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Literature / Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

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"To the well-organised mind, death is but the next great adventure."
Albus Dumbledore

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is the first book in the Harry Potter series, published in Britain on 26 June 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 (and one of the largest entertainment franchises) 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, the film adaptation was released. Like its source material, the movie earned strong critical reception; it also ended up as the highest-grossing motion picture in the world released that year, and started a series of films based on the books. Since First Instalment 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:

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  • 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: Harry gets onto the Quidditch team by accidentally drawing his Head of House's attention to his flying skills — but he wasn't even trying out, he was just rescuing a dropped object before it smashed.
    McGonagall: He caught that thing in his hand after a fifty-foot dive. Charlie Weasley couldn't have done it.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Literally, in this case. The American title was changed from Philosopher's Stone to Sorcerer's Stone.
  • Agony of the Feet: When Harry reaches the Hogwarts Express, he attempts to get his trunk on the train, without success, dropping it twice on his foot before Fred and George Weasley volunteer to help him.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Hagrid encounters a hooded stranger in the Hog's Head pub (who turns out to be Professor Quirrell in disguise) who gets him drunk and convinces him to tell him the secret to get past Fluffy in exchange for a dragon egg. Hagrid himself tearfully admits to this when he visits Harry in the hospital wing.
  • All Just a Dream: Harry initially believes that Hagrid and his revelations about the wizarding world is simply a dream and things will return to mundane reality after said dream ends. When he wakes up the next morning, he sees that Hagrid is still present.
  • Alone Among Families: After the Dursleys drop Harry off at the train station to get on the Hogwarts Express, he's the only one there all by himself.
  • Already Done for You: The obstacle to the Stone after the chess game is a troll. Harry and Hermione find it out cold with a bloody lump on its head.
    Harry: I'm glad we didn't have to fight that one.
  • Anger Born of Worry:
    • Professor McGonagall's reaction to Harry's flying. She runs out furious with him that he could have broken his neck, then she rewards his skill with a place on the house Quidditch team.
    • And then again with the trio when they tackle a troll.
  • Animal Eyes: Quidditch referee and flight instructor Madame Hooch 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 as he tries to talk her, Ron, and Harry out of wandering around after hours again.
    Hermione: Neville, I'm really, really sorry about this. Petrificus Totalis!
  • Appearance Is in the Eye of the Beholder: The Mirror of Erised shows each person their heart's desire. Two people looking into it at the same time would see different things: for example, Harry sees his family, while Ron sees himself as an accomplished wizard.
  • Arc Villain: Quirrell. Played with, though, as the series-wide main villain Voldemort is using his body as a vessel.
  • Artistic Licence – Biology: The snake at the zoo winks at Harry. Snakes in Real Life don't have eyelids.
  • Artistic License – Chess: The life-sized chess scene makes it dubious if J. K. Rowling had ever touched a chessboard in her life. For example, in the climactic move, Ron is said to take "one step forward" even though he is playing a knight, which moves two spaces one way and one space at a square angle after that (this error and some others were fixed in later reprintings).
  • Artistic Licence – History: The first chapter takes place on Tuesday, 1 November 1981. The 1 November that year was on a Sunday. Likewise, Harry's 11th birthday, 31 July 1991, is on a Tuesday (it was on a Wednesday in real life).
  • 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.
  • Bathroom Brawl: A troll attacks Hermione in the girls' bathroom. Harry and Ron have to come to her rescue.
  • Becoming the Boast: Before the first flying lesson, Draco touts his skill at flying ad nauseam to everyone, especially Harry. Ron thinks he's exaggerating. On the day of the lesson, he shows that he isn't (although Harry proves to be even better).
  • 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 scared ninny who can't talk without stuttering? He may only seem harmless.
    • Hagrid is pretty cheerful when he arrives to collect Harry, even being amused by Vernon Dursley threatening him with a gun. Then Vernon insults Albus Dumbledore, calling him a "crackpot old fool", and Hagrid retaliates by jinxing Dudley.
  • Bewildering Punishment: Harry was continually punished for strange things that happened near him, without having been told his wizardry could cause them.
