Literature / Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

"Harry, yer a wizard."
Rubeus Hagrid

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 of which were 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. Much to his surprise, however, on his eleventh birthday, Gentle Giant Hagrid shows up and tells Harry that he's not only 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 it became.

In 2001, Warner Bros. released a film adaptation. 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 a series of films based on the books. 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, according to Quirrell. "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, after Body-Binding Neville as he tries to talk her, Ron, and Harry out of wandering around after hours again.
  • Arc Villain: Quirrell. Played with, though, seeing as the series-wide Big Bad Voldemort is using his body as a vessel.
  • Artistic License – Biology: The snake at the zoo winks at Harry. Snakes in Real Life don't have eyelids.
  • 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!" (In the film, he says this line in a more Tranquil Fury.)
  • 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, much like Harry does.
    • 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.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Dumbledore's chocolate frog trading card lists his greatest feats as a wizard, such as his defeat of Grindelwald and his discovery of the twelve uses of dragon's blood, before adding that he "enjoys chamber music and ten pin bowling."
  • 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.
  • By "No", I Mean "Yes": After Dumbledore's ides of "a few words before the feast can begin" ("Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! 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?"
  • Cannot Cross Running Water: Belief in this principle is why the Dursleys take Harry to a shack in the middle of the sea in their attempt to escape the wizarding world.
  • 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.
  • 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, likely as not Hermione considers being expelled from school a true Fate Worse Than Death.
  • 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 massive 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, Quirrell — while less competent than Snape — was being backed up directly 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.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Vernon Dursley is the protagonist for half the first chapter.
  • 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 Smeltings stick, Dudley."
  • 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.
  • 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 ten 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 — not in this book, anyway.
  • 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.
  • Escaped Animal Rampage: Early in the book, Harry accidentally casts a spell in a zoo which releases a large snake from its enclosure. While the people are panicking, the snake attacks nobody, just thanks Harry and tells him that he'll go home to Brazil.
  • 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.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: The Dursleys believe they can "stamp out" Harry's magic by behaving like this. When the ten-year-old Harry casually mentions a dream about a flying motorbike, Vernon turns around while driving to yell "Motorbikes don't fly!" at him.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Played for Laughs when Hermione says that she does not want to get killed, or even worse: expelled.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Harry and Ron become friends with Hermione after they fight a mountain troll together.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: The big scary three-headed dog guarding the stone is named Fluffy, of course.
  • Flying Broomstick: Harry gets a particularly nice one.
  • Foreshadowing: Has its own page.
  • 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.
  • The Ghost: Nicolas Flamel is mentioned on several occasions and he's tied to the Philosopher's Stone, but he never shows up in person.
  • Golden Snitch: Harry is recruited as Seeker for the Gryffindor Quidditch team, where his function is to catch the 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 counter-curse against Quirrell's hex. Downplayed: he does dislike Harry for rather petty reasons, he just didn't want Harry dead.
  • 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, an important side character related to the Philosopher's Stone, is an actual historical figure associated with alchemy.
  • Hope Is Scary: When Harry first wakes on the morning of his birthday after being told by Hagrid that he's a wizard, he mentally insists to himself that it was just a dream and that when he opens his eyes he'll be in his cupboard. He's so used to his awful life that he's too scared to hope that this new reality could actually be true, so it's easier to pretend that it's not. At least, until he actually does open his eyes.
  • 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 are uncharacteristically shortsighted. Even if his concerns were far-fetched, the fact that three first-years 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.
  • I'll Never Tell You What I'm Telling You: Hagrid refuses to tell the heroes anything about the Stone while accidentally dripping all sorts of hints, over and over again.
  • 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's vast knowledge and willingness to flaunt it cause her to receive the ire of her classmates. She gets more tolerable after some Character Development.
  • Invisibility Cloak: Harry gets it for Christmas from his late father, via Dumbledore.
  • 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.
  • Jerkass:
    • Draco Malfoy is the poster-child of Jerkassery in the series. He is a spoiled rich brat who enjoys picking on the other students and tries to get Harry and his friends into trouble.
