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MonkeyNotes-Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
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Warning: spoiler information ahead. In Chamber of Secrets, Harry will briefly suspect Hagrid to be the guilty party before he finds out who the true Heir of Slytherin is. In Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry suspects Black to be the bad guy up until the very end, when Pettigrew is discovered. And in Goblet of Fire, Harry thinks Mad-Eye Moody is a trustworthy protector until Moody reveals himself as a dangerous threat to Harry’s life.

Dumbledore allowed Harry to find the Mirror of Erised because Dumbledore would make it the last challenge and he knew that it would be useful for Harry to know how the mirror worked. When Dumbledore told Harry the mirror had to be moved, he was taking it to guard the Stone.

Dumbledore’s message from London was a hoax, as Quirrell’s statements insinuate: “Trust Dumbledore to come up with something like this [the Mirror of Erised]...but he’s in London...I’ll be far away by the time he gets back.”

“There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it.” This is Voldemort’s opinion; Harry and Dumbledore hold a much more moral view. This ties into the good and evil theme.

“To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.” Dumbledore’s statement echoes Socrates’ speech in Plato’s Apology:

“Let us reflect in another way, and we shall see that there is great reason to hope that death is a good; for one of two things--either death is a state of nothingness and utter unconsciousness, or, as men say, there is a change and migration of the soul from this world to another. Now if you suppose that there is no consciousness, but a sleep like the sleep of him who is undisturbed even by dreams, death will be an unspeakable gain. For if a person were to select the night in which his sleep was undisturbed even by dreams, and were to compare with this the other days and nights of his life, and then were to tell us how many days and nights he had passed in the course of his life better and more pleasantly than this one, I think that any man, I will not say a private man, but even the great king will not find many such days or nights, when compared with the others. Now if death be of such a nature, I say that to die is gain; for eternity is then only a single night. But if death is the journey to another place, and there, as men say, all the dead abide, what good, O my friends and judges, can be greater than this?...What infinite delight would there be in conversing with them and asking them questions! Wherefore, O judges, be of good cheer about death, and know of a certainty, that no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death.”

“You know, the Stone was really not such a wonderful thing. As much money and life as you could want! The two things most human beings would choose above all--the trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them.” Dumbledore would probably consider friends and moral integrity as the two most important things in life, whereas Voldemort would probably go for the money and life--and power. Remember that the Durselys are obsessed with money. This ties into the theme of greed.

“Dumbledore hummed a little and smiled at the ceiling.” Dumbledore’s infamous humming ties into his bumblebee name translation: “Dumbledore’ is the Old English word for bumblebee. I chose it because my image is of this benign wizard, always on the move, humming to himself.” (Conversations, 55)


“Call him Voldemort, Harry. Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.” Dumbledore clearly dislikes euphemisms that disguise reality. He would rather face reality and his problems head on, for nothing is as scary as the unknown. Dumbledore said something to the same effect to Mrs. McGonagall at the book’s beginning. The practice of not saying Voldemort’s name ties into history in that the religious and the superstitious used to refrain from saying the Devil’s name for fear he would hear. This belief was the origin of the saying, “Speak of the Devil and up he pops.” And in Greek mythology: “Hades, lord of the dead, was a gloomy god of few words. Mortals feared him so much that they did not dare mention his name, for they might attract his attention and he might send for them. Instead of Hades they called him the Rich One.” (D’Aulaires, 56)

“He left Quirrell to die; he shows just as little mercy to his followers as his enemies.” Voldemort selfishly uses people-- a common bad-guy trait. This is also shown in Goblet of Fire when Voldemort is excessively severe with his Death Eater followers.

“Voldemort said that he only killed my mother because she tried to stop him from killing me.”

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