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Voldemort: "Don't be a fool. Better save your own life and join me... or you'll meet the same end as your parents.... They died begging me for mercy..."
Harry Potter: "LIAR!"
Voldemort: "How touching... I always value bravery... Yes, boy, your parents were brave.... I killed your father first; and he put up a courageous fight... but your mother needn't have died... she was trying to protect you.... Now give me the Stone, unless you want her to have died in vain."
Harry Potter: "NEVER!"
— Voldemort demanding Harry Potter give him the stone[src]

This skirmish was a battle that took place on 4 June 1992, during Lord Voldemort's attempt to use Quirinus Quirrell to steal the Philosopher's Stone. It was also Voldemort's second attempt on Harry Potter's life.[2]

During Harry, Ron, and Hermione's time in the chambers they battled through a set of obstacles that most eleven-year-old children would find near impossible, but succeeded anyway.[1] In the last chamber, Harry defeated Voldemort and kept the stone safe, with Quirrell dying in the process.[2]


Battle through the chambers

Fluffy (Rubeus Hagrid's obstacle)

Ron Weasley: "What do they think they're doing, keeping a thing like that locked up in a school? If any dog needs exercise, that one does."
Hermione Granger: "You don't use your eyes, any of you, do you? Didn't you see what it was standing on?"
Harry Potter: "The floor? I wasn't looking at its feet, I was too busy with its heads."
Hermione Granger: "No, not the floor. It was standing on a trapdoor. It was obviously guarding something."
— Harry, Ron, and Hermione discuss Fluffy and the trapdoor[src]

Fluffy in the third floor chamber

Fluffy was a giant three-headed dog, and Rubeus Hagrid's contribution to the protections put in place for the Philosopher's Stone. In 1992, Quirinus Quirrell enchanted a harp to put Fluffy to sleep while he searched for the Stone; when the music stopped, Fluffy awoke. Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger had to play a flute to put it back to sleep, before they were able to slip through the trap door Fluffy was guarding.

Quirrell found out how to get past Fluffy earlier that year by enticing Hagrid into a card game, offering a dragon egg as the stake, and getting him drunk enough to disclose the secret of how to pacify the otherwise vicious dog.[1] After the Philosopher's Stone was destroyed, Hagrid released Fluffy into the Forbidden Forest.[3]

Devil's Snare (Pomona Sprout's obstacle)

Hermione Granger: "Devil's Snare, Devil's Snare... What did Professor Sprout say? It likes the dark and the damp —"
Harry Potter: "So light a fire!"
Hermione Granger: "Yes — of course — but there's no wood!"
Hermione Granger: "Oh, right!"
— Harry, Ron, and Hermione get past the Devil's Snare[src]

Hermione scorching the Devil's Snare with the Bluebell Flames

The second obstacle within the Chambers was Pomona Sprout's Devil's Snare, placed seemingly to soften a deadfall through the trapdoor guarded by Fluffy. However, Devil's Snare was known for strangling its victims to death, and increasing its force of constriction at signs of struggle.

After landing on the Devil's Snare Hermione Granger panicked briefly, before Harry Potter reminded her to light a fire. Hermione just barely managed to save Harry, Ron Weasley, and herself from death by strangulation. She did this by burning the plant with Bluebell Flames.[1]

Winged keys (Filius Flitwick's obstacle)

Hermione Granger: "These birds... they can't be here just for decoration."
Harry Potter: "They're not birds! They're keys! Winged keys — look carefully. So that must mean... Yes — look! Broomsticks! We've got to catch the key to the door!"
— Hermione and Harry when they entered the chamber of winged keys[src]

The Winged Keys

The third of the Chambers contained several brooms and was filled with Winged Keys, provided by Professor Filius Flitwick, which, at a distance, appeared to be birds. There was a locked door at the end of the room which was impervious to the Unlocking Charm, and could only be opened by identifying and catching the one key among the "flock" that would fit the door's lock.[1]

