- “I met him when I traveled around the world. A foolish young man I was then, full of ridiculous ideas about good and evil. Lord Voldemort showed me how wrong I was. There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it. ”
- ―Professor Quirrell to Harry Potter, about Lord Voldemort
- “No dear boy. I tried to kill you! And trust me. If Snape's cloak hadn't caught fire and broken my eye contact I would have succeeded. Even with Snape muttering his little counter curse.”
- ―Professor Quirrell revealing his true colors.
- “Quirrell: Master, you are not strong enough.
Voldemort: I have strength enough for this.”
- ―Proffessor Quirrell and Lord Voldemort, before Quirrell removes his turban.
Professor Quirinus Quirrell (26 September, year unknown – 1992) was a half-blood wizard who attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and was sorted into Ravenclaw House. He was the Muggle Studies professor at Hogwarts, though he later became the Defence Against the Dark Arts professor during the 1991–1992 school year. He is also a hidden main antagonist of the 2001 film Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. He is portrayed by Ian Hart.
Quirinus Quirrell was born presumably before 26 September, 1970, somewhere in the British Isles, to at least one magical parent. He also had some muggle heritage. Quirinus attended Hogwarts, where he was Sorted into Ravenclaw House. It is likely that he acquired his wand from Ollivanders when he was eleven.
As a boy, Quirinus was gifted but also delicate, teased for his timidity and nerves during his school life. Feeling inadequate and wishing to prove himself, he developed an (initially theoretical) interest in the Dark Arts. The feelings of insignificance and worthlessness that this bullying fostered embittered the boy, forging a latent desire to make the world sit up and notice him.
He also most likely obtained a high-graded O.W.L. and N.E.W.T. in Muggle Studies and Defence Against the Dark Arts, since not only did he go on to teach both but was also noted to have had a gift for the theory of Defensive Magic.
After teaching Muggle Studies for some time, he took a year-long sabbatical in 1990 in order to "gain first-hand experience", though in reality he had taken a 'Grand Tour' around the world in order to hopefully find whatever remained of Voldemort after his first defeat, partly out of curiosity, partly out of that unacknowledged desire for importance from his childhood. At the very least, Quirrell fantasised that he could be the man who tracked Voldemort down, but at best, might learn skills from Voldemort that would ensure he was never laughed at again. His journey proved successful as he did indeed find Voldemort, though he was no match for the Dark Lord (even in such a weakened state) and when he realised that Quirinus had a position at Hogwarts, Voldemort used his charisma to manipulate Quirrell to serve him.
Quirrell also adopted a turban for everyday use after this sabbatical, claiming to have received it from an African prince as compensation for disposing of a zombie. It was also rumoured that he encountered vampires in the Black Forest, in Albania, and had a nasty bit of trouble with a hag.
Quirrell at some unknown point prior to 1991 came into possession of Vault 998 in the new vault area of Gringotts Wizarding Bank. He kept a small box containing various belongings, a large crate, and a chest containing Circe's Chocolate Frog Card that was given by Cuthbert Binns to James Potter before Quirrell came into possession of it.
Serving the Dark Lord
Quirrell spent his last year of life attempting to procure the Philosopher's Stone for Voldemort, who used his nervous disposition to his advantage, as his perceived lack of confidence had earned very little respect from the students at Hogwarts and consequently diverted suspicion away from his plans.
Quirrell's first plan was enacted before the school term started and involved going to Diagon Alley in an attempt to steal the Philosopher's Stone from Gringotts Wizarding Bank for Voldemort. While in the Leaky Cauldron, he met Harry Potter, who had come with Rubeus Hagrid. Quirrell pretended that he was going to buy a new book on vampires. Quirrell was unsuccessful in his attempted robbery, as Rubeus Hagrid had removed the Stone from its vault earlier that same day on Albus Dumbledore's orders.
After this first failure, Voldemort began to share Quirrell's body to ensure no further failure would occur, and as Voldemort's face was sticking out of the back of his head, Quirrell had to wear a purple turban for the entire school year. Quirrell tried to put up feeble resistance on occasion, but Voldemort was far too strong for him to overpower.
