The son of James and Lily Potter and nephew of Vernon and Petunia Dursley. At the beginning of the book, Harry is an unimpressive figure: skinny, sloppy, isolated from his family, the constant victim of his cousin's bullying, and marked with a lightning-shaped scar on his forehead (the result of Voldemort's failed attempt to kill him during his infancy). After his discovery of his magical abilities and his introduction to the wizarding world and Hogwarts, Harry begins to grow in confidence, strength, and courage until he becomes a worthy protagonist, capable of facing off against the Dark Lord himself by the end of the book. Harry is particularly affected by the deaths of his parents and much of his behavior is informed by his loneliness and desire to avenge their wrongful deaths. Harry also distinguishes himself with his unexcepted brilliance at Quidditch, his loyalty to his friends, and his modesty, a trait is particularly surprising in the figure lauded as "the boy who lived" across the wizarding world. Much of his humility can be attributed to Professor Dumbledore's decision to place him in the Dursley household after the death of his parents, rather than force him to endure the constant attention of the wizarding world. Because of his background, Harry often views himself as an unexceptional character, which makes his achievements in the wizarding world all the more impressive.
Harry and Ron's best friend at Hogwarts. A first-year in Gryffindor House, Hermione is Muggle-born, meaning that neither of her parents has magical ability. Despite her background, Hermione gains a reputation of being one of the brightest witches in her year, particularly because of her unfailing work ethic and determination to succeed and perhaps because of her insecurity over her background (plus her final exam grade of 112 percent in Charms). Unfortunately, Hermione's academic diligence also gives her the reputation of being an annoying know-it-all, and she starts out the school year with few friends. Her adventure with the troll in the girl's bathroom with Harry and Ron reveals more grit than mere academic prowess, and her willingness to take the blame for the situation cements her friendship with Ron and Harry.
The youngest son of the Weasley family and Harry's best friend. Characterized by his modesty, occasional insecurity, and thirst to escape the ever-looming shadows of his successful brothers, Ron proves himself to be a loyal friend to both Harry and Hermione and a brilliant player of wizarding chess. Although Ron acknowledges the difficulties of being the youngest son of a poor wizarding family (resulting in constant hand-me-downs), he rarely expresses any resentment to his family and desires only to become individually successful and significant. As a wizard, Ron is mediocre, often needing Hermione's help for spells and homework assignments, but he is able to scrape by academically and never fails to perform during dangerous situations.
Albus Dumbledore is the headmaster of Hogwarts and Voldemort's only feared enemy. In addition, Professor Dumbledore is the former head of Gryffindor House, former Transfiguration professor, Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards, Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, and Grand Sorcerer. As Harry discovers on his Chocolate Frog card, Professor Dumbledore is also famous for his discovery of the twelve uses of dragon's blood, his defeat of the dark wizard Grindelwald, and his work on alchemy with Nicolas Flamel. Upon the death of Lily and James Potter, Professor Dumbledore decides to place Harry in the care of the Dursley family, especially because his position in a Muggle household will allow him a more typical childhood. Professor Dumbledore remains a distant figure to Harry for much of his first year, but he does give him his father's invisibility cloak for Christmas - James Potter had lent the invisibility cloak to Professor Dumbledore before his death. Professor Dumbledore also encounters Harry while Harry is visiting the entrancing Mirror of Erised and urges Harry to maintain his grasp on reality rather than a world of dreams and desires. After Harry faces Professor Quirrell and Voldemort in the Hogwarts dungeons, Professor Dumbledore returns to the castle in time to save Harry's live and ensure that Voldemort has fled. Although Professor Dumbledore remains a mysterious figure for this book and the majority of the series, it is clear that he has a deep affection for Harry and wishes to protect him at all costs.
In the attempt to protect the Sorcerer's Stone from Voldemort, Professor Dumbledoor creates the final challenge with the Mirror of Erised.
