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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Summary


Here you will find a Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone summary (J.K. Rowling's book).
We begin with a summary of the entire book, and then you can read each individual chapter's summary by visiting the links on the "Chapters" section.

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Last Updated: Monday 1 Jan, 2024

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Summary Overview

The story begins when an affluent Englishman, Mr. Dursley, stumbles upon peculiar events one day. That night, Albus Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall, both of a magical education institution, convene with Hagrid, a giant, near Dursley's residence. Dumbledore discloses to McGonagall that a sinister figure named Voldemort has murdered a couple, Mr. and Mrs. Potter, but failed to harm their infant, Harry. Dumbledore leaves baby Harry, along with a note explaining the situation, at the Dursleys' doorstep. A decade later, the Dursley home is ruled by Dudley, their son, who takes pleasure in tormenting Harry. Dudley is coddled while Harry is made to occupy a tiny space in a cupboard under the stairs. On Dudley's birthday, a terrifying incident occurs at the zoo where the glass enclosure of a snake vanishes, for which Harry is blamed. Shortly thereafter, enigmatic letters addressed to Harry begin appearing, causing distress to Mr. Dursley. Despite his efforts to keep them from Harry, the letters persist. Panicked, Dursley takes his family to a remote island shack on the eve of Harry's 11th birthday. Their solitude is interrupted when Hagrid appears, delivering an acceptance letter to a magical school, Hogwarts, and revealing that the Dursleys have been suppressing Harry's magical abilities. The following day, Hagrid escorts Harry to London to purchase school supplies at Diagon Alley, a commercial hub for wizards. At the wizarding bank, Gringotts, Harry discovers a sizable inheritance left by his parents. During his first year at Hogwarts, Harry forms friendships with fellow students, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. However, he also encounters adversity, particularly from his Potions professor, Snape. The school year is marked with adventure and danger; from a narrow escape from a troll to a thrilling Quidditch match, and discovery of the Sorcerer's Stone, an artifact with immense power. The trio uncovers a plot by Voldemort to steal the Stone, leading to a confrontation with Quirrell, who is revealed to be Voldemort's host. The encounter ends with Harry unconscious and the Stone destroyed. The story concludes with a surprise win for Gryffindor house and Harry returning to the Dursleys for the summer.

chapter 1

The Dursleys, a status-minded family in Surrey, feel ashamed by Mrs. Dursley's quirky sister, Mrs. Potter. One day, Mr. Dursley spots a cat seemingly reading a map, and later, people in bright cloaks. He also overhears chatter about the Potters and their young son, Harry. Despite feeling uneasy, he keeps quiet. He encounters a peculiar man who joyfully announces the disappearance of "You-Know-Who", suggesting even a "Muggle" like Mr. Dursley should be thrilled. Simultaneously, the media is abuzz with odd reports of daytime owls and shooting stars. Later, Albus Dumbledore, the head of Hogwarts wizardry academy, materializes on the Dursleys' street. He turns the streetlights off and meets a cat, who transforms into Professor McGonagall, another Hogwarts faculty. They converse about Voldemort, alias "You-Know-Who", who failed in his attempt to kill Harry, leading to his downfall. Dumbledore plans to leave Harry with the Dursleys, despite McGonagall's objections. He asserts Harry's fate will be revealed when he's ready. A giant named Hagrid arrives on a motorcycle with Harry in tow, wrapped in blankets. Dumbledore leaves Harry and a letter on the Dursleys' doorstep before they depart.