After this attempted break-in, he returned to Hogwarts to teach as Defence Against the Dark Arts, while another wizard replaced him as Muggle Studies professor. It is unknown who this wizard was. A few of his classes included the Curse of the Bogies, the Knockback Jinx, Lumos, and Verdimillious. The majority of the students found Quirrell's lessons to be a joke, as they did not take him seriously as a teacher. On Hallowe'en, Quirrell allowed a troll to enter Hogwarts as a diversion, and sneaked to the restricted Third Floor Corridor where the Stone was being hidden. Severus Snape, who suspected Quirrell, followed him and was bitten on the leg by the three-headed dog Fluffy in the process of trying to head Quirrell off.
Later in the year, during a Quidditch match between Gryffindor and Slytherin, Quirrell made his first attempt at Harry Potter's life. He jinxed Harry's broomstick to try to throw him off, but Severus Snape interfered again with a counter-curse. When Hermione Granger observed the crowd through binoculars in an attempt to figure out who was performing the jinx, she caught Snape discreetly uttering the counter-curse incantation but erroneously thought he was performing the actual curse. She later managed to run to Snape's stand and set fire in his robes in order to distract him and make him stop, but during her hurry she accidentally knocked Quirrell over, causing him to break the eye contact necessary for performing his spell correctly.
After the Quidditch match Harry witnessed an intense exchange between Snape and Quirrell. It seemed as though Snape was trying to intimidate Quirrell into handing over information regarding the stone. When Harry, Ron, and Hermione believed that Severus Snape was trying to intimidate Quirrell into helping him steal the Philosopher's Stone, they tried to be supportive and encouraging to Quirrell whenever possible by telling people off for laughing at his stutter, or smiling at him encouragingly whenever they passed him.
About a week before Harry's exams, Voldemort ordered Quirrell to try to get the Stone again. Harry overheard this, and mistook the conversation for an argument between Snape and the Defence teacher. Throughout the year, Quirrell's body weakened drastically from hosting his master's soul, and in order to keep himself and Voldemort alive, Quirrell began to prey on unicorns in the Forbidden Forest and drink their blood. He met Harry, Draco Malfoy, and Fang there, and was about to attack Harry until Firenze the Centaur rescued the boy.
On 4 June, after Dumbledore had left for London, both Quirrell and the trio went through the obstacles blocking the way to the Stone. To get past Fluffy, Quirrell disguised himself and lured Hagrid into a card game by betting a dragon's egg. During the game, he managed to draw out information about Fluffy by convincing Hagrid that he was a Dragon dealer, and as such, shared Hagrid's penchant for dangerous pets. In Hagrid's enthusiasm, and most likely under the influence of alcohol, he let slip that playing music for the three-headed dog would put him to sleep. Quirrell then sent a forged letter to Professor Dumbledore summoning him to the British Ministry of Magic to get him away from the school. He went after the Stone, but was followed by Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger — though they believed their enemy to be Severus Snape.
Battle in the Philosopher's Stone Chambers and death
Quirrell was able to penetrate the first six chambers that protected the Philosopher's Stone, including the chamber in which he himself put a troll. He reached the final chamber only to find the Mirror of Erised, and was unable to figure out how to take the stone from it, going so far as to consider smashing the mirror.
Eventually, Harry alone managed to reach the last chamber, and was surprised to meet Quirrell instead of Snape. Quirrell non-verbally bound Harry and summoned a wall of fire behind the door to prevent him from escaping, then, on Voldemort's command, forced Harry to look into the mirror. Harry saw his reflection with the Stone in his own trousers' pocket, and felt it indeed being transferred to his real pocket. When Harry lied about what he saw in the mirror, Quirrell unwrapped his turban to reveal Voldemort's face, bound to the back of his head.
Quirrell's life ended then, when Voldemort forced him to attempt the murder of Harry Potter (figuring out Harry had the Stone and being unable to persuade him to give it willingly). Unfortunately, the body Quirrell and Voldemort were both sharing manifested in burns and blisters during his fight with Harry due to the protective charm Harry's mother left in his skin when she died for him. Harry collapsed from the pain in his scar, but Quirrell's body was burnt so horribly that Voldemort dispossessed his body and left him to die. However, despite being effectively turned into a living Horcrux for the last year of his life, Quirrell did not ultimately lose his soul, having even tried to put up feeble resistance on occasion (in spite of the fact that Voldemort was far too strong for him).
