Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

by

J. K. Rowling

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Voldemort / You-Know-Who Character Analysis

Voldemort is an evil wizard and the supreme antagonist of the series. Before Harry is born, Voldemort gains power and followers in the wizarding world, making people suspicious of each other and killing everyone who dares to defy him. Voldemort is also referred to as “You-Know-Who” and sometimes “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named” because people fear his power so much that they do not want to say his name. When Harry is just a year old, Voldemort goes to the Potter home (for reasons that are not fully explained in this book) in order to kill Harry. He kills James and Lily, who try to defend their son, but when he attempts to kill Harry, Voldemort loses his powers and disappears, leaving only a lightning bolt-shaped scar on Harry’s forehead. Ten years later, Voldemort starts to gain power once more, and gains a faithful follower in Professor Quirrell, a Hogwarts teacher. Eventually Voldemort takes over Quirrell’s body, feeding off of him like a parasite and forcing him to do his bidding. For instance, Voldemort forces Quirrell to slaughter unicorns and drink their blood in order to keep Voldemort alive, and Quirrell goes after the Sorcerer’s Stone in order to give Voldemort eternal life. Fortunately, Harry prevents this from happening: Quirrell dies at the end of the novel, but Voldemort simply disappears once again, thwarted only for the time being. Voldemort is greedy for both power and life, and in making these the defining characteristics of one of the darkest wizards in history, Rowling demonstrates the dangers of greed and power.

Voldemort / You-Know-Who Quotes in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

The Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone quotes below are all either spoken by Voldemort / You-Know-Who or refer to Voldemort / You-Know-Who. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Magic, Difference, and Belonging Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scholastic edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone published in 1997.
Chapter 4 Quotes

“See, there was this wizard who went…bad. As bad as you could go. Worse. Worse than worse. […] This wizard, about twenty years ago now, started lookin’ fer followers. Got ’em, too — some were afraid, some just wanted a bit o’ his power, ’cause he was gettin’ himself power, all right. Dark days, Harry.”

Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

“Not Slytherin, eh?” said the small voice. “Are you sure? You could be great, you know, it’s all here in your head, and Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, no doubt about that — no? Well, if you’re sure — better be GRYFFINDOR!”

Harry heard the hat shout the last word to the whole hall. He took off the hat and walked shakily toward the Gryffindor table. He was so relieved to have been chosen and not put in Slytherin, he hardly noticed that he was getting the loudest cheer yet.

Page Number: 121
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

“It shows us nothing more or less than the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts. You, who have never known your family, see them standing around you. Ronald Weasley, who has always been overshadowed by his brothers, sees himself standing alone, the best of all of them. However, this mirror will give us neither knowledge or truth. Men have wasted away before it, entranced by what they have seen, or been driven mad, not knowing if what it shows is real or even possible.”

Related Symbols: The Mirror of Erised
Page Number: 213
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 16 Quotes

“SO WHAT?” Harry shouted. “Don’t you understand? 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! […] I’m going through that trapdoor tonight and nothing you two say is going to stop me! Voldemort killed my parents, remember?”

Related Symbols: The Sorcerer’s Stone
Page Number: 270
Explanation and Analysis:

“Oh, come off it, you don’t think we’d let you go alone?”
“Of course not,” said Hermione briskly. "How do you think you’d get to the Stone without us? I’d better go and look through my books, there might be something useful…”

Related Symbols: The Sorcerer’s Stone
Page Number: 271
Explanation and Analysis:

“That’s chess!” snapped Ron. “You’ve got to make some sacrifices! I’ll make my move and she’ll take me — that leaves you free to checkmate the king, Harry!”

“But —”
“Do you want to stop Snape or not?”
“Ron —”
“Look, if you don't hurry up, he’ll already have the Stone!”

Related Characters: Harry Potter (speaker), Ron Weasley (speaker), Hermione Granger (speaker), Voldemort / You-Know-Who, Professor Snape
Related Symbols: The Sorcerer’s Stone
Page Number: 283
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 17 Quotes

“A foolish young man I was then, full of ridiculous ideas about good and evil. Lord Voldemort showed me how wrong I was. There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it.”

Related Symbols: The Sorcerer’s Stone
Page Number: 291
Explanation and Analysis:

“Your mother died to save you. If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn’t realize that love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves its own mark. Not a scar, no visible sign… to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever. It is in your very skin. Quirrell, full of hatred, greed, and ambition, sharing his soul with Voldemort, could not touch you for this reason. It was agony to touch a person marked by something so good.”

Related Symbols: The Sorcerer’s Stone
Page Number: 299
Explanation and Analysis:

“You see, only one who wanted to find the Stone — find it, but not use it — would be able to get it, otherwise they’d just see themselves making gold or drinking Elixir of Life.”