    • Severus Snape: On the general scope, he gives obscenely unfair advantage to his own student house (Slytherin) at every single opportunity while ignoring their transgressions while simultaneously jumping at any chance to punish students of other houses. He even holds a special hatred for Harry because his father saved his life.
    • Uncle Vernon regularly mistreats Harry, hoping to stomp the magic out of him, by forcing him to live in a cupboard under the stairs and punishing him for any perceived transgression. Vernon's wife, Harry's Aunt Petunia, blatantly favors her son Dudley over Harry, treats Harry much the same as Vernon, and is generally presented as the neighborhood busybody. Dudley is a Spoiled Brat who constantly beats up Harry.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Devil's Snare plant is repelled by fire.
  • 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's lives, 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 the three-headed dog is the first defense against those who seek to steal the stone.
  • Magic Mirror: The Mirror of Erised shows you your heart's desire.
  • Master Actor: Quirrell. See Obfuscating Disability.
  • Melancholy Moon: Risking the halls of the castle in the night, the way lit by moon light
  • 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.
  • Morale Mechanic: Present in Wizard Chess, which is much like normal chess except that it's played with semi-sentient enchanted pieces capable of arguing against, or even flat-out disobeying, orders with which they disagree. Under a player whose judgment they respect (such as Ron, who is excellent at it), they're willing to sacrifice themselves knowing it's for the greater good. In the hands of a mediocre player like Harry they're more likely to rebel, convinced that their side is doomed to defeat anyway and determined not to give their "lives" in a lost cause.
  • Motor Mouth: When Hermione first appears, she is said to talk extremely quickly.
  • 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'.
  • 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.
  • Naοve Newcomer: Harry, understandably much more so here than in later installments.
  • National Animal Stereotypes: The boa constrictor that Harry releases is portrayed as Brazilian, using the word "amigo". It was pointed out the snake was born in captivity and had never been to Brazil, so it could be that amigo was all it "knew" about that South American country.
  • Needle in a Stack of Needles: The flying key, which Harry picks out from all the other flying keys because it has a bent wing (the bad guy had already grabbed it).
  • 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.
    • Quirrell had figured out all the obstacles in the Chamber of Secrets, except how to get past Fluffy. Enter Hagrid, who lets slip to a complete stranger (in fact a disguised Quirrell) that Fluffy can be put to sleep by playing music to him.
  • Noodle Incident: Dumbledore's defeat of the Dark Wizard Grindelwald, as mentioned on the Headmaster'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" (assuming he wasn't joking) is never actually revealed or mentioned again.
  • Not Afraid to Die: Nicholas Flamel and his wife—when the stone is destroyed, they can no longer keep the elixir of life going indefinitely and so their immortality will eventually end and both will pass away. However, they aren't bothered by this at all, with Dumbledore stating that for them, it'll be "like going to bed after a very long day".
  • 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 pretends to have a speech disability. That way no one would ever suspect p-p-poor s-s-stuttering Professor Quirrel.
  • 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: Here the goblins run wizarding bank Gringotts, and they come off as Space Jews.
  • 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.
  • Please Keep Your Hat On: Professor Quirrell's turban hides the face of Lord Voldemort on the back of his head.
  • 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.
    • Harry meets Professor Quirrell in the Leaky Cauldron.
  • Police 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?
  • 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.
  • Rewrite: A minor one, but a rewrite nonetheless. Earlier prints of this book have Nearly-Headless Nick make an offhand comment that he hadn't eaten in "nearly four hundred years". Later prints change this to "nearly five hundred years" to fit with him celebrating his five hundredth deathday in the next book.
  • 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. He's a mere precursor, however, to some genuinely evil Sadist Teachers introduced in Books 5 and 7.
  • Sanity Slippage: Vernon Dursley slowly starts to lose his grip on things as more and more Hogwarts acceptance letters arrive for Harry Potter, nailing up the mail lot, tossing letters in the fireplace and eventually taking the whole family to a deserted island in the middle of a terrible storm in the hopes of getting away. In the film, you can even see that his normally carefully-maintained hair now looks wild.
    Dudley: Daddy's gone mad, hasn't he?!