In 1995, the then Defence Against the Dark Arts professor Dolores Umbridge mentioned him when she was criticising the past DADA professors for not teaching them things that would pass a Ministry inspection, considering that he was a possible exception due to teaching "age-appropriate subjects". Harry then retorted that Voldemort was on the back of his head, earning him another week's detention.
In his youth, Quirrell was gifted, but emotionally delicate. He became interested in travelling as well as pressing wild flowers, stemming from his early enthusiasm in academia, and continued to do so in his adult years. By his own admittance, he was "full of ridiculous ideas about good and evil". As a young boy, he was teased and neglected for his timid nature, and came to develop a latent desire for recognition and greatness, cynical feeling for society, and was seduced by the Dark Arts, no matter how subtle the lure appeared at first. This led him to foolishly search out for Voldemort's remains in the hopes of fame and knowledge, while exposing his impressionable and naive side to the fallen Dark Lord. Quirinus' journey to capture Voldemort showcases his own overestimation of his own skills, possibly a slight arrogance, as Voldemort easily overpowered him. When Quirrell met Voldemort, he arrived at the conclusion that "there is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it". Meeting Voldemort made Quirrell admit himself as a "foolish young man [he] was then", apparently looking down on his past self, showing his gullibility, and weak will, and was easily corrupted. Quirrell generally did his best to serve Voldemort, though he admitted that his attempts were not always successful, seeing as he was being given rather tall orders. Dumbledore considered Quirrell to be greedy, hateful and ambitious, a reason why Quirrell could not understand the powerful magic of love, which was what heavily injured him during the battle with Harry Potter. Despite Quirrell's continuous descent into corruption, he at least had one piece of redemption of attempting to resist Voldemort's soul of possessing his body, feeble and futile though it may have been.
Throughout the school year, Quirrell appeared nervous and timid. He frequently stuttered and was mostly an incompetent teacher. Though his nervousness was probably very real due to the enormous pressure being put upon him by Voldemort, Quirrell had a chillingly sinister side that most people never saw. He was extremely adept at conniving and manipulation; at one point, he disguised himself and tricked Hagrid into revealing crucial information on how to get past one of the obstacles protecting the Philosopher's Stone. Another time he let a fully-grown Mountain Troll into the school on Hallowe'en as a diversion while he headed off to the third-floor corridor and tried to penetrate its defences. He even managed to deceive the great Albus Dumbledore by forging a Ministry letter to him to lure him away from school, although Dumbledore was quick to realise that Quirrell had fooled him and returned to Hogwarts.
Presumably because of his constant failures, Quirrell eventually became obsessed with pleasing Voldemort and whenever he looked into the Mirror of Erised he would see himself with the Philosopher's Stone, the object Voldemort desired above all else. Quirrell became very desperate, being willing to slay unicorns in order to drink their blood to keep himself alive, a crime that is noted by Firenze only those who have nothing to lose and everything to gain would commit.
Many people considered Quirrell to be foolish, avaricious, worthless, and tend to look down on him. Severus Snape confided to Bellatrix Lestrange that he considered Quirrell as a mediocre wizard who was greedy and unworthy; many students saw his lessons to be a bit of a joke undeserving of respect; and Voldemort deemed Quirrell as a foolish and gullible man who he only allied with for his position. Even Dumbledore himself, who had retained a level of pity and compassion even for his much more incompetent successor, openly acknowledged that Quirell's fate was well-deserved due to his greed, hatred and ambitions without any care.
Quirrell was a young man with light blue eyes and fair skin. When Quirrell returned from his sabbatical in Albania, one of his eyes developed a twitch and his skin became quite pale. At the start of the term, he wore a purple turban. Near the end of his life, it was revealed under his turban that he had allowed Voldemort's fledging body to grow a face at the back of his own head and joined forces with him. He wore a dark purple robe with a white shirt and black tie underneath.
Powers and Abilities
Quirrell was known to have a brilliant mind and had an excellent aptitude for theoretical learning, particularly when it came to Defensive Magic (though was less competent in the application of that knowledge). Whilst this made him a intelligent student, it did not make him a great wizard, his practical aspect severely hampered by his timid nature. Nevertheless, as Professor McGonagall later said that all teachers of Hogwarts are talented in magic, it can be assumed that Quirell nevertheless held a reasonably high amount of magical ability and power but his success nevertheless apparently depended on his large knowledge rather than ability. However, after being possessed by Lord Voldemort his powers grew greatly, making him capable of performing feats that required considerable magical power.