  • Big Bad: Lord Voldemort and Professor Quirrell.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Hagrid has a large boarhound named Fang.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Dumbledore's claim that he sees a pair of socks when he looks in the Mirror of Erised. It actually occurs to Harry soon afterwards that Dumbledore might not have told him the whole truth, but figures it was a personal question, after all, and doesn't think more about it. The final book hints, and invokedWord 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 (but still begging, albeit for his life not hers).
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The three centaurs: Firenze (blond), Bane (brunette) and Ronan (redhead).
  • Brick Joke:
    • The second chapter, set on Dudley's birthday, mentions that Harry thinks his cousin looks like a pig in a wig. Flash forward to Harry's birthday, and Hagrid gives Dudley a literal pig tail.
    • 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 idea 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: Word of God says Vernon Dursley moved his family to a shack on an island because he incorrectly thought wizards wouldn't be able to cross running water.
  • Cassandra Truth: Two towards the end of the book — both, incidentally, with Professor McGonagall as the disbelieving party.
    • When she catches Draco Malfoy out of bed, because he was trying to catch Harry with a dragon, she doesn't believe his story when he tells her.
    • When the Trio approach her to warn her that somebody is about to try to steal the Philosopher's Stone, she assures them such a feat can't be done.
  • Challenging the Bully:
    • Draco Malfoy steals a Remembrall from Neville, a frequent target of his bullying, and mocks him for injuring himself. Harry gets tired of this and rises on his broomstick, challenging Malfoy to a contest of flying skills. Harry is able to retrieve the Remembrall through a tricky broomstick manoeuvre, defending Neville's honour and coming out on top.
    • Later that afternoon, Draco challenges Harry to a duel at midnight, but this is a Subverted Trope because Draco doesn't actually show up and just wanted to get Harry into trouble.
  • Changeling Fantasy: Harry's boring, cruel aunt and uncle are merely hiding Harry from his true heritage as a wizard from a rich and heroic family responsible for the defeat of the Dark Lord. Once Hagrid reveals Harry's heritage, he's much happier for it.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The whole series gets its own page.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Hagrid makes an offhand remark about getting the flying motorbike off Sirius Black, who otherwise doesn't appear. Sirius debuts properly and becomes a major character in the third book.
  • Clothes for Christmas Cringe:
    • Molly knits sweaters for her children every year for Christmas. Ron complains that his is always maroon, and he hates that colour.
    • Inverted when Professor Dumbledore tells Harry that he wants socks for Christmas, but never gets any. "People will insist on giving me books."
  • Closet Sublet: Harry sleeps in the closet under the staircase until the Dursleys see that his initial Hogwarts letters are addressed to his "Cupboard Under the Stairs" and move him into Dudley's spare bedroom. He didn't like it much, as Dudley loved to stomp down the stairs just to annoy him. Also, as punishment, the Dursleys would sometimes lock him inside it.
  • 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: After she, Ron, and Harry encounter Fluffy for the first time, Hermione says, "I hope you're pleased with yourselves. We could all have been killed — or worse, expelled." This said, it's likely that not even Hermione considers being expelled from school a true Fate Worse than Death. To be fair, expulsion from Hogwarts can mean expulsion from the wizarding world in general, in which case your wand gets snapped in half and you are forbidden to get a new one. Just ask Hagrid.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The Dursleys happen to be taking Dudley to get his tail removed on the same day Harry starts school, so they can give him a lift to the train.
  • 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 proved to be much less convenient than 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 — while there are myriad possible reasons for this that one could fanwank over, it's never actually explained.
  • Cultural Translation: In the Hebrew translation, instead of a lemon drop, Dumbledore offers McGonagall a krembo, a chocolate-coated marshmallow treat popular in Israel.
  • Cunning People Play Poker: Hagrid won a poker game against Professor Quirrell. The prize is a Norwegian Ridgeback egg. Professor Quirrell gave Hagrid the egg just to get him in trouble since breeding dragons is illegal. Also he was possessed by Lord Voldemort, a Dark wizard who is cunning in every way.
  • Deadpan Snarker: When Harry explains that he needs to travel to Hogwarts by a train that leaves from King's Cross in London, Vernon notes, "Funny way to get to a wizards' school, the train. Magic carpets all got punctures, have they?"
  • Decoy Protagonist: Vernon Dursley is the protagonist for half the first chapter.
  • Delegation Relay: In chapter three:
    "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 lives thinking his parents died in a car crash for nearly ten years, until Hagrid reveals to him that Voldemort murdered them.
