve, he comes to know how much Snape loved Lily.

Did Harry forgive Snape? ›

He's surrounded by mystery over whether he's on the side of the Order of the Phoenix or Lord Voldemort. JK Rowling tweeted: Snape died for Harry out of love for Lily. Harry paid him tribute in forgiveness and gratitude.

What is Snape's secret? ›

To readers and fans of the films, Snape's backstory—that he was protecting Harry from Voldemort out of his never-ending love for Harry's mother, Lily—was not known until the seventh book and eighth movie.

What was Dumbledore's secret plan? ›

In his original plan, Dumbledore was expecting Snape—the last person in the world Harry would trust—to tell a Harry who thinks he's winning, isn't in a major battle, and is not inclined to present himself to Voldemort to be killed, to do just that.

Why did Dumbledore let Draco disarm him? ›

He was on the point of collapse when it happened,” Rowling said. “Dumbledore didn't want to lose his wand at that point and Draco disarmed him. So that meant that the wand gave Draco its allegiance, even though Draco never knew it, even though Draco never touched it.

Why did everyone raise their wands when Dumbledore died? ›

And, in the mourning tradition of the Harry Potter universe, wands were raised to honor him. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, it's a motion used to collectively recognize the great Albus Dumbledore at his funeral.

How did Harry burn Quirrell? ›

ems Harry burnt Quirrell's face when he touched it. That worked because when Lily was killed, she had tried to protect Harry and therefore gave him the most powerful weapon against Voldemort; Love.

Why did Quirrell not touch Harry? ›

At the time Harry touched him, Quirrell was sharing a body with Voldemort. Since the magical blood protection Harry had prevented Voldemort from touching him, Quirrell would suffer pain. He would ultimately be destroyed from touching Harry.

Is Professor Quirrell A Death Eater? ›

It should be noted that despite his fear of Voldemort and that he was not a Death Eater, Quirrell was one of Voldemort's only followers who referred to him by name, the others being Barty Crouch Jr. and Peter Pettigrew.

Why was Quirrell burned? ›

Quirrell's body manifests burns and blisters during his fight with Harry due to the protective power Harry's mother left in his skin when she died for him.

Did Quirrell survive? ›

Someone said that Harry saw Quirrell die, but that is not true. He was unconscious when Quirrell died, in Philosopher's Stone. He did not know until he came around that Quirrell had died when Voldemort left his body.

Why did Quirrell steal the stone? ›

He realised that he would regain a physical body if he could drink the Elixir of Life produced by the Sorcerer's Stone. Voldemort then planned to steal the Stone in order to make the Elixir. Seeing that a physical body would be needed, Voldemort ordered his follower Quirinus Quirrell to steal the Stone from Gringotts.


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