- Intelligence: Quirell was known while still a student for being highly intelligent, possessing a brilliant intellectual mind. His intelligence was great enough to locate Voldemort, which the British Ministry of Magic had failed to do. He was also intelligent and cunning enough to successfully forge a convincing letter to Albus Dumbledore, supposedly being from the Ministry, in order to deceive him and send him away from the school.
- Charms: Whilst the true extent of Quirrell's expertise in this area is unknown, he was able to conjure a non-corporeal Patronus, a very advanced piece of magic, which means he must have possessed a considerable amount of ability in charms. He also was able to skilfully perform and thoroughly teach on how to cast many other charms such as Verdimillious Charm (red form) and Wand-Lighting Charm, giving his students in his Defence Against the Dark Arts classes full understanding on how to use them effectively. He was also capable of casting the Deprimo charm, capable of collapsing an entire room. Furthermore, Quirrell was capable of animating objects, such as a gargoyle statue and several suits of armour, and conjuring a barrier around himself.
- Dark Arts: Quirrell had at least a reasonable amount of knowledge and ability in dark magic, enough to adequately use it and thoroughly explain how to use jinxes, hexes and curses, such as the Knockback Jinx and Curse of the Bogies, teaching his first-years the knowledge of how to perform both spells effectively. His possession by Voldemort dramatically amplified Quirrell's abilities and powers over dark magic, enough that he was able to jinx Harry Potter's Nimbus 2000 to go out of control in an attempt to kill him, something that Hagrid noted required an exceptional amount of ability in the Dark Arts. He nearly succeeded - even Severus Snape was unable to counter the jinx completely - and was only thwarted when Hermione Granger indirectly made him lose focus. He was also capable of locking the exit to the Dungeons with four set of curses, making so that the only way to exit the Dungeons were to undo all the curses with a curse-dependent locking spell. He also possessed considerable skill in the handling and presumably also the understanding of dark magical artefacts and cursed objects. He also displayed the ability to shoot balls of destructive green energy, and cast an unknown destructive curse that he charged in his wand before unleashing it, possibly the Blasting Curse.
- Transfiguration: Quirrell was apparently proficient in this notably complex and scientific branch of magic, as he displayed a rather high amount of skill in conjuration, a highly difficult and complex branch of transfiguration. He could conjure ropes, both non-verbally and verbally. He could also cast a spell which conjured green Gytrashes.
- Defence Against the Dark Arts: Quirrell was noted to be particularly gifted in the theory of Defensive Magic and would gain an extensive amount of knowledge and experience on how to defend from the Dark Arts, some of which were attributed from his journeys enough that Ministry of Magic considered him to be a good teacher and he was notably the only teacher to pass the Ministry Inspection. This was exemplified by his ability to effectively teach his First Year class how to use the spells Verdimillious Uno (red form) and Lumos to defend from the Dark Forces. He also taught the Curse of the Bogies and could quickly deduce that Harry Potter was under the aforementioned curse's influence immediately upon seeing him entering his class coughing and he also was able to thoroughly explain to his class how to use the Knockback Jinx. However, whilst all this made him a talented teacher of DADA, it still did not make him a particularly good practitioner. In addition, his teaching skills were very diminished by his nervous nature, leading students to take his classes as a joke, giving him very little respect in return.
- Non-verbal magic and Wandless magic: Quirrell was capable of effectively performing intricate magic nonverbally and wandlessly, conjuring ropes without a wand. Whilst this could easily have been the result of his power boost received from Voldemort's possession, Quirinus was the possessor of an alder wand (which emphasises nonverbal magic) and hence it is likely that he was already truly proficient in this area of magic prior to his meeting with the Dark Lord. He could also conjure fire just by raising his hands while possessed by Voldemort.