chapter 2

A decade has passed and Harry, nearing eleven years old, is living in misery in a cupboard under the stairs at the Dursleys. He constantly faces torment from Dudley, the Dursleys' pampered and whiny son. One day, his aunt Petunia wakes him up demanding he prepare the bacon for Dudley's birthday breakfast. Dudley becomes upset when he only receives thirty-seven presents, which is one less than last year. When their neighbor is unable to babysit Harry for the day, Dudley is dismayed that Harry has to join them at the zoo for his birthday outing. At the zoo, Dudley and his friend Piers are lavished with attention, while Harry is largely ignored. In the reptile house, Harry is startled when he's able to communicate with a boa constrictor. When Piers and Dudley notice, Dudley shoves Harry aside to see the snake. Suddenly, the glass of the snake's enclosure disappears and the snake slithers out. Dudley and Piers lie, saying the snake attacked them. The Dursleys are horrified. Back home, Harry is punished and sent to his cupboard without dinner, despite feeling he had nothing to do with the snake's escape.

chapter 3

After the snake incident, Harry is confined to his cupboard until summer. Once released, he avoids Dudley's gang by staying outdoors. Harry looks forward to attending a new school, anticipating relief from Dudley's constant presence. One day, Harry picks up the mail and finds a letter with a crest addressed to him at “The Cupboard under the Stairs.” Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia are visibly startled by the letter, and after sending Harry and Dudley away, they discuss its contents. The following day, Uncle Vernon relocates Harry from the cupboard to Dudley's spare toy room, refusing to reveal the letter's message. The day after, a new letter arrives for Harry, now addressed to “The Smallest Bedroom.” The sight of another letter greatly unsettles Uncle Vernon, who continues to keep them from Harry. Despite Harry's early morning attempts and Uncle Vernon's extreme measures to block the mail, letters keep arriving for Harry in increasing numbers and through impossible means. As the house is inundated by letters, Uncle Vernon, now enraged, opts for escape and takes the family to a remote hotel, only to be followed by a deluge of letters. In a desperate move, Uncle Vernon brings the family to a secluded island shack. As the clock strikes midnight on Harry’s birthday, a thunderous knock echoes at the door.

chapter 4

A loud thud reverberates again, and a titan demolishes the door. Despite Uncle Vernon's gun threat, the brute easily twists the weapon into a knot. He gives Harry a celebratory chocolate cake and introduces himself as Hagrid, the custodian of keys and grounds at Hogwarts. He is taken aback to learn that the Dursleys have kept Hogwarts a secret from Harry. Vernon attempts to prevent Hagrid from revealing Hogwarts to Harry, but it's futile. Hagrid reveals Harry's wizard identity and hands him an admission letter to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Vernon adamantly refuses to let Harry join Hogwarts. Hagrid then reveals the Dursleys' deception about Harry's parents' death. It turns out they didn't perish in a car accident as he'd been led to believe but were eliminated by the evil sorcerer, Voldemort. Initially, Harry is skeptical about being a wizard but then remembers the incident with the boa constrictor as a magical act. Over Vernon's objections, Hagrid whisks Harry away from the shack.

chapter 5

Harry, waking up with Hagrid, is relieved to find that the previous night wasn't a dream. They leave for London to buy Harry's school supplies. Harry worries about the cost, but Hagrid reassures him that he has ample funds left to him by his parents at Gringotts, a bank for wizards managed by goblins. Arriving in London, they stop at the Leaky Cauldron pub. Harry is recognized and greeted enthusiastically by the patrons. They leave the pub and Hagrid taps a brick wall, revealing a small street, Diagon Alley, where Harry will get his school necessities. At Gringotts, they're shown to Harry’s vault where they see the large amount of silver and gold his parents have left for him. Hagrid explains the wizarding currency system of Galleons, Sickles, and Knuts, and takes some money for Harry's supplies. He also takes Harry to a separate vault, number 713, to retrieve a mysterious package, cautioning Harry not to question it. Harry is taken to get his school uniform next, where he meets a haughty boy, also starting at Hogwarts. The boy's talk of prestigious wizard families makes Harry doubt his place in the wizarding world, but Hagrid soothes his worries, mentioning the presence of many Muggle-born students at Hogwarts. Once they've bought his school books and potion ingredients, they go to the wand shop. Mr. Ollivander, the owner, assists Harry in finding the right wand. After trying many, Harry finally chooses a holly and phoenix feather wand which responds with sparks, signifying its suitability. Ollivander reveals that the only other wand with feathers from the same phoenix belonged to Voldemort, the wand that gave Harry his distinctive scar.

