The properties of the Elixir of Life are said to make one immortal:

The ancient study of alchemy is concerned with
making the Philosopher’s Stone, a legendary
substance with astonishing powers. The Stone
will transform any metal into pure gold. It also
produces the Elixir of Life, which will make
the drinker immortal.

Philosopher's Stone - page 161 - Bloomsbury - chapter 13, Nicolas Flamel

In Philosopher's Stone, Voldemort says about the Elixir of Life:

‘See what I have become?’ the face said. ‘Mere shadow and vapour ... I have form only when I can share another’s body ... but there have always been those willing to let me into their hearts and minds ... Unicorn blood has strengthened me, these past weeks ... you saw faithful Quirrell drinking it for me in the Forest ... and once I have the Elixir of Life, I will be able to create a body of my own ... Now ... why don’t you give me that Stone in your pocket?’

Philosopher's Stone - page 213 - Bloomsbury - chapter 17, The Man with Two Faces

Also in Philosopher's Stone it says the Elixir of Life creates immortality (if drunk regularly, not just one time). How would Voldemort, whose spirit was encased in Professor's Quirrell's body, build a body from the Elixir of Life? It's Quirrell who would have been drinking the elixir anyway, not Voldemort. Is the automatic provision of a physical form implied by the opportunity for immortality through the regular dosing of the Elixir of Life?

Added for clarity: As I commented to NominSim, I'm not asking about Goblet of Fire. I'm asking about what would have happened physically and/or mentally to Professor Quirrell if he had drunk the Elixir of Life in Philosopher's Stone on Voldemort's behalf. How would Voldemort have physically evolved from a spirit to a man while encased inside Quirrell's body? What would have happened to Quirrell? It's already stated in the original question that Voldemort could achieve a new body through the Elixir of Life. I cannot find a suggestion in canon that indicates the Elixir of Life is a potions ingredient. Canon suggests that the Elixir of Life by itself can ensure immortality as long as the witch/wizard in question drinks it as required/regularly.

I don't prefer HP Wikia/Wikipedia answers. I'm looking for a canon-based answer or an answer within the spirit of canon.

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    If the Elixir is mixed with peach schapps and coconut flavoring, how many such drinks can one consume in a four hour period and still blow under the limit if stopped by the cops? Are suck drinks consider feminine, and if so, does anyone know any good recipes? Could Voldemort have gotten a good buzz going on with the Elixir and Jack? Is he more of a beer man (it is England after all)?
    – John O
    Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 0:19
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    @JohnO - Any drink with peach Schnapps is going to be considered feminine (she said, gender stereotyping). How many peach Schnapps and coconut cocktails Voldemort could consume in a four hour period and still not blow over the legal limit depends on Voldemort's weight, gender, and the precise amount of alcohol going into each drink. When's the last time you saw a bartender actually measure out one shot, and then add ice and tonic or whatever? So Voldemort might have just one drink, but there could be 2-4 ounces of alcohol in that one serving. </geek> Could the Elixir be alcoholic? ;) Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 14:33

3 Answers 3


This is primarily based on the version of Tom Riddle seen in Chamber of Secrets.

So, in the Chamber, we saw a few things:

  • The Diary-horcrux created a body for itself.
  • The image-body started intangible, but would have become solid if Ginny died.
  • Ginny's life energy was being drained magically.

Within Harry Potter canon, the Elixir of Life doesn't grant immortality. It extends life. Remember at the end of Sorcerer's Stone/Philosopher's Stone, when Dumbledore is talking to Harry about Flamel destroying the stone? Something along the lines of, he has enough of the elixir stashed away so he can settle all his debts...

Well, the Elixir appears to be life energy, similar to what was being drained from Ginny by the diary. So if they had indeed gotten ahold of the Stone at the end of the book and created Elixir for themselves, this is roughly what I expect to happen:

  1. Quirrel drinks the elixir, same as he did the unicorn blood
  2. Voldemort is able to draw "life energy" from it, similar to how the diary did from Ginny. This is likely primarily magical rather than physical.
  3. The image-body forms, like Riddle's did in the Chamber
  4. If it wasn't enough, more elixir is probably going to be needed. Riddle wasn't a physical being at that point, so I'd think Quirrel would continue doing the drinking, and Voldemort's soul drawing the energy magically.
  5. Repeat step 4 until the body solidifies and his soul either snaps back to it, or he voluntarily switches.

As for the soul returning to the body, the one in Quirrel was fairly unique - it wasn't a true Horcrux, and held the main part of Voldemort's soul. The piece in Nagini died when the snake died, but the piece in Quirrel simply left. This gives the impression that it could have left Quirrel at any time, and simply switched bodies once Voldemort's new body was solid enough.

Now, as for why he couldn't do this with a person, or multiple people? I think because they have their own souls that can resist. He would have likely needed them to pour out their secrets - their "soul" - like Ginny did to the diary. And really, who would do that with Voldemort, especially his spectre form?