Harry retrieves the right key

Ron Weasley cleverly deduced that the key that would open the locked door must be an old one, to match the old lock on the door. The only old key was readily identifiable, as Quirinus Quirrell had just used it and bent one of its wings. As soon as Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione took off on brooms to catch the winged key, they rest of the keys scattered to make the correct one more difficult to identify again. Harry was, however, able to retrieve the necessary key, which was described as old-fashioned and silver, with bright blue wings, by employing his skills as a Seeker.[1]

Human Chess Game (Minerva McGonagall's obstacle)

"That's chess! You've got to make some sacrifices! I take one step forward and she'll take me — that leaves you free to checkmate the king, Harry!"
— Ron bravely sacrificing himself on the Chess board[src]

The human chess game 

The fourth obstacle was Minerva McGonagall's — a giant Wizard's Chess set. Ron took command of the black side, with himself, Harry, and Hermione replacing missing pieces, in order to defeat the obstacle and be allowed to pass. They then proceeded to play an impressive game but which was particularly brutal even by the normal standards of Wizard's Chess.

Ron sacrifices himself in order to win the match

The most lethal player was the White Queen, which personally took out at least three of the black pieces and nearly won the game in white's favour. In the end, Ron sacrificed himself to the white Queen to allow Harry to checkmate the opposing King. In the end, Ron sacrificed himself to allow Harry to capture the opposing King.[1]

Mountain troll (Quirinus Quirrell's obstacle)

Hermione Granger: "Go on."
Harry Potter: "I'm glad we didn't have to fight that one, come on, I can't breathe."
— Harry and Hermione regarding the unconscious troll[src]

When Harry and Hermione arrived at the obstacle set in place by Quirinus Quirrell — a troll — they realised it was already out cold. It was later discovered that Trolls were Quirrell's specialty, which he had also used to create a diversion during the 1991 Hallowe'en feast, in his first attempt at retrieving the Philosopher's Stone.[1] Quirrell later revealed to Harry that he had a special gift for trolls.[2]

Potion riddle (Severus Snape's obstacle)

Hermione Granger: "This isn't magic — it's logic — a puzzle. A lot of the greatest wizards haven't got an ounce of logic, they'd be stuck in here forever."
Harry Potter: "But so will we, won't we?"
Hermione Granger: "Of course not, everything we need is here on this paper. Seven bottles: three are poison; two are wine; one will get us safely through the black fire and one will get us back through the purple"
— Hermione and Harry discussing the Logic Chamber and the riddle[src]

Harry and the Potion Riddle

Harry and Hermione next arrived at a Severus Snape's potions riddle. The obstacle wasn't magic but logic, a challenge that most wizards would never figure out, as they did not put much stock in logic. Hermione had no trouble deferring the riddle and figured out which potion would help them, but there was only a little bit left. So Harry drank it and Hermione drank another one, which allowed her to leave the chamber safely. She wished Harry good luck and told him he would be alright. Harry went on to the final chamber alone.[1]

The potion riddle as follows:

"Danger lies before you, while safety lies behind,
Two of us will help you, whichever you would find,
One among us seven will let you move ahead,
Another will transport the drinker back instead,
Two among our number hold only nettle wine,
Three of us are killers, waiting hidden in line.
Choose, unless you wish to stay here for evermore,
To help you in your choice, we give you these clues four:
First, however slyly the poison tries to hide
You will always find some on nettle wine's left side;
Second, different are those who stand at either end,
But if you would move onwards neither is your friend;
Third, as you see clearly, all are different size,
Neither dwarf nor giant holds death in their insides;
Fourth, the second left and the second on the right
Are twins once you taste them, though different at first sight."

