Literature: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
is the first book in the Harry Potter
series, published in Britain on June 30, 1997. The first print run was only 500 copies — 300 distributed to libraries. It was a humble, quiet beginning to what would become one of the top-selling book series of all time
Harry thinks he's a normal kid, living a sucky life with the Dursleys, his social-climbing Muggle Foster Parents
who hate him and all that he represents. On his eleventh birthday, Gentle Giant
Hagrid shows up and tells Harry not only that he's a wizard, but a wizarding celebrity due to having survived an attack by Lord Voldemort
ten years ago, somehow rendering the evil wizard MIA. It's then off to Hogwarts
, where Harry befriends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, forming the iconic Power Trio
. The three begin to suspect that someone is planning to steal the mystical stone of the title, which could be used to restore Voldemort to full power.
Retitled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
in the United States because the American publisher
worried that kids would think a book with "philosopher" in the title would be boring
. Of course, this was before Harry Potter
was the reliable franchise
In 2001, Warner Bros.
released The Film of the Book
. Like its source material, the movie earned strong critical reception; it also ended up as the highest-grossing motion picture released that year, and started the film end of the franchise
. Since First Installment Wins
, the plot of this book will be much more familiar to non-fans than any of the others.
Followed by Harry's second year at Hogwarts, in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Tropes exclusive to this book or at least especially prominent:
- Above Good and Evil: Voldemort, or so he claims. "There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it."
- Accidental Athlete: How Harry gets on the Quidditch team.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: The American title was changed from Philosopher's Stone to Sorcerer's Stone.
- All Just a Dream: Harry initially believes this about Hagrid and his revelations when he wakes up the morning after meeting him.
- Animal Eyes: Quidditch referee and flight instructor Madame Hooch, who is said to have hawk eyes.
- Apathy Killed the Cat: Rowling attempts to avert this by having Harry tune out whenever theory comes up in classes, at least until the sixth and seventh books.
- Apologetic Attacker: Hermione, when body-binding Neville.
- Artistic License – Biology: Both the book and Film feature a snake that winks at Harry. Snakes can't wink.
- Possible Fridge Brilliance here; in later stories, Harry is shown to know Parseltongue, which is the language of serpents. The wink might be something only Harry sees as a result of this.
- Asleep for Days: During his encounter with Quirrell at the end of the book, Harry falls unconscious and wakes up in the hospital wing three days later.
- Berserk Button: Hagrid: "NEVER—INSULT—ALBUS—DUMBLEDORE—IN—FRONT—OF—ME!"
- Beware the Nice Ones
- Your new teacher is a Shrinking Violet with a Speech Impediment? He may only seem harmless.
- Hagrid is pretty cheerful when he arrives to collect Harry, even being amused by Vernon threatening him with a gun. Then Vernon Dursley insults Albus Dumbledore.
- Bewildering Punishment: Harry was continually punished for the weird things that happened about him, without having been told his wizardry could cause them.
- Big Bad: Lord Voldemort and Professor Quirrell.
- Blatant Lies: Dumbledore's claim that he sees a pair of socks when he looks in the Mirror of Erised. The final book hints at, and Word of God confirms that he's actually seeing his family alive and happy again.
- Voldemort tells Harry that his parents died as cowards, begging for mercy. When Harry proclaims otherwise, he immediately agrees, retracting his previous statement and proclaiming that James died to buy Lily the time to escape, and Lily died protecting Harry.
- Brick Joke: Mrs. Weasley warns Fred and George not to blow up a toilet. They jokingly tell Ginny they'll send her a Hogwarts toilet seat. Fast-forward to the end, when Dumbledore says that the twins attempted to give Harry a toilet seat while Harry was out for three days, assuming it would make him laugh.
- Chekhov's Gun: The whole series gets its own page.
- Cold Flames: Hermione puts some non-burning magical fire in a jar to keep the trio warm in winter. Later she uses it to trick Snape into thinking his robes have caught fire and scoops it back into the jar when she's done. (In the film, the latter is changed to the regular kind of fire.)
- Comically Missing the Point: Hermione says "I'm going to bed before either of you can come up with another plan to get us killed or worse, expelled!" This said, being expelled from school probably is a Fate Worse Than Death to Hermione. And if Harry and Ron thought about it, it would be for them too. Harry does give this some thought in a later book....returning to live with the Dursleys and go to public school in Dudley's hand-me-downs, condemned to the Muggle world forever, with no wand to defend himself from hostile magics, living a strictly Muggle life while knowing that magic is real and is out there for all his friends, and all his enemies, just not for him. Either that, or finding some sort of menial work on the periphery of the wizarding world, such as being an assistant to gamekeeper Hagrid, subject to abuse and pity....
