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Just before he is sacrificed to Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest, Harry dropped the Resurrection Stone.

“I thought he would come,” said Voldemort in his high, clear voice, his eyes on the leaping flames. “I expected him to come.”
Nobody spoke. They seemed as scared as Harry, whose heart was now throwing itself against his ribs as though determined to escape the body he was about to cast aside. He hands were sweating as he pulled off the Invisibility Cloak and stuffed it beneath his robes, with his wand. He did not want to be tempted to fight.
“I was, it seems . . . mistaken,” said Voldemort.
“You weren’t.”
Harry said it as loudly as he could, with all the force he could muster. He did not want to sound afraid. The Resurrection Stone slipped from between his numb fingers, and out of the corner of his eyes he saw his parents, Sirius, and Lupin vanish as he stepped forward into the firelight. At that moment he felt that nobody mattered but Voldemort. It was just the two of them.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 34. The forest again, page 592 of 638

Why did he do that?
And Why didn't he come back and search for it later?

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The second I saw that in the movie I thought "Rowling just gave herself a way to continue the story". Never really noticed it in the book. –  user2452 Jul 24 '11 at 20:32
    
Protected because of repeated answers to the effect of "it's to bring back Voldemort". –  dlanod Aug 1 '12 at 6:39

15 Answers 15

up vote 49 down vote accepted

Dumbledore was very clear that Voldemort's fear of death and attempted mastery over it was the primary root of his evil. Harry didn't have any ambition to become the Master-of-death. The point was made clear in the book when Harry chose to continue the search for Horcruxes (Horcruxi?), over searching for the Hallows. The movie attempts to make the same point when Harry breaks the Elder Wand. In either case the Stone is probably the most insidious of the three Hallows in that it only gives its user a shadow of what they actually desire.

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Dropping an unremarkable looking stone on the forest floor is probably the best way to make sure it's never seen again... –  deworde Jul 19 '11 at 17:05
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@espais The Elder Wand is an extremely powerful magical artifact, but it is not inherently evil. A powerful wand in the right hands (Dumbledore, Potter) is as capable of as much good as it would be for evil in the wrong hands(Gridlewald, Voldemort). This is not the One Ring a la Tolkien that is purely evil and will corrupt its user. –  TGnat Jul 19 '11 at 18:08
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He -DOESN'T- break the elder wand. :( –  Rob Oct 19 '11 at 23:24
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@Rob Doesn't Harry fix his own wand in the book, then put the Elder wand in a safe or something so it will be in the possession of Death following Harry's natural death? –  muntoo Oct 21 '11 at 1:23
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@muntoo I love the idea of the Death Eaters doing Accio Stone and getting smacked by millions of pebbles. –  deworde Oct 21 '11 at 9:22

Basically, because the Resurrection stone had served its only practical purpose for him - to cloak/defend him against Dementors in the Forbidden Forest on the way to meet Voldemort.

Once the whole thing went down, he had no further need of the stone, and didn't want/need to use it as a Hallow (see TGnat's answer for details)

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I never saw any indication that a reason he used the resurrection stone was to defend against dementors. Maybe I just missed that but my understanding was that he used the stone to give help gather enough strength to do what he knew needed to be done. But looking at that passage now it does seem he gets the benefit of protection from the dementors - but I still don't have the impression that that was the reason he used it - it was just an added benefit. –  Dason Jan 25 '12 at 3:33
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@Dason - the stone allowed him to be surrounded by the "spirits" of his parents/Sirius/Lupin. To quote from DH: "The dementors’ chill did not overcome him; he passed through it with his companions, and they acted like Patronuses to him" –  DVK Jan 25 '12 at 3:38
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I had edited my comment to reflect that I went back and that it does seem he gets that benefit - I won't argue with that. However, I disagree that this benefit was the only practical purpose that it served. It's just a minor quibble though. –  Dason Jan 25 '12 at 3:47
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@Dason - In your new wording, I agree –  DVK Jan 25 '12 at 14:33

Ok, I have read this and all the following comments. As a strong Harry Potter fan, I feel obligated to explain this.