Also known as Lord Voldemort, the Dark Lord, and He-Who-Must-Be-Named, Voldemort rose to power in the 1970s with a faithful following of dark wizards called Death Eaters. During his reign of terror through the 1970s and 1980s, no one was safe from Voldemort's cruelty except for those at Hogwarts; Professor Dumbledore was the only wizard that Voldemort still feared. Voldemort was unexpectedly torn from power when he attempted to perform the Killing Curse ("Avada Kedavra") on the infant Harry Potter. When Lily Potter sacrificed herself to save her son, she created a protective shield over Harry and, not only was Voldemort unable to kill the child, he nearly destroyed himself in the process. For the next eleven years, Voldemort existed only as a wraith, waiting to regain his strength. With Professor Quirrell's help, Voldemort successfully infiltrates Hogwarts in his effort to find the Sorcerer's Stone (which produces the Elixir of Life that can restore him to full power). Unfortunately, Harry retrieves the Stone for before Voldemort can get it and, upon Professor Dumbledore's entrance, Voldemort escapes in spirit form and leaves Quirrell to die. In the book, Voldemort is characterized by his ambition, resourcefulness, manipulation of weaker minds, and determination to regain his former power. Significantly, however, he is also identified for his lack of knowledge about love, an emotion which provided Harry with his mother's protective shield.
Rubeus Hagrid is the gamekeeper for Hogwarts and first introduces Harry to the wizarding world. Half-human and half-giant, Hagrid is familiar with the prejudices of "pure-bloods" and often offers unexpected insights into wizarding society. A lover of all animals, Hagrid is especially fascinated by the more dangerous magical creatures in the world, including three-headed dogs (Fluffy) and dragons (Norbert), and often gets into trouble because of these interests. Hagrid becomes close with Harry, as well as Ron and Hermione, and remains a loyal friend to each throughout the entire series.
A first-year student in Slytherin House and Harry's particular enemy while at Hogwarts. Described as blonde with a pale, pointed face, Draco comes from an ancient, wealthy wizarding family and makes no pretense of his negative view toward Muggles, half-bloods, and "mudbloods." Harry first meets Draco in Madam Malkin's robe shop and is struck by his arrogant and prejudiced personality. During their ride on the Hogwarts Express, Draco attempts to become friends with Harry but, upon Harry's rebuff, the offended Draco becomes his firm enemy and wastes no opportunity to mock Harry or his friends. A favorite of Professor Snape, Draco spends most of his time with Crabbe and Goyle.
Minerva McGonagall is the Transfiguration professor and head of Gryffindor House. She is also an animagus, possessing the ability to turn herself into a tabby cat. Professor McGonagall is present when Professor Dumbledore leaves Harry on the Dursley's doorstep and strongly opposes his decision to leave Harry with such an unpleasant Muggle family. Although Professor McGonagall is known for being strict, even with the members of her own house, she has a particular fondness for Harry, especially when she sees his spectacular dive for Neville's Remembrall and recruits him for the Gryffindor Quidditch team.
In the attempt to protect the Sorcerer's Stone from Voldemort, Professor McGonagall creates the challenge with the giant chess set.
Severus Snape is the Potions master at Hogwarts. A former student of Slytherin, Professor Snape is now head of Slytherin House and shows clear favoritism to its members, particularly Draco Malfoy. Harry instantly dislikes Professor Snape and soon learns that his father and Snape were classmates who despised each other. After learning that Fluffy is guarding the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry immediately concludes that Professor Snape is the one who is attempting to steal it in order to bring Voldemort back to power. This conclusion is supported when Hermione sees Professor Snape appearing to hex Harry's broom during a Quidditch match (in actuality, Professor Snape was attempting a counter-curse to overcome Professor Quirrell's hex). Despite his attempt to save Harry, Professor Snape maintains his antagonistic view of Harry and the two remain at odds until the very end of the series.
In the attempt to protect the Sorcerer's Stone from Voldemort, Professor Snape creates the challenge with the riddle of the seven potions.