chapter 6

Harry's final days with the Dursleys were nothing short of miserable. The day before he was to depart, he convinced Uncle Vernon to drop him off at the train station. However, his uncle scoffed at the idea of "platform nine and three quarters". The next day at the station, Harry was at a loss on how to get to said platform. His worries were eased when he overheard a family discussing Hogwarts. The mother of this red-haired brood advised Harry to pass through the barrier between platforms nine and ten, revealing the magical Hogwarts Express. Aboard the train, Harry became acquainted with Fred and George Weasley, returning Hogwarts students, and their younger brother Ron who was to start school that year. Ron brought Harry up to speed on wizarding life, introducing concepts such as Quidditch, collectible wizard trading cards, and Every Flavor Beans. They also discuss a card featuring Albus Dumbledore. Since Ron's family didn’t have much money, Harry generously shared his pile of pastries bought with his newfound wealth with him. He also encountered an overly zealous girl named Hermione Granger and the unpleasant Draco Malfoy from the uniform shop. It seemed that all the students were aware of Harry's fame, leaving him unsure of how to react. Upon reaching Hogwarts, the first-year students were guided onto boats to sail towards the magical castle.

chapter 7

Professor McGonagall welcomes the new students at Hogwarts castle, explaining they'll be sorted into one of four houses - Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin. Each house has a Quidditch team and competes to gain points over the year, through Quidditch wins or good behavior, and lose points for rule-breaking. Spectral figures appear as they enter the castle, while the sorting ceremony takes place in the Great Hall. The sorting hat announces the house each student is assigned to. Harry is apprehensive about the prospect of being placed in Slytherin, given its unsavory reputation and its past association with Voldemort. When his turn comes, the hat considers Slytherin, but finally assigns him to Gryffindor. He is relieved to find his friends, Ron and Hermione, are also in Gryffindor while Draco Malfoy is sorted into Slytherin. Commencing the year, everyone enjoys a lavish feast. Harry is astounded by the variety of food. The Gryffindor house ghost, Nearly Headless Nick, introduces himself and expresses hopes of winning the house championship. As they enjoy dessert, they talk about their personal backgrounds. Neville shares his own experience, revealing he was suspected to be a Muggle until an accident proved otherwise. Harry then notices a professor, Snape, looking at him intensely, and he feels a sharp pain in his scar. It is revealed that Snape is the Potions teacher. Following dessert, the school's head, Dumbledore, gives his welcome speech, cautioning them about the Forbidden Forest and a specific third-floor corridor. They then sing the school song and head to their respective houses.

chapter 8

Harry experiences a new, unfamiliar life at Hogwarts. He's the center of rumors and adults always seem to be observing him, especially when he makes mistakes. All of his classes, except History of Magic, fascinate him. The first Transfiguration class proves difficult for everyone, except Hermione who manages to partially transform a match into a needle. One morning, Hedwig, Harry's owl, delivers a tea invitation from Hagrid. In his Potions lesson, Harry experiences Professor Snape's dislike for him firsthand as Snape taunts him, referring to him as "our new celebrity" and ridiculing his lack of knowledge about herbs. Harry, accompanied by Ron, attends tea at Hagrid's hut where they are initially intimidated by Hagrid's large, fierce dog, Fang, but soon discover he's harmless. Hagrid dismisses Harry's concerns about Snape, affirming that the professor has no reason to dislike him. An article about a break-in at Gringotts bank catches Harry's attention. The break-in occurred on his birthday, the same day Hagrid and he visited the bank. He recalls Hagrid removing a small package from vault seven hundred and thirteen. This leaves Harry with a lot of unanswered questions.

