Thursday, July 28, 2016

HP MotW (13): How did Quirrell add to the overall storyline?

Harry Potter Moment of the Week
 A weekly meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and Lunar Rainbows Reviews. For more information about how to participate and future topics, go here.

This Week's Question: How did Quirrell add to the overall storyline?

This is a really interesting question; I've never actually thought about it before. I can't really think of any specific things that he added except that he showed anyone could be a follower of Voldemort. Quirrell was very young, he was probably a student at Hogwarts right before Voldemort disappeared. It's hard to imagine how he was convinced to keep the Dark Lord in the back of his skull, the only explanation could be a lust for power. Quirrell also  acts as the first in a long line of DADA professors in the series, showing that the curse is real and still functioning (even though we don't know that it exists yet).

From a writer's perspective, Quirrell acts as the primary villain in The Sorcerer's Stone. Yes, Voldemort is the main villain overall, but Quirrell literally acts as his hands and feet in this story. Quirrell is the one who has to be stopped from getting the stone and Harry has to be the one to do it. Harry couldn't defeat Voldemort in the first book or there wouldn't be a series, and the villain couldn't just run away in the end (which is what Voldemort does). Harry had to have a win. He had to defeat someone by the end of the book or else we might be left feeling like there really wasn't a conclusion. Quirrell is that someone. Because Quirrell is human, he can be defeated by Harry; he can die and never return. That is Quirrell's true purpose. If he had known what Rowling had in store for him he probably would have thought twice before putting Voldemort on the back of his skull.


  1. I can just imagine that conversation: Voldemort: Quirrell, I want you as my trusted servant. You will have power beyond imagining. The only thing is, I'm going to need to grow out of the back of your skull. Quirrell: O.O LOL!

    You're right though, Harry needed to be able to win, but at that age he couldn't have won against the real Voldemort so this setup really works. He can die, Voldemort can not. Harry can beat Quirrell. Fab answer^^

  2. Oh that's great! If he had known what Rowling had in store for him, I'm sure he never would have set off to Albania. I agree, he definitely showed that anyone can turn to the dark side for power. I like where you went with the physical person that Harry was able to beat though. I didn't think of that, and I agree that was a very important part that he played in the story. Harry was able to defeat someone, granted much less powerful than Voldemort, but still a very powerful wizard in his own right. He was able to make ropes appear non-verbally and fly as well as get past all the obstacles Dumbledore set up except the one he was never going to get past. Harry's win here was important and definitely helped set the stage for the future books.

  3. Quirrell certainly got a lot more than he bargained for when he let Voldemort call the back of his head home, lol. I never really thought about his importance as the villain here, and how the first book would have been a standalone if Harry had defeated Voldemort right off the bat. But you're totally right- the book needed a resolution to the conflict, and Quirrell provided that.

  4. This is such a great take on Quirrell's purpose. I didn't think about the curse, but you're right he lays quite a few foundational things that we don't notice or know about until much later in the series. And you're right, Harry did need to defeat someone even at eleven. It was done really well too because while he defeated Quirrell, he didn't actually do everything. It was Lily's protection that ultimately defeated Quirrell. -- I love that it set the stage for what's to come. Each year, he kept taking more and more of the "defeating" responsibility.