Page Number: 300
Explanation and Analysis:
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Voldemort / You-Know-Who Character Timeline in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

The timeline below shows where the character Voldemort / You-Know-Who appears in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: The Boy Who Lived
Magic, Difference, and Belonging Theme Icon
...the man hugs Vernon and tells him not to worry—nothing could upset him today because “You-Know-Who has gone at last,” and tells Vernon that even “Muggles” like himself should be celebrating.... (full context)
Power, Greed, and Desire Theme Icon
...that something strange is going on. McGonagall continues, talking about the rumors flying around concerning “You-Know-Who.” Dumbledore corrects her, saying that she should not be afraid to call him by his... (full context)
Love, Family, and Friendship Theme Icon
Power, Greed, and Desire Theme Icon
Professor McGonagall explains to Dumbledore that Lily and James Potter are dead, and that Voldemort tried to kill their son, Harry, as well, but he couldn’t. No one knows why,... (full context)
Magic, Difference, and Belonging Theme Icon
Power, Greed, and Desire Theme Icon
...has a tuft of jet-black hair and a lightning bolt-shaped scar on his forehead from Voldemort’s curse. Hagrid gives a tearful goodbye to Harry, howling in sorrow over James and Lily’s... (full context)
Chapter 4: The Keeper of the Keys
Power, Greed, and Desire Theme Icon
...hard time saying the wizard’s name, but eventually musters up the courage to say it: Voldemort. Twenty years ago, Hagrid explains, Voldemort started looking for followers, and was able to gain... (full context)
Love, Family, and Friendship Theme Icon
Hagrid goes on to say that one day, when Harry was just a year old, You-Know-Who went to Harry’s home—maybe because he thought he could persuade Lily and James to join... (full context)
Magic, Difference, and Belonging Theme Icon
Harry asks Hagrid what happened to You-Know-Who. Hagrid says that he vanished the night he tried to kill Harry, and no one... (full context)
Chapter 5: Diagon Alley
Power, Greed, and Desire Theme Icon
...not a single witch or wizard who went bad who wasn’t in Slytherin,” and that You-Know-Who was one of them. (full context)
Power, Greed, and Desire Theme Icon
...his scar. Ollivander comments that people should “expect great things” from Harry, because after all, You-Know-Who did “great things—terrible, yes, but great.” Harry shivers. He nervously pays for the wand and... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Journey from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters
Magic, Difference, and Belonging Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Friendship Theme Icon
...month ago. And he hadn’t known anything about being a wizard or his parents or Voldemort. Ron gasps when he hears Harry use Voldemort’s name. Harry simply says he didn’t grow... (full context)
Power, Greed, and Desire Theme Icon
...the person took anything, but everyone worries when things like this happen because they think You-Know-Who might be behind it. (full context)
Chapter 15: The Forbidden Forest
Power, Greed, and Desire Theme Icon
...unicorn, dead on the ground. As Harry approaches it, a hooded figure (later revealed as Voldemort) crawls across the ground and begins to drink the unicorn’s blood. Malfoy and Fang bolt... (full context)
Power, Greed, and Desire Theme Icon
...alive in order to drink from the Elixir of Life. Harry realizes that Firenze means Voldemort. (full context)
Power, Greed, and Desire Theme Icon
Rules and Rebellion Theme Icon
...and Hermione what he saw, concluding that Snape is trying to steal the Stone for Voldemort so that Voldemort can then kill Harry. Hermione tries to comfort him, saying that Voldemort... (full context)
Chapter 16: Through the Trapdoor
Humility and Self-Sacrifice Theme Icon
As Harry completes his exams, he constantly worries that Voldemort is going to get the Stone. He is plagued by nightmares, and a little frustrated... (full context)
Humility and Self-Sacrifice Theme Icon
Rules and Rebellion Theme Icon
After hearing this information, Harry, Ron, and Hermione bolt inside, figuring that Snape or Voldemort must have been the hooded stranger. When they see Professor McGonagall, they ask to see... (full context)
Love, Family, and Friendship Theme Icon
Humility and Self-Sacrifice Theme Icon
...she can take care of Ron and then send an owl to Dumbledore. Worried that Voldemort will be waiting for Harry, Hermione throws her arms around her friend and says that... (full context)
Chapter 17: The Man with Two Faces
Power, Greed, and Desire Theme Icon
Humility and Self-Sacrifice Theme Icon
...the final room, Harry is surprised to come face to face not with Snape or Voldemort, but with Quirrell. Quirrell, who is no longer stuttering and nervous, explains chillingly that he... (full context)
Power, Greed, and Desire Theme Icon
...finding the Stone. In the Mirror’s reflection, he sees himself proudly presenting the Stone to Voldemort, but doesn’t know where the Stone is. Harry tries to distract him, asking about the... (full context)
Power, Greed, and Desire Theme Icon
Humility and Self-Sacrifice Theme Icon
...also trying to figure out how to use the Mirror. He asks for help from Voldemort, and to Harry’s surprise, a voice whispers, “Use the boy.” (full context)
Power, Greed, and Desire Theme Icon
Voldemort’s voice returns, demanding to see Harry face to face. Quirrell reaches up and undoes his... (full context)
Love, Family, and Friendship Theme Icon
Humility and Self-Sacrifice Theme Icon
Harry starts to move away. Voldemort tells Harry not to be a fool, or he will meet the same end as... (full context)
Love, Family, and Friendship Theme Icon
Humility and Self-Sacrifice Theme Icon
...to grab Harry again, but his hands continue to blister, and he howls in agony. Voldemort tells Quirrell to kill Harry, but before Quirrell can pull out his wand, Harry realizes... (full context)
Love, Family, and Friendship Theme Icon
Humility and Self-Sacrifice Theme Icon
Harry continues, wondering what happened to Voldemort. Dumbledore says that Quirrell has died, but Harry merely delayed Voldemort’s return to power. Harry... (full context)
Love, Family, and Friendship Theme Icon
...his fault for telling Quirrell how to get past Fluffy. Harry comforts him, saying that Voldemort would have found a way anyway. Hagrid feels better, and says that he has a... (full context)