chapter 9

Harry's mood plummets upon learning that the Gryffindors will share flying lessons with the loathed Slytherins, specifically Draco Malfoy. Under Madam Hooch's guidance, the novice flyers take off. Unfortunately, Neville faces mishap and breaks his wrist. While he's taken away for medical care, Malfoy seizes this opportunity to snatch Neville's magical ball and starts flying. In retaliation, Harry chases Malfoy, making an impressive catch when Malfoy discards the ball. His actions draw Professor McGonagall's attention who, instead of reprimanding him, introduces him to Oliver Wood, Gryffindor's Quidditch captain, as a promising player. Excitement fills Harry as he shares his Quidditch news with Ron at dinner, though he's asked to keep it under wraps. However, Malfoy's taunts over the day's events lead to an escalating tension, resulting in a wizard's duel challenge which Harry accepts despite Hermione's objections. Later that night, Harry and Ron try to sneak out for the duel, but Hermione and Neville, who is lost, join them. They reach the trophy room, the duel location, but find it devoid of Malfoy. Instead, they encounter Argus Filch, the caretaker, and his cat, Mrs. Norris. They manage to escape, mistakenly ending up on the forbidden third floor where they face a terrifying three-headed dog. Despite their fear, they return to their dorm safely. Hermione's scolding comes with an interesting observation: the dog was guarding a trapdoor, sparking Harry's curiosity.

chapter 10

The day after the encounter with the three-headed dog, Harry and Ron speculate about what it was guarding. Suddenly, Harry gets a top-notch broomstick in the mail along with a note from Professor McGonagall asking him to join Quidditch practice. Malfoy, jealous and annoyed, attempts to get Harry in trouble with Professor Flitwick by pointing out that first-year students aren't supposed to have broomsticks. However, Flitwick only praises Harry's abilities. Later, Harry gets Quidditch pointers from Oliver Wood. During a Halloween lesson about levitation, Hermione is the only one to succeed, irritating Ron who snaps a rude remark that Hermione hears, causing her to flee in tears. At the Halloween feast, Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, Quirrell, announces an alarming news of a twelve-foot troll loose in the school. As the students are hurried back to their dormitories, Harry and Ron realize Hermione isn't aware of the troll threat. They rush to warn her, and in the process, they accidentally trap the troll in the girls’ bathroom where Hermione is hiding. The boys team up with Hermione to subdue the troll using magic. When Professor McGonagall finds them, she starts to reprimand Harry and Ron but Hermione steps in. She lies, saying she went to encounter the troll and that the boys were just saving her. From this point, Hermione becomes friends with the boys.

chapter 11

Harry's first Quidditch match against Slytherin is nearing, so he borrows Hermione's Quidditch Through the Ages book for preparation. They get caught with the book outside by Professor Snape, who seizes it under the weak excuse that library books aren't allowed outside. Harry grows more suspicious of Snape, especially after noticing his limp. His distrust increases when he accidentally hears Snape discussing the three-headed dog with Argus Filch. The Quidditch match is the next day. As the Seeker, Harry's job is to catch the Golden Snitch. When he finds it, he's pushed aside by the Slytherin Seeker, earning a penalty. Harry's broom then starts acting up, leading Hagrid to suspect dark magic. Hermione sees Snape staring at Harry and muttering, and thinks he's cursing the broom. When the Weasley twins attempt to help Harry, Hermione sets Snape's robe on fire. Suddenly, Harry regains control over his broom, dives toward the ground, and catches the Snitch. After the match, Hagrid, Hermione, and Ron accompany Harry back to Hagrid's hut. Ron believes Snape cursed Harry's broom, but Hagrid is skeptical, questioning why Snape would want to kill Harry. Harry then mentions Snape's injury from the dog on the third floor. Hagrid accidentally lets slip that he owns the three-headed dog, Fluffy, and that the secret it guards is known only to Albus Dumbledore and Nicolas Flamel.