- Contrived Coincidence: Hagrid, who always has wanted a dragon, happens to play cards with a man who just happens to have a dragon egg that he's prepared to bet in a card game. Later the trope's subverted, as it turns out that this was very far from a coincidence....
- Convenient Cranny: After managing to subdue the humongous three-headed dog, Fluffy, the trio drops down a hatch to escape the dog. Of course, this did not turn out to be as convenient as it may have at first seemed.
- Counterspell: Most directly seen when one teacher tries to curse Harry off his broom while another tries to counter it. The counter-curse was not entirely effective, even though the latter teacher was more skilled than the former, suggesting that counter-spells are imperfect as a defense. More common practice is to use Shield Charms, which block or deflect weak spells, or just use similar spell of equal power so that the two cancel out.
- Alternatively, Quirrel- while less competent than Snape- was being backed up by the second most powerful wizard in the universe, thus making it impossible for Snape to stop him. Or, the Counter-Curse was not the right one; there are possibly many curses that could make a broom go haywire, and Snape had to guess.
- Cultural Translation: Changing the title from Philosopher's Stone to Sorcerer's Stone is not strictly an example of this, as the words "philosopher" and "sorcerer" don't mean anything different in the U.S. than they do in the UK. The thinking was that the word "philosopher" would evoke "serious impenetrable text" rather than the intended "magical adventure".
- Department of Redundancy Department:
While he drove, Uncle Vernon complained to Aunt Petunia. He liked to complain about things: people at work, Harry, the council, Harry, the bank, and Harry were just a few of his favourite subjects.
- Delegation Relay:
"Get the mail, Dudley," said Uncle Vernon from behind his paper.
"Make Harry get it."
"Get the mail, Harry."
"Make Dudley get it."
"Poke him with your Smelting stick, Dudley."
- Deus ex Machina: A rare instance where this is pulled off convincingly and smoothly. Since Harry's mother died to protect him from Voldemort, her love had a lasting effect on him that gave him protection against physical contact with Voldemort, as Dumbledore explains. It's forgivable because The Power of Love was meant to be symbolic and double as a moral message.
- Did Not Die That Way: Harry lived in the knowledge that his parents have died in a car crash for 10 years, when it is revealed to him by Hagrid that they had in fact been murdered by Voldemort.
- Voldemort tries to break Harry's spirit by telling him that his parents both begged for mercy before they died. When Harry disagrees, he quickly recants and admits that James and Lily died bravely protecting their son.
- Die or Fly: Neville Longbottom.
- The Dog Was the Mastermind: "Who would suspect poor, st-st-st-stuttering Professor Quirrell?"
- Doorstop Baby: Harry is this to the Dursleys.
- Double Edged Answer: About the Mirror of Erised.
Harry thought. Then he said slowly, "It shows us what we want... whatever we want..."
"Yes and no," said Dumbledore quietly. "It shows us nothing more or less than the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts...."
- Dragon Hoard: Hagrid tells Harry that the vaults of Gringotts Wizarding Bank are guarded by dragons, but Harry never gets to see one.
- Early Installment Weirdness:
- Among other things, this is the only book that deviates from Harry's third-person-limited POV after we're in his head for the first time. During the troll scene, we're briefly in Ron's head as he decides to do Wingardium Leviosa, and when Harry's broomstick is acting up during the Quidditch match, we stay on the ground with Ron, Hermione and Hagrid. Other books do switch POV, but only in full chapters designated for it.
- The attempt to kill Harry by knocking him off his broom mid-Quidditch match is hard to take seriously after reading the following books, in which Harry gets successfully knocked out mid-flight several times and securing his landing is always rather trivial. For those keeping count, that means Cormac McLaggen came closer to killing Harry (five books on) than Quirrell did.
- Some of McGonagall's early behavior, such as reading a map in cat form openly long enough for Vernon to see her doing so is very uncharacteristic for her in later books.
- JKR's writing style for this book is rather different from the later books in the series, being more of a Roald Dahl style for much of the book. While the series is noted for its eventual descent into Cerebus Syndrome, most of the more blatant "Dahlisms" are gone as early as the second book.