    • Voldemort tries to break Harry's spirit by telling him that his parents both begged for mercy before they died. He quickly recants when Harry disagrees, and admits that James and Lily died bravely protecting their son.
  • Divided into Disaster: While doing work in the Forbidden Forest as punishment for getting caught late outside their dormitories, Harry, Hermione, Neville and Malfoy are sorted in two teams, with Neville and Malfoy (the latter bullying the former) in the same team. After Malfoy pranks Neville, Hagrid switches Neville and Harry.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The person trying to get the Philosopher's Stone turns out to be Professor Quirrell, possessed by Voldemort, who the book had established as being relatively harmless. When Harry confronts them at the end, they lampshade how they were Beneath Suspicion.
    "Who would suspect poor, st-st-st-stuttering Professor Quirrell?"
  • Door Jam: Harry and Hermione reach a wall of flame and only have one potion that will take them through the flames; thus, Harry has to confront Voldemort alone in the climax.
  • Doorstop Baby: Harry was brought to the Dursleys on their doorstep as a baby in a basket. Despite various fan theories, we're never actually told why Dumbledore didn't hand him over in person, nor do we get to read the letter that was left in his basket.
  • 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 for Harry's first two Quidditch games, we stay on the ground with Ron and Hermione watching him play. Later books do switch POV, but only in full chapters designated for it and always in the first chapter or two.
    • 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 has little trouble securing his landing. For those keeping count, that means Cormac McLaggen came closer to killing Harry than Quirrell did.
    • Some of McGonagall's early behaviour, 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, and a bit hypocritical too, given she complains to Dumbledore mere hours later that by flamboyantly celebrating Voldemort's demise, wizards are risking the exposure of their community.
    • 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 changes most British English terms to American ones. 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).
    • The school song, sung at the first dinner after Harry and the gang are Sorted, then never again.note 
    • The reason Dumbledore can't help Harry during the finale is that he is travelling to the Ministry via broom. There is never any suggestion again of wizards travelling long distances on broom, as later books reveal that all Hogwarts students learn to Apparate (i.e., teleport) as part of the school curriculum. Later books also introduce Portkeys (i.e., objects that teleport those who touch them between fixed places.)
  • Early Personality Signs: Dudley Dursley learns the word, "Shan't!" (or "Won't!" in the American version) as a baby. Flash-forward nine years and he's very stubborn.
  • 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 try to steal snacks 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.
  • Escalating Punchline: When the students are boarding the Hogwarts Express, Percy Weasley just happens to mention that, as a Prefect, he gets to ride up front. Which gets this reaction from his brothers, Fred and George:
    "Oh, are you a Prefect, Percy? You should have said something, we had no idea."
    "Hang on, I think I remember him saying something about it. Once —"
    "Or twice —"
    "A minute —"
    "All summer —"
  • 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.
  • Establishing Character Moment: All over the place in this book.
    • Draco Malfoy gets one when he and Harry meet in Madam Malkin's. He speaks in a drawl, suggests he'll "bully [his] father" into getting him a broomstick, and, after learning Harry's parents died, says, "Oh, sorry" (and the narration notes how insincere he sounds). "But they were our kind, weren't they?"
    • Hermione Granger introduces herself by speaking very quickly, showing excitement for school, dispensing information others don't know, and—this is key—helping a fellow student who's lost something.
    • Ron Weasley is depicted in hand-me-down robes with a hand-me-down wand and a hand-me-down pet, and he starts off complaining that even if he does do something well, it won't matter because his older brothers have already done it first, but he also shows embarrassment at his curiosity over Harry's status as the Boy-Who-Lived and reassures Harry that he won't stand out at Hogwarts for his ignorance. Ron might be insecure and jealous, but he's a good kid with a good heart. He then explains wizarding sweets and Quidditch to Harry, setting up his role as the trio's insider to the wizarding world.
    • Molly Weasley is first shown helping Harry, whom she hardly knows, get onto Platform 9¾. Later, she scolds her children for treating him like an exhibit.
    • Fred and George are introduced with a quick prank of pretending to be each other on their mother, and then helping Harry with his trunk. This quickly sets them up as a pair of pranksters who love messing with people, but also very nice and kind-hearted guys.