- Magizoology: He was known to be experienced and capable in handling dangerous magical creatures from his travels but had a particular uncommon gift with trolls being able to bring a fully grown mountain troll into Hogwarts castle on Hallowe'en as well as easily subdue the mountain troll that guarded the Philosopher's Stone. He was somehow able to acquire a Norwegian Ridgeback dragon egg to give to Hagrid, implying he was highly proficient in this field given his ability to acquire and handle such dangerous beasts. Furthermore, he would have been very knowledgeable in understanding and handling dark creatures considering his profession as the professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts, and was at least able to explain to Harry Potter how to deal with Ghosts, Gytrashes and Imps, for example. He was also known to have an interest in Vampires, meaning he would have had a very good understanding of them as well.
- Muggle Studies: Quirinus had considerable knowledge of Muggles, Muggle technology and society considering that he was a professor of Muggle Studies at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry; he would have achieved a high score on his N.E.W.T. exam.
- Herbology: Quirrell clearly had some interest and skill in Herbology and with magical and mundane plants, going as far as having a liking for pressing wild flowers in his free time. Indeed, he was capable of passing through the Devil's Snare in the Underground Chambers presumably with relative ease, implying he was rather knowledgeable in this field.
- Actor: Despite his timid and nervous nature, Quirrell was also a talented actor as he was able to hide his true nature from most of the Hogwarts staff members and students, with the notable exceptions of Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape, enough so that even Harry Potter and his friends suspected Snape instead of him, and only revealed his true nature and intentions to Harry at the very end. Additionally, even though Snape saw him for what he really was, Quirrell did not openly show his dark nature to Snape when he was threatened by him, keeping the facade of a nervous, helpless man in order to fool the other Hogwarts residents.
- Wand: Quirrell owned a wand made of alder wood with a unicorn hair core.
- Turban: During the 1991-1992 school year, Quirrell wore a turban to hide his master's face on the back of his head.
- Office: While teaching Defence against the Dark Arts, Quirrell occupied an office on the second floor where he kept books, skulls and masks.
- Lumos spellbook: Quirrell owned a spell-book about the Wand-Lighting Charm that he used while teaching.
- Vault 998: Quirrell owned this vault in Gringotts Wizarding Bank, containing many valuables and personal items.
The name "Quirinus" is possibly derived from the Sabine word quiris meaning "spear". Quirinus was a Sabine and Roman god who was later identified with Mars. The name was also borne by several early saints.
"Quirinus" is also associated to the Roman god Janus, as in Janus Quirinus. Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and transitions, is often depicted as two-faced, with one visage looking forward, to the future, and one looking back, to the past. This image is reminiscent, of course, of Voldemort's face set opposite Quirrell's own.
Quirinus was a Roman god about whom there is not much information, although he is commonly associated with war — a clue that Quirrell is not quite as meek as he appears.
'Quirrell', which is so nearly 'squirrel' — small, cute and harmless — also suggested 'quiver', is a nod to the character's innate nervousness.
Quirinus is also used as an epithet for the Roman god Janus, a god with two faces similar to Quirrell after he was possessed by Voldemort. This could be a clue to the malevolence of his character. Janus was the god of beginnings, and Quirrell was the first one to find Voldemort in Albania, thereby beginning the Dark Lord's rise to power, in a way, and was the first Dark Wizard that Harry ever directly confronted.
Quirrell was once an insecure and stuttering man, his face twitching constantly. When he was a student at Hogwarts, he was sorted into Ravenclaw house. J.K. Rowling stated that he was teaching Muggle Studies before taking over Defense Against the Dark Arts. He traveled around the world to get subject for his lessons and during one of these travels, he met the disembodied Lord Voldemort, who gained him to his cause. From then on, the shy, young teacher would become much more confident and ruthless, though he kept acting like his old self as a facade.
When Harry and Hagrid are about to visit Diagon Alley to buy Harry's equipment for Hogwarts they enter the Leaking Cauldron. In the Leaking Cauldron, Harry is recognized by many witches and wizards, who are delighted to see the Boy Who Lived and want to shake his hand. There, Hagrid introduces Harry to Quirrell. After a short conversation, in which Harry notices Quirrell's distinctive stutter, Quirrell leaves them and Harry and Hagrid enter Diagon Alley.
Unbeknownst to Harry and Hagrid Quirrell breaks into Gringotts, the Wizards Bank, the same day and fails to steal the Philosophers Stone, as the vault was emptied by Hagrid only hours before. This leads Voldemort to the decision that he needs to watch Quirrell more closely and he possesses Quirrell's body. To hide Voldemort's face, which is now growing out of the back of his head, Quirrell wears a turban. Students, including Harry, recognize the foul smell but, as Quirrell claimed to have a backstory with a vampire, believe that the turban is simply filled with garlic.
