The Man With Two Faces

chapter seventeen of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry finds Quirrell – with Voldemort in the back of his head – in front of the Mirror of Erised. He manages to get the Stone from the Mirror and injure Quirrell before passing out, and wakes in the hospital wing, where Dumbledore explains that all is well. After the final feast, in which Gryffindor wins the cup, the students return home for the summer.

Professor Quirrell, by Laurence Peguy

It was Quirrell.


Snap, by Tealin Raintree

Quirrell snapped his fingers. Ropes sprang out of thin air and wrapped themselves tightly around Harry. “You’re too nosy to live, Potter.”


Ow, My Hands! by Tealin Raintree

The pain in his head lessened – he looked around wildly to see where Quirrell had gone, and saw him hunched in pain, looking at his fingers – they were blistering before his eyes.


The Man With Two Faces, by Keith James

He could only hear Quirrell’s terrible shrieks and Voldemort’s yells of, “KILL HIM! KILL HIM!” and other voices, maybe in Harry’s own head, crying, “Harry! Harry!”


Harry at the Hospital Wing, by Sheena Kristen Sy

“Very well, the Stone. Professor Quirrell did not manage to take it from you. I arrived in time to prevent that, although you were doing very well on your own, I must say.”


Alas, Earwax, by gerre

He smiled and popped the golden-brown bean into his mouth. Then he choked and said, “Alas! Ear wax!”

(by gerre)


The Man With Two Faces, by NicoPony

“Sent owls off ter all yer parents’ old school friends, askin’ fer photos… knew yeh didn’ have any… d’yeh like it?”
Harry couldn’t speak, but Hagrid understood.


Ron Weasley, by Laurence Peguy

“First – to Mr. Ronald Weasley… for the best-played game of chess Hogwarts has seen in many years, I award Gryffindor house fifty points.”


Hermione Granger, by Laurence Peguy

“Second – to Miss Hermione Granger… for the use of cool logic in the face of fire, I award Gryffindor house fifty points.”


Harry Potter, by Laurence Peguy

“Third – to Mr. Harry Potter…” said Dumbledore. The room went deadly quiet. “…for pure nerve and outstanding courage, I award Gryffindor house sixty points.”


Neville Longbottom, by Laurence Peguy

“There are all kinds of courage,” said Dumbledore, smiling. “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends. I therefore award ten points to Mr. Neville Longbottom.”


about the chapter


Something You May Not Have Noticed

Harry’s late-night wanderings – or, as he calls it, “poking around,” end up doing Gryffindor more good than harm. He, Hermione, and Neville may have been universally loathed for losing 150 points for Gryffindor in one night, but that 150 wouldn’t have been enough to catch Slytherin if they and Ron hadn’t also earned points for the night Harry went after the Stone, as Dumbledore has to award Gryffindor 170 points to ensure their victory (160 would have tied). Of course, if Harry had been in the final Quidditch match, he might have won Gryffindor enough points to make up the difference anyway.

The Wizarding World

It’s interesting that Quirrell uses Voldemort’s name when talking with Harry – he’s the only person we ever see do so who isn’t fundamentally opposed to Voldemort (the other bad guys call him “The Dark Lord”). It’s possible to do some backbends to explain it – maybe Voldemort wanted to make sure Harry knew the name? – but it seems more likely to me that it’s simply another example of Rowling not having these sorts of details ironed out when she published the first book. After all, she wasn’t exactly expecting the books to undergo this level of scrutiny when she’d just landed her first-ever contract. :)

Life at Hogwarts

It’s always bothered me that Hogwarts would have the final Quidditch match scheduled in the middle of finals – in fact, so late in finals that first years are already completely done with theirs. Clearly it needs to be this way to fit the story, but it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The same could be said for the way house points are awarded for Quidditch outcomes – we saw Gryffindor score 320 points in two matches, but at the end of the year the house only has 312. Perhaps you don’t get exactly one house point for every point scored in Quidditch. But the whole system is very murky, at best.

I’ve also wondered about how, according to Dumbledore, the “whole school” knows what happened between Harry and Quirrell. As far as we know, the only people present were Quirrell (who died), Voldemort (who probably hasn’t told anyone), Harry (who’s been unconscious), and Dumbledore himself. One possibility is that someone else – Snape? McGonagall? – came with Dumbledore, which would explain why Harry heard “voices” calling his name just before being knocked out. Another, which seems more typical of Hogwarts, is that some paintings or ghosts observed the whole thing in secret and spread the word. Of course now that I think of it, it’s certainly possible Dumbledore simply asked Ron and Hermione for details and then told the staff, and the word got around that way.

