Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Summary

  • Last updated on March 25, 2021
"Infobox Book"
name Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
title orig Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Image caption Scholastic Library Edition
author J. K. Rowling
country United Kingdom
language English
series Harry Potter
subject Young adult, fantasy
genre Fiction
publisher Bloomsbury (UK), Scholastic Press (US)
release date July 2, 1998 (UK), June 2, 1999 (US)
media type Hardback, paperback
pages 309
isbn 0590353403
preceded by None
followed by Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (alternately known as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone) is the first novel in the Harry Potter series. It introduces series main character Harry Potter and his adventures in the wizarding world. In this installment, Harry finds out he is a wizard, and soon becomes involved in a quest to find out more about the Philosopher's Stone and prevent it being taken from Hogwarts.

Character Summaries

Harry Potter

The main character of the series. Harry is the only known wizard to have survived a confrontation with the Dark Lord himself, Lord Voldermort. Harry is brave and kind despite a horrible upbringing with his relatives the Dursleys. He is surprised to find out that he is a wizard, as his magical parents have been killed by Voldermort.

Ron Weasley

Ron is Harry's first friend at Hogwarts. He comes from a large family and often feels overshadowed by his older brothers. Ron is good-natured and humorous, and although his wits are not as quick as Hermione's, he is still able to solve problems quickly when needed.

Hermione Granger

Hermione is a muggle-born witch who is known by many as the "brightest witch of her generation". She is incredibly intelligent and studious. While she initially annoys Ron and Harry for being a "know-it-all", they soon become friends.

Albus Dumbledore

Albus Dumbledore is the sagely headmaster of Hogwarts. He is an incrediby talented wizard and is highly respected in the wizarding community. He is also incrediby eccentric.

Rubeus Hagrid

Hagrid is the gamekeeper of Hogwarts. He is a half-giant. Hagrid is caring and kind, and always watches out for Harry. It is through Hagrid that Harry is first introduced to the wizarding world.

The Dursleys

Vernon, Petunia and Dudley are Harry's awful relatives, related to him through his deceased mother Lily. They are horrified by anything to do with magic and therefore treat Harry awfully.

Lord Voldermort

The Dark Lord of the wizarding world, Lord Voldermort's original reign of terror claimed many victims, including James and Lily Potter (Harry's parents). Harry unknowingly defeated Voldermort as a baby, and Voldermort has been seeking revenge and a return to power ever since.

Severus Snape

The potions master at Hogwarts and also head of Slytherin house. Snape hates Harry for personal reasons, and his mistreatement of him leads Harry to believe that Snape is evil and seeking the Philospher's Stone for his own personal use. It later turns out that this is untrue.

Professor Quirrell

Professor Quirrell is the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts. He is said to be intelligent and know a lot about the subject, but has been left terrified by his first actual encounter with evil creatures. Unknowingly to everyone at Hogwarts, Quirrell is actually evil himself and has been helping Lord Voldermort steal the Philospher's Stone.

Fred and George Weasley

Ron's mischevious twin brothers.

Draco Malfoy

Harry's nemesis at Hogwarts. Malfoy is from a well-to-do family and therefore looks down on everyone he views as inferior (which is pretty much everyone). He has a particular hatred for Harry and his friends.

Crabbe and Goyle

Malfoy's cronies.

Minerva McGonagall

The Transfiguration teacher at Hogwarts and also head of Gryffindor house. McGonagall is a no-nonsense kind of woman, but is also incredibly kind-hearted and seems to have a soft-spot for Harry, Ron and Hermione.

Neville Longbottom

A fellow Gryffindor student. Neville is clumsy and awkard, but also incredibly brave and good-hearted.

Madam Hooch

The flying teacher at Hogwarts.


Chapter Summaries

Chapter One: The Boy Who Lived

On a dark night in England, baby Harry Potter is delivered to his aunt and uncle's house for safekeeping by a group most would consider strange: Albus Dumbledore, an aging wizard with a long grey beard, Minerva McGonagall, a witch who can transform into a cat, and Rubeus Hagrid, a half-giant.