    • Severus Snape first appears when he's staring so hard at Harry that Harry believes he's the one hurting his scar, all because he wants to see Lily's eyes in Harry's face, and then, in his first speaking scene, he bullies Harry, Neville, and Hermione, showing that even though he loves Lily and will protect her son in her name even after her death, he won't be nice about it.
  • 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.
  • Exact Words:
    • As Ron points out, and Dumbledore discovered the hard way as a kid, Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans really do have every flavour, including grass as well as disgusting things like earwax, snot, and vomit.
    • At the start-of-term feast Dumbledore mentions that the third-floor corridor is out of bounds "for everyone who does not wish to die a most painful death". Fluffy is there, who will indeed kill anyone painfully (unless he hears music).
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: When Hermione verifies Nicolas Flamel's work in alchemy, she dramatically whispers to Harry and Ron that Flamel made the Philosopher's Stone. The two react with confusion, as neither of them have heard of the Stone before. The narration even notes: "This didn't have quite the effect she'd expected."
    Hermione: Nicolas Flamel is the only known maker of the Philosopher's Stone!
    Harry and Ron: The what?
  • 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.
  • Fingore: When Goyle attempts to steal Harry and Ron's food on the train to Hogwarts, Ron's rat Scabbers jumps on Goyle and bites his finger.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Harry and Ron become friends with Hermione after they fight a mountain troll together. Lampshaded by the narration, which states "there are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other."
  • First Day of School Episode: Towards the beginning, it's Harry and the others' first day.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Two examples, both kept as pets by Hagrid. The big, scary, three-headed dog guarding the Stone is named Fluffy, and he later acquires Norbert the dragon, who has a poisonous bite and can breathe fire.
  • Flying Broomstick: Harry gets a particularly nice one.
  • Foreshadowing: Has its own page.
  • Forgot I Could Fly: Ron, to Hermione, after she panics and says there's no wood to 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 share this. Both Harry and Hermione knew nothing of magic for most of their respective lives hitherto, Hermione is also a nerd, and Ron's family isn't prestigious.
  • From Bad to Worse: Harry is dejected enough that he and Hermione get in trouble for being out of bed at night when they send Norbert off. When he sees that Neville got in trouble for the same reason on the same night (ironically, while trying to get them out of trouble), he feels even worse. It's lampshaded in the narration.

  • 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.
  • Give Him a Normal Life: Dumbledore's stated reason for leaving Harry to the Dursleys is that growing up surrounded by the fame of being The Boy Who Lived would twist him; better to have a semblance of normality before being introduced to that. While the abuse the Dursleys gave Harry was certainly not in the plan, at the very least it made Harry a Humble Hero who doesn't take his friends for granted.
  • Golden Snitch:
    • Harry is recruited as Seeker for the Gryffindor Quidditch team, where his function is to catch the Trope Namer.
    • Just before the House Cup is awarded, Dumbledore awards Gryffindor 170 points, allowing them to overtake Slytherin.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: It can be inferred that the villain gave Norbert's egg to Hagrid so that he'd be dismissed when he inevitably got caught with it, and thus would be discredited and unable to mention that he'd accidentally revealed Fluffy's weakness to a stranger. This leads to Harry and Hermione being caught out of bed on the Astronomy Tower due to Malfoy seeing the egg and trying to report it, meaning they had to get rid of Norbert(a) by contacting Ron's brother Charlie, who asked them to meet his friends up there. This in turn indirectly leads to Harry learning about the properties of unicorn blood, which lets him deduce the thief's goal. He takes matters into his own hands when McGonagall refuses to believe him, resulting in Voldemort leaving Quirrell to die, and the Stone is destroyed after Dumbledore and Nicolas Flamel have a chat while Harry is unconscious. Way to go, Voldy.
  • 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 Draco Malfoy's handshake when they first meet on the Hogwarts Express, rejecting him in favour 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.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The mountain troll is knocked out when Ron uses a spell to drop the troll's club onto its owner's head.
  • 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.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday:
    • A double subversion regarding the Potters' murder. The narration in chapter one says it happens on "a dull, grey Tuesday," but later in the series it's revealed to be All Hallows' Eve.note 
    • A much less unhappy one occurs exactly ten years after that date: the first Dark creature Harry and company encounter firsthand, Quirrell's troll, invades Hogwarts on Halloween.