The Final Word

“The imagery in the first book where Voldemort appears in the back of Quirrell’s head, I still think is one of the creepiest things I have ever written – I really do…. From the first book… I was saying that this is a world where some pretty nasty things happen.”–J.K. Rowling, June 2006

43 Responses to “The Man With Two Faces”

  1. Congratulations on becoming a parent!

    It has been mentioned before that Lawrence Peguys character pictures are exquisite, but I also really like the Dumbledore by gerre.

    Now I’m looking forward to the essay.

  2. I too love gerre’s Dumbledore! As to teh Quidditch, it’s much earlier in the subsequent books, so this year must have been an anomaly. Also, I wa snever under the impression that it’s a house point per Quidditch point, because that would make it almost impossible to win the House Cup withou the Quidditch Cup. I always thought it was something like 50 points to the winner.

  3. Congrats to you and your wife!! You are starting your own journey into a world of magic!

    Thank you for creating this site. It is so wonderful to revisit the story with such beautiful fanart. And I cherish your thoughts on each chapter. I live for those “aha” moments when you find something that I missed. Can’t wait for the essay!

  4. hpboy13, I was reading ahead in Chamber of Secrets and noticed that Oliver Wood told Harry (second page of CS11) that he’d won 50 points for Gryffindor for winning a match. I was interested because I’d never noticed that passage before. Unfortunately we don’t know the final score of that match, but the Slytherins led 60-0 at one point (it was the rogue bludger match), so it’s possible Gryffindor won 150-100 or 160-110, etc, and 50 points was the margin of victory. Or perhaps you simply get 50 points every time you win. Has anyone else noticed another reference?

  5. “It was chalk white with glaring red eyes and slits for nostrils, like a snake.” When I first read this I thought Voldemorts face looks like that because he doesn’t have his own body yet.

    It really is amazing that on the sight of the Mirror of Erised what Harry wants most is to find the stone, when you remember how enthralled he was by seeing his parents earlier. In book 3 he has trouble really wanting to fight the Dementors, because he so likes to hear his mothers voice, but he becomes very good with his Patronus. So he doesn’t have a weak mind at all like Snape says (about Occlumency).

    “‘I believe your friends Misters Fred and George Weasley were responsible for trying to sen you a lavatory seat.'” In “The Journey from Platform Nine and Three-Quaters” Fred and George joke about sending Ginny a Hogwarts toilet seat after their mother says she doesn’t want to get an owl telling her that they’ve blown up a toilet. Harry listens to that conversation.

    “Dumbledore now became very interested in a bird out on the window-sill, which gave Harry time to dry his eyes on the sheet.” I love JKRs style of writing!

  6. Maybe the reason for Quirrell not calling Voldemort “the Dark Lord” is because he is no death eater.
    After all, he met him several years after his defeat.

  7. Julia, that’s definitely possible, it just seems strange to me that Voldemort would suddenly not mind his follower using his name, especially when he has Quirrell so completely under his command. Voldemort didn’t want *anybody* using his name, according to Dumbledore, because in doing so he “increased the fear” others had of him.

  8. I love this website! Can’t wait to see the art work from the last few books!
    I particularly love Keith James’ art work, especially the one for this chapter of Voldemort in the Mirror of Erised.
    I find it interesting that mr. James thought that Voldemorts deepest desire was to fight Dumbledore. I wonder if he had in mind at this point that Harry was the one he had to defeat.
    Or is this Dumbledore coming to Harry’s rescue?

  9. Hi Clar,

    Thanks for the compliments! I think the Dumbledore in the painting is supposed to be arriving to rescue Harry – the picture is a little confusing, but if you look closely, he’s behind the black flames that were described as holding Harry in the room. But it’s a nice double meaning :)

  10. I think Dumbledore told the whole school after he found out from Ron and Hermione. He usually does not keep his students in the dark about what happens there.

  11. It struck me as I was reading this chapter that Dumbledore seems to favour the Gryffindor pretty blatantly. While giving the points to H/R/H was probably well-earned, and Neville certainly so (as he was also keeping up school rules), it’s no mere coincidence that the points match and overtake the lead Slytherin had on Gryffindor.