When the Philosopher's stone is hidden at Hogwarts many teachers are asked by Dumbledore to help protect it, including Quirrel. Quirrell, who has a hand with trolls, dispatches one especially nasty specimen to guard the stone. As no teacher knows what spells protect the stone except their own, this goes unnoticed.
At Hogwarts, Quirrell does not act until Halloween, where he unleashes a troll in Hogwarts to cause a distraction. Planning to steal the Philosopher's Stone while the rest of the teachers are dealing with the troll, Quirrell is instead stopped when Snape, who grew suspicious, arrives first to stop anyone trying to steal the stone. However, the Cerberus Fluffy, one of the Stone's guardians, bites Snape and injures his leg. Both teachers catch up with the rest of the staff when they arrive to see that Ron Weasly and Harry Potter defeated the troll. There, Quirrell stays behind with the unconscious troll until the beast groans, prompting Quirrell to flee as well.
During the first Quidditch match of the season Quirrell bewitches Harry's broom, causing it to buckle and to try to throw Harry off to his death. However, as Snape is casting a counter spell Quirrell fails. When Hermione Granger, believing that Snape is the one who is trying to kill Harry, sets fire to Snape's robes to distract him, Snape knocks Quirrell over while trying to put out the flames and thereby disrupts Quirrell's concentration. In the book, Hermione accidentally knocks over Quirrell in her hurry to reach Snape.
While trying to find out who Nicholas Flamel is, Harry sneaks into the Restricted Section of the Hogwarts library, disguised by his invisibility cloak. On his way back, he meets Snape who is threatening Quirrel over the attack at the Quidditch field, however from Harry's point of view it seems as Snape is the antagonist. Sensing that someone is near, Snape stops threatening Quirrell, instead telling him that they will have a little chat soon enough when Quirrell had enough time to decide where his loyalties lie. Filch then appears, telling them that he found Harry's lamp in the library. The two teachers and Filch then go to search for students sneaking around.
With Voldemort sharing a body with him, Quirrell needs to drink unicorn's blood for his master to survive. While in the Forbidden Woods drinking the blood of a unicorn he killed, Quirrell is disturbed by Harry and Draco Malfoy who were sent there for detention. Malfoy runs off screaming, but Harry's scar hurts so much due to being so close to Voldemort. Quirrell advances on Harry, but before he can harm him he is stopped by the centaur Firenze, who brings Harry to safety. After saving him, Firenze tells Harry that unicorn's blood keeps the one who drinks it alive, also telling Harry that the person he saw was no other than Voldemort himself.
To be able to steal the stone in peace, Quirrell forges a letter for Dumbledore, stating that he is needed at the Ministry of Magic in London. After Dumbledore has left Hogwarts, Quirrell advanced, passing every trial until the last. Meanwhile Harry, Ron and Hermione, thinking that Snape is trying to steal the stone to use its powers and bring Voldemort back to health, decide that they will go after the stone themselves. After braving many tests, Harry, separated from Ron and Hermione is forced to enter the last room alone but to his horror he is not awaited by Snape or Voldemort but by Quirrell.
Quirrell faces the single object in the room, the Mirror of Erised. Though he sees himself handing the stone to his master Voldemort, but has no idea how to acquire it. Dumbledore later reveals to Harry that only those who would want to find the stone but not use it would be able to get it, not the ones whose desire was it, as they would only see themselves drinking Elixir or making gold. Quirrell, now dropping the stuttering, weak facade, reveals to Harry how he was behind everything bad that had befallen Harry in his first year, including bewitching his broom. Thereby he reveals to Harry that Snape wasn't trying to kill him but was effectively saving his life with a counter curse. Turning back to the mirror, Quirrell wonders how to get the Stone. At this point Voldemort, for Harry only a disembodied voice, tells Quirrell to "use the boy".