Based on Hermione's deductions, from left to right, the potions lineup was:[1]

  1. Poison
  2. Nettle wine
  3. Potion to move the drinker forward through black flames
  4. Poison
  5. Poison
  6. Nettle wine
  7. Potion to move the drinker backwards through purple flames

Mirror of Erised (Albus Dumbledore's obstacle) and the attack

Harry Potter: "You!"
Quirinus Quirrell: "Me, I wondered whether I'd be meeting you here, Potter."
Harry Potter: "But I thought — Snape —"
Quirinus Quirrell: "Severus? Yes, Severus does seem the type, doesn't he? So useful to have him swooping around like an overgrown bat. Next to him, who would suspect p-p-poor, st-stuttering P-Professor Quirrell?"
— Harry Potter discovering Professor Quirrell in the seventh chamber[src]

Harry discovering Quirrell in the chamber

Harry, then arrived at the obstacle of Albus Dumbledore — the Mirror of Erised. Standing there was Quirinus Quirrell. Harry was shocked — he had expected Snape. Quirrell explained that he tried to kill Harry, while Snape tried to save him. He said that he let the troll in on Hallowe'en. He then tied up Harry and tried to figure out how to get the Stone. Voldemort told him to "Use the boy" Quirrell summoned Harry to tell him what he saw in the Mirror. Harry lied and said it was himself winning the House Cup. Being an accomplished Legilimens, Voldemort was not fooled and told Quirrell to allow him to speak to Harry. Quirrell unravelled his turban to reveal the red-eyed and snake-like face of Tom Marvolo Riddle.[2]

Harry seeing himself holding the stone in the Mirror of Erised

After Harry's refusal to join the Dark Lord, Voldemort ordered Quirrell to kill him, but because of Lily Evans' loving sacrifice ten years earlier, Quirrell couldn't touch him without experiencing debilitating levels of pain, and having his flesh burn. Around that moment, Harry fell unconscious due to his injuries and the pain in his scar. Voldemort left Quirrell's body and fled, abandoning his servant to die. After Voldemort fled, Albus Dumbledore descended into the chambers. After reaching the Philosopher Stone's chamber he found Harry unconscious and rushed to his aid. If Dumbledore had arrived any later Harry would have died.[2]


End of first year

Harry Potter: "But why couldn't Quirrell touch me?"
Albus Dumbledore: "Your mother died to save you. If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn't realise that love as powerful as your mother's for you leaves its own mark. Not a scar, no visible sign... to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever. It is in your very skin. Quirrell, full of hatred, greed, and ambition, sharing his soul with Voldemort, could not touch you for this reason. It was agony to touch a person marked by something so good."
Dumbledore and Harry discussing the power of love[src]

Harry in the Hospital Wing after the attack

Three days later, Harry woke up in the hospital wing to find Dumbledore standing before him. Dumbledore explained that the Stone had been destroyed and Nicolas Flamel would die. He, then, explained the reason Voldemort, and by extension Quirrell, couldn't touch him.[2]

1995-1996 school year

"Yeah, Quirrell was a great teacher, there was just the minor drawback of him having Lord Voldemort sticking out of the back of his head."
Harry Potter telling Dolores Umbridge about the attack in the underground chambers[src]

Dumbledore's Army brings up this battle

Three years later, while explaining all he'd done to Ron and Hermione, Harry mentioned the Battle in the Philosopher's Stone Chambers. He was later given detention by Dolores Umbridge for saying that Quirrell had been possessed by Voldemort.[4] Then, at the Hog's Head, Neville Longbottom told everyone that Harry saved the Philosopher's Stone.[5] Then, while trying to come to the Department of Mysteries, Ginny Weasley brought up the fact that she was three years older than they were when they first fought Voldemort.[6]

1996-1997 school year

"Quirrell was mediocre [...] "
Severus Snape's low opinion of Quirrell[src]

Bellatrix questions Snape in 1996

Four years after this battle, at Spinner's End, Bellatrix Lestrange maliciously reminded him that Snape himself had interfered in the events leading up to the Battle in the Philosopher's Stone Chambers. Snape replied that Quirrell was "mediocre", and that he had stopped him simply because he was "unworthy".[7]

