Under the turban

Quirinus Quirrell reveals to Harry who and what he really is

Extract from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

by J.K. Rowling

It was Quirrell.

'You!’ gasped Harry.

Quirrell smiled. His face wasn’t twitching at all.

‘Me,’ he said calmly. ‘I wondered whether I’d be meeting you here, Potter.’

'But I thought – Snape –’

'Severus?’ Quirrell laughed and it wasn’t his usual quivering treble, either, but cold and sharp. ‘Yes, Severus does seem the type, doesn’t he? So useful to have him swooping around like an overgrown bat. Next to him, who would suspect p-p-poor ststuttering P-Professor Quirrell?’

Harry couldn’t take it in. This couldn’t be true, it couldn’t.

'But Snape tried to kill me!’

'No, no, no. I tried to kill you. Your friend Miss Granger accidentally knocked me over as she rushed to set fire to Snape at that Quidditch match. She broke my eye contact with you. Another few seconds and I’d have got you off that broom. I’d have managed it before then if Snape hadn’t been muttering a countercurse, trying to save you.’

'Snape was trying to save me?’

'Of course,’ said Quirrell coolly. ‘Why do you think he wanted to referee your next match? He was trying to make sure I didn’t do it again. Funny, really ... he needn’t have bothered. I couldn’t do anything with Dumbledore watching. All the other teachers thought Snape was trying to stop Gryffindor winning, he did make himself unpopular ... and what a waste of time, when after all that, I’m going to kill you tonight.’

Quirrell snapped his fingers. Ropes sprang out of thin air and wrapped themselves tightly around Harry.

'You’re too nosy to live, Potter. Scurrying around the school at Hallowe’en like that, for all I knew you’d seen me coming to look at what was guarding the Stone.’

'You let the troll in?’

'Certainly. I have a special gift with trolls – you must have seen what I did to the one in the chamber back there? Unfortunately, while everyone else was running around looking for it, Snape, who already suspected me, went straight to the third floor to head me off – and not only did my troll fail to beat you to death, that three-headed dog didn’t even manage to bite Snape’s leg off properly.

'Now, wait quietly, Potter. I need to examine this interesting mirror.’

It was only then that Harry realised what was standing behind Quirrell. It was the Mirror of Erised.

'This mirror is the key to finding the Stone,’ Quirrell murmured, tapping his way around the frame. ‘Trust Dumbledore to come up with something like this ... but he’s in London ... I’ll be far away by the time he gets back ...’

All Harry could think of doing was to keep Quirrell talking and stop him concentrating on the Mirror.

‘I saw you and Snape in the Forest –’ he blurted out.

'Yes,’ said Quirrell idly, walking around the Mirror to look at the back. ‘He was on to me by that time, trying to find out how far I’d got. He suspected me all along. Tried to frighten me – as though he could, when I had Lord Voldemort on my side ...’

Quirrell came back out from behind the Mirror and stared hungrily into it.

‘I see the Stone ... I’m presenting it to my master ... but where is it?’

Harry struggled against the ropes binding him, but they didn’t give. He had to keep Quirrell from giving his whole attention to the Mirror.

'But Snape always seemed to hate me so much.’

'Oh, he does,’ said Quirrell casually, ‘heavens, yes. He was at Hogwarts with your father, didn’t you know? They loathed each other. But he never wanted you dead.’

'But I heard you a few days ago, sobbing – I thought Snape was threatening you ...’

For the first time, a spasm of fear flitted across Quirrell’s face. ‘Sometimes,’ he said, ‘I find it hard to follow my master's instructions – he is a great wizard and I am weak –’

'You mean he was there in the classroom with you?’ Harry gasped.

‘He is with me wherever I go,’ said Quirrell quietly. ‘I met him when I travelled around the world. A foolish young man I was then, full of ridiculous ideas about good and evil. Lord Voldemort showed me how wrong I was. There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it ... Since then, I have served him faithfully, although I have let him down many times. He has had to be very hard on me.’ Quirrell shivered suddenly. ‘He does not forgive mistakes easily. When I failed to steal the Stone from Gringotts, he was most displeased. He punished me ... decided he would have to keep a closer watch on me ...’

Quirrell’s voice tailed away. Harry was remembering his trip to Diagon Alley – how could he have been so stupid? He’d seen Quirrell there that very day, shaken hands with him in the Leaky Cauldron.


Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

by J.K. Rowling