    It’s no wonder Malfoy & co. don’t like Dumbledore with him arrageing for the victory of the house he himself prefers, but what do, I wonder, Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs think about Dumbledore’s choice here? Gryffindor getting so many points left someone else to be the last in this years House Cup.

  12. I think Ron would have boasted to the whole school about what happened.

  13. Anyone ever wonder how quirrel did magic (snapped fingers…) without a wand in this chapter? That always stood out to me.

  14. To rilian there is such thing as wandless magic

  15. The only person in the series that I’ve ever noticed doing wandless or especially unusual magic is Voldemort, such as when he (SPOILER?) reads Frank’s thoughts without eye contact or how he can fly…
    Do JKR or the books ever specify that there’s wandless magic? Why would anyone need wands if there was?

  16. Only powerful wizards can use wandless magic. Voldemort could before he was eleven. He was probably assisting Quirrell in chapter 17.

    The first part of this chapter was well written and carefully plotted, but does anyone think Harry ought to have learned more from it than he actually did? For instance, the lesson about Quirrell and Snape did not seem to really sink in. And since neither Quirrell nor Voldemort could have extracted the stone from the mirror Harry actually endangered the stone with his meddling. I understand about not wanting him to feel bad, but Gryffindors probably require warnings about recklessness early on.

  17. Technically, Voldemort could do wandless magic at 11 because he was a wizard who wasn’t trained yet. Though he had a rather good control over it. My point is that wandless magic is the same thing accidental magic is. Except Voldemort still had control over his after he got his wand. While most lose any ability. Though animagus transformations are wandless. But as we know becoming an animagus is difficult.

    To bad those warnings always bounced off Harry and Ron. They might have avoided a lot of trouble that way. I think it stuck with Hermione she just wasn’t always able to convince them out of their schemes.

  18. @ Adam, I agree. I can see Dumbledore making an announcement in the Great Hall to all of the students like he did in GoF when Cedric died.
    In response to this chapter’s “The Wizarding World” section, I think I might have an idea why Quirrell calls Voldemort by his actual name, and not “the Dark Lord”. I know that I’m probably going to cannon-hell for referencing A Very Potter Musical on this site, but I think it might be right in this situation. Living off the back of a person’s skull for almost a year has to give you a good sense of familiarity with them (Even if you are Lord Voldemort) There is a bit of dialogue between Quirrell & Voldemort in AVPM (If you’ve seen it, you’d understand better) where Voldemort is saying that, since they’re with each other 24/7, and no one knows about their… living arrangement, let’s say, with one another, Quirrell doesn’t need to keep to the rigid formal code that Voldemort has established for his death eaters. Just a thought.

  19. “The only person in the series that I’ve ever noticed doing wandless or especially unusual magic is Voldemort…” – Ragmar Dorkins

    Dumbledore does wandless magic too when he changes the Slytherin decorations to Gryffindor ones. And I’m sure we’ve seen other instances of wandless magic, though I can’t remember any off the top of my head. I also thought that it was something that particuarly powerful wizards could do. And even they would probably still use wands most of the time because the results would be more reliable and effective, especially with more complicated magic.

    As for how the students found out, I always had the impression that the paintings are a bunch of gossips. :) They may well have overheard the teachers talking about what Ron and Hermione told them happened and what Dumbledore saw.

  20. yeah, I’ve always been confused about the finals/quidditch schedule. Sometimes finals are before the last game and sometimes it the other way around. In HBP the final quidditch match is wayy before finals (though what you said about first years being done earlier due to the older students having longer, more drawn out exams definitely factors in) but here finals are in June then quidditch. In, HBP, as a counter example, the quidditch match was in may and Harry had weeks with Ginny (as a way to count the time passed) before exams. So Jo’s math skills are once again suspect…then again I’m not to good at math either.

  21. Two things I noticed this time around:

    1) why do all the house points end in random numbers, like “312” or “246” when we only ever see teachers awarding or deducting points in multiples of 5 (or much more)?

    2) When Dumbledore is telling Harry to use Voldy’s name, if he had only just mentioned his birth name was “Tom Riddle,” a lot of agony could have been avoided in book 2.