chapter 12

As the festive season nears, Malfoy mockingly notes Harry's lack of family to spend it with. Yet, Harry is eager for a Dursley-free Christmas, particularly as his friend Ron will also be at Hogwarts. On the eve of the break, Hermione drags Ron and Harry from a chat with Hagrid to scour the library for data on Nicolas Flamel. Harry has a run-in with the librarian while sneaking into the restricted area and gets expelled. Come Christmas morning, Harry and Ron unwrap their gifts. Harry's pile is smaller, including sweets and a homemade sweater from Ron's mum. There's also an invisibility cloak with a note revealing it was his father's. That evening, post a hearty Christmas meal and with Ron deep in sleep, Harry dons the invisibility cloak, sneaking into the forbidden part of the library. One of the books shrieks as he opens it, causing him to swiftly exit. He dodges Filch and ends up in an old room labeled "Erised," housing a large mirror. Harry's reflection reveals a multitude of people, with his deceased parents among them. Despite his attempts to interact, they can only wave in response. He lingers before eventually returning to his dorm. The following night, Harry takes Ron to the mirror room. Ron, instead of seeing Harry's family, sees himself with a Quidditch trophy. They're spotted by Filch's patrolling cat, Mrs. Norris. On the third night, a fearful Ron declines another visit. Harry goes alone and encounters Albus Dumbledore. Dumbledore elucidates that the mirror shows the viewer's deepest longing. Harry is comforted by Dumbledore's lack of anger.

chapter 13

Having taken Dumbledore's counsel, Harry ceases his visits to the Mirror of Erised. Post Christmas break, the trio of Harry, Ron, and Hermione continue their hunt for Nicolas Flamel, but Harry's preoccupation with Quidditch is increasing. When Snape is announced as the referee for their upcoming match, they grow suspicious of his intentions towards Harry. Meanwhile, Neville appears, cursed by Malfoy to have his legs bound together. Harry encourages him to stand up to Malfoy. Receiving a Famous Wizard card from Neville sparks Harry's memory of Nicolas Flamel's name from a similar card given by Ron. Hermione fetches a book revealing Flamel to be Dumbledore's former associate and the only wizard to create a Sorcerer’s Stone. The stone, they discover, can transform any metal to gold and grants eternal life. They deduce that the fearsome dog on the third floor is guarding Flamel’s stone. As the significant Quidditch match nears, Harry’s anxiety intensifies, particularly due to Snape's perceived malevolence. Harry's worries lessen when Dumbledore's presence at the game is confirmed, as Snape would never misbehave under Dumbledore's watch. Harry’s exceptional catch of the Golden Snitch within five minutes of the start leads to Gryffindor's victory and Dumbledore’s admiration. Post-match, Harry spots Snape sneaking into the forest. Following him, Harry overhears Snape's stern conversation with Professor Quirrell about the Sorcerer’s Stone.

chapter 14

As exams loom, Hermione grows anxious, while Harry and Ron struggle to manage their hefty workload. When they encounter Hagrid in the library, they bombard him with questions about the Sorcerer's Stone. Hagrid invites them for a chat but does not guarantee he would share any information. Later at Hagrid’s cabin, he discloses that aside from the three-headed dog, he’s unaware of the other guards for the stone. He mentions the teachers who cast protective spells but insists that he won’t leak information about bypassing the dog. Hagrid reveals a dragon egg he had won in a game, disregarding its illegality. When Harry receives a note about the egg hatching, he and his friends witness the birth of the dragon, which Hagrid names Norbert. The kids understand that Hagrid must part with Norbert before he becomes too large. They contact Charlie, Ron’s elder brother in Romania studying dragons, for help. Charlie agrees and plans a handover with his friends for one midnight atop the castle's highest tower. With the invisibility cloak, the children sneak up with Norbert. Charlie's friends take the dragon, but in their excitement, the children forget their cloak while descending, leading to their capture by Filch.