Baby Harry is now unfortunately an orphan. His parents, Lily and James Potter, both have been killed by the dark wizard Lord Voldermort. Harry is the only one of Voldermort's victims to have survived - he is the "Boy Who Lived". Unbeknownst to Harry, he is famous in the Wizarding World.

The Dursleys, Harry's family through his mother's side, are not particularly happy to have to look after Harry, as they believe that magic is an abomination and they are very concerned about keeping up appearances.

Chapter Two: The Vanishing Glass

Ten years have passed, and Harry is nearly turning eleven years old. The feeling of dislike between Harry and the Dursley's has only grown stronger. Harry is forced by the Dursleys to sleep in the cupboard under the stairs, and do lots of chores. Dudley, on the other hand, is a fat, spoiled bully. Harry's life is utterly miserable.

On Dudley's eleventh birthday, the group go to the zoo. Harry is only able to come because no babysitters are available on the day. At the zoo, Harry unexpectedly makes the glass of a snake enclosure disappear, when he gets angry. He is also strangely able to communicate with the snake. This is the first hint that Harry may have some kind of power.

Chapter Three: The Letters From No One

The strangeness continues after the zoo. One day, a letter addressed to Harry (with the address so specific it even says "the cupboard under the stairs") arrives. There is no return address, only a big seal featuring four animal mascots and the letter "H".

Vernon confiscates the letter before Harry can read it. Both he and Aunt Petunia seem very disturbed by its sudden appearance. They decide to just ignore the letter and hope the problem goes away.

More letters just keep appearing, though. It gets to the point where the Dursleys try to escape the letters by going to a hotel and then to a shack surrounded by the sea. The letters only follow them, however, continuing to arrive in their hundreds.

In the middle of the night (the very day it turns into Harry's eleventh birthday, in fact), an unexpected visitor arrives at the shack.

Chapter Four: The Keeper of the Keys

The strange visitor turns out the be Hagrid who has come to inform Harry of his acceptance at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry seeing as the Dursley's aren't letting Harry read his letters. Hagrid is the Keeper of the Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts.

The Dursleys are terrified by Hagrid, and try to prevent him from taking Harry. Hagrid is horrified to learn that the Dursleys have kept Harry's magical heritage from him. He tells Harry that he's a wizard and the he's famous. Harry also finds out the truth about his parents' deaths and who Voldermort is.

Hagrid tells Harry that when Voldermort killed Lily and James, he also tried to kill baby Harry too. However, for some reason, Voldermort's curses didn't work on Harry, and all that happened to the baby was that a lightning-bolt scar appeared on his forehead. Voldermort then disappeared. Some believe him to be dead, other think he's still out there and biding his time, waiting until his powers return to him.

After using magic to give Dudley a pig's tail (in retaliation for Dudley trying to eat the birthday cake that Hagrid brought for Harry), Hagrid and Harry leave, ignoring the Dursley's protests.

Chapter Five: Diagon Alley

Hagrid and Harry travel to Diagon Alley, a street full of shops just for magical folk. They begin to collect all of the supplies that Harry will need at Hogwarts, outlined in the acceptance letter.

They first go to the Leaky Cauldron Pub, and Harry meets a host of witches and wizards who all know him already and are very pleased to finally meet him. Harry also has his first meeting with Hogwarts' new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Quirrell. Quirrell is a timid man, always stuttering. Hagrid says that he's an intelligent professor, but his first actual experience with dark creatures in the Forbidden Forest has left him permanently terrified.

They then go to Gringotts, the wizarding bank run by goblins. Harry's parents have left him a sizeable inheritance. Harry also begins to learn more about the wizarding world from Hagrid, such as the existence of a magical government known as the Ministry of Magic.