Firstly, when Harry dropped the resurrection stone in the forest, it was most definitely intentionally. He did this because he knew that the 'people' who were brought back to life were not real. Also, he didn't want to be the master of death, he just wanted a peaceful life. Some people have said that dropping an odd looking stone on the floor is hardly the best way to hide it, but no one other than Dumbledore and Harry knew it was in the forest. Even if someone did find it, it is likely they wouldn't know what it was. Secondly, Harry broke the elder wand as he did not want to have it and be the master of death. Also, every wizard who has had it has been killed by another to try and get it. Harry did not want this as he clearly says that he has had enough trouble with Voldemort, and just wants to live and calm and peaceful life.

Next, some people are saying J.K Rowling has done this to create a sequel, even where maybe Voldemort comes back and makes more horcruxes. This is not true. The resurrection stone has shown that it can't bring back any wizard, just a virtual image of them. The only reason Voldemort came back the first time was because he had his horcruxes, so he never really died. However, all his horcruxes have been destroyed, so he is dead, and can never come back. J.K. Rowling may write a sequel, but I don't think it will have anything to do with the resurrection stone. People are just reading in to this way too much.

Another thing people are asking about if why Harry has not destroyed the invisibility cloak. This is because the cloak was not created by the third brother to cheat death, it was instead created to be able to live a long and happy life, and to only see death again when he reached a ripe old age. Harry kept this as well because it was his father's, so probably has a high sentimental value.

People have also said that Harry becoming an auror would lead to him not leading a calm and peaceful life. Firstly however, in no point does J.K. Rowling say in the books that Harry eventually became an auror. And secondly, you say he must lose at least one of his battles, yet he managed to destroy Voldemort when he was only 17! I know if was all to do with the wands and such, but in the books Harry has shown that he has very high magical skills. First, he helped Ron knock a troll unconscious after only knowing he was a wizard for a couple of months. Then, he killed a basilisk in his second year. He won the tri-wizard tournament (and defeated Voldemort in a battle). He taught people his age and older how to defend themselves against dark magic. And he has one of the strongest patronuses, which he could successfully create in his third year! So, I think that's pretty spectacular.

So, basically, Harry drops the resurrection stone because he does not want to be the master of death. Simple as. He does not want to be immortal, and he is not power crazy, like Voldemort.

I personally don't think that J.K. Rowling will write a sequel with high drama and Voldemort returning. If she did make Voldemort return, it would completely go against everything she has written about Harry Potter. I don't think she is likely to do that. However, she may write a sequel, but I think it would involve little drama and just sum up Harry, Ron, Hermione, and everyone else's lives after Voldemort.

Anyway, that's all I have to say. I hope I cleared everything up, and if not, respond to me guys!

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Only one quibble with your answer: he didn't kill the troll. It was only knocked unconscious. Otherwise, great answer. –  Joe White Jan 18 '12 at 3:45
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Also, he didn't break the Elder Wand. He put it back in Dumbledore's tomb after fixing his old wand. –  morganpdx Mar 16 '12 at 22:51

In the moment, Harry simply lost the stone out of nerves, and probably wouldn't have been too fussed. He certainly wouldn't want to let on that he had it in front of Voldemort.

However, he understood, from the moment he knew he had it, what the Resurrection Stone really did, and why it drove the original owner insane. It doesn't actually bring the dead back to life; nothing can. More like it creates a visual representation of the imprint that the dead made on your soul while they lived. They can't interact physically, and they aren't even visible to other people; they're not even ghosts.

Thus, the stone wouldn't have held too much interest to him once he knew he was going to live for many years after Voldemort had done his worst. Yes, a lot of the people he cared about and loved died over the course of the novels, and of course he'd have wanted to prevent or even undo it. But, one of the first things Dumbledore taught him was "it does not do to dwell on dreams, and forget to live". He knew the Resurrection Stone's power was illusory, and so it mattered little to him that the stone was lost among countless others in the forest.

