I have to admit that Sorcerer’s Stone is my least favorite Potter book. The biggest reason for this is mainly Dumbledore…I have major issues with his decision to leave Harry with the Dursley’s when he knows the abuse Harry suffers when he’s with them; but a post about that would be incredibly long and include more of the series. So, I’m going to talk about the second main reason Sorcerer’s Stone is my least favorite of the seven. Throughout the novel everyone repeatedly tells Harry, Ron, and Hermione that the Sorcerer’s Stone is super protected and very hard to steal and yet three First Year’s manage to get past all the protections and enchantments to get the stone….WHAT?! That’s a little too unrealistic for me. I understand that for the sake of the novel and plot and all the other things to come in the next books that Harry, Ron, and Hermione had to be able to get past all of the Stone’s protections but I think it just makes the witches and wizards who put those protections in place look incompetent and we know they really aren’t. Let’s take a closer look at each protection;
Fluffy appeared to be the best defense against threats of theft of the Stone; a big scary three-headed dog would deter even the most determined of thieves…except that literally every professor knows about the beasts’ music weakness. Not only are Harry, Ron, and Hermione entirely capable of enchanting a musical instrument as First Years, the trap door Fluffy is guarding isn’t even enchanted or locked! Not that the door being locked or enchanted would have stopped Hermione but it could have at least challenged her a bit! Fluffy was brought to the school by Hagrid, Hagrid knows what Fluffy is guarding, and he still allows himself to get tricked by three 11 year olds into saying what Fluffy’s weakness is. Hagrid is often a big bumbling teddy bear but he isn’t stupid and I feel like this entire scenario diminishes his character.
Devil’s Snare is on the same level as Fluffy in terms of its effectiveness. It looks scary and threatening but is actually extremely easy to bypass. Let’s face it, even in book one we know that there isn’t much Hermione doesn’t know or can’t do and Devil’s Snare didn’t stand a chance against her. What’s worse is First Year’s are even taught the spell for Devil’s Snare. Hermione recalls Professor Sprout’s Herbology lesson that Devil’s Snare “likes the dark and the damp” (Rowling 278). I find it very hard to believe that Professor Sprout would really think to protect the Sorcerer’s Stone with a magical plant that she also planned to teach students how to protect themselves against.
The flying keys are slightly more challenging for Harry, Ron, and Hermione. But again it’s just too easy a protection for something as important as the Sorcerer’s Stone. Not only are broomsticks provided (unbelievable) but the door key is also noticeably different than the other keys; it’s a “big, old-fashioned one” (Rowling 280). Again, as a protection against someone stealing the Sorcerer’s Stone, it’s pretty weak. Not only are the tools provided for capturing the right key, if Harry, Ron, and Hermione can easily catch the correct key than it would be a walk in the park for a more experienced witch or wizard….like Professor Quirrell.
I think the giant Wizard’s Chess is actually the best protection out of all of them. I mean, its unsuccessful at stopping an adult Professor and an 11 year old but I attribute that to coincidence rather than the enchanted chess’s games protection abilities. For instance, had Harry been alone I don’t think he would have made it through this one (or any of them honestly). But of course, its just handy that this protection happens to be the one thing that Ron is successful at every time he plays. It’s just too coincidental for me. You can preach the “for the sake of the plot” argument all you want but I just can’t extended that excuse to cover every single one of these. And honestly, I don’t buy that Professor McGonagall, Queen McGonagall if you will, would ever think transfigured giant chess pieces would stop a grown man.
Here is where I lose it. Severus Snape is so sneaky and smart yet the best protection he could come up with is a logic riddle?? For real? And not just any riddle, a riddle that an 11 year old can solve in a matter of minutes. Severus Snape is better than that and he deserved better than that.
The Mirror of Erised
Early in the book Harry finds the Mirror of Erised and see’s himself with his parents; thats what he most desires. As Dumbledore explains, the Mirror of Erised shows “nothing more or less than the deepest, most desperate desires of our hearts” (Rowling 213). When Harry is facing Quirrell he thinks to himself, “what I want more than anything else in the world at the moment…is to find the Stone before Quirrell does” (Rowling 291). If what Dumbledore said about the Mirror is true, then what Harry wants in any given moment doesn’t matter. The Mirror should only show his deepest desire and no one will ever convince me that Harry Potter will see anything other than his parents in the Mirror. I find this to be a huge flaw in Sorcerer’s Stone. The Potter books have such a strong theme of love running through them and Harry’s parents are never far from his mind that I find it very unrealistic that they would even be momentarily replaced in the Mirror by the Stone.