Quirinus Quirrell is the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts. Harry first meets Professor Quirrell at the Leaky Cauldron during his first visit to Diagon Alley and is struck by Quirrell's stammer and nervousness. After working as professor of Muggles Studies at Hogwarts, Professor Quirrell took a year-long sabbatical during which, according to rumors, he had a confrontation with Albanian vampires. In actuality, Professor Quirrell encountered Voldemort and became seduced by the power of the Dark Arts. While at Hogwarts, his nervous appearence is only a cover while he attempts to steal the Sorcerer's Stone and bring Voldemort back to power. In the meantime, Quirrell keeps Voldemort alive by sneaking into the Forbidden Forest and drinking unicorn blood. Although Harry only discovers Professor Quirrell's true nature at the end of the book, Professor Snape is aware of Quirrell's treachery almost immediately and attempts to keep Quirrell from hurting Harry and finding the Stone.
In the attempt to protect the Sorcerer's Stone from Voldemort, Professor Quirrell creates the challenge with the troll.
A first-year student in Gryffindor House and one of Harry's roommates. Raised by his domineering grandmother, Neville is extremely nervous and forgetful and prone to mishaps, including breaking his wrist during the first flying lesson with Madam Hooch and suffering near-constant bullying from members of the Slytherin House. Over the course of the year, Neville grows in confidence and is eventually brave enough to stand up to Harry, Ron, and Hermione when they attempt to sneak out of Gryffindor tower.
Harry's Muggle uncle and Petunia's husband. Described as a beefy man with a large mustache, Vernon Dursley happily spoils Dudley and is exceedingly proud when his son is accepted to Smeltings Academy, his own alma mater. Vernon is particularly distrustful of Harry and shares Petunia's fear that the neighbors will find out about him. Vernon is particularly proactive in trying to stamp out the "dangerous nonsense" of the magical world, even to the point of moving the entire family to a tiny island in the middle of the ocean to avoid receiving mail from Hogwarts.
Harry's Muggle aunt (Lily Potter's sister) and Vernon Dursley's wife. Described as a thin, long-necked woman with blonde hair, Petunia spoils Dudley to excess while abusing Harry as much as possible. Above all, Petunia worries about the opinions of others and is terrified that her neighbors will discover that Harry is a "freak." Petunia and Vernon both lie to Harry, telling him that his parents died in a car crash rather than in a duel with Voldemort, and Petunia refuses to even mention Lily's name.
Harry's cousin and the son of Petunia and Vernon Dursley. Dudley is spoiled as an infant and grows to become an unpleasant and overweight young man who delights in bullying Harry and local children with Piers Polkiss and the rest of his gang. When Hagrid makes his appearence, Dudley receives his first consequence for bad behavior in life: Hagrid gives him the tail of a pig.
A Snowy Owl that Hagrid gives to Harry as his eleventh birthday present. Harry chooses the name "Hedwig" after seeing it in one of his textbooks.
The owner of "Ollivander's Wand Shop" in Diagon Alley. Mr. Ollivander prides himself on his skill with selecting the perfect wand for each individual and is known as one of the best wandmakers in Britain. He has an uncanny ability to remember the precise details of every wand that he has ever sold and even identifies the specific wands that he sold to both of Harry's parents. During his visit to Mr. Ollivander's shop, Harry is told that the core of his new wand contains a feather from the same phoenix that provided one for Voldemort's wand.
Fred and George Weasley
Ron Weasley's identical twin brothers. Both third-year students in Gryffindor, Fred and George are known for playing pranks on students and family members alike and enjoy teasing Ron in particular.
Harry's father. A member of Gryffindor House, James distinguished himself at Hogwarts with his skills at Quidditch and propensity to get into trouble. James had a particularly enemy at school in the form of Severus Snape, who despises Harry because of his similarities to his father. Harry sees his father and mother for the first time in the reflection of the Mirror of Erised and later receives a photo album from Hagrid that contains numerous photographs of both Lily and James Potter.