Regarding the Elder Wand, Ron asks the audience question in both the book and the movie; why on earth would Harry give it up? The answer is quite simply that Harry's had enough of death, and that's all the Elder Wand is; its history is written in the blood of its owners. Only with the last few owners did the wand change allegiances without the owner having to die to do it, and even then it always changes hands violently. Harry knows better than to be tempted by its power. In the book, Harry basically decides to let nature take its course; he puts the wand back in Dumbledore's hands, and if Harry dies of old age, undefeated, the wand's power is broken. That slight weakness in the book (it would be extremely unlikely that Harry would live out a lifelong career as an Auror without ever being bested even once in a fight) was erased from the movie; Harry snaps the Elder Wand into pieces, a far more forceful rejection of the Wand's allure.

The point of all of this is that Harry, after initially being sorely tempted to try to unite the Hallows, ultimately rejects all but the cloak, having taken to heart the lesson behind the tale of the three Peverell brothers.

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Care to explain, Downvoter? –  KeithS Jan 24 '13 at 17:13

In my opinion, Harry did not care about losing the stone at the moment because he had other things to worry about. It was just him versus Voldemort; the ghosts on his side could have only been a distraction.

In the last chapter, Harry confirms that he is not going to come back for it:

“The thing that was hidden in the Snitch,” he began, “I dropped in the forest. I don't know exactly where, but I'm not going to go looking for it again. Do you agree?”

“My dear boy, I do,” said Dumbledore, while his fellow pictures looked confused and curious. “A wise and courageous decision, but no less than I would have expected of you. Does anyone know else know where it fell?”

“No one,” said Harry, and Dumbledore nodded his satisfaction.

- ch. 36, The Flaw in the Plan, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K.Rowling

After all, The Tale of Three Brothers clearly shows that there is nothing exciting in a long-term perspective in keeping either the Elder Wand or the Resurrection Stone.

J.K.Rowling's answer about the Resurrection Stone:

Ea: Will the stone ever be found, since it was left just sitting on the forest floor?

J.K. Rowling: I think not. I imagine that it was squashed into the ground by a centaur's hoof as the centaurs dashed to the aid of the Hogwarts fighters, and thereafter became buried.

- J.K. Rowling and the Live Chat, Bloomsbury.com, July 30, 2007

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And Why didn't he come back and search for it later? –  DavRob60 Aug 15 '11 at 14:12
    
I've just edited the answer. In the last chapter, Harry explains that he is not going to come back for the Resurrection Stone and is not going to use the Elder Wand. Both decisions were regarded as wise. –  rems Aug 21 '11 at 16:28

I'm making a habit of answering old questions, but the other answers on this page surprised me.

I really don't think Harry intentionally dropped the Resurrection Stone. The question quotes the scene: "The Resurrection Stone slipped from between his [Harry's] numb fingers ..." It slipped from his "numb" fingers - he had no feeling in his hands, due to the enormity of what was happening at that moment, and he just accidentally dropped it. He was about to sacrifice himself! Hasn't anyone ever experienced that involuntary muscle relaxation because you've just been distracted or shocked? (No diarrhea joke intended!)

So, the Stone unintentionally fell from his hand. I really think it's as simple as that. All that mattered was his next step: 'At that moment he felt that nobody mattered but Voldemort. It was just the two of them.'

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Just to add on: The stone "slipped" from his "numb" fingers ... Sounds like a classic accident to me. –  Arachno-Sapien Jan 31 at 1:39
    
I think people based their "intentional" opinion on the fact that he would have picked it up if he didn't intend to lose it (meaning, he was aware of the stone slipping out and chose not to pick it back up). But it's a valid observation, +1 –  DVK Jan 31 at 2:01
    
Thanks, DVK! But still, if Harry really had eyes only for Voldemort then, I doubt he would think to bend down (which would draw attention to the Stone from watching Death Eaters, I think) and pick it back up. Not that I'm saying you thought that, I'm just referring to the other answers. –  Arachno-Sapien Jan 31 at 2:09
    
