Quirrell knew how to get around Fluffy around in April, but he waited until June to try to steal the Philosopher's Stone. Why didn't he try earlier?

I know Voldemort was afraid of Dumbledore, but was it really the first time Dumbledore had left the school since April? Why did he wait to lure him away from the school?

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    Voldemort might be the bad guy, but he never wanted to disrupt Harry's education. That's why he planned his attacks at the year end :p ;)
    – Shreedhar
    Commented Oct 4, 2021 at 10:39
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    Probably Quirrell was busy with teaching stuff and had little time for being a bad guy... Commented Oct 4, 2021 at 10:53
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    As someone who works on a academic calendar, I can honestly say that June would be the worst possible time to put an evil scheme into motion. Who has time to resurrect your evil master when there are final exams to set and grading to get caught up on? Commented Oct 4, 2021 at 17:30
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    @MichaelSeifert Obviously Quirrel was counting on that--it would keep Snape and McGonnagle busy! Commented Oct 4, 2021 at 19:42
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    @MichaelSeifert You've got me imagining a version where Quirell fails, but doesn't get detected, and he has to do all the grading that he'd planned to skip out on, with Voldemort complaining out the back of his head the whole time.
    – notovny
    Commented Oct 4, 2021 at 23:10

3 Answers 3


He already tried earlier at Gringotts. For Hogwarts he first needed to find out how to overcome the other defenses.

Quirrell himself admits the attempted theft from Vault 713 in the final confrontation:

"When I failed to steal the stone from Gringotts, he was most displeased. He punished me ... decided he would have to keep a closer watch on me." -- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 17 "The man with two faces"

As already mentioned above by Cadence, how to overcome the defenses at Hogwarts was something he first needed to find out:

"You're too nosy to live, Potter. Scurrying around the school on Halloween like that, for all I knew you'd seen me coming to look at what was guarding the Stone." -- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 17 "The man with two faces"

Quirrell's questionable enquiries didn't go unnoticed. Albeit interpreted completely wrong by Harry, the little talk between Snape and Quirrell he overheard documents that at least Snape was aware of Quirrell's snooping:

Snape interrupted him: "Have you found out how to get around the beast of Hagrid's yet?" -- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 13 "Nicholas Flamel"

As Harry and his friends become aware, Quirrell indeed does find out how to calm cute Fluffy:

"Well -- yeah -- how many three-headed dogs d'yeh meet, even around Hogwarts? So I told him, Fluffy's a piece o' cake if yeh know how to calm him down, jus' play him a bit o' music an' he'll go straight off ter sleep --" Hagrid suddenly looked horrified. "I shouldn'ta told yeh that!" he blurted out. -- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 16 "Through the Trapdoor"

It is unclear how much Quirrell found out about the defenses and what was still unknown to him. At minimum he didn't know how to retrieve the stone from the Mirror of Erised. He likely would have preferred to find out still more, but Voldemort, the possibility of the stone being relocated again or even destroyed, and the nearing end of the school year forced him to act.

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    Although you could be right, there is no evidence (that I know of) that he knew about the other defenses then.
    – Milgo
    Commented Oct 4, 2021 at 12:50
  • @Milgo: You are right, my initial answer didn't say why he didn't postpone the attempt till he had found out everything. Strictly speaking, the OP didn't ask for reasons why he acted so soon, but why not sooner. :) But still I agree that clarifying that a bit is better, so I've added a paragraph in that regard.
    – straycat
    Commented Oct 4, 2021 at 13:49
  • @Milgo: Maybe I'm misunderstanding your comment, but -- Quirrell certainly knew something of the other obstacles, because he himself contributed one.
    – ruakh
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 1:54

No one knew how to get past the dog. This was contributed by Hagrid and only he knew how that can be done. That Dumbledore borrowed it was, apparently, a surprise to everyone involved, and quite nasty one to boot. Voldemort finds the solution to that stage much later than he would like, which was, counting backwards, about 4 weeks before the attempt.

Timeline is clear: Hagrid gets Norbert and some time after that Dumbledore is being "called" to London. It logically follows that he was lured out when Voldemort was ready and opportune time came, meaning no more festivities, no more exams and so on, when Dumbledore's presence in Hogwarts wasn't required. After all, Dumbledore is the Head of Hogwarts, if a summons from the Ministry came before then, he would simply decline and reschedule anyway.


Quirell waited because it wasn't the right time to do it yet and also because of Snape remember that one scene in the movie where Snape was talking with Quirell they were more likely talking about the Stone and he waited so long because of Dumbledore he needed to get Dumbledore away from the stone to get it...and also he needed snape away from him to get it but,as we seen in the movie snape wasn't doing that because of snape being snape and also he had Voldemort on the back of his head literally on the back of his head so Voldemort was more likely giving commands.

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    Welcome to SciFi.SE! I feel like this is just begging the question. Why wasn't it "the right time to do it yet"? Because Snape was still there? If so, why didn't they try to get rid of Snape at the same time as Dumbledore?
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Oct 4, 2021 at 15:17
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    In addition to the above it's difficult to read your answer; it would help if you wrote it in sentences instead of a stream of thought.
    – DavidW
    Commented Oct 4, 2021 at 15:19
  • Well snape was one of the followers of Voldemort and snape could more likely sense the he was there but, Quirell didn't do that more likely because that would give his evil plan away.Also they couldn't get ride of Dumbledore because he is to powerful. Commented Oct 4, 2021 at 15:25
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    But they did get rid of Dumbledore - by sending him away from Hogwarts on false pretences. Which leads us right back to the original question: if they needed to get Dumbledore away from the Stone, why didn't they do it sooner? Why leave it until June?
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Oct 4, 2021 at 15:28
  • He was more likely to busy being a "teacher". Commented Oct 4, 2021 at 15:31

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