Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone Study Guide (Choose to Continue)


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: Novel Summary: Chapter 17

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Harry learns that Quirrell, not Snape, was trying to kill him during the earlier Quidditch match-Snape was seen to be muttering because he was casting a counterspell to protect Harry. Protecting Harry was also the motive behind Snape's request to referee the following match. Quirrell was also responsible for letting the troll into Hogwarts at Halloween. Quirrell now has with him the Mirror of Erised; he believes it is the key to locating the Sorcerer's Stone. When Quirrell looks into the mirror, he sees himself presenting the Stone to Lord Voldemort, who he says is with him wherever he goes. Harry realizes that if he looks into the mirror, he will see himself saving the Stone from Quirrell, and will thus learn its location. Before he can act on this plan, however, Quirrell thrusts Harry in front of the mirror at Voldemort's bidding. Harry sees his own reflection putting the Stone into his pocket. "Somehow-incredibly-he'd gotten the Stone." He lies to Quirrell about what he sees-and Voldemort knows Harry is not telling the truth. Quirrell unwraps his turban and reveals "the most terrible face Harry had ever seen" on the back of his head, the face of Lord Voldemort. Voldemort discloses that he wants the Stone and its Elixir of Life so that he can create a body of his own. He asks for Harry to hand over the Stone. Voldemort orders Quirrell to seize Harry. Quirrell attempts to do so, but feels intense pain as he grabs hold of Harry, even as Harry is feeling intense pain in his scar. Harry struggles to hold on to Quirrell, knowing that the physical contact is causing the professor pain. Harry blacks out.
When he awakens, he is in the hospital wing, and Dumbledore is watching over him. He tells Harry that he, Dumbledore, arrived in the dungeons in time to stop Quirrell from taking the Stone. The Stone has been destroyed which means that Nicolas Flamel and his wife will eventually die, although not before setting their affairs in order. He also tells Harry that while Voldemort has not been vanquished, he has been significantly delayed in returning to power, "and if he is delayed again, and again, why, he may never return to power." Harry also learns that his mother died trying to save him from Voldemort. The reason Voldemort could not bear contact with Harry was because the love of Harry's mother for her child remains within Harry. "It was agony to touch a person marked by something so good." Dumbledore also admits that he gave Harry's father's Invisibility Cloak to Harry. Finally, Harry learns that he was able to get the Stone out of the mirror because only one who wanted to find, but not use, the Stone would see himself getting it; others would only see themselves using it to make gold or the Elixir of Life.
At the end of term feast, Dumbledore awards extra points to Gryffindor House to reward the heroic efforts of Ron, Hermione, and Harry. These points bring Gryffindor into a tie with Slytherin for the House Cup. It is the ten extra points which Dumbledore awards to Neville Longbottom-who stood up to his friends when he tried to convince them not to go after the Stone-which put Gryffindor House into first place.
The awarding of the House Cup to Gryffindor instead of Slytherin is, in some sense, the "eucatastrophic" moment of this novel (see Analysis for Chapter 14 above). The sudden and unexpected reversal of decorations in the Great Hall, from Slytherin green and silver to Gryffindor scarlet and gold symbolizes the sudden turn toward good fortune and hope with which the book closes. Even though Harry must return to live with the Dursleys for the summer, he has entered the wizard world where a better life, even though marked by danger and continuing threats, awaits him. Harry knows who he is and where he truly belongs. He has completed his heroic quest. In Joseph Campbell's words, "You might also say that the founder of a life-your life or mine, if we live our own lives, instead of imitating everybody else's life-comes from a quest as well" (The Power of Myth, p. 136). Harry's life is now well-founded.


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