At Gringotts, on the way back from the vault where his own money is stored, Harry sees a top-security vault. He wonders what could be inside it. Hagrid takes a mysterious package from the vault, but doesn't tell Harry anything about it, as per Dumbledore's instructions.

Harry and Hagrid then go to Madam Malkin's to get Harry's uniform. This is also where Harry meets Draco Malfoy for the first time. Harry finds Draco instantly unpleasant. He also finds himself a little overwhelmed by the amount of information he doesn't know about the wizarding world. Harry confides in Hagrid about this. Hagrid explains to him things like the wizarding sport Quidditch, and what the four Hogwarts houses are (Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin).

Hagrid also explains that it doesn't matter if a witch or wizard comes from a muggle (non-magical) family. However, there are some magical folk who are prejudiced against muggle-borns.

Harry then purchases his school textbooks and magical ingredients, and Hagrid purchases Harry an owl, Hedwig, as a birthday present. Harry is overjoyed.

Finally, the two complete their journey with a trip to Ollivander's, so Harry can get his wand. After trying a few different wands, the wand that chooses him turns out to be the twin of Voldermort's wand.

After purchasing everything he needs for school, Harry has to go back to the Dursley's. Thankfully, it's only a month before the school term at Hogwarts starts.

Chapter Six: The Journey From Platform Nine and Three Quarters

Harry spends one last month at the Dursely house before the Hogwarts term starts. Then, Vernon takes him to King's Cross station so Harry can catch the train to school.

The train Harry needs to catch departs from a platform that doesn't seem to exist - platform nine and three wuarters. Harry isn't sure how to get to the platform, but then he meets the Weasley family. They show him how to travel through the magical barrier to reach the platform her needs. Harry also meets one of his future best friends, Ron Weasley, along with the mischievous Weasley twins Fred and George, and their stoic older brother, Percy the Gryffindor Prefect.

The Hogwarts Express then departs, and Harry and Ron sit together. Ron is amazed to be talking to someone so famous. The two talk a bit about their personal histories. Ron tells Harry about his large family, and his rat Scabbers (who has been with the family for twelve years). Harry and Ron also enjoy a feast of sweets and pastries from the food trolley.

During their journey, Harry and Ron meet Neville Longbottom, another young wizard who is perpetually looking for his lost pet toad. Then, they meet Hermione Granger, a brilliant young muggle-born witch. The trio get to know each other more as the train continues its journey to their new school. Ron mentions that someone tried to rob the high security vault at Gringotts, the same one Harry saw during is own trip there.

Their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of Malfoy and his cronies, Crabbe and Goyle. Malfoy makes rude comments about Ron, then threatens Harry when Harry makes it clear he has no interest in being Malfoy's friend There is a small scuffle, and thankfully the bullies leave.

The train then arrives at Hogwarts. Hagrid escorts the first years across the lake via boat, as is customary. The first years then nervously wait for the sorting ceremony to begin.

Chapter Seven: The Sorting Hat

During the feast to celebrate the commencement of the new year at Hogwarts, the sorting takes place. Harry is very nervous about being placed in Slytherin (the house where wizards "go bad", according to Hagrid). The sorting hat does briefly consider putting Harry in Slytherin, because of Harry's ambition and desire to prove himself. Harry says no to that, though, and thankfully is sorted into Gryffindor instead.

Dumbledore then gives a short welcoming speech (literally consisting of four words) and the feast begins. During the feast, Harry's scar burns, seemingly when he looks at Professor Snape. After everyone has eaten, Dumbledor then goes through some notices: nobody can go into the Forbidden Forest, no magic can be performed in the school corridors, Quidditch try-outs begin soon, and the corridor on the third-floor is out-of-bounds.

As Harry leaves the feast to go to bed, he is introduced to Peeves the Poltergeist, and some of the school ghosts such as Nearly-Headless Nick.

He then has a dream that Professor Quirrell demands he transfer to Slytherin to fulfill his destiny, but in the dream Harry keeps trying to refuse. Malfoy and Snape are in the dream too, laughing at him. Harry doesn't remember the dream the next day.