Harry's mother and Petunia Dursley's sister. A graduate of Hogwarts in Gryffindor House and a gifted witch, Lily was killed by Voldemort when she refused to step aside and allow him to kill Harry. Her sacrifice created a protective shield over Harry and allowed him to survive Voldemort's killing curse, which then backfired and reduced Voldemort to a body-less spirit. Lily was known for having distinctive green eyes, which were passed down to Harry.
A hat which magically sorts the incoming first-year students into the appropriate Hogwarts house. According to legend, each of the four founders incorporated elements of their own personalities into the hat so that it would be capable of selecting students for each house after the four founders were no longer able to do so. When Harry puts on the Sorting Hat, the hat immediately senses that Harry has skills that are well-suited to Slytherin House. However, upon Harry's insistence, the Sorting Hat decides not to place him in Slytherin and puts him in Gryffindor instead.
Ron Weasley's mother. When Harry is unable to figure out how to access Platform Nine and three-quarters, Mrs. Weasley is very kind to him and helps him through dividing barrier. She also sends him a box of fudge and a hand-knit sweater for Christmas.
Ron's third-eldest brother and a fifth-year student in Gryffindor House. After being made a Prefect, Percy received an owl named Hermes from his parents and gave his old rat, Scabbers, to Ron.
Argus Filch is the caretaker of Hogwarts and delights in wandering the halls of the school, trying to find students who are breaking the rules. A squib (or non-magical person born into a wizarding family), Mr. Filch's most trusted companion is his cat, Mrs. Norris.
A famous alchemist, the only known maker of the Sorcerer's Stone, and Professor Dumbledore's particular friend. Fearing that the Stone might be at risk, Flamel asked Professor Dumbledore to take the Stone to Hogwarts in order to give it the school's full protection. During the book, Flamel is already 665 years old (explaining why Harry, Ron, and Hermione had a difficult time learning his identity from the modern history textbooks in the library).
A student in Gryffindor who serves as Keeper and Team Captain for the Gryffindor Quidditch team. Wood spends several outside hours training Harry to be a Seeker for the team and is known for giving long speeches before matches.
A third-year student in Gryffindor House and a close friend of Fred and George Weasley. Lee serves as commentator for the Hogwarts Quidditch matches and is known for being particularly negative in his commentary of the Slytherin team.
A first-year student in Gryffindor. One of Harry's roommates, Seamus is "half-blood," meaning that only one of his parents has magical abilities.
Ron Weasley's second oldest brother, who works with dragons in Albania. While at Hogwarts, Charlie was prefect and Captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. When Harry, Ron, and Hermione need to find a way to get rid of Norbert, Ron suggests sending the dragon to Charlie.
A first-year student in Slytherin House and one of Draco Malfoy's cronies.
A first-year student in Slytherin House and one of Draco Malfoy's cronies.
Rolanda Hooch is the Hogwarts flying instructor and Quidditch coach/referee.
Also known as Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington (a title which he prefers to his common Hogwarts moniker), Nearly-Headless Nick is the Gryffindor house ghost.
The Bloody Baron
The Slytherin house ghost. With the exception of Professor Dumbledore, the Bloody Baron is the only character who is able to control Peeves, the obnoxious poltergeist who haunts Hogwarts.
The Fat Lady
The portrait that guards the entrance to Gryffindor Tower. Dressed in a pink silk dress, the Fat Lady only will open the portrait hole upon hearing the correct Gryffindor password.
Hagrid's pet dog.
A giant three-headed dog that guards the third-floor trapdoor leading to the Sorcerer's Stone. Hagrid originally purchased Fluffy from a Greek in a bar but gladly lent the animal to Professor Dumbledore to protect the Stone. Fluffy is unable to stay awake upon hearing music; Harry, Ron, and Hermione sneak past him by playing a flute, while Professor Quirrell distracts him with a magical harp.
A goblin who works at Gringotts, the wizarding bank in Diagon Alley. Griphook takes Harry and Hagrid to the Potter family vault in Gringotts as well as to Vault 713.