Quirrell demands Harry to stand before the mirror and tell him what he sees. Harry, who sees himself putting the Philosopher's stone in his pocket, realizes that the stone now is in his pocket and tries to deceive Quirrell by telling him that he sees that he has just won the house cup. Voldemort however is not so easily fooled and demands that Quirrell let him speak to Harry face to face. Though Quirrell initially claims that Voldemort is not strong enough yet, he removes his turban and reveals Voldemort's face to Harry. Voldemort, knowing that the stone is in Harry's pocket, demands that Harry turns it over but Harry tries to escape instead. With a snip of his finger, Quirrell conjures a burst of fire between Harry and the door, blocking the only way out. After Harry refuses to join Voldemort, Voldemort orders Quirrell to kill him. Quirrell tries to strangle Harry, but to the surprise of everyone his right hand blisters and crumbles the very moment he touches Harry. In the movie, Harry kills Quirrell by pressing both hands on the professor's face, causing him to crumble into pieces.
After Harry reawakens in the Hospital Wing of Hogwarts, Dumbledore explains to him that Quirrell was unable to touch him because when Harry's mother died for him, she created a powerful protection by her sacrifice. As Harry was protected by pure love, Quirrell, who was ambitious, evil and cruel was unable to touch him without suffering great pain.
Professor Quirrell has appeared in the flashbacks of the second part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
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Quirinus Quirrell first met Lord Voldemort in 1991, in the forests of Albania, where Voldemort subjugated Quirrell into servitude. Quirrell brought him back to Britain, and eventually to Hogwarts. The Dark Lord planned to obtain the Philosopher's Stone and fabricate the Elixir of Life to acquire a body. Quirrell attempted to infiltrate Vault 713 of Gringotts Wizarding Bank, in order to steal the Philosopher's Stone. Quirrell managed to break in, but found the vault had been emptied by Rubeus Hagrid and Harry Potter earlier that day.
Following this failed attempt, Voldemort began a parasitic relationship with Quirrell, in which he attached himself to the back of Quirrell's head, to ensure his plans were being followed precisely; throughout the year, Quirrell attempted to resist the possession, feeble and futile though his efforts were. Voldemort ordered Quirrell to kill Harry Potter, though Quirrell's attempts to do so were thwarted by Severus Snape and Hermione Granger. Harry penetrated the Philosopher's Stone Chambers in pursuit of Snape, or so he believed, only to find it was Quirrell in front of the Mirror of Erised. Quirrell, under Voldemort's orders, demanded Harry draw the Stone from the Mirror; though Harry was successfully able to retrieve the stone, he attempted to conceal the fact by lying about what he saw in the mirror. Quirrell revealed Voldemort, who tried to manipulate Harry into handing over the Stone by offering him the chance to see his parents, and upon Harry's refusal, ordered Quirrell to take the stone by force. Quirrell, sharing his body with Voldemort, found himself unable to touch "a person marked by something so good" (referring to Lily Potter's sacrificial protection). Voldemort separated his soul from Quirrell's body to escape the pain, and left Quirrell to die, as Albus Dumbledore noted, showing him as little mercy as he did his enemies.
Three years later, after his return, Voldemort told his Death Eaters that Quirrell was a fool, and that he only allied with him for his position as a professor at Hogwarts. It should be noted that despite his fear of Voldemort and that he was not a Death Eater, Quirrell was one of Voldemort's only followers who referred to him by name, the others being Bartemius Crouch Junior and Peter Pettigrew.
Quirrell first met Harry Potter in 1991, at the Leaky Cauldron, in Diagon Alley. Quirrell greeted Harry in the same way most of the wizarding community did, seeming thrilled to meet "The Boy who Lived". Though Harry found Quirrell's twitchy behaviour odd, he was generally pleased to meet Quirrell, as a friend of Hagrid's and as his soon-to-be Defence Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts.
Harry eventually came to believe that Severus Snape was attempting to threaten Quirrell into helping him penetrate the defences surrounding the Philosopher's Stone, for Voldemort. As it seemed like the only thing standing between Snape and a means of restoring Voldemort to power was Quirrell's will, Harry did what he could to encourage Quirrell and help build his confidence.
As it turned out, Quirrell was a servant of Voldemort, and it was he, not Snape, who was aiming to steal the Philosopher's Stone for the Dark Lord, and, if possible, kill Harry along the way. When they met for the last time in the final of the Philosopher's Stone Chambers, Quirrell's connection to Voldemort rendered him unable to touch Harry without experiencing unbearable pain, due to the enduring power of Lily Potter's sacrificial protection, and he died attempting to steal the stone from Harry by force.
