Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Summary and Analysis of Chapters 14 and 15


During the next few weeks, Harry, Ron, and Hermione make an especial effort to be kind to Professor Quirrell, hoping that their support will encourage him to keep resisting Snape. Hermione also begins to worry about final exams, which are only ten weeks away and must be passed in order to become a second-year student at Hogwarts. While they are involved in an intense study sessions in the library, the three friends are interrupted by Hagrid, who invites them to have tea with him at his cottage.

During their visit, Harry, Ron, and Hermione ply Hagrid with questions about the Sorcerer’s Stone. He refuses to give them any details but does tell them that each of the professors has placed a protective spell over the Stone. Moreover, Hagrid assures them that he would never reveal how to get past Fluffy. Changing the subject, Hagrid shows the students the egg of a Norwegian Ridgeback dragon that he won in a recent poker game. Breeding dragons is highly illegal, but Hagrid is firm in his intentions, revealing that it has been his lifelong dream to raise a dragon.

A few days later, Harry gets a note from Hagrid telling him that the egg is hatching. He, Ron, and Hermione rush to Hagrid’s cottage to see the birth of the dragon, which Hagrid names Norbert. Just as the dragon as hatched, they hear a sound outside of Hagrid’s cottage and see Malfoy running back to the castle; he has seen the illegal dragon. With Malfoy serving as an omnipresent threat to Hagrid, Harry, Ron, and Hermione convince Hagrid to send Norbert to Ron’s brother, Charlie, who works with dragons in Romania. If they can bring Norbert to the tallest tower of Hogwarts at midnight on Saturday night, some of Charlie’s friends will be able to smuggle the dragon out of the country.

The situation becomes more complicated when Ron is bitten by the dragon, and the bite becomes severely infected. While he Ron in the hospital wing receiving treatment, Malfoy visits him and finds Charlie’s note that details the escape plan for Norbert. Harry and Hermione realize that they must take care of Norbert before Malfoy can disrupt their plans. After informing a tearful Hagrid that he must say goodbye to his baby dragon, Harry and Hermione manage to smuggle Norbert up to the tallest tower under the invisibility cloak and pass the dragon off to Charlie’s friends. As they leave the tower to return to Gryffindor, they forget to wear the invisibility cloak and are caught by Filch.

Filch takes them to Professor McGonagall, who has also caught Malfoy and Neville out of bed at the same time. Professor McGonagall docks Harry, Hermione, and Neville fifty points each and orders them to report to detention with Hagrid in the Forbidden Forest the following week. With the loss of one hundred and fifty points, Gryffindor is no longer in the running to win the House Cup championship over Slytherin, and Harry is suddenly despised by all of the other students in Gryffindor. He briefly considers resigning from the Quidditch team but ultimately decides simply to avoid breaking any other rules.

Unfortunately, Harry’s resolve is tested when he overhears Professor Quirrell sobbing and promising to do something. He assumes that Professor Quirrell has finally given in to Snape, though he does not see the Potions professor. He decides that he must try to steal the Sorcerer’s Stone before Snape can, and he enlists Ron and Hermione to figure out a way to get past Fluffy.

For their detention with Hagrid, Harry, Hermione, Neville, and Malfoy divide into groups and search the Forbidden Forest for unicorn that has been wounded. Harry and Malfoy come across the dead body of the unicorn just as a mysterious cloaked figure begins to drink its blood. Malfoy runs away in terror, but Harry remains immobile, incapacitated by the sudden pain that he feels in his scar. The figure moves threateningly toward him, but a centaur suddenly gallops in front of Harry in a protective stance, and the figure vanishes. The centaur, Firenze, takes Harry back to Hagrid and explains that the cloaked figure was Voldemort. By drinking the blood of the unicorn, Voldemort can survive with a cursed life until he can steal the Sorcerer’s Stone and use its elixir of life.


Rowling continues to discuss the theme of desire and its dangers in these next two chapters. Up until this point in the narrative, Hagrid’s character has been relatively two-dimensional. With the exception of his trip to Diagon Alley with Harry, in which Rowling includes a few subtle hints about Hagrid’s background, the reader does not have any other insight into Hagrid’s true nature. In fact, throughout most of the character, his only role seems to be that of the likable, comedic relief. Yet, Hagrid is just as complex as the other characters in the book, a fact that Rowling reveals through the introduction of Hagrid’s deepest desire: to own and raise a dragon on his own.

With the Mirror of Erised, Harry learned about the dangers of desire from a personal standpoint. If an individual becomes too preoccupied with desire, he or she can easily lose sight of reality and stop moving forward in life. With Hagrid, however, Rowling introduces a new kind of danger, one that has the potential to harm more than one person. When Hagrid tells Harry, Ron, and Hermione about his dragon egg, they do not immediately recognize the larger threat. As Rowling reveals later in the text, Hagrid’s wish for a dragon is not fulfilled by random chance, but rather as a part of Voldemort’s plot to steal the Sorcerer’s Stone. By tapping into Hagrid’s unfulfilled desire, Voldemort is able to manipulate him into giving him the information that he needs to get past the three-headed dog guarding the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Because of his conversations with Dumbledore about desire, Harry is suspicious about this sudden wish-fulfillment. Unfortunately, he and Hermione are preoccupied with protecting Hagrid in the short-term future: ensuring that he does not face legal consequences for possessing a contraband dragon. By the time Harry realizes that Hagrid has inadvertently given Voldemort the key to circumventing Fluffy, it is already too late. This one fulfilled desire serves as the catalyst to the events that unfold during the rest of the book. Without Hagrid’s slip, the Sorcerer’s Stone would not have been in danger, Harry would not have felt the need to protect it, and he would not face Voldemort in the final chapter of the book.

This event also helps Harry to develop his growing awareness of the complexity of good and evil. Hagrid would certainly never be described as an “evil” character in the novel, yet his actions ultimately help the cause of evil, or at least, threaten to help it. As Rowling has expressed at other points in the novel, every character has flaws – aspects of both good and evil – and, as Harry discovers, an individual’s deepest desire can easily be manipulated to support either cause.

In Chapter 15, Harry comes face-to-face with the source of this dark evil (i.e. Voldemort) in the Forbidden Forest. There is no question of the evil of the mysterious hooded figure since only the most depraved dark wizard would be willing to murder a pure unicorn for the sake of its blood. The sudden pain that Harry feels in his scar reminds the reader that his scar is more than decorative; it actually serves as a beacon of evil. Thus, when Harry feels slight pain in his scar during his interactions with Snape, it is a sign that Snape has some evil aspects to his nature. In this case, the unbearable pain that Harry feels in his scar points to the complete evil that the hooded figure encompasses.