- The American edition is the only one to change most British English to American. For example, "mom" is used instead of "mum", and Dean Thomas is mentioned to be a "soccer" fan. Later books use the British terms (with the exception of references to the Stone, which is still changed to "Sorcerer's" for continuity purposes).
- Easing Into the Adventure
- Harry even suggests that Dumbledore wanted to give them something easy to begin with.
- This carries over into the first-year Gryffindor class schedule; They have Friday afternoons off.
- Enemy Eats Your Lunch: Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle attempt this when they are in Harry and Ron's compartment, having just insulted Harry's parents, Hagrid, and Ron's family. Harry angrily tells them to leave, only Malfoy claims that they've eaten all their food. Cue Goyle reaching to steal some Chocolate Frogs - only to be comically attacked by Scabbers.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: "If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love."
- Evil Teacher: At first you think it's Snape, but it's actually Quirrell.
- Face Palm of Doom: How Harry defeats Quirrell.
- Fantastic Racism: Harry's conversation with Draco in Madam Malkin's Robes lays the groundwork for the concept of Blood Purity, which will fully take off in the next book and become one of the central conflicts of the series.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Harry and Ron become friends with Hermione after they fight a mountain troll together.
- Fluffy the Terrible
- Fluffy, of course.
- Plus Norbert the dragon.
- Flying Broomstick: Harry gets a particularly nice one.
- Hagrid delivers Harry to the Dursleys on Sirius Black's flying motorcycle, which is also how he transports him from the house for the last time.
- One of the first things Harry learns about the wizarding world is that it's dangerous to mess with goblins and flat-out mad to try and rob Gringotts, but Voldemort manages to attempt this a few chapters later, offscreen. Then Book 7 rolls around …
- The high-security vaults are guarded by dragons.
- Vernon and Petunia glare at Harry when he says "Platform 9 and three quarters" but only Vernon calls idea of the weird platform "rubbish". We learn in Book 7 that Petunia has actually stood on the platform. She was probably quiet because she was reminded of it for the first time in years.
- Even subtler, when Hagrid shows up at the island where the Dursleys are holed up, Vernon calls Dumbledore an "old fool". How would he have any idea whether Hogwarts' headmaster is old or not? When he and his wife discussed Harry's letter, Petunia must have told him that Dumbledore worked there when Lily was at school.
- Harry claiming that Voldemort will turn Hogwarts into a school for the Dark Arts.
- Midway through the book, Harry has a horrible feeling that Snape can read minds. In Book 5, Snape is revealed to be a skilled Legilimens, which happens to be the sort of mind-reading Harry mentioned all the way back in Book 1. However, when he explains this to Harry, he calls it "the ability to extract feelings and memories from another person's mind" and takes exception to Harry's characterization of this attribute as "mind-reading".
- While Snape is a Legilimens to an extent, he is much better at Occlumency, which is the defense against Legilimens.
- Quirrell mentions that the turban was given to him by an African prince for ridding him of a rather troublesome zombie - in book 6 it's revealed that zombies are actually called "inferi". After reading book 6, the reader can tell just how much Quirrell is lying.
- In terms of foreshadowing strictly inside the plot of Book 1 itself, when Hagrid explains the professors who arranged for the traps to protect the Mirror of Erised, and likewise the Philosopher's Stone, Quirrell is among those listed. Later, when they are proceeding through the traps to get to the Philosopher's Stone to prevent who they think is Snape from getting it, they enter Quirrell's trap room and discover a knocked out Troll, which gives away an early clue that Quirrell was the one who released a troll into the castle on Halloween, and that it is in fact Quirrell, not Snape, who was searching for the Stone.
- Harry tried asking Dumbledore what the latter sees in the Mirror of Erised. When returning to bed, Harry realized that Dumbledore wasn't being truthful with his answer, and then telling himself that it was something personal for Dumbledore.
- Voldemort correctly surmising that Harry lied to Quirell about having the Stone during the climax at the Mirror of Erised. It seems like he's just being Genre Savvy or that Harry didn't lie too well. Voldemort's actually employing Legilimency, though it won't be identified as such until Book 5.
- Right there on the Chocolate Frog Card: Dumbledore is particularly famous for his defeat of the Dark Wizard Grindelwald in 1945, which is when he scored the Elder Wand.
- Hagrid says that he doesn't think Voldemort is really dead because he doesn't think that there was enough human left in him to die. Voldemort died with only part of his soul after splitting it, so wasn't completely human, which is why he was able to come back.