About four years after this, when Dolores Umbridge commented positively on Quirrell's teaching methods, Harry sarcastically agreed before pointing out the deceased professor's duplicity. A year after that, when Snape finally took over as the Defence teacher, Harry made a snide comment of Quirrell dying on the job, and hoped that Snape would also die.
With the exception of Severus Snape, Quirrell generally got along well with most of the faculty at Hogwarts, including Filius Flitwick, Pomona Sprout, Minerva McGonagall and Rubeus Hagrid. Hagrid seemed to think highly of Quirrell, and considered him to be a very clever and talented wizard for his extensive world travels and experience fighting the Dark Arts. However, as Quirrell didn't show his true personality, it is possible he did not like all of them, and it is possible they were all disgusted by Quirrell's actions once his true nature was revealed. Quirrell additionally took advantage of Hagrid's love for magical creatures through getting him drunk and giving him an illegal Dragon egg so that he revealed the secret of getting past Fluffy. Hagrid afterwards was horrified when he learnt of Quirrell's true nature and the fact that he manipulated him for his own ends, calling him an "evil git" when he visited Harry in the Hospital Wing after Quirrell's death.
Severus Snape, however, was the only one apart from Albus Dumbledore who saw Quirrell for what he really was. His contempt partially stemmed from the fact that Quirrell was the Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor — a position that Snape had wanted for years. Along with being ordered by Dumbledore to keep an eye on Quirrell, Snape may have guessed that Quirrell was hiding his true intentions, as he told him to "decide where his loyalties are", though Harry Potter and his friends believed that Snape was threatening Quirrell in order to get information about how to get into the Philosopher's Stone chamber. Years later, Snape described Quirrell as greedy and worthless to Bellatrix Lestrange and Narcissa Malfoy.
As Headmaster Albus Dumbledore was a highly intelligent and powerful wizard, he was aware of Quirrell's true nature even though he maintained a relatively civil relationship with him. This is further evidenced by the fact he asked Snape to keep an eye on Quirrell. After the events in the Philosopher's Stone chambers, Dumbledore expressed his opinion to Harry that Quirrell, much like Voldemort, was flawed for his inability to understand "good and evil", and his desire for power.
About four years after his demise, Quirrell's theory-based teaching method was praised by the then Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Dolores Umbridge, due to the Ministry's paranoia of the students training to become Dumbledore's private army.
During his one year as the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Quirrell was constantly nervous and stuttering. As a result, he gained very little respect from his students, who looked down on his class as a joke and did not take him seriously as a teacher. `
- Archive footage of Quirrell sitting next to Snape in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is used in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. This footage continues with Quirrell turning into black smoke and disappearing to create the effects that this scene is a memory of Snape.
- The name "Quirinus" is possibly derived from the Sabine word quiris meaning "spear". Quirinus was a Sabine and Roman god who was later identified with Mars. The name was also borne by several early saints.
- Professor Quirrell was the second-to-final boss in the Gameboy color adaptation of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's stone.
- He is also the only boss who can use level 3 magic (tria magic).
- In Jimmy Neutron Carl played a character based off of Quirrell and Tom Riddle from the Chamber of Secrets (with the former being a vessel for Voldemort and the later being an Incarnation of Voldemort).
- He bears a resemblance to Judge Claude Frollo from Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Differences from the source material
- J.K. Rowling stated that Quirrell was partly an Horcrux, because he was holding a piece of Voldemort's soul inside him. So, it can be said that Quirrell was the first Horcrux that Harry destroyed instead of Tom Riddle's Diary. However, considering the story's logic, Quirrell cannot be one, since Horcruxes hold the parts of a wizard's soul that aren't with its conscience, and the one with Quirrell was the soul part which was Voldemort himself, soul and conscience. So when Harry touched Voldemort's bodily Horcrux, Quirrell ceased to exist.
- In the movie, Quirrell has no part in the protection of the Philosopher's Stone. The part with the knocked out troll is missing.
- In the books Harry is able to shake Quirrell's hand at the Leaky Cauldron as Quirrell was not sharing his body with Voldemort yet. However, in the movie Quirrell already wears his turban and therefore refuses to shake Harry's hand.