Chapter Eight: The Potions Master

Harry is met with whispers about his identity and his scar everywhere he goes. He just tries to ignore them. He finds it hard to navigate the sprawling castle that is Hogwarts, but eventually starts to find his way around. He also starts to settle into his classes.

Potions class is by far Harry's least-favorite class, as the potions master, Professor Snape, seems to have taken an unnatural dislike to him. After double potions on a Friday afternoon, Harry goes to see Hagrid, with Ron in tow. Hagrid tells them that Snape has no reason to hate Harry, but also doesn't seem to be completely telling the truth.

Harry and Ron also found out that the person who broke into the high security vault at Gringotts did so the day that Harry was there. Harry recalls how Hagrid took a package from the vault, and although he has no idea what was in the package, he has a feeling that it's what the thieves were after.

Chapter Nine: The Midnight Duel

Flying lessons begin, and Gryffindor and Slytherin are again paired together. Harry's hatred of Malfoy continues to grow steadily.

During the flying lesson, Neville is injured. The flying instructor, Madam Hooch, has to take him to the hospital wing. In her absence, Malfoy reveals he has stolen Neville's Remembrall.

Despite not being allowed to fly in Madam Hooch's absence, Harry and Malfoy take to the skies, Harry trying bravely to get Neville's possession back from Malfoy.

Harry is successful, but is caught by Professor McGonagall, who sees him catch the Remembrall as Malfoy throws it through the air. Harry thinks he is in big trouble, but to his surprise, McGonagal actually takes him to meet Oliver Wood, captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. It turns out Harry is a natural at flying, and McGonagall wants him to be on the Quidditch team as the new Seeker (the player who searches for the Golden Snitch during a game).

Excitedly, Harry tells his friends about his new role on the Quidditch team, and how he is now the youngest Seeker in a century. The happy conversation is interrupted by Malfoy, however, who challenges Harry to a duel at midnight in the trophy room.

Harry and Ron set off for the duel near to midnight, but are caught by Hermione, who keeps interfering and trying to stop them leaving. She doesn't want Gryffindor to lose any house points.

It turns out the whole duel idea was a trick by Malfoy anyway, to get Harry and Ron caught lurking out of bed by Filch. As the two of them hurry back to the Gryffindor common room, Harry sees a giant three-headed dog guarding a door at the end of the forbidden corridor on the third floor. He knows the dog is guarding whatever Hagrid took from the high-security vault at Gringott's bank.

Chapter Ten: Hallowe'en

Malfoy is surprised and disappointed that Harry and Ron didn't get into any trouble. Harry tells Ron his theory about what the three-headed dog in the forbidden third-floor corridor is hiding.

Harry is then overjoyed to receive his first broomstick, a Nimbus Two Thousand (which is a top-of-the-line broom). Harry and Ron are delighted to be able to rub it in Malfoy's face that Harry is on the Quidditch team and Malfoy isn't. Harry then has his first Quidditch training session.

Two months pass in the blink of an eye. One day, in Charms class, Ron upsets Hermione by talking badly about her after she embarrasses him. Hermione overhears the conversation, and runs off crying. She then spends the rest of the day crying alone in the bathroom.

During the Hallowe'en feast that night, Quirrell interrupts the proceedings by announcing that there is a troll in the dungeons. Harry and Ron go to find Hermione to warn her about it, and find the troll in the same bathroom she is in. Working together, Ron and Harry are able to defeat the troll and rescue Hermione. The two of them then become friends with her.

Chapter Eleven: Quidditch

Harry continues both his studies and his Quidditch practice as the year goes on. One day, he and his friends notice Snape is limping. They then overhear a conversation that makes it seem as if Snape had been injured trying to get past the three-headed guard dog. Harry also thinks that Snape must have let in the troll to create a diversion so he could go after whatever the dog was guarding.