Behind the scenes

  • There were a lot of differences in the Chambers between the books, films and video games, shown in the following table:
Room Book Film PC game PS1 game Pottermore GBC/GBA game LEGO Years 1-4 PS2/Xbox/Gamecube Game Magic Awakened
Fluffy's chamber and through the trapdoor Harry and then Hermione played the flute Hagrid gave Harry for Christmas. Disc 1: Quirrell bewitched a harp to play itself.
Disc 2: The player has to choose between four items: the Cloak of Invisibility, a chicken, a bone or a flute.
Harry plays the flute Hagrid gave him and has to put all three heads asleep at once; the heads will wake up once asleep enough. Harry plays the flute Hagrid gave him. Not seen. Same as PS1. Desktop: When Harry, Ron and Hermione enter the room to see Quirrell climb into the room, when he finds out they have seen him he destroys the playing harp and wakes Fluffy. Ron tries playing a trumpet but it doesn't work. In order to fix the harp they have to distract Fluffy with a rubber duck.
Handheld: When Harry, Ron and Hermione enter the room to see Quirrell climb into the room, when he finds out they have seen him he destroys the playing harp and wakes Fluffy. Ron tries playing a trumpet but it doesn't work. Fluffy then chase Harry through the Third Floor until Harry jumps through the trapdoor.
Same as film. Harry can either defeat Fluffy forcefully or let the harp continue to play to put him to sleep.
Devil's Snare The three are grabbed by the Devil's Snare; Hermione defeats it with Bluebell flames. Disc 1: The three are grabbed by the Devil's Snare; Hermione's directions were to relax, after which the plant would release Harry and Ron. However, Ron, being the last one trapped, and being afraid, couldn't calm himself enough leading Hermione to cast Lumos Solem, allowing Ron to slip through.
Disc 2: Not seen.
Only Ron and Hermione are grabbed by the Devil's Snare; Harry defeats it with the Fire-Making Spell. The Devil's Snare consists of several stalks and one central stalk which attempts to flatten Harry. Ron and Hermione run to a side and a part of the Devil's Snare forms a wall, blocking them from the rest of the circular chamber. Each green stalk springs up when Harry gets to close and attempt to squash him. Harry must cast Flipendo on the correct stalk (indicated in light green) in order to kill that stalk and bring the central stalk up, in which Harry must use a fully charged jinx at it to defeat part of its life. After defeating it each time the Devil's Snare blocking Ron and Hermione shrinks back and allows them to proceed. Not seen. GBC: Only Ron and Hermione are grabbed by the Devil's Snare and Harry defeats it in a duel.
GBA: Only Ron and Hermione are grabbed by the Devil's Snare; Harry defeats it by burning it with torches.
Desktop: Only Ron is grabbed by the Devil's Snare; Harry defeats it with the Wand-Lighting Charm.
Handheld: Not seen.
Harry and Hermione defeat it using Incendio and Diffindo. Not seen.
Winged Keys Harry, Ron and Hermione catch the key. Disc 1: Harry catches the key.
Disc 2: You must search and click on the right winged key.
Same as film. Same as film. However, the wrong keys shine red and the right key shine blue and its wing is not broken. You must search and click on the right winged key. Same as film. Desktop: Same as film, except for the fact that Harry shoot spells at the key.
Handheld: Harry finds the hideout of the key, then same as film.
Same as film. Not seen.
Chessboard Chamber Harry is a bishop, Hermione is a rook, Ron is a knight and is injured after sacrificing the Knight in order to win. Same as book, except Ron rides the Knight instead of taking its place. Ron defeats most of the pieces and gets injured, Harry defeats the rest, Hermione doesn't play and Harry and Ron need to get the pieces to attack each other, but not attack them. There are three boards; Ron defeats most of the pieces on the first board and gets injured, Harry defeats the rest, Hermione doesn't play. You just see a few pieces move around. GBC: Ron defeats the Queen and gets injured, Harry defeats the rest, Hermione doesn't play.
GBA: Harry paralyses all the pieces on top of the door-opening platforms, realising the lack of pieces to all the platforms, Ron stays on top of the last one.
Desktop: After directing the pieces on the board where to move and winning, Ron trips over the King's sword and watches the doors close after Harry and Hermione enter next room.
