In the end of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Voldemort commands Quirrell to seize Harry.

Harry sprang toward the flame door, but Voldemort screamed "SEIZE HIM!" and the next second, Harry felt Quirrell's hand close on his wrist. At once, a needle-sharp pain seared across Harry's scar; his head felt as though it was about to split in two; he yelled, struggling with all his might, and to his surprise, Quirrell let go of him.


"Seize him! SEIZE HIM!" shrieked Voldemort again, and Quirrell lunged, knocking Harry clean off his feet' landing on top of him, both hands around Harry's neck -- Harry's scar was almost blinding him with pain, yet he could see Quirrell howling in agony.

"Master, I cannot hold him -- my hands -- my hands!" And Quirrell, though pinning Harry to the ground with his knees, let go of his neck and stared, bewildered, at his own palms -- Harry could see they looked burned, raw, red, and shiny.

Previously, Quirrell had bound Harry with ropes.

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

Why didn't Quirrell do the same when he was commanded to by Voldemort? Even if it hadn't occurred to him, why didn't he do so after he realized he could not touch Harry with his bare hands? He could then search Harry for the Philosopher's Stone without having gone through all the trouble. Considering how much wizarding adults rely on their wands (or at least on some form of magic) to do their tasks, it seems illogical for Quirrell to physically dive to seize Harry, when he would be able to keep him still with one snap of his fingers.

My question is:

Why didn't Quirrell use some form of magic to seize Harry?

1 Answer 1


Magic aside, 11 year old child vs grown man (perhaps late 20s) with a dark lord on the back of his head, unless that kid was one of those MMA fighting prodigies, i'd put my money on the grown man.

Plus being right next to Harry (close enough to grab his wrist), you really wouldn't need magic, bearing in mind this is before he realised touching Harry was causing him severe pain. In his urgency to follow his masters command, he instinctively did what anyone would do and reach out to what he was told to grab. Could also mention he said "SEIZE HIM!" and not "BIND HIM!".

He eventually tried using magic, but Harry clocked on that he could cause Quirrell pain, and got there before the curse could be performed.

Quirrell raised his hand to perform a deadly curse, but Harry, by instinct, reached up and grabbed Quirrell's face -- "AAAARGH!" - PS

Backing up the point that you don't usually need to use magic for something that is so conveniently close to you; Harry figured out 6 years later.

"Accio Glasses!" Although they were only around a foot away, there was something immensely satisfying about seeing them zoom toward him, at least until they poked him in the eye. "Slick," snorted Ron. - DH

And once again the day is saved, thanks to...The Boy Who Lived!

  • Good answer! I was going to leave an answer noting Quirrell tried to use magic -- "Quirrell raised his hand to perform a deadly curse ..." -- but you've covered it nicely. +1 :) Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 12:50
  • @Slytherincess why thank you ^_^ Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 15:10
  • Yes good answer! I agree that Quirrell tried and Harry thwarted his attempt. But the point I was trying to make is that it was definitely not a very thorough attempt at getting the Philosopher's Stone or capturing Harry. As you mentioned, you would not bet on the 11-year old in that contest. Harry seems to be improbably lucky. Actually now that I think of it, Harry's improbable luck lasts all the way to Voldy's death in book 7. He is the Boy Who Lived after all. I'll accept the answer. Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 19:54

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