Harry then finally plays his first Quidditch match, versing Slytherin. Things go pretty well at first, but halfway through the match Harry loses control of his broom, as if an unknown force has taken hold of it. Ron and Hermione notice Snape muttering something under his breath while Harry is having trouble with his broom, so they assume Snape has taken control of it. They cause a distraction which breaks the jinx.

Gryffindor then win the game when Harry catches the Golden Snitch.

Hermione then tells Harry what happened to his broom, but Hagrid doesn't believe that Snape would be behind a jinx on a student. The trio then reveal their theory about Snape and the three-headed dog, who Hagrid names as "Fluffy". Hagrid also accidentally lets slip the name "Nicolas Flamel".

Chapter Twelve: The Mirror of Erised

The Christmas holidays roll around. Harry chooses to stay at Hogwarts because he doesn't want to return to his relatives the Durselys. The Weasleys are also staying, as their parents are visiting their older brother overseas.

Harry, Ron and Hermione keep trying to ask Hagrid about Nicolas Flamel, but he refuses to talk. So, they turn to the library for information. This turns out to be a dead end, and Harry has a feeling that the information they are searching for must be in books in the restricted section - off-limits to them.

Ron and Harry have their dormitory to themselves over the holidays, and have many happy hours together. On Christmas Day, Harry is delighted that for once in his life he has Christmas presents - the best of which is an invisibility cloak. It once belonged to his father, and has been returned to Harry by Dumbledore.

Harry uses the invisibility cloak to go into the restricted section of the library to find more information about Flamel. However, after a series of mishaps, Harry ends up in a part of the castle he doesn't recognize. Trying to hide from Snape and Filch, he goes into a room that seems like an old classroom and discovers a large, ornate mirror. To his surprise, when Harry looks in the mirror, he sees not only his own reflection, but that of his parents, too.

Harry shows Ron the mirror the next night, thinking that Ron will be able to see the reflection of James and Lily too. Ron doesn't see them when he looks in the mirror, though. He sees a different vision.

Harry begins to become obsessed with the mirror, forsaking all other interests, and his quest to find Flamel. One night, Dumbledore interrupts Harry when he's gazing into the mirror, and tells Harry that the mirror shows the person who looks into it their deepest desire. He tells Harry that the mirror can cause dangerous obsessions, and that it will be moved away to a new place the next day.

When Harry asks Dumbledore what the old headmaster sees in the mirror, Dumbledore doesn't seem to give Harry a truthful answer.

Chapter Thirteen: Nicolas Flamel

Harry has nightmares involving his parents disappearing in a flash of green light. Making things worse, Snape is revealed to be refereeing the next Quidditch game. Harry is worried that Snape will do something to hurt him.

In a stroke of luck, Harry remembers that he has seen information about Nicolas Flamel on a chocolate frog trading card. Hermione then remembers that she has a book containing some information about alchemy and the Philosopher's Stone, which Flamel worked on. The Philosopher's Stone is incredibly powerful. It can turn any metal into gold, and can produce the Elixir of Life, which grants immortality if consumed.

The trio realize that the Philosopher's Stone is what Fluffy must be guarding and what Snape must be after.

Gryffindor, thanks to Harry win the next Quidditch match. Snape seems very bitter about it.

After the Quidditch match, Harry sees a hooded figure enter the forest - Snape. Harry follows Snape into the forest on his broomstick. in the forest, Harry witnesses a meeting between Quirrell and Snape. Snape asks Quirrell if he has figured out how to get past Fluffy, then threatens him, saying that Quirrell does not want Snape as an enemy. Harry assumes Snape to be the bad guy in all of this, and that Quirrell must be trying to take a stand against him to protect the Philosopher's Stone. Harry tells Ron and Hermione what he has seen.

Chapter Fourteen: Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback

The trio continue to assume that Quirrell is working for the protection of the Philosopher's Stone and that Snape is out to get it. Exams are also approaching, adding extra stress.