Handheld:Ron gets injured from start, Harry have to answer three questions in order to make the pieces move and win.
Ron defeats some pieces and Harry takes over. Same as film.
Mountain Troll chamber The Troll is already collapsed on the floor when Harry and Hermione arrive. Not seen. However a bit of the Chamber is shortly seen. Not seen. The Troll was collapsed but wakes up when Harry and Hermione get there. The Troll is still groggy so while Hermione tries to unlock the next door, Harry levitates the litter present in the room from out of the Troll's way, without making noise. The Troll doesn't notice a hole on the floor and falls into it. Not seen. GBC: Same as book.
GBA: Not seen.
Desktop: Not seen. However a bit of the Chamber is shortly seen.
Handheld: Not seen.
Not seen. Not seen.
Potion riddle Hermione solves the riddle; Harry goes through the black flames, Hermione goes through the purple flames to go get help as there is only enough potion for one of them to go through the black flames. Disc 1: Not seen.
Disc 2: The player must click on the right potion.
Harry solves the riddle by watching the 7 containers move, and must select the one that has the correct potion; Harry goes through the black flames, the purple flames disappear. Harry has to guess which knight has the Ice Potion. You must read the riddle and figure out the correct two potions. GBC: Harry has to mix and brew the potion, solving the riddle.
GBA: Harry and Hermione have to look for the four potion ingredients, scattered trough the dungeon.
Desktop: Not seen.
Handheld: Not seen.
Not seen. Harry can solve the riddle before Hermione solves it. He can either choose to go through the black flames or the purple flames; Hermione would go through the other one.
Mirror of Erised antechamber Not seen. Not seen. Harry has to push the blocks to get to the Mirror of Erised room, while Quirrell pushes the blocks back at him and tries to curse him. Quirrell brings suits of armour to life and summons one gigantic suit of armour. Not seen. GBC: Harry duels with Quirrell.
GBA: Harry dodges Quirrell's curses, making him destroy the floor. Then, they both fall into the Mirror of Erised Chamber.
Not seen. Not seen. Not seen.
Mirror of Erised chamber Harry struggles against Quirrell and Voldemort, but passes out before Quirrell dies. Harry struggles against Quirrell and Voldemort, watches Quirrell die, and passes out when Voldemort's soul passes through him. Harry tries to kill Quirrell/Voldemort by collapsing pillars on top of him and he also tries to deflect Voldemort's curses with the Mirror. Harry passes out at the same time Quirrell dies. Dumbledore then bursts in to the room. Harry tries to kill Quirrell/Voldemort by collapsing pillars on top of him and he also tries to boost his jinxes with the Mirror, and then directing it to Voldemort. Harry watches Quirrell die. You must find the Philosopher's Stone. (It was in Harry's pocket.) GBC: Harry duels with Voldemort and passes out when he touches him. He doesn't see Quirrell die.
GBA: Harry deflects Voldemort's curses with the Mirror and passes out when he touches him. He doesn't see Quirrell die.
Desktop: Harry battles with Quirrell, hurling his own green cursed heads back at him, after touching him three times Quirrell burns away and Harry passes out.
Handheld: Harry has to lit the torches to make the fire graves bubble with lava. Then some blocks appear, but when destroyed let go of a heavy object that knocks Quirrell out (Harry does this three times).
Harry fights Gytrashes conjured by Quirrell, then duels with Voldemort. He then touches Quirrell's face, and watches Quirrell die, and passes out when Voldemort's soul passes through him. If Harry went through the purple flames before, Hermione would arrive at this chamber and fight Quirrell.


Notes and references

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 16 (Through the Trapdoor)
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 17 (The Man with Two Faces)
  3. Accio Quote!
  4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 15 (The Hogwarts High Inquisitor)
  5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 17 (Educational Decree Number Twenty-Four)
  6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 34 (The Department of Mysteries)
  7. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 2 (Spinner's End)