After seeing this question it occurred to me to ask a similar question of the Resurrection Stone. What exactly is the practical use of an object that

creates images of the dead that only you can see? Is it purely for emotional value?

Or did I miss something important here?

EDIT: As a sidebar, the impression I got very strongly was that

the Stone is really only reacting to what is inside yourself. So it's not like you can get information from an actual ghost that you didn't already know. Of course, I could be mistaken.

  • 1
    I was under the impression that the stone's practical value was the reason Harry was still alive at the end of the series. That said, I never could make it passed the first book, so I've only seen and enjoyed the movies. So perhaps I just missed something.
    – DampeS8N
    Commented Jul 19, 2011 at 2:03
  • @Kyralessa: The book, really, but my memories may be colored by the movie's limited treatment of the subject.
    – jprete
    Commented Jul 19, 2011 at 2:13

3 Answers 3


The book described the spirits as more than ghosts but less than living. There seemed to be no indication that it was in his head, and since the cloak and elder wand were exceptionally remarkable magical items, I would assume the resurrection stone too can do what no other magical item can do.

I suppose he could have kept using it, but the book seemed to indicate that this would only cause suffering to himself and others in the long run and didn't delve into further details.

  • Of course there were details, the second brother went mad and killed himself, although he brought his lover (or a shadow of her) back, she was still dead and they could not have a satisfying relationship.
    – TGnat
    Commented Jul 19, 2011 at 16:33
  • Well that's what I meant. Other than a singular case, little else was known about what would happen if you kept using it. So drawing from that only, I would gather that she meant that it would only cause suffering (possibly madness?).
    – Neil
    Commented Jul 20, 2011 at 15:37

As far as I can tell, there is no practical value to the Resurrection Stone. Also, I don't think your idea about the stone reacting to what is inside you is valid. From the Harry Potter Wiki:

These spirits are not memories, such as those created by Priori Incantatem, or ghosts, spirits of wizards who have chosen not to pass into the "beyond"; neither are they living people or solid bodies, as no spell or deep magic can totally bring back the dead.

I get the feeling that not all dead people can be conjured up, images or not.

  • The problem with the Wiki quote is that it says a lot about what the Resurrection Stone is not doing and not very much about what it actually is doing.
    – jprete
    Commented Jul 20, 2011 at 14:09
  • True, but it atleast clarifies that the spirits are not just memories of the person who uses the stone. I guess some things just remain what they are, magic. Commented Jul 20, 2011 at 15:54

I think that the Stone allows you to hallucinate in somewhat controllable way to help you cope with the death of a loved one.

Similar to the Mirror of Erised, the Stone shows you whoever you need/want to see by looking inside you (for something to work with) and then projecting a very convincing illusion (for all 5 senses maybe) that only you can interact with, as long as you hold it. It probably lets your subconsciousness fill in the blanks. This projections appear to be nearly as good as real to the user, but only to him/her.

In Ch34 of DH we can see the this:

“They won’t be able to see you?” asked Harry.

“We are part of you,” said Sirius. “Invisible to anyone else.”

If that’s true then you wouldn't be able to get any information from these projections that you didn't already know. This should be relatively easy to check, you could just ask the ‘spirit’ to tell you something they would knew but you possibly couldn't and then check if it’s true. But Harry didn't ask for any such confirmation, he was only looking for courage to do what had to be done. And that’s what he got.

That being said, even if the Stone can’t actually summon the spirits of the dead, it can still be used to break boredom or loneliness, as a sounding board or to help you make decisions or draw conclusions from the data you know (subconsciousnessly) but can’t process for some reason.

But, if the Stone actually allows its user to summon the spirits of the dead then it has immense strategic/tactical importance as an intelligence gathering tool [provided its user can convince the spirits to share some info, they could get advice from everyone from Merlin to Grindelwald]; but this isn’t shown in canon where it’s used only to help people cope with death of their loved ones.

Also, holding the Resurrection Stone appears to dispel any Dementor-induced depression/fear – so, this is maybe the only immediately practical effect of the Stone. [If you need to deal with Dementors for some reason but can’t cast a corporeal Patronus]

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