chapter 15

After being caught by Filch, Harry, Hermione and Ron are brought before Professor McGonagall for punishment. She believes they've fabricated the dragon tale to trick Malfoy, leading to a severe penalty of fifty house points each from Gryffindor. The 150-point loss is a harsh blow to Harry’s status as a Quidditch player, and though he contemplates quitting, Wood dissuades him. Despite Harry's decision to steer clear of trouble, he accidentally stumbles upon Quirrell seemingly succumbing to Snape's pressure. Unable to devise a plan from this information, Harry, Hermione, and Neville are called to Hagrid for their detention. They, along with Malfoy, who is also punished, are shocked to learn their penalty involves the Forbidden Forest. Tasked with discovering what’s hurting the animals, Hagrid splits them into two groups. Harry and Hermione join Hagrid, while Neville and Malfoy are accompanied by Fang, Hagrid’s dog. Inside the forest, Harry notices trouble in the other group, but it turns out to be a prank from Malfoy. Hagrid swaps Harry with Neville, leaving Harry and Malfoy to stumble upon a cloaked figure drinking unicorn blood. As Malfoy and Fang flee, Firenze, a centaur, saves Harry. On their return, Harry learns the hooded figure was Voldemort using unicorn blood to survive, hoping to get the Sorcerer’s Stone.

chapter 16

During the final exams, Harry is constantly on edge, expecting Voldemort's appearance at any moment. While visiting Hagrid, Harry finds out that Hagrid accidentally blurted out to Voldemort, while drunk, the secret to bypass Fluffy, the three-headed guard dog - by playing music for it. Desperate to inform Dumbledore, Harry, Hermione, and Ron are disappointed to hear from McGonagall that he's been summoned to London by the Ministry of Magic. Convinced they have to retrieve the stone immediately, Harry, Hermione, and Ron embark on their mission, even though Neville attempts to halt them. Hermione uses a spell to freeze Neville and they continue. Upon reaching Fluffy, the trio discover a harp indicating someone else got there first. Harry uses his flute to lull Fluffy to sleep, enabling them to descend through the trapdoor. They land in a plant with ensnaring tendrils which trap Harry and Ron, while Hermione escapes and uses fire from her wand to free them. Then they find themselves in a room filled with flying keys. Harry makes use of his Quidditch prowess to catch the right key to unlock the next door. Their next challenge is a deadly chess game where they themselves are the pieces. Ron skillfully guides them but has to sacrifice himself to the opposing queen to secure the win. Finally, Harry and Hermione encounter a logic puzzle involving potions. Hermione solves it, drinks the right potion, then retraces her steps to assist Ron while Harry proceeds to locate the stone.

chapter 17

Harry tricks Quirrell into believing that he sees himself securing the house cup for Gryffindor in the mirror, but Voldemort, using Quirrell as a vessel, knows he's lying. Voldemort wants the Sorcerer's Stone from Harry's pocket and tempts him with joining forces, threatening death otherwise. Harry resists, and each time Quirrell tries to grab him, his hand burns and blisters. Harry's scar aches more and more as he fights back, causing him to black out. Upon waking, Harry learns from Dumbledore that he's in the infirmary. Harry insists on discussing the stone, and Dumbledore assures him it's safe - he arrived in time to save Harry from Quirrell. Dumbledore explains that the stone will be destroyed, and that Harry was untouchable to Quirrell due to the protection of his mother’s love. He also admits that he gifted Harry the invisibility cloak and draws a parallel between Snape's hostility towards Harry's father and the one Malfoy holds for Harry. He further explains how Harry ended up with the stone, as he was the only one who wished to find the stone for its own sake. The end-of-the-year feast has Slytherin's colors in honor of their seventh consecutive win of the championship cup. However, Dumbledore awards additional points to Ron, Hermione, and Harry for their bravery in reaching the stone, pulling Gryffindor into a tie with Slytherin. After rewarding Neville some points for courage, Gryffindor takes the lead, winning the house cup. School term ends with Hermione topping the class and Harry and Ron performing well. As they part ways for the summer, Harry looks forward to pulling pranks on Dudley Dursley with his magic.

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