The Ultimate Guide To The Sorcerer’s Stone In Harry Potter (6 Burning Questions Answered)

The Sorcerer’s Stone was a key part of the very first book of Harry Potter. However, it was not really mentioned much, so here are some things you may want to know about this stone!

Is the Sorcerer’s Stone the same as Philosopher’s Stone?

In short, yes, they are. However, there are key differences that should be noted between a Sorcerer and a Philosopher. The use of Philosopher in the title does not stress magic as much as the revised version does. 

You could even say the use of Sorcerer reduces the original title’s emphasis on education: Philosopher reminds us of the study and quest for (magical) knowledge, while Sorcerer reminds us of magic itself.

Why did they change Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to the Philosopher’s Stone?

Bloomsbury published Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in the United Kingdom on June 26, 1997. A year later, Scholastic Corporation published a similar book under the name Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the U.S. 

Many Harry Potter fans are aware that the title difference was a marketing move since publishers felt “Sorcerer” would be more accessible to readers in the United States. Many people do not realise how much the two novels differ from each other.

Those who have read both versions of the story will recognise a few subtle differences between the two. It is possible that viewers may have missed the differences because they are so minor.

As Rose Graceling-Moore stated in her article on the topic, there are many differences between the two versions of Harry Potter – namely, how much the change of wording essentially impacts the story. 

Quoting, “The majority of the changes simply replace a British word with its equivalent in North American English – but some have a more substantial impact on characters and the overall tone.”

What does the Sorcerer’s Stone do?

Source: History.Com

One of the most magical objects in the Harry Potter series was the Sorcerer’s Stone, also known as the Philosopher’s Stone. It was capable of turning any metal into pure gold when it was placed on the red stone. It was also known as a symbol of perfection and enlightenment. Seeking the Philosopher’s Stone was a goal of many alchemists, due to its mystical capabilities. For centuries, alchemists strived to find the majestic ruby-red stone, with the goal of achieving immortality. 

A more prominent feature was its capacity to create the Elixir of Life, an immortality potion. It is thought that Nicolas Flamel created Harry Potter’s Sorcerer’s Stone in the 14th century. There has never been another stone of that substance known to exist. Using the stone, Flamel concocted the Elixir of Life, an alchemist’s potion.

Flamel and his wife, Perenelle Flamel, both lived well over 600 years with the aid of the potion. A familiar friend of Flamel’s was Hogwarts headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, who eventually agreed to guard the stone for him. From here, we know how it came to be within the Hogwarts school.

Why was the Sorcerer’s Stone at Hogwarts? And why did Dumbledore want to bring it to Hogwarts?

Source: MuggleNet

The Sorcerer’s stone was initially in Gringotts however was moved from there to a secondary location by Rubeus Hagrid. He moved the stone to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This was done at the request of Albus Dumbledore for two reasons:

  1. The first is that Flamel entrusted the stone to him and seeing as he was always at Hogwarts. It only seems practical that the stone is kept within close proximity.
  2. The second is that Dumbledore believed that Hogwarts was the safest possible place to keep the stone. In an effort to protect the Sorcerer’s Stone, it was placed in a chamber guarded by a number of spells and creatures. Those obstacles included a web of Devil’s Snare, Winged keys, a life-sized Wizard’s Chessboard, a mountain troll, riddles, the Mirror of Erised, and Hagrid’s three-headed dog, Fluffy.

Who was attempting to steal it?

There were two attempts made to steal the Sorcerer’s Stone by two minds and one body if you will.

At first, it seemed that the attempt was made by Quirinus Quirrell. Before teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts, Quirrell went out in search of Lord Voldemort, believing he could achieve recognition for finding him and could learn things that would ensure that no one ever laughed at him again. 

However, Lord Voldemort, after finding out that he had a position at Hogwarts, took over his body. Unfortunately, the body Quirrell and Voldemort were both sharing manifested in burns and blisters during his fight with Harry due to the protective charm Lily Potter left in his skin when she died for him. Though Quirrell had put up some feeble resistance, he died in vain while trying to murder Potter in the Underground Chambers.