One day, Harry, Ron and Hermione encounter Hagrid, who seems to be hiding something (which turns out to be a dragon's egg). They go to see him to find out more about how many protections guard the Philosopher's Stone aside from Fluffy. It turns out that Snape has actually done something to protect the stone, which reaffirms Hagrid's message that Snape won't try to steal the stone. Harry believes that Snape must have honly agreed to help to find out more about how to actually get the stone for himself, however.

Hagrid then tells them about his dragon egg, which he won off of a stranger. The egg eventually hatches, revealing a very angry (and very illegal) Norwegian Ridgeback. To their horror, Malfoy has been spying on them and knows about the dragon. To keep Norbert safe, it's agreed that Hagrid will send him to Romania with the help of Ron's brother Charlie, who studies dragons. Working together, they are able to get Norbert safely away, but are caught on the return by Filch (who has been tipped off by Malfoy). Ron at this time is recovering in the hospital wing after being bitten by Norbert.

Chapter Fifteen: The Forbidden Forest

Harry and Hermione have to serve detention in the Forbidden Forest for being out of their dorm past bedtime. Neville, who had been out of bed trying to warn the trio that Malfoy was on their tail and trying to get them in trouble with Filch. The only bright spot is that Malfoy has to serve detention too, as he was technically out of bed as well.

The four of them go with Hagrid into the forest at night. The group are on the hunt for an injured unicorn. During their search, Harry meets the centaurs, whom Hagrid is friendly with.

Eventually they find the unicorn, but it's sadly dead. To their horror, a strange hooded figure descends upon the unicorn's body, drinking its blood. A centaur, Firenze, arrives on the scene and helps Harry to flee.

Firenze explains that unicorn blood has immortal properties, but it only grants a half-life. It's also considered a great sin to slay a unicorn. Harry realises that it must have been Voldermort with them in the forest.

Chapter Sixteen: Through the Trapdoor

Harry is on-edge about Voldermort after the encounter in the Forbidden Forest. His scar burns more and more. He eventually decides to see Hagrid and ask him who gave him the dragon's egg, as the whole thing seems rather suspicious.

Hagrid reveals that a stranger sold him the egg, and that he was drunk at the time so may have accidentally revealed information about Fluffy and how to get past him (just play him some music and he'll fall asleep).

The trio then go to see Dumbledore to warn him that Voldermort was in the forest and the stone is in danger. However, Dumbledore has been called away on Ministry business. Harry, Ron and Hermione then tell McGonagall what they know, but she assures them that nobody can possibly steal the stone.

Unconvinced, Harry, Ron and Hermione plan to go through the trapdoor guarded by Fluffy to get to the stone before Snape can. Neville bravely tries to stop them, but Hermione jinxes him so they are able to leave without issue.

The three of them are able to get through all of the protections with teamwork. They then come face-to-face with someone unexpected.

Chapter Seventeen: The Man With Two Faces

Quirrell is the one trying to steal the Philospher's Stone. He has been corrupted by Voldermort to do the Dark Lord's bidding. It also turns out that Snape has been trying to protect the stone - and Harry - all along.

Voldermort is sharing Quirrell's body, as he no longer has a corporeal form of his own. This is why he needs the Philosopher's Stone.

Quirrell tries to attack Harry, but strangely begins to crumble when he touches the boy. After a brief struggle he disintegrates, and Voldermort disappears. Harry passes out, and wakes up in the hospital wing a while later.

Dumbledore comes to visit him, revealing that he helped to save Harry. He also explains that the Philosopher's Stone has been destroyed. Dumbledore then tells Harry that although Voldermort is gone for now, he will be back. He says that it was Harry's mother's love that saved him.

Harry recovers, and ending the year on a high note, Gryffindor wins the House Cup thanks to the many points awarded to Harry, Ron, Hermione and Neville for bravery.

Harry has to return to the Dursely's, but he doesn't mind so much, as he knows that he gets to return to Hogwarts next year.


Categories: Fiction

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