  22. i kindof thought the voices were ron and hermione. hermione would have tagged along behind dumbledore regardless if he told her not to. that was probably 1 of her first two friends in her life that was most likely dieing in ther. if i was her id go see what the heck was going on. and ron would have gone too because 1)that was his best friend in ther or 2)i have a feeling ron had already developed a little crush on hermione even if he didnt want to admit it. so ron with his big mouth probably told everyone who would listen (remember the serius black incident in prizoner of askaban?)
    on nikko ponys art. i think he has harry and ron absolutely beautifully on the dot. imm nooot so sure about hermione. dont get me wrong its gorgeous artwork but i sortof pictured her alittle differently. but still. excuisite.
    and i loved kieth james’s portrait of quirrell and voldy ^Q^

  23. Anna1, we do see Snape deduct single points from Harry during his first Potions class in PS8. I always thought the inflation of points over the course of the books was sort of silly, but perhaps it’s intentional – first-years get fewer points awarded or taken off as they’re getting used to the system so they don’t unfairly skew things for the rest of their houses?

  24. “yeah, I’ve always been confused about the finals/quidditch schedule. Sometimes finals are before the last game and sometimes it the other way around.” – Connie

    They don’t necessarily stick to the same schedule every year. I’m sure my school sports day didn’t fall on the same date each year, though it was usually the same month.

  25. i think that knowing the usual voices harry hears as he’s passing out throughout the series it’s safe to speculate that he’s hearing his parents voices at this juncture.

  26. @ Rachel,

    How dare you…

    AVPM is a hilarious parody and no Harry Potter fan should be ashamed to quote it or be angered that it be reference on a HP fan-site. Also, I would have brought that up if, by the time I reached the bottom of the page, nobody had mentioned it.

  27. As for the points being translated between Quidditch points and House Cup points, I always thought that the points translated directly. I never caught Wood saying he won 50 points for Gryffindor though in a Quidditch match, and we all know you have to at least have 150 points to win. Even if the other team catches the Snitch, they would get 150 and you would have to have over their end score to win. So I agree with Josie that it must be the margin that they gain for their House in points. Though it is somewhat confusing, cause Harry thinks to himself that they had “lost all the points they had won for beating Slytherin in Quidditch” when they lost 150 points for being out of bed at night. I think JKR just contradicts herself sometimes and doesn’t realize it, especially in the earlier books.

    I also agree that Ron would have talked about what happened with people, especially since they promised Neville that he would “understand eventually” after they petrify him. And of course, we know that nobody seems to know EXACTLY what happened to Harry once he went to fight off Quirrell. They just know he went to do so, and was okay in the end.

  28. I always thought that either the “voice(s)” were eaither Dumbledore yelling to Harry, or just that since Harry was in such close physical and emotional proximity to Voldemort, that he was hearing his mother screming his name… Possibly not, as we learn later that she was begging for mercy, but I think I remember her saying something like “Not harry! Take me instead!” so it couldve been his memories.

  29. Janelle, it’s being near Dementors that makes Harry hear his mother’s last words (up until OotP, that is, when he hears Cedric’s death and the graveyard incident), because they suck out your happy memories and leave you with your worst ones, so being near Voldemort would not elicit this effect. What being near Voldemort does to Harry is make his scar hurt.

  30. When Harry and Dumbledore are having their little chat in the Hospital wing and Harry’s asking questions and Dumbledore says he won’t lie…Then Harry asks Dumbledore something along the lines of why if Snape hated him so much did he try to save him. Dumbledore answers with the story of how James saved his life and it’s to ‘even them out’ in a way so that he can hate James’s memory. Isn’t he lying? Because (Potential Spoiler) Dumbledore’s asked Snape to protect Harry so Lily didn’t die in vain? Or am I just missing something?

  31. @adele: I think it’s both. He probably felt that he owed James, and didn’t like that. So kindof like a double standard. Like he sortof wanted to protect him cuz he loved lily. But then he sortof felt the obligation cuz of James. So now it’s just for lily. And not James. Well that’s what I think.

  32. So I’m tired and didn’t take the time to read all the comments (story of the internet, :) ) But, when Dumbledore says that naturally the whole schools knows, he most likely means that they know SOMETHING happened, and that Quirrel is gone. So people start assuming. And assumptions become rumors. So everyone knows what happened… well, at least what the rumors say happened!