  • 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:
    • Harry and Hermione both inexplicably forget to put the invisibility cloak back on after delivering Norbert to Charlie's friends, landing them in detention. This mistake is especially out of character for the normally well-organised and reliable Hermione. Rowling had them make this blunder in order to further the plot by having Harry encounter Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest.
    • McGonagall summarily dismissing Harry's concerns about the Stone is 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.
    • Hagrid takes Harry, Neville, Hermione and Malfoy into the Forbidden Forest to look for a Unicorn killer for detention. Harmful to Minors does not begin to describe Hagrid. Then again, he didn't really know what to expect. Justified in-universe by Hagrid telling Malfoy that this is the sort of useful thing students do for detention instead of "writing lines", which is later retconned as there are multiple cases of that punishment in the series.
    • Vernon insults magic and threatens Harry in front of Hagrid, a half-giant with super strength, who happens to be from the wizarding world. It's a good thing Hagrid isn't malicious, or Vernon would've probably ended up with a broken neck, or worse.
  • I'll Never Tell You What I'm Telling You!: Hagrid refuses to tell the heroes anything about the Stone while accidentally dropping 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.
  • Intentional Mess Making: Dudley once throws up on purpose as part of a series of naughty things he does for attention.
  • Invisibility Cloak: Harry gets the Trope Namerinvoked for Christmas from his late father, via Dumbledore.
  • Invisible to Normals: Harry's pretty sure that he and Hagrid are the only ones in the London crowd who can see the Leaky Cauldron.
  • 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 opportunity, ignoring their transgressions while 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, 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 favours her son Dudley over Harry, treats Harry much the same as Vernon does, and is generally presented as the neighborhood busybody. Dudley is a Spoiled Brat who constantly beats up Harry.
  • Kill It with Fire: Fire repels the Devil's Snare plant.
  • Kill the Lights: Dumbledore uses his Put-Outer/Deluminator to turn off all the lights on Privet Drive.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: "...There will be books written about Harry..." says Professor McGonagall about Harry Potter. You have no idea, Minerva...
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: Happens twice during the detention in the Forbidden Forest. The first time around, Harry, Hagrid, and Hermione take one fork in the path while Malfoy, Neville, and Fang take the other. When Malfoy pranks Neville to make him panic, they split up again, but with Harry and Neville switching places because Malfoy would have a harder time scaring Harry.
  • 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.
  • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: Harry doesn't notice the Leaky Cauldron until Hagrid points it out, with his gaze seeming to automatically focus on the shops either side.
  • 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. To his credit, he recognizes this flaw and admits "It's all—my—ruddy—fault!" when he visits Harry in the hospital wing at the end of the book.
  • 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 defence against those who seek to steal the stone.
  • Magic Fire:
    • Hermione uses the "Bluebell Flames" spell on three occasions, which creates bright blue, waterproof flames that can heat without burning — in the first case Hermione, Harry, and Ron warm themselves with a jam jar full of such fire. However, apparently the spell will burn certain materials like clothing and plants, which is shown in the other two appearances.
    • Snape's test to reach the titular stone involves a magical flame that can only be passed if someone drinks a special potion.
  • Magic Mirror: The Mirror of Erised shows you your heart's desire.
  • Market-Based Title: Retitled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for the American release as the publishers were concerned that children would be put off by the word "philosopher" in the title, and thought something more suggestive of magic would be more likely to inspire interest.
  • Master Actor: Quirrell. See Obfuscating Disability.
  • May It Never Happen Again: Professor Dumbledore had destroyed the Philosopher's Stone so Lord Voldemort won't use it to become immortal.
  • Melancholy Moon: Risking the halls of the castle in the night, the way lit by moon light.
  • Mercy Kill: When Hagrid goes into the Forbidden Forest to search for the wounded unicorn, he mentions that he might have to put it out of its misery if it's hurt badly enough.
  • 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 and has been using his hand-me-down set for years), they're willing to sacrifice themselves knowing it's for the greater good. In the hands of a mediocre player like Harry (who's new to the game and is borrowing his set from a friend) they're more likely to rebel, convinced that they will lose 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 New Gift Is Lame: For his tenth birthday, Harry got a coat hanger and a pair of Uncle Vernon's old socks from the Dursleys. For Christmas, they send him a 50 pence coin.