- Forgot I Could Fly: Ron, to Hermione, after she can't light a fire to burn the Devil's Snare: "HAVE YOU GONE MAD? ARE YOU A WITCH OR NOT?"
- Friendless Background: Harry, Ron and Hermione.
- Generation Xerox: The departure for Hogwarts. In this book, Ginny is shown crying about how she has to wait to go to Hogwarts and wants to go now as she sees her brothers off at the train station. In Deathly Hallows, her and Harry's daughter, Lily, is shown doing the exact same thing when she sees her brothers off to Hogwarts.
- Golden Snitch: Trope Namer.
- Good All Along: Severus Snape was trying to stop Professor Quirrell from taking the Philosopher's Stone. What the Trio mistook for him hexing Harry was actually him performing a countercurse against Quirrell's hex.
- Handshake Refusal: Harry refuses Malfoy's handshake when they first meet on the Hogwarts Express, rejecting him in favor of his future best friend Ron.
- Historical-Domain Character
- Nicolas Flamel, believe it or not.
- Also some other names from the Chocolate Frog cards.
- Hypocritical Humor: Neville stands up to the Power Trio:
"You can't go out," said Neville, "you'll be caught again. Gryffindor will be in even more trouble."
"You don't understand," said Harry, "this is important."
But Neville was clearly steeling himself to do something desperate.
"I won't let you do it," he said, hurrying to stand in front of the portrait hole. "I'll –- I'll fight you!"
"Neville," Ron exploded, "get away from that hole and don't be an idiot —"
"Don't you call me an idiot!" said Neville. "I don't think you should be breaking any more rules! And you were the one who told me to stand up to people!"
"Yes, but not to us," said Ron in exasperation.
- Idiot Ball: McGonagall's summarily dismissing Harry's concerns about the Stone. Even if his concerns were far-fetched, the fact that eleven-year-olds knew about a top secret item should have alerted her to the presence of a major security leak, and the possibility that someone else could have learned about the item. At the very least, she should have demanded to find out everything they knew, and where they learned it.
- Innocuously Important Episode: On first reading, about half the chapters appear to be self-contained bits of either character development (the troll attack, the Mirror of Erised) or just some fluffy fun (Hagrid and Norbert). All of them suddenly become important during the climax, and a few even show up again later in the series.
- Insufferable Genius: Hermione at first.
- Invisibility Cloak: Harry gets it for Christmas from his late father, via Dumbledore.
- Ironic Echo: When Hermione mentions that she has no fire to use on the Devil's Snare, Ron shouts at her, "Are you mad? Are you a witch or not?" Hermione repeats this line to him, with the word "wizard" in place of "witch" in Book 7.
- I Thought It Meant: In-Universe; after the Remembrall retrieval incident, Harry hears Professor McGonagall ask Professor Flitwick if she can "borrow Wood for a moment". Harry thinks he's about to get caned, only to discover that Oliver Wood is the Gryffindor Quidditch Captain.
- Jerk Ass: Anyone from Slytherin.
- Kill It with Fire: The Devil's Snare plant.
- Life Drinker: Lord Voldemort stays alive by drinking unicorn blood.
- Lighter and Softer: By far compared to the rest of the series. It starts getting Darker and Edgier beginning with the very next book.
- Loose Lips: Trust Rubeus Hagrid with your life, trust him with your loved ones' lives, hell, trust him with underage children, but for goodness' sake, don't trust him with your secrets.
- Lotus-Eater Machine: The Mirror of Erised. Reading its name — or better yet, the entire inscription — backwards is a dead giveaway.
- MacGuffin: The eponymous stone.
- MacGuffin Guardian: Fluffy
- Magic Mirror
- Market-Based Title
- Master Actor: Quirrell
- Melancholy Moon
- A Minor Kidroduction: The book starts with Harry being left to the Dursleys as a Doorstop Baby. The second chapter skips forward nearly ten years to the preteen Harry we'll follow for the rest of the novel.
- Mirror Scare: Played with. The first time Harry looks in the Mirror of Erised and sees dozens of people behind him, he covers his mouth to stop himself screaming and spins round to find … nothing.
- Moral Guardians
- While the series wouldn't bring them out in full force until later, they would end up using bits from this book, besides the use of magic, to denounce it. Some more ridiculous than others.