No. Harry dropped the stone to dismiss the spirits. You've omitted a crucial part of the quite that shows he was thinking about his parents, Sirius and Lupin as he let go if the stone. He is dismissing them to focus on Voldemort. –  TGnat Jan 31 at 2:11
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I'm not omitting anything. All the quote says is that Harry sees the spirits vanishing. There's not enough evidence there to suggest that Harry dropped it because he wanted the spirits to vanish. If anything, I'd say he would have preferred them to stay longer. –  Arachno-Sapien Jan 31 at 2:15

Harry needed the horcrux that existed in his scar to be destroyed. The resurrection stone might have prevented that. I always felt that Harry believed he would have to die to destoy the horcrux, and was quite surprised to be alive but feel the change in his scar.

So, effectively, Harry intended to sacrifice himself so Voldemort could be destroyed.

Not to mention the fact that by discarding it he denied Voldemort the potential to gain the item from Harry.

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How would the stone have prevented the destruction of the Horcrux. Its power was to bring back spirits of the dead. The term "resurrection" in this case is something of a misnomer, which is what makes the stone dangerous. Remember, no spell can bring back the dead. –  TGnat Jul 20 '11 at 15:00
    
TGnat - I thought it also protected the spirit of possessor of the stone as well. That was how I understood its protection to work against the dementors. –  Chad Jul 20 '11 at 15:30
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The particular passage in the book says that the spirits acted like a patronus to shield Harry from the dementors, technically, not the stone itself. –  TGnat Jul 21 '11 at 13:20
    
@Tgnat... I do not want to split hairs here so then the spirits would still be there to potentially protect harry and by extention the horcrux from the death spell. –  Chad Jul 21 '11 at 17:10
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Had Harry kept the stone, he would have been in possession of both the Cloak of Invisibility and the Resurrection Stone, while also in the presence of the Elder Wand (which was not in his possession, but whose allegiance was to him.) According to the legend of the Deathly Hallows, this would have made him effectively immortal, and he thought he had to die so that Voldemort could later be defeated. –  Toby Jul 27 '11 at 14:20

Even if the resurrection stone was somehow found (accio resurrection stone, anyone?), there's no way it would bring Voldemort back. Although they enabled his self-sacrifice, Harry recognized that the presence of his dead loved ones was an illusion. At most it would convey a memory of Voldemort. Also, after so much time has passed, and with all of his Death Eaters, minus the Malfoys, dead, who would want him back? In the end it seemed like most of his followers only stuck by his side out of fear.

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While watching the movie, I was thinking the same thing. I had just finished the book for the 3rd time and he does the same thing in the book, which is not always the case (he broke the Elder wand in the movie but not the book)

The fact that they made a big deal of him dropping it in the movie makes me think that it might just give Jo Rowling a way to return to the world of Harry Potter (which she does not rule out).

If someone found the Resurrection Stone, could they resurrect Voldemort? Perhaps someone at Hogwarts, the next generation? (meaning someone in class with Harry and Ron's kids)

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I feel a sequel coming on... –  Neil Jul 22 '11 at 13:11
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@neil J.K.Rowling thinks that the stone will never be found: Ea: Will the stone ever be found, since it was left just sitting on the forest floor? J.K. Rowling: I think not. I imagine that it was squashed into the ground by a centaur's hoof as the centaurs dashed to the aid of the Hogwarts fighters, and thereafter became buried. - J.K. Rowling and the Live Chat, Bloomsbury.com, July 30, 2007 –  rems Aug 18 '11 at 16:29
    
I don't believe they could resurrect Voldemort and bring him back to life. However, I don't think that rules out the possibility that somebody uses the stone to learn the dark arts from Voldemort. –  Dason Feb 18 '12 at 22:34

Even after he returned to life, he didn't want to be tempted seeing his loved ones again. Remember, the point of the second brother was how seeing someone he loved, yet being unable to truly be with them, drove him mad to the point that he committed suicide. Harry fully knows the temptation of seeing his dead loved ones, look at the Mirror of Erised in his first year. It's also the kind of thing people would kill for, like they did with the Elder Wand, just for the chance to speak to their dead family and friends again. Honestly, Harry made the better choice just by leaving it there. It's a temptation man should not be allowed to face.