The owner of "Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions," where Harry buys his school robes and meets Draco Malfoy for the first time.
Cornelius Fudge is the Minister of Magic. Known to favor bureaucracy over practicality and also suffering from a lack of self-confidence in his position, Fudge often asked Professor Dumbledore for advice during the early years of his term.
A first-year student in Gryffindor House. Lavender is roommates with Parvati Patil and Hermione Granger.
Padma and Parvati Patil
A set of identical twins that are first-year students at Hogwarts. Padma was sorted into Ravenclaw House, while Parvati was sorted into Gryffindor.
Poppy Pomfrey is the head nurse in charge of the hospital wing of Hogwarts. During their first year, both Ron and Harry spent a great deal of time with Madame Pomfrey: Ron, after being bitten by Norbert, and Harry, after facing off against Voldemort in the Hogwarts dungeons.
A second-year student in Gryffindor who plays the position of Chaser on the Gryffindor Quidditch team.
A third-year student in Gryffindor who plays the position of Chaser on the Gryffindor Quidditch team.
A student in Slytherin who plays the position of Chaser on the Slytherin Quidditch team. He is also the Team Captain.
Irma Pince is the head librarian of Hogwarts and is known for being extremely protective of the more valuable books in her collection.
A Norwegian-Ridgeback dragon that is given to Hagrid by a mysterious hooded stranger (later revealed to be Professor Quirrell) while still an egg. After plying Hagrid with drinks, Professor Quirrell was able to convince Hagrid to tell him about Fluffy in exchange for the dragon egg. After Draco Malfoy sees the newly-hatched (and highly illegal) Norbert through the window of Hagrid's cabin, Harry, Hermione, and Ron smuggle the dragon to the highest tower of Hogwarts in order to give it to some friends of Charlie Weasley, Ron's brother who works with dragons in Romania. In later books, it is revealed that Norbert is actually a female dragon, and she is renamed "Norberta."
A centaur described as having blonde hair and blue eyes. Harry first meets Firenze in the Forbidden Forest when the centaur rescues Harry from a mysterious cloaked figure, later identified as Voldemort. Firenze often clashes with his fellow centaurs because of his more liberal view of the relationship between humans and centaurs.
A centaur who lives in the Forbidden Forest. Ronan is described as having red hair and beard and a chestnut body.
A centaur who lives in the Forbidden Forest. Bane is described as having black hair and a black body. Like Ronan, Bane does not trust humans.
A third-year student in Gryffindor who plays the position of Chaser on the Gryffindor Quidditch team.
A student in Slytherin who plays the position of Seeker on the Slytherin Quidditch team.
One of the Dursleys neighbors in Little Whinging. Mrs. Figg often babysits for Harry when the Dursleys are away, and she always forces him to look at the photos of her cats. Although she pretends to be a Muggle, Mrs. Figg is revealed in later books as a squib, or a non-magical individual born into a wizarding family.
Filius Flitwick is the Hogwarts Charms professor and the head of Ravenclaw House. In the attempt to protect the Sorcerer's Stone from Voldemort, Professor Flitwick creates the challenge of the winged keys.
Pomona Sprout is the Hogwarts Herbology professor and the head of Hufflepuff House. In the attempt to protect the Sorcerer's Stone from Voldemort, Professor Sprout creates the Devil's Snare challenge.
Cuthbert Binns is the Hogwarts professor of the History of Magic. By far the most boring of Harry's teachers, Professor Binns is the only faculty member who is a ghost, having died in his chair in front of the fire but continuing with his teaching duties.
Dudley Dursley's best friend. Described as having the face of a rat, Piers follows Dudley's lead in tormenting Harry and is known to hold back the arms of Dudley's victims while Dudley hits them. Piers accompanies the Dursley family to the zoo on Dudley's birthday and tells the Dursleys when he sees Harry talking to the boa constrictor.
A first-year student in Slytherin House.