- The line "There is no good or evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it" is called "standard Witchcraft, and standard Illuminist doctrine"; we're told that "since a child's inherent nature is evil, he will find such philosophy more appealing than the Gospel of Jesus Christ". Ignored is the fact that the character putting this "philosophy" forward is the villain. And starting from the point that a child's nature is inherently evil.
- When students are paired off to practice levitation, "Harry's partner was Seamus Finnigan (which was a relief, because Neville had been trying to catch his eye)" — to Cutting Edge, an eleven-year-old boy's not wanting to be paired off for a laboratory-style class with the school klutz is a suggestion of homosexuality.
- "Harry was eleven (11) when he was admitted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The number eleven is considered sacred to the occultist, as it is the first primary number." Er, no, the first prime number is TWO. Followed by y'know, three, five and seven. Which makes eleven the FIFTH prime number and HOLY SHIT! FIVE IS THE FIRST PRIME NUMBER! SATAN! Not to mention the fact that all English children start Secondary School at that age.
- Motor Mouth: This is what Hermione has in her first appearance.
- Mr. Exposition: Hagrid is essentially this because of how often he accidentally lets slip the crucial information that the protagonists and the audience need to know.
Hagrid: "Ooh. I shouldn' a sait tha'."
- Muggle Security-Guards Are Useless: Not only is the guard at the train station justifiably ignorant of Platform 9¾, but he dismisses an eleven-year-old who's bewildered and alone as a "time waster". Isn't reuniting lost children with their escorts a part of his job?
- Music Soothes the Savage Beast: Fluffy was lulled to sleep with music.
- My Parents Are Dead: This is the point at which Harry's first conversation with Draco goes from bad to worse. Harry also dismisses the possibilty that the Mirror of Erised is clairvoyant on this basis.
- Naïve Newcomer: Harry, understandably much more so here than in later installments.
- Needle in a Stack of Needles: The flying key.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Stone was completely protected until Harry rushed in to save the day, since Quirrell couldn't get it out of the mirror. Then it drops into Harry's pocket as soon as he looks at the thing.
- No, Except Yes: After Dumbledore's ides of "a few words before the feast can begin" (nitwit, blubber, oddment, and tweak), Harry asks Percy if Dumbledore is mad.
"Mad?" said Percy airily. "He's a genius! Best wizard in the world! But he is a bit mad, yes. Potatoes, Harry?"
- Noodle Incident: Dumbledore's defeat of the Dark Wizard Grindelwald, as mentioned on the Headmastser's Chocolate Frog card, appears to be this at first. It ultimately gets subverted as we find out exactly what happened in the last book.
- How Dumbledore exactly got his "scar in the shape of the London Underground system" is never actually pointed out or brought up again.
- Not So Different: As we learn later in Book 7, Dumbledore, like Harry, also sees his family alive and happy again in the Mirror of Erised.
- The Noun Who Verbed: The first chapter of the book is called "The Boy Who Lived".
- Obfuscating Disability: Quirrell.
- One-Person Birthday Party: After Harry's 11th birthday is forgotten by the Dursleys because of the flood of letters from Hogwarts, Harry sings the "Happy Birthday" song to himself.
- Only Smart People May Pass: Some of the obstacles the staff placed in front of the stone. They weren't all considerate enough to warn you in advance, however — if you don't already know how to deal with Devil's Snare, you have about ten seconds to figure it out before it crushes you. Snape's potions-in-bottles puzzle is the closest fit (although why he felt the riddle had to rhyme is anyone's guess). The only real aversion to this was Quirrell's obstacle, fighting a troll, which, luckily, the Trio didn't have to deal with (again).
- Open Secret: Dumbledore assures Harry that his confrontation with the Big Bad is a complete secret, which naturally means the whole school knows.
- Our Goblins Are Different
- Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: Harry overhears what seems to be Snape forcing Quirrell to help him steal the Stone. It turns out Quirrell was after the Stone and Snape, suspecting as much, was trying to scare him into giving up on it.
- Philosopher's Stone: Of course.
- Please Keep Your Hat On: Professor Quirrell. Oh God.
- Plot Tailored to the Party: The obstacles protecting the Stone employ the use of each of the trio's strengths: Harry's flying skills, Ron's chess-playing skills, and Hermione's logic. Plus the troll that all three of them stopped earlier in the story, but which turned out to be Already Done for Them.
- Pre Meeting
- Harry meets Draco Malfoy while shopping for robes before meeting him on the Hogwarts Express.