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Good catch as far as the parallel between Mirror and Stone! Add Dumbledore's quotes on both of them and you'll have a great answer! –  DVK May 16 at 12:42

When you had the Mirror of Erised, have photos and paintings to talk to, and knowing that that makes the dead tired and crazy over time, why would you keep that stone?

And, also, Harry doesn't seem to treat historical artifacts very kindly, or with any sentimentality, if they set him back on his [morally ok] goals.

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Let me copy my opinion on this topic from the older question Is the Resurrection Stone (or Any Magical Object) Ever Really Lost?

Harry had to drop the stone before meeting the Dark Lord, because there was a risk that his servant Death Eaters would have found the stone if they searched Harry's body. If they did, they might even get suspicious and examine why Harry kept a gemstone with him at that time, and even bring the Dark Lord back from death. This was a risk Harry certainly could not take at that time.

If all went accordingly to Harry's plan, and he died there and then but the Dark Lord also got defeated soon, Ron and Hermione would surely have retrieved his body from the forest, and they would have found that he could somehow break the Golden Snitch open. They were the only ones who knew Harry's theory that the Snitch contained the Resurrection stone, so they might have searched the nearby forest floor for the stone, whereas the Snitch wouldn't have given this clue for the Death eaters.

Even if Ron and Hermione didn't find the stone, the stone would be the most likely to be found by forest creatures, especially Centaurs, who might actually be wise not to use it, but even if they used it, that didn't pose as much immediate danger as if it got into the hand of Death Eaters.

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Uhm, I am totally confused by this discussion of the resurrection stone.

The stone allows the bearer to return to the living - in total, in the flesh, etc.

It is the reason that Harry himself was able to come back - he did die. He did come back, and as you can see at the end of the movie, he has a wife and children and everything. I don't think a virtual Harry would have been able to accomplish those things - most women want a real husband, not a virtual one.

He drops it purposely because he knows he is going to his death when he meets Voldemort - and he most definitely does not want Voldemort to find it on his corpse.

The only thing that slightly confuses me is that by dropping it, he is no longer in possession of it, and so how would he be assured that it was going to work. I'm not sure I would be able to make that leap of faith were I going to my death. But, as with so many magical things, the stone just somehow knows who its last possessor was I guess.

Finally, I do not think any one could use the stone to bring another person back from the dead. It works for the one who possesses it (or at least who last possessed it) only. So, there would be a strong desire to keep it from a living Voldemort - hence he drops it.

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You are wrong, see : scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/4602/… –  DavRob60 Jul 29 '12 at 22:44

Harry didn’t live just because he had the Resurrection Stone. It was because he was a horcrux and Voldemort killed the horcrux, not Harry. And yes, the ring was still intact and that was not seen destroyed, but everything else was definitely gone. The snake couldn’t survive without a head and I’m pretty sure her body disintegrated anyway. All the others are dead and gone. The ring is the only hope for Voldemort.

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If you pay attention, Gaunt's ring was not fully destroyed, it being a Horcrux, resurrection stone included, which even though cracked still functioned. The entire ring including the stone was a horcrux and it was lost intentionally. We fondly dubbed it Rowling's red herring, her loophole for possibly bringing back Voldemort in future stories. In order to destroy a Horcrux the object must be obliterated completely and that did not happen.

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The only Horcrux that was possibly "obliterated completely" was the Diadem of Ravenclaw. The containers of the remaining Horcruxes, including the corpse of Nagini and the non-corpse of Mr. Potter, were all damaged yet still, more or less, intact. It was the piece of Voldemort's soul within each Horcrux that needed destroying, and there is every evidence that each of these were "obliterated completely". Your red herring seems to be something of a red herring. –  TGnat Aug 13 '11 at 16:39

protected by dlanod Aug 1 '12 at 6:38

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