This is part two of my query about Quirrell's murdering schemes in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. The first question was: Why didn't Quirrell try to kill Ron and Hermione?
I've accepted the idea that Quirrell chose the Quidditch game to try and kill Harry because it would've been easy to claim that Harry falling off his broom was a terrible accident. From Morri's answer:
Harry's broom in his first year, the Nimbus 2000, was a racing broom which (with its quick acceleration) might require skills beyond an average first-year's capabilities. It could be that Quirrell hoped people would think that Harry fell to his death due to his inexperience.
The original plan was probably make it appear an unfortunate Quidditch accident - a seeker too young to participate lost control of his faulty broom, and alas! died or suffered a brain injury.
However, wouldn't Quirrell have seen the numerous downsides to his plan for killing Harry during Quidditch? Namely:
- At the Quidditch game there are plenty of people who can save Harry or come to his aid by countering Quirrell's magic. Snape ends up saving Harry and he wasn't even aware of Quirrell's intentions beforehand; he just responded on the spur of the moment and was still able to save Harry's life. Any of the teachers could have done this.
- When Harry fell, he could've been caught by one of Harry's teammates, who were ready to catch him if required.
The whole crowd were on their feet, watching, terrified, as the Weasleys flew up to try and pull Harry safely on to one of their brooms, but it was no good - every time they got near him, the broom would jump higher still. They dropped lower and circled beneath him, obviously hoping to catch him if he fell.
(Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 11, Quidditch).
There's a spell (called a Cushioning Charm) which makes large falls non-fatal:
[Dumbledore] ran onto the pitch as you fell, waved his wand, and you sort of slowed down before you hit the ground.
(Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 9, Grim Defeat).
If Dumbledore can save Harry's life this way during a Quidditch match in his third year then presumably he could've done the same in his first. It's not a spell which is unique to Dumbledore either; Hermione uses the same spell for the same purpose in Deathly Hallows.
- By attacking Harry in public Quirrell makes it more likely that someone may, however inadvertently, catch him in the act.
- The death of Harry Potter would not have passed under the radar. Harry was an A-list celebrity in the wizarding world. His very public death would've surely invited a lot of press intrusion and a Ministry investigation - all of which makes Quirrell's ultimate goal (stealing the Philosopher's Stone discretely without anyone noticing) more unattainable.
Why then did Quirrell settle on the Quidditch plan? Couldn't he have found some other, more subtle way to silence Harry and make it look like an accident?