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According to the legend recounted by Beedle the Bard in The Tale of the Three Brothers, Cadmus Peverell used the Resurrection Stone to attempt to bring back a girl he had loved and was prepared to marry before her untimely death.

He was able to bring back a shade of her, he felt as though a "veil" separated them, and he could tell that she was suffering greatly from being forced back among the world of the living.

This seems to tell us that whoever is brought back by the stone is a real being, able of suffering.

Yet, in The Deathly Hallows, the "spirits" brought forth when Harry uses the Stone are clearly stated to be basically creatures of Harry's own mind/soul, not "resurrected" beings independent of him.

if that would have been the same effect for Cadmus Peverell, he would certainly not have had a "suffering" ghost presence who forced him to kill himself.

How does that square?

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That could probably be explained as the evolution of the legend as it traveled through time. Legends are always changing as the details are told slightly different with each telling. When Hermione starts telling the story, Ron interrupts her immediately and says "Mom always said it was twilight." Small changes like changing "dusk" to "twilight" could eventually turn into a warped or inaccurate respresentation of reality.

It could be the actual story was that when Cadmus used the stone it only brought back the woman he loved in his mind, and realizing that he would never actually be with her in reality resulted in it not turning out like he wanted. This caused him no undo amount of suffering. The story may have then evolved that the girl WAS brought back, and became the one who suffered due to her state of being.

Either way, the moral of the story is that the Resurrection Stone does not actually restore someone to life, but manifests them to an incomplete existance which will only cause unhappiness.

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  • Nice answer. I'm wondering whether JKR have read Solaris.
    – vsz
    Apr 10, 2013 at 20:32
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The Stone was ages old, possibly hit by a deathly Horcrux-protecting curse made by the darkest wizard of all time, or even been altered by the Horcrux, then made contact with the Sword of Gryffindor, embedded with basilisk venom. It's safe to think that its power may have been altered.

Also (seems very like Harry) is that Harry may not even have wanted his loved ones to actually come back "long-term", knowing that they would only suffer (he does not want anyone he loves to suffer because of him needlessly, and is perhaps far more caring than just this). This may have made the Stone to function differently.

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  • hmm... a downvote. why?
    – n611x007
    Jun 30, 2012 at 7:41
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Each of the Deathly Hallows are actually all terrible:

  • The Elder Wand invites challengers and assassins.

  • The Invisibility Cloak hides the wearer, but builds barriers.

  • The Resurrection Stone is no such thing; but rather a tool for summoning ghosts; irrespective of wether or not the souls being summoned are actually already at peace.

The Resurrection Stone is particularly terrible; as it doesn't actually penalize the user but whatever soul the user wants to summon.

In the end, however, the Resurrection stone is internally consistent:

It always summons ghosts, willing or otherwise, into the living realm.

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  • I think that they are not actually "ghosts" (in the HP universe) but what Dumbledore calls a "reversed echo" or a "shadow" (GoF).
    – n611x007
    Jun 16, 2012 at 20:50
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I think it's because Dumbledore broke it with the sword. It wasn't enough to destroy the magic, of course, but it was enough to make it much less powerful.

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  • 3
    Do you have any evidence that this is the case?
    – Null
    Jul 29, 2016 at 15:07

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