- He also meets Quirrell in the Leaky Caudron.
- Promotion Not Punishment: Harry's 'punishment' for reckless flying during the broomstick lesson is to be given a post on Gryffindor's Quidditch team.
- Pun: Diagon Alley (for "diagonally", reflecting its kinked medieval shape).
- Red Herring: Snape not only in this story, but he also turns out to be the ultimate one in the series.
- Right Behind Me: Happens to Ron when he's complaining about Hermione after the Charms lesson.
- Sadist Teacher: Snape, who is a complete Jerkass to most students (especially Harry) and is absurdly biased towards Slytherin House. However, he's a mere precursor to some genuinely evil Sadist Teachers introduced in Books 5 and 7.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Harry Potter gives a whole speech to this effect prior to the climax of the first book: "If Snape gets hold of the Stone, Voldemort's coming back! Haven't you heard what it was like when he was trying to take over? There won't be any Hogwarts to get expelled from! He'll flatten it, or turn it into a school for the Dark Arts! Losing points doesn't matter anymore, can't you see? D'you think he'll leave you and your families alone if Gryffindor wins the house cup?"
- Sdrawkcab Name: The Mirror of Erised. Along with its inscription:
Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi (I show not your face but your heart's desire.)
- Second Episode Morning: The morning after he learns the truth, Harry decides it must have been a dream before he opens his eyes. Then he finds himself still in the hut, with an owl tapping on the glass.
- Serial Escalation: The Hogwarts letters that Vernon suppresses from Harry before he gives up and (unsuccessfully) takes the family on the run: On Wednesday, Hogwarts sends one letter to Harry in Privet Drive. On Thursday, they send three; on Friday, twelve, on Saturday, twenty-four; on Sunday, even though there is "no post on Sundays," they come spewing down the chimney; and finally, on Monday morning, the owner of the hotel where the Dursleys (and Harry) stay to hide from the letters mentions that there are roughly a hundred of them at the front desk.
- Shaggy Dog Story: A whole lot of trouble could have been avoided if Dumbledore and Flamel had decided that the stone was better off destroyed before Voldemort got within a hairs-breadth of getting his (well, Quirrell's) hands on it.
- Skewed Priorities: Hermione after their first run-in with Fluffy.
"I hope you're pleased with yourselves. We could all have been killed — or worse, expelled."
- Something We Forgot: Hurray, Harry and Hermione managed to get Norbert out of Hogwarts! Wait, where's Harry's Invisibility Cloak?
- Space Jews: The goblins.
- Spoiled Brat: Dudley is the definition. But even he pales in comparison to Malfoy.
- Stern Teacher: McGonagall and Madame Hooch instantly stand out as straight examples of this trope, as does Snape, although he's a borderline Sadist Teacher.
- Starter Villain: The Dursleys, Malfoy, and Quirrell all fill this role in their own context.
- Supernatural Aid: Never begin your Hero's Journey without a brand new messenger owl, Flying Broomstick, Magic Wand, and a vault full of gold.
- Taking the Heat: Hermione for Ron and Harry in the incident with the troll.
- Talk About the Weather: Quirrell starts muttering about the weather whenever someone asks him about his turban.
- To Be Lawful or Good: Hermione starts off as a well-meaning but often painfully lawful student, always mindful of the rules (no matter how ridiculous) and scornful of Harry and Ron for breaking them. Circumstances push her a bit in the direction of good as it becomes clear that quietly following the rules is not enough. The time Harry and Ron broke school rules in order to save her life from a troll probably helped lead her to that conclusion.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Harry and Hermione after they get caught out of bed after hours by Filch because they left the Invisibility Cloak on the astronomy tower.
- Translation Convention: Harry's brief conversation with the snake is all written in English. Harry himself doesn't realize that he was speaking Parseltongue until the next book.
- Turn Out Like His Father: The Dursleys do not want Harry to follow in the path of his parents: weird, liberal, and wizardy.
- Understatement: Quirrell: "Troll … in the dungeons … thought you ought to know."
- Welcomed To The Masquerade: Hagrid acts as as The Herald to Harry and picks him up from his Parental Substitutes and introduces him to the world of wizards in order to reintegrate him there.
- Wham Line: "It was Quirrell."
- What Is Evil?: "There is no good and evil; there is only power, and those too weak to seek it."
- Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: Voldemort claims Harry's parents died begging for mercy … and then, when Harry insists he's lying, casually admits he was making it up.