  33. I know that A Very Potter Musical was just intended as a light hearted mickey take of the books. However, after seeing it, I can’t help but wonder what it was like for Quirrell with Voldemort on the back of his head. Take the scene where they are sleeping and have to compromise by sleeping on their side. I know that when I’m asleep I keep moving from my side to my back. I can just picture Quirrell turning over in bed and Voldemort ending up with his face in the pillow. Or just how awkward it would be when Quirrell was getting washed or going to the toilet.

  34. It struck me that Voldemort – even with his face covered by a turban and thus, wasn’t using eye contact – was using Legilimency on Harry in this chapter. It was the only way for him to know that Harry had already got the Stone in his pocket after looking into the Mirror.

    That’s just totally hilarious, Amy! You got me thinking about things I shouldn’t. Okay, I’ll stop thinking about it now. :)

    Lastly, I noticed how the first-years board on boats before riding the Hogwarts Express on their way home. In the subsequent books, the boat journey wasn’t mentioned as part of their trip home. You think this is only applicable to first-years, seeing as how they also arrived at Hogwarts via boat?

  35. @ May, Yes, definitely, I believe the boats are only for the first years.

    I’m really appreciating the totally awesome references to AVPM in this thread :) –there are some extremely witty references in the musicals that only true harry potter fans would get, which is why i love them so much (and why everyone should watch them).

    One question/thought (thinking about a Voldy face squished into a pillow at night made me think of it): If 1/8 of Voldemort’s soul is possessing Quirrell at this point, what makes it necessary for him to take this weird face form on the back of Quirrell’s head? Can’t he just control him from the inside with his soul? When we see Voldy possess others, like Harry in OotP, he never has to manifest himself in physical form–granted, I know that at this point (a) he has his own body, and (b) Harry is a Horcrux so maybe that changes things. But if he had his own body, how could he just separate his soul like that and go into Harry? Wouldn’t it be easier to do this “invisibly” pre-body? Also, when it comes to another 1/8 of V’s soul possessing Ginny through the diary (just how did this “soul” become a manifestation of “memory” btw? another thought for another time), we get the impression that he does this in a kind of inner-mind-soul way. There is no physical mark.

    I know the obvious answer is, for story-telling purposes, it’s infinitely creepier to have a grotesque Voldy face sticking out of the back of a teacher’s head (and creates the need for the identifying Quirrell Turban). And perhaps JKR hadn’t thought about at this stage what form V takes when he possesses people once he has a body.

    Still something to think about.

  36. Considering what we learn in this chapter about Quirrell, I wonder what his dot on the Marauder’s Map looked like?

  37. I’ve always assumed that rumours in Hogwarts will spawn differently, with all the ghosts and portraits around, so that’d been my explanation for the news about Harry and Quirrell’s fight getting round so quickly.

    I’ve no idea where the concept of Quidditch points = house points came from, though. Have I overlooked something, because it always seemed to me that the two were completely unrelated.

  38. scabbyfish, I believe there’s another reference too, but the one that immediately springs to my mind is from chapter fifteen of this book:

    “Fifty?” Harry gasped — they would lose the lead, the lead he’d won in the last Quidditch match.

  39. Is this the first time that it is mentioned that Snape is bat-like?

    When Harry passes Quirrell, itis mentioned the funny smell coming from Quirrell’s turban. I know why Quirrell wears the turban but what causes the funnt smell?

  40. Voldemort was semi possessing Q and that intimacy allows Q to refer to Voldemort by name.nIn away Q is channeling Voldemort.

  41. A full-circle moment I just noticed [SPOILER!]:
    In this chapter, Harry, Ron, and Hermione do most of the work and earn most of the points, but it’s Neville who tips the balance so that Gryffindor wins.
    In DH, Harry, Ron, and Hermione do most of the work to destroy the Horcruxes, but again it’s Neville who tips the balance by destroying Nagini.

  42. Jeremy, my impression was that the funny smell was caused by the garlic Quirrell put in his turban to create the myth that he was wearing it to ward off vampires and stop people thinking “Hang on, maybe he’s got a dark lord attached to the back of his head”. I suppose it could have been some dark witchardry, but I don’t think we’ve ever been given enough evidence to assume that – the line about garlic is definitely there though.

  43. I always imagined that “the whole school knows” was simply a joke of sorts. Everyone has been talking about it so much that everyone has their own little made up story about what happened. So the truth is more along the lines of “the whole school [thinks] the know.”

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