  • 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 possibility that the Mirror of Erised is clairvoyant on this basis.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Harry, understandably much more so here than in later instalments.
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond: How Malfoy introduces himself to Harry on the Hogwarts train.
    "This is Crabbe and this is Goyle. And I'm Malfoy, Draco Malfoy."
  • 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. It is unlikely to have been unintentional, as Rowling speaks Portuguese and lived in Portugal for a time.
  • 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: Quirrell easily figured out all the obstacles guarding the Stone, but he couldn't get past Fluffy. Enter Hagrid, who tells a complete stranger (in fact a disguised Quirrell) that Fluffy can be put to sleep by playing music to him.
  • No Immortal Inertia: Even though Nicolas and Perenelle Flamel have enough of the Elixir of Life to "set their affairs in order", they apparently still die within a few months of the Stone being destroyed. Perhaps a Zig-Zagging Trope: the Stone had been at Hogwarts under significant protection all school year, perhaps up to a month longer, so they may have had about a year's supply for the both of them.
  • 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.
    • While Harry is waiting to be Sorted, there's a passing reference to an incident that occurred back when he was still attending Muggle school, and he "had to take a school report home to the Dursleys saying that he'd somehow turned his teacher's wig blue."
  • Nose Shove: Harry defeats the troll by accidentally sticking his wand up its nose.
  • Not Afraid to Die:
    • Nicolas Flamel and his wife — when the Philosopher's Stone is destroyed, they can no longer keep making the Elixir of Life indefinitely and so their immortality will eventually end and both will pass away. However, this doesn't bother them at all (they are both over 600 years old), with Dumbledore stating that for them, it'll be "like going to bed after a very long day."
    • We get an early hint of Harry not fearing death (not as much as Voldemort, at any rate) when he learns what kind of "life" a person who drinks unicorn blood has, and notes, "Death's better, isn't it?"
  • Not Hyperbole: As Ron tells Harry when he experiments with Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans, when they advertise that they have every flavour, that includes unpleasant ones such as spinach, liver, and snot in addition to more popular ones like chocolate, peppermint, and marmalade. Harry winds up getting toast, coconut, baked bean, strawberry, curry, grass, coffee, sardine, and pepper.
  • The Noun Who Verbed: The first chapter of the book is called "The Boy Who Lived".

  • Obfuscating Disability: Quirrell pretends to have a Speech Impediment so that no one would ever suspect p-p-poor s-s-stuttering Professor Quirrell.
  • Obliviously Superpowered: Harry Potter himself turned out to be a somewhat extreme case. Given that his aunt and uncle were Obsessively Normal, he was raised to be normal and shouted at for even talking about anything remotely fantastical, so when Harry started showing signs of magic, he remained oblivious to it even in the face of increasingly ridiculous "accidents" - like flying/apparating onto the school roof in order to escape Dudley and trying to excuse it as the wind catching him.
  • Obsessively Normal: The very first line of the book:
    "Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much."
  • Offscreen Teleportation: The wizards Harry meets on the street when he was younger would usually have disappeared if Harry turned back to look at them. Hagrid even vanishes at one point when Harry blinks, which seems a bit advanced for him.
  • One-Person Birthday Party: Harry's eleventh birthday is forgotten by the Dursleys because of the flood of letters from Hogwarts. Harry sings "Happy Birthday to You!" 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: 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. He was wrong: Quirrell was after the Stone and Snape, suspecting as much, was trying to scare him into giving up on it.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Ron feels like this with respect to his five older brothers — former Head Boy Bill, former Gryffindor Quidditch captain Charlie, new prefect Percy, and popular Class Clowns Fred and George.
  • Page-Turn Surprise: There is a page of stars in between every chapter, which means no matter what happens with fonts or translation you will always have to turn a page to get to the next chapter. This is sometimes used for dramatic pauses, such as when revealing who is in the room with the Philosopher's Stone: "It wasn't Snape. It wasn't even Voldemort." (Break between chapters sixteen and seventeen) "It was Quirrell."
  • Philosopher's Stone: Of course. It seems that Lord Voldemort is really interested in living forever.
  • 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. There was also a troll like the one Harry and Ron stopped earlier in the story, but which turned out to be Already Done for Them.
  • 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?
  • Pre-Meeting:
    • Harry meets Professor Quirrell in the Leaky Cauldron before taking his Defence Against the Dark Arts class.
