Draco Malfoy screaming at the sight of Voldemort drinking unicorn's blood


Malfoy let out a terrible scream and bolted – so did Fang. The hooded figure raised its head and looked right at Harry – unicorn blood was dribbling down its front. It got to its feet and came swiftly towards him – he couldn’t move for fear.

Then a pain pierced his head like he’d never felt before, it was as though his scar was on fire – half-blinded, he staggered backwards. He heard hooves behind him, galloping, and something jumped clean over him, charging at the figure.

The pain in Harry’s head was so bad he fell to his knees. It took a minute or two to pass. When he looked up, the figure had gone. A centaur was standing over him.

Philosopher's Stone - page 187 - Bloomsbury - chapter 15, The Forbidden Forest

At the time Harry encountered Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest, as Quirrell drank the unicorn's blood, Quirrell was probably at, or close to, his magically strongest, and he also the benefit of Voldemort's powers (although they are weakened).

Centaurs, on the other hand, don't seem to have overt magical abilities -- they read the skies and rely on the bow and arrow as weapons.

So how is it that Firenze, without magic, was able to drive away Quirrell/Voldemort? It would seem that Quirrell/Voldemort could have easily incapacitated Firenze with magic and gone after Harry.

Why was Quirrell scared away by Firenze?

  • 2
    I have wondered that myself, the only guess I came up with was, that having been disturbed while drinking unicorn blood, he was not yet ready for a stand-off. Maybe Quirrel's headguest needs a couple of minutes to draw strength from the blood. Additionally, both Draco and Fang made quitea commotion, so chances are more people could be on their way, and the last thing Voldemort needs is anyone finding out he is actually inside Quirrell. I know Prince's Tale hints Dumby knew all along, but who knows. Then again, the next people to arrive are Hermionie, Neville & Hagrid. Voldy had to flee!!
    – BMWurm
    Aug 22, 2014 at 17:21
  • 1
    I always thought that was because he didn't want to pull Dumbledore's attention to himself. Starting a fight in the forest would let Dumbledore know that he was there.
    – user13267
    Aug 22, 2014 at 22:48
  • 1
    Are you totally going to hate on me if I edit the ferretface out? Nov 15, 2014 at 18:57

2 Answers 2


Quirrell wasn't scared away by Firenze alone.

  • Hagrid: He was close by. It would have taken a lot to take him down.

  • Centaurs: The woods are full of them.

  • Firenze: Probably has ways of protecting himself and maybe is more resistant to spells than a human. Also, he might be faster.

Seeing Firenze woke him up to the reality that he wasn't alone with Harry and strong people were around. If he fought Firenze then others would come and he might be caught, cover blown and without a body. There were well trained wizards in Hogwarts if he fought one then more would come.

Also, Voldemort was weakened (that is why he was drinking unicorn blood). And he might have not been ready to face Harry yet, that is why he was waiting until he got the Sorcerer's Stone so that he was stronger and had a physical body.

He had a borrowed body. When he used to borrow snake bodies they were too weak and would eventually die. Imagine what the extra strain of 2 of extra bodies was doing to Quirrell. He realized he was weak.

Also, Voldemort probably wasn't fully ready. He wanted to kill Harry, he hadn't been fully prepared. He wanted to be prepared that time. Quirrell might have wanted to attack and gain favor with Voldemort, but was called off. If Harry died people might suspect Voldemort and the community would be on full alert.

  • Then, why did he advance towards Harry? Apr 27, 2015 at 3:50
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    Still waiting for those canon quotes ;) May 5, 2020 at 16:13
  • "Imagine what the extra strain of 2 of extra bodies was doing to Quirrell" 2 extra bodies? Wait... what extra bodies? Voldy surely didn't have a body, that's why he was inhabiting Quirrell's.
    – FreeMan
    Apr 15 at 13:11

This is very simple. Voldemort was using Quirrell at this point in time to get the philosopher stone. Killing Harry, Draco, and a few centaurs is going to put Dumbledore on high alert, therefore complicating, if not foiling his chances of the philosopher stone. As well as potentially alerting Dumbledore specifically to the presences of Voldemort. We also see in the books that Centaurs are not afraid of magic, and if multiple centaurs are firing arrows at you only one needs to hit. So again simple tactics you don't fight archers in a Forest where they can be behind any tree, and they can clearly see you.

  • Thing is, Voldemort is, at that time, immortal because of his Horcruxes. Dumbledore was aware that Voldemort would return all the way at the beginning of the book (see chapter one, The Boy Who Lived) -- he already is on high alert and he knows Voldemort is around, lurking. I don't think there was any suggestion Voldemort would have killed Draco; Draco had fled the scene. And, again, Voldemort was immortal (he just needed a new body; his spirit could not be killed at that time) so why would a herd of centaurs with bows and arrows scare him and keep him from trying to kill Harry? Aug 22, 2014 at 18:53
  • @Himarm I don't think Dumbledore thinks that Voldemort is still in his forest in Albania, he instructs Snape to have a close eye on Quirrell after all. It's only Harry that assumes that Snape wishes to steal the stone and bring it to Voldy.
    – BMWurm
    Aug 22, 2014 at 20:20
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    While Voldy may have been immortal, his host was not. His best move was to runaway... If Quirrel had been killed in the forest, it would have set back Voldemort's return by a half a book. Aug 23, 2014 at 22:24
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    @Himarm - I'm not convinced of this. From chapter 17 in SS/PS: ‘Then kill him, fool, and be done!’ screeched Voldemort. Quirrell raised his hand to perform a deadly curse, but Harry by instinct, reached up and grabbed Quirrell’s face – Clearly here Voldemort is directing Quirrell to kill Harry. :) Aug 29, 2014 at 3:09
  • @Himarm - But it's not Harry's death that would restore Voldemort's body. It would be the Elixir of Life, made with the Sorcerer's/Philopher's Stone that would restore Voldemort to a body. Voldemort certainly would have "a gain" in killing Harry that night, because Voldemort put credence into Trelawney's prophecy -- certainly he would want the one who could kill him to be killed himself. There are two issues that are separate. One, killing Harry b/c Harry might kill Voldemort, and, two, Voldemort somehow returning to a body. The two are incidental and not necessarily related. Aug 29, 2014 at 19:00

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