The Sorcerer’s Stone of the novel’s title epitomizes how power can easily corrupt people, particularly those who are already hungry for power and have selfish leanings. The Sorcerer’s Stone is a rare and infinitely valuable object that can turn any metal into gold, and perhaps more temptingly, can create the Elixir of Life, which makes the drinker immortal. This makes the Stone an incredibly powerful object, and as such, it becomes an object of fixation for Voldemort, who is also obsessed with gaining eternal life. Voldemort’s return to power largely hinge on his ability to obtain the Stone, as he tells Harry that it will allow him to regain a body of his own. The quest for the Stone and for unbridled power allows Voldemort to corrupt Professor Quirrell and enlist him as a follower (Quirrell essentially becomes Voldemort’s host body), even though this quest eventually leads to Quirrell’s death. Harry, on the other hand, tries to gain the Stone not for his own power, but rather to prevent others from misusing it. Thus, the Stone intensifies the greed and desire that fester in those who already flirt with the idea of having absolute power, while demonstrating how those who are more humble and virtuous (like Harry, Hagrid, Ron, and Hermione) remain untempted by its power.
The Sorcerer’s Stone Quotes in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
“He’ll be famous—a legend—I wouldn’t be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter Day in the future—there will be books written about Harry—every child in our world will know his name!”
“Exactly,” said Dumbledore, looking very seriously over the top of his half-moon glasses. “It would be enough to turn any boy’s head. Famous before he can walk and talk! Famous tor something he won’t even remember! Can’t you see how much better off he’ll be, growing up away from all that until he’s ready to take it?”
“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?”
“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…”
“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!”
“Do you want to stop Snape or not?”
“Look, if you don't hurry up, he’ll already have the Stone!”
“Harry — you’re a great wizard, you know.”
“I’m not as good as you,” said Harry, very embarrassed, as she let go of him.
“Me!” said Hermione. “Books! And cleverness! There are more important things — friendship and bravery and — oh Harry — be careful!”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”