    • Harry meets Draco Malfoy while shopping for robes before meeting him on the Hogwarts Express.
  • Promotion, Not Punishment: Harry's 'punishment' for unauthorised, reckless flying during the broomstick lesson is to be given a position on Gryffindor's Quidditch team, pending another one-on-one training session, though he does well there too.
  • Pulling Your Child Away: Before Harry learned that he was a wizard, he once went shopping with his Aunt Petunia. When they encountered a witch and her child, Petunia ran out with Harry without buying everything because she's afraid of wizards and witches.
  • Pun: Diagon Alley (for "diagonally", reflecting its kinked mediaeval shape).

  • Red Herring: Snape not only in this story, but the ultimate one in the series at that.
  • Reminder Failure: Neville Longbottom's grandmother mails him a Remembrall, a magical glass orb that glows red if the holder has forgotten something. Cue the obligatory joke where it turns red immediately and Neville spends the rest of the scene trying to figure out what the Remembrall is trying to remind him of. In the movie he even notes the limited utility of an object that only lets you know you forgot something, not what you forgot.
  • Reverse Relationship Reveal: At first it looks like Snape is evil and he is blackmailing the innocent Professor Quirrell. In fact, Quirrell is a servant of Lord Voldemort and Snape is trying to stop him.
  • Rewrite: A minor one, but a rewrite nonetheless. Earlier prints of this book have Nearly Headless Nick say during the Welcoming Feast that he hasn'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 on Hallowe'en.
  • Rhyming Wizardry: Subverted; Ron attempts a spell with a rhyming incantation ("Sunshine, daisies, butter mellow, turn this stupid, fat rat yellow"), but it has no effect. He thinks it may not even be a real spell, considering he learned it from his trickster brothers. It certainly doesn't follow the pattern of other spells in the series, which have short (one- or two-word) incantations.
  • Sanity Slippage: Vernon Dursley progressively loses his grip on things as more and more Hogwarts acceptance letters arrive for Harry Potter, nailing up the mail slot, burning letters, and eventually taking the whole family to a deserted island in the middle of a terrible storm in the hopes of getting away.
    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!: After Harry says he'll take matters into his own hands...
    Ron: You're mad!
    Hermione: You can't! After what McGonagall and Snape have said? You'll be expelled!
    Harry: SO WHAT? 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 any more, 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.
  • Secret Message Wink: When Harry comes across a snake at a zoo, the snake signals to Harry that it can understand his speech by winking at him (somehow, despite snakes lacking eyelids).
  • Secret Pet Plot: Hagrid gets hold of a dragon egg and intends to keep the baby dragon as a pet, despite it being illegal to do so. Eventually, the logistical challenges, such as that the dragon's rapid growth will make it impossible to keep hidden, and that, as Hermione points out, keeping a fire-breathing creature in a wooden house is not the brightest idea, lead him to send the dragon to Ron's brother, Charlie, who works with dragons.
  • 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 it was better to destroy the Stone before Voldemort got within a hairsbreadth of getting his (well, Quirrell's) hands on it, they could have avoided so much trouble.
  • Sham Supernatural: Harry at one point pretends to be the Bloody Baron, a fearsome ghost, in order to get Peeves to leave them alone. Somehow, it works, despite Peeves being an actual ghost.
  • 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.
  • Sickbed Smuggling: At the end of the book when Harry is in the hospital wing, Dumbledore reveals Fred and George Weasley attempted to give Harry a toilet seat as a get-well gift (calling back to when Harry overheard their mother warn them not to blow up a toilet at the beginning of the school year). Madame Pomfrey caught them and refused to allow it for hygiene reasons.
  • 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."
  • Snipe Hunt:
    • Played with, when Harry tells Uncle Vernon that he has to catch the school train from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. Uncle Vernon takes him to the station, points out platforms nine and ten, tells him that the one he wants is somewhere in the middle, and cheerfully leaves Harry to find it, saying "have a good term".
    • Malfoy challenges Harry to a midnight duel, telling him to come to an empty classroom. However, Malfoy does not appear, and only told Harry this to get him into trouble for being out of bed at night.
  • Something We Forgot: Hooray, Harry and Hermione got Norbert out of Hogwarts! Wait, where's Harry's Invisibility Cloak? And Oh, Crap!, Filch is here.