Why was the Sorcerer’s Stone left in Gringotts in the first place?

Source: The Independent 

The answer is mainly because the Gringotts Wizarding Bank is one of the most secure and magically protected places in the Wizarding world. Gringotts was an imposing snow-white multistoried marble building located partway down Diagon Alley, near its intersection with Knockturn Alley, that towered over the neighbouring shops. 

It was the place where British witches and wizards stored their money and other valuables, in heavily guarded vaults miles below ground.

In fact, until the Deathly Hallows Horcrux heist conducted by Harry, Hermione and Ron, no one had ever successfully broken into any of the vaults and escaped and lived to tell the tale. Professor Quirrell did break in and lived but that was because the Vault was completely empty and thus no security methods were necessary to guard that vault.

Was the Sorcerer’s Stone a Horcrux?

“So, he’s made himself impossible to kill by murdering other people? Why couldn’t he make a Sorcerer’s Stone, or steal one, if he was so interested in immortality?” said Harry.

Well, we know that he tried to do just that, five years ago, but there are several reasons why, I think, a Sorcerer’s Stone would appeal less than Horcruxes to Lord Voldemort. While the Elixir of Life does indeed extend life, it must be drunk regularly, for all eternity, if the drinker is to maintain their immortality. Therefore, Voldemort would be entirely dependent on the Elixir, and if it ran out, or was contaminated, or if the Stone was stolen, he would die just like any other man. Voldemort likes to operate alone, remember? I believe that he would have found the thought of being dependent, even on the Elixir, intolerable. Of course, he was prepared to drink it if it would take him out of the horrible part-life to which he was condemned after attacking you, but only to regain a body. Thereafter, I am convinced, he intended to continue to rely on his Horcruxes: He would need nothing more if only he could regain a human form. He was already immortal, you see . . . or as close to immortal as any man can be.” said Dumbledore.

– Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

In short, no, the Sorcerer’s Stone was not a Horcrux. The Sorcerer’s stone could make him live forever, but it would not make him immortal. He could still be hit with a Killing Curse and die. It also needed to be used regularly, similar to the way in which Flamel and his wife used it. 

Whilst the frequency of the doses remains an uncertainty, Voldemort was far too proud to live his life with the potential of death and ‘fixed timed medication’ looming over his head. In contrast, Horcruxes were one-time acts of magic that had an infinite shelf life and were complex and random in nature enough to allow Voldemort the degree of secrecy and supremacy he needed to keep ruling the dark arts.

Was the Sorcerer’s Stone a Deathly Hallow?

Source: Wizarding World

The Sorcerer’s Stone and the Deathly Hallows stone of resurrection are completely two different types of stones. The Sorcerer’s Stone, in a nutshell, offers the elixir of life leading to an incredibly long life bordering on immortality as well as the ability to turn any object into gold. The Sorcerer’s Stone was also created by Nicolas Flamel. 

The resurrection stone. however. was only able to bring back people to life, only once they are dead in a manner of speaking. The resurrection stone, as we know from the Tales of Beedle the Bard, was created by death himself. 

Another noteworthy difference would be that a Horcrux is an object in which a part of one’s soul is concealed. The stone does not hide anyone’s soul, therefore, not making it a Horcrux. Taking these things into consideration, through functionality, core content and creator, we can conclude that both stones are completely different.

Was the Sorcerer’s Stone destroyed?

After the near disaster involving Voldemort, Dumbledore and Flamel agreed that they had no choice but to destroy the Sorcerer’s Stone. They feared that it could potentially get in the wrong hands, so cutting it out of existence was the only option. Destroying the Sorcerer’s Stone meant that Flamel’s life would soon come to an end, something that he was content with. He claimed to have enough Elixir of Life left to tie up any loose ends before he met his fate.

The Sorcerer’s Stone was eradicated but there was no indication of how Dumbledore and Flamel destroyed the object.

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Maariyah Bhari

For the love of written words, a cathartic release for me has always been writing. I have over 8 years of writing experience and two degrees in business.

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