ETA by Slytherincess: While looking for an answer to another question, I stumbled across verification that the Elixir of Life made from the Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone does indeed restore a person or whatever spectral force Voldemort was to a full body:

'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.' [Dumbledore]

Half-Blood Prince - pages 469-470 - Bloomsbury - chapter 23, Horcruxes


In The Goblet of Fire Voldemort tells us how he got a rudimentary body:

...Wormtail was able to follow the instructions I gave him, which would return me to a rudimentary, weak body of my own, a body I would be able to inhabit while awaiting the essential ingredients for true rebirth -- a spell or two of my own invention -- a little help from my dear Nagini," Voldemort's red eyes fell upon the continually circling snake,"a potion concocted from unicorn blood, and the snake venom Nagini provided -- I was soon returned to an almost human form, and strong enough to travel..."

There are a few important items to take note of in his statement. The body that it gave him was "rudimentary, weak, almost human". This indicates that the potion was not entirely a success. It gave him a body, but the body was frail, flawed.

He also invented the spell himself, and as we see in The Goblet of Fire Voldemort is very careful about selecting important, powerful ingredients. I am of course referring to the fact that he waited almost a full school year for Barty Crouch Jr. to hatch a convoluted plan to get Harry to the graveyard just so that he could use his blood for his revival.

Now, we don't have any indication as to when he created the spell for the rudimentary body, but the quote from The Sorcerer's Stone indicates that he had a way of creating one since book one. The elixir prolongs human life in a much more powerful (and pure) way than unicorns blood. Drinking unicorn's blood causes a person to live "...but a half-life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your lips." This sounds exactly like the body that Voldemort ended up with after using unicorn blood in his spell. The plot of The Sorcerer's Stone involved Voldemort searching for the elixir in order to avoid that fate.

The short answer then is that if Voldemort had used the elixir instead of unicorn blood then he would not have had a rudimentary, weak body (a half-life if you will) but rather a full, strong body.

  • IIRC, Voldemort remained in spirit form for a couple years before Wormtail found him and helped him create his rudimentary body. But I'm not asking about Goblet of Fire -- I'm asking about what would have happened if Quirrell had drunk the Elixir of Life on Voldemort's behalf. How would Voldemort have physically evolved from spirit to man while encased inside Quirrell's body? What would have happened? I will clarify this in the original post. :) Commented Oct 3, 2012 at 16:12
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    @Slytherincess Although NominSim's answer quotes GoF, it is in fact answering TPS. It posits that Quirrell would not have needed to drink the elixir but instead would have used it as an ingredient in the potion that created one of Voldemort's bodies that we see in GoF (either the temporary form seen at the start or the revived form created in the cemetery).
    – Xantec
    Commented Oct 3, 2012 at 16:49
  • @Xantec -- I get what you're saying, I do, and NominSim's answer is well thought out. It's just not answering the question I'm asking, which I did clarify. I'm asking what would happen to Quirrell physically and mentally if he drank the Elixir of Life while Voldemort was still inside of him. Would he die? Would he be maimed? Would he be split in half as Voldemort's new body left Quirrell and die? Would he survive the ordeal? As a semi-Horcrux, could Voldemort just leave Quirrell's body? Also, I don't recall a canon suggestion that the Elixir of Life would have been used in a potion. :) Commented Oct 14, 2012 at 4:46
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    @Slytherincess I think this still answers your question. I am stating in the question, that since Voldemort used Unicorn's Blood (something that he was already using instead of the Elixir in The Sorcerer's Stone) instead of the Elixir in his potion, that he received a rudimentary body. Had he been able to use the Elixir instead of unicorn's blood, then he would have had a full body. I don't think he ever intended for Quirrel to drink the Elixir for him, he was going to make the potion to give himself a new body.
    – NominSim
    Commented Oct 14, 2012 at 6:25
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    @NominSim - How could Voldemort have physically consumed a potion if at the time, without Quirrell's body to serve as a means of infusing Voldemort with the substance? If Voldemort had been physically able to consume anything without Quirrell, why did he need Quirrell in the first place? Quirrell drank the unicorn blood for Voldemort. Without Quirrell, Voldemort was a disembodied spirit-like being. I don't see how he could physically consume a potion. Voldemort says in PS that the Elixir of Life would restore him to a full body. I don't get the argument for a potion. :) Commented Oct 14, 2012 at 15:38

He could possess snakes. Maybe he could have took it while possessing a snake. Or he could have had Quirrel transfigure snake(s) into a human like form (I have a feeling Transfiguring things into human is either illegal or creating a perfect human impossible) to inhabit to drink the potion. In an anime called Full Metal Alchemist people can transmute (transfigure) the basic components of a body into an imperfect one maybe Voldemort had Quirrel do something similar.

  • …FMA? Does that relate in any way to Harry Potter? Also, you should try to include quotes in any answers you post.
    – AJL
    Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 20:08

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