  • Space Jews: The goblins who operate Gringotts 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.
  • Stepford Suburbia: In Little Whinging, where the Dursleys taking pride in their "normalcy", everybody apparently turns a blind eye to their unsubtle abuse of Harry.
  • 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 even budge. 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 decides to take the blame for Ron and Harry's incident with the troll by insisting she went looking for it and got carried away.
  • 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 nobody 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: Nicolas 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 wizardlike.
  • 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 Quirrell reveals this, he sounds surprised that no one had yet 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 annoying.
  • Unreliable Expositor: During his Exposition about the Wizarding World to Harry, Hagrid says several things that are exaggerated, completely false, or most likely Retconned.
    • He thinks it plausible that Voldemort wanted to recruit James and Lily Potter to his side. Though Hagrid does not know why Voldemort killed them, he should know the Death Eaters would never have accepted a Muggle-born and a blood traitor into their ranks, especially none who had thrice defied him.
    • He says that Gringotts is "hundreds of miles" under London, which is highly improbable.
    • He implies that Quirrell taught Defence Against the Dark Arts prior to the coming school year. In fact, he taught Muggle Studies, and, as Hagrid knows, nobody has held the DADA post for more than a year at a time in decades.
    • He claims that "there's not a single witch or wizard who went bad who wasn't in Slytherin," which is patently untrue, and he should have known it — he spoke to Sirius Black at the beginning of this book, and in the third book, he makes it clear that at this point he is well aware of that Gryffindor being a "murderin' traitor". Yes, Sirius is innocent, but Peter Pettigrew, the true traitor, is also a Gryffindor, so the point stands.
    • 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. Or he may have just meant "the only place worth patronising" — in Deathly Hallows Krum says "you Britons set much store by Ollivander".
  • Vine Tentacles: Devil's Snare is a magical plant that strangles anyone unfortunate enough to get in it. They become docile when the person caught in it relaxes and can be hurt by bright lights because they thrive in the dark.
  • Visual Pun: Near the end of the book we discover that Quirrell is literally a two-faced villain who has Voldemort's face on the back of his head.
  • Waking Non Sequitur: When Harry and Hermione wake Ron up after returning from their detention, he wakes up with an incoherent exclamation about Quidditch fouls.
  • Welcomed to the Masquerade: Hagrid acts as The Herald to Harry, picks him up from his Muggle Foster Parents, and introduces him to the wizarding world 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 Cliff Hanger?: As shown under Wham Line above, Chapter Sixteen ends with the reveal that the titular Stone's would-be thief isn't Snape after all, but the much bigger revelation of who is only happens at the start of the following chapter.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The fate of the escaped boa constrictor is never revealed.
  • What Is Evil?: "There is no good and evil; there is only power, and those too weak to seek it."
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Vernon Dursley begins to question his senses when he thinks he sees a cat doing things that cats can't normally do, such as reading a map and eyeing him sceptically. He, of course, couldn't have known that that cat was the Animagus Hogwarts professor Minerva McGonagall.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: At the end, Dumbledore casually says that Nicolas and Perenelle Flamel were willing to have the Stone destroyed to keep it from Voldemort. After they've lived for over six centuries each, it's like going to bed at the end of a very long day.
  • Woken Up at an Ungodly Hour: While on the run from the Hogwarts acceptance letters, the Dursleys and Harry Potter are woken by a knock at the hut door in the middle of the night. It's from Hagrid who came to wish Harry a happy birthday and tell him that he's a wizard.
  • Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: Voldemort claims Harry's parents "died begging [him] for mercy" … and then, when Harry angrily asserts he's lying, casually admits he lied.
  • Writing Lines: Defied. Draco thought he would have gotten this as detention for being caught out of bed, but he's sent to the Forbidden Forest to help Hagrid with "servant stuff". When Draco complains, Hagrid scoffs and says, "Yeh'll do summat useful or yeh'll get out."
  • "You!" Exclamation: Harry gives one when he confronts the villain seeking the Stone, albeit on somebody else's behalf: Quirrell.
  • 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. Their approval is, of course, mocking and they're just rubbing it in.
  • Your Size May Vary: Dudley's friend Piers Polkiss is described as being scrawny when he first appears in chapter two, but the next chapter describes him and the rest of Dudley's gang as being big and stupid.

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