  • Schmuck Bait: Dumbledore says that a certain third floor corridor "is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a very painful death," virtually ensuring that someone will go there.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Harry Potter gives a whole speech to this effect prior to the climax: "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 win 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: Had Dumbledore and Flamel decided the Stone was better off destroyed before Voldemort got within a hairsbreadth of getting his (well, Quirrell's) hands on it, they could have avoided so much trouble.
  • Shrunk in the Wash: Invoked by Aunt Petunia when a sweater Harry hated kept shrinking every time he tried to put it on. Though it was obviously magic, Petunia came to the more logical conclusion, sparing him from severe punishment.
  • 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 who operate Gringott's bank.
  • Spoiled Brat: Dudley is the definition. But even he pales in comparison to Malfoy.
  • Starter Villain: The Dursleys, Draco Malfoy, and Quirrell all fill this role in their own context.
  • 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.
  • Summon to Hand: Broomstick practice starts with a short-range version - holding your hand over one and shouting "Up!" Harry is one of the few who gets it right first time; Hermione's just rolls over and Neville's doesn't budge at all. This leads Harry to wonder if the brooms can tell if you don't actually want to fly.
  • 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.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Vernon boasts how happy he is that there's no post on Sundays before the fireplace explodes with letters stuffed down the chimney.
    • Professor McGonagall insists that no one could possibly steal the Philosopher's Stone. This nearly does happen.
  • 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.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Hermione begins as a well-meaning but often painfully lawful student, always mindful of the rules (however 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.)
  • Together in Death: Nicholas Flamel and his wife, implicitly, after the Philosopher's Stone is destroyed.
  • 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.
  • Unbalanced by Rival's Kid: The real reason Snape dislikes Harry: he was at school in the same year as Harry's father and they hated each other. When Quirrel reveals this, he sounds surprised that no-one's already told Harry.
  • Understatement: Quirrell: "Troll … in the dungeons … thought you ought to know."
  • Unishment: Hermione decides to stop talking to Harry and Ron after a series of events nearly get the three of them (and Neville) killed one month into school. The boys consider the silence an improvement since they find her to be extremely grating.
  • Unreliable Expositor: During his Exposition about the Wizarding World to Harry, Hagrid says a number of things that are either exaggerated or completely false.
    • He believes that Voldemort wanted to recruit James and Lily Potter to his side. Though Hagrid does not know the reasons why Voldemort killed them, he should know that the Death Eaters would never have accepted a Muggle-born and a blood traitor into their ranks.
    • He says that Gringotts is "hundreds of miles" under London which is incredibly improbable.
    • He implies that Quirrell was the Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor prior to the coming school year, when, in fact, he was the Muggle Studies Professor, and, as Hagrid knows, the DADA post is never occupied for more than a year.
    • He claims that "there's not a single witch or wizard who went bad who wasn't in Slytherin," which is patently untrue.
    • He says that Ollivander's is the "only place for wands", which is inaccurate, as there are other wandmakers such as Gregorovitch, though he may just be referring to Diagon Alley.
  • Welcomed to the Masquerade: Hagrid acts as as The Herald to Harry, picks him up from his Muggle Foster Parents, and introduces him to the world of wizards in order to reintegrate him there.
  • Wham Line:
    Last line of chapter sixteen, "Through the Trapdoor": "There was already someone there [in the room where the Stone was kept] — but it wasn't Snape. It wasn't even Voldemort."
    [Chapter break.]
    First line of chapter seventeen, "The Man with Two Faces": "It was Quirrell."
  • What Is Evil?: "There is no good and evil; there is only power, and those too weak to seek it."
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: At the end, Dumbledore casually reveals that Nicolas and Perenelle Flamel were willing to have the Stone destroyed to keep it from Voldemort. After several centuries of life, it's like going to bed at the end of a very long day.
  • Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: Voldemort claims Harry's parents "died begging [him] for mercy" … and then, when Harry insists he's lying, casually admits he fabricated that story.
  • Visual Pun: Near the end of the book we discover that Quirrel is literally a two-faced villain who has Voldemort's face on the back of his head.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: After Harry gets caught out of bed (having gotten rid of Norbert) and causes Gryffindor to lose 150 points, Slytherins keep congratulating and thanking him for giving them an easy win.

Alternative Title(s): Harry Potter And The Sorcerers Stone