The eldest son of the Weasley family. While at Hogwarts, Bill was both prefect and Head Boy, and Ron feels particularly overshadowed by his brother's acheivements.
Neville Longbottom's grandmother. Augusta raised Neville on her own after his parents were tortured into insanity. Rather strict and domineering in her treatment of her grandson, Augusta expresses some disappointment in Neville's seeming lack of magical talent.
Neville Longbottom's pet toad. Neville is constantly losing Trevor, even during the first train ride to Hogwarts.
The wife of Nicolas Flamel, the noted wizard who created the Sorcerer's Stone with Professor Dumbledore. At the end of the book, Perenelle is 658 years old.
The Fat Friar
The house ghost of Hufflepuff.
The Grey Lady
The house ghost of Ravenclaw.
Dennis, Malcolm, and Gordon
Members of Dudley Dursley's gang.
Tibbles, Snowy, Mr. Paws, and Tufty
Cats belonging to Mrs. Figg. Harry bemoans that Mrs. Figg always makes him look at the photos of her cat when the Dursleys leave him with her.
A first-year student in Hufflepuff.
Neville Longbottom's great-uncle. After finding out that Neville had been accepted to Hogwarts, Algie gave Trevor to Neville as a congratulatory present.
A poltergeist who haunts Hogwarts and enjoys playing mischevious tricks on the students and Argus Filch, the caretaker.
Ron's only sister and the youngest of the Weasley clan. Although Ginny does not play an active role in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (being too young to attend the school herself), she becomes a prominent character in later books in the series.
A first-year student in Gryffindor House and one of Harry's roommates.
A first-year student in Slytherin House.
A first-year student in Hufflepuff House.
An infamous dark wizard who was defeated by Dumbledore in an epic duel. Grindelwald believed in the superiority of wizards over all other creatures and promoted a system of tyranny based on the slogan "For the Greater Good." In the final book of the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it is revealed that Dumbledore and Grindelwald were not always enemies.
Ron Weasley's pet rat.
A wizard that Harry meets in the Leaky Cauldron during his first visit to Diagon Alley. Dedalus Diggle is often identified by his top hat.
The owner and bartender of the Leaky Cauldron, which serves as the gateway between Diagon Alley and the Muggle world.
A witch that Harry meets in the Leaky Cauldron during his first trip to Diagon Alley.
Vernon Dursley's sister. Marge Dursley does not appear in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, but Harry recalls several unpleasant experiences with her in the past, including one Christmas when she gave him a box of dog biscuits as a present.
Mr. Filch's pet cat. When Mrs. Norris appears in the halls, Mr. Filch is never far behind.
At the beginning of the book, Hagrid transports Harry to the Dursley household by borrowing Sirius Black's flying motorcycle. In the third book of the Harry Potter series, Black will become a significant figure in both the plot and Harry's life.
The author of Harry's schoolbook for Defense Against the Dark Arts, entitled "The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection."
The author of Harry's schoolbook for Potions, entitled "Magical Drafts and Potions."
The author of Harry's schoolbook entitled "One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi."
The author of Harry's schoolbook entitled "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them."
The author of Harry's schoolbook entitled "The Standard Book of Spells (Grade I)."
The author of Harry's schoolbook entitled "A History of Magic."
The author of Harry's schoolbook entitled "Magical Theory."
The author of Harry's schoolbook entitled "A Beginner's Guide to Transfiguration."
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Every year when Dudley's parents took him out to celebrate his birthday, Harry was left behind with Mrs. Figg. The fact that Mrs. Figg had broken her leg meant that Harry would be able to go with, thus, "Harry's heart gave a leap."
Harry buys a variety of wizard food because he's never tried it before. He purchases Cauldron Cakes, Pumpkin Pasties, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, Chocolate Frogs, and Licorice Wands, and then he shares them all wih his new friend Ron.
Study Guide for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (also Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone) study guide contains a biography of J.K. Rowling, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
Essays for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (also Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.