Harry Potter fan theory suggests Dumbledore wanted the Sorcerer’s Stone to be found


It’s been 20 years since the U.S. publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and what better way to celebrate our first entrance into the wizarding world than by unpicking a fan theory?

Usually the words “fan theory” are enough to elicit sighs in even the most ardent of Harry Potter fans, simply because they often refer to something easily disproved.

Take, for instance, the long-trotted-out theory that the Dursleys were nasty to Harry because he’s a Horcrux, therefore making them bad-tempered, just as the necklace did to Ron in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  Of course, the Dursleys are shown to be mean before tiny baby Harry even arrived on their doorstep. So we can that particular Sorcerer’s Stone theory to bed forever now, thank you.

But there is another theory about the first novel, brought to light via Tumblr, that really quite holds up.

Tumblr user c-is-for-circinate posed the idea that the grueling series of challenges that Harry faces in the Sorcerer’s Stone is Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore’s way of testing his chosen champion, as well as baiting Voldemort to see where his head’s (literally) at.



Let’s examine that, shall we?

Nicolas Flamel has looked after the stone successfully for centuries.

Okay, we know Lord Voldemort is the darkest wizard who ever lived, but moving the Sorcerer’s Stone from its centuries-old hiding place is surely a risk. Why not let it stay buried since it hasn’t been lost in 500 years?

Of course, one explanation could be that Voldemort’s interest in the stone put Nicolas Flamel in danger. And as an older gentleman, Dumbledore wanted to save him from potential attack.

Or perhaps Flamel had enough of immortality and decided to give away the stone and Dumbledore said he’d take it, because that’s just what friends do.

But it doesn’t seem far-fetched that Dumbledore might have known about Voldemort’s interest in the Stone. Perhaps Dumbledore simply sensed an opportunity. We just don’t know.

Evidence level: Inconclusive. 

The Stone isn’t hidden very well at Hogwarts

Hagrid tells us the safest place to hide anything is Hogwarts, so give us one good reason why three 11-year-olds manage to get the Stone on their first try.

Their teachers are extremely powerful witches and wizards. Yet their safeguards are rudimentary at best. The Devil’s Snare and how to beat it is covered in first-year classes. Wizard’s Chess requires skill, but it’s hardly occlumency, and allowing the Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher to rely solely on a troll as a line of defense seems incredibly lax.

Furthermore, what is the point of hiding something if one of the ways you hide it is with a riddle that can be solved? Why have a potion that leads to the Sorcerer’s Stone at all? Why not make all seven potions poison and stop the Stone from being stolen that way?

Don’t even get us started on the “forbidden” third-floor corridor being accessible by a simple “alohomora” charm. Hermione probably knew this spell before she even left King’s Cross. We know there are other ways to lock things in the wizarding world. Professor Flitwick, at least, does his job properly and makes a maniacal flying key the only way to get through a door.

Either the teachers aren’t very good at their jobs or they’re extremely complacent. Knowing the wizarding world, we suspect the latter, but there’s still something odd about their low-level protections.

Evidence level: Suspicious.

The puzzles seem tailor-made for a certain Golden Trio

We’ve already established that it’s pretty silly to have a solvable riddle that actively leads to an object you’re supposed to be keeping hidden, but this leads us to another problem.

Doesn’t it seem rather strange that the three things our favorite 11-year-olds are good at, just so happen to be the answer to the obstacles standing in their way?

Hermione is highly logical, so there’s a riddle to solve. Harry is good at spotting small items and flying at them, and there’s a room of tiny flying door keys. Ron is excellent at Wizard’s Chess and wow, there just happens to be a giant chess set to play? That’s incredibly convenient. Fortunately, Dumbledore knows him so well.

What would have happened if Neville had gone through the trapdoor instead? Perhaps he was meant to, since the first obstacle (bar three-headed Fluffy) was a plant, and we later find out he is extremely good at Herbology!

These tasks are so well-suited to Harry’s best friends, it’s easy to believe that Dumbledore wanted them to find the Stone after all. He wasn’t just testing The Boy Who Lived, but two of his closest friends as well, knowing that Harry could not perform his ultimate task (defeating Voldemort) alone.

It almost makes us wish Harry had made friends with his school-nemesis Draco Malfoy after all – perhaps one of the tasks would be passive-aggressive badge-making. And we all know what a whizz Draco is at that.

Evidence level: We’re certainly adding it to the dossier.

Dumbledore knows about Quirrell

Fine, go ahead, dismiss all the previous evidence as nitpicking. Yes, we know, it’s a children’s book. It’s about young adults figuring the world out for themselves, away from the influence of adults. Whatever.

But consider this: if Dumbledore genuinely didn’t know or want those children to be involved with pre-corporeal Voldemort, why did he employ Professor Quirrell as their teacher, when he suspected that there might be something a bit fishy about him?

In The Prince’s Tale flashback from the Deathly Hallows, Dumbledore tells Professor Snape to keep an eye on Quirrell. And given Dumbledore’s generally omniscient air, can we honestly say that he doesn’t know Voldemort’s head is residing on the back of his Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher?

He knows something is up. You could say it’s desperation to fill the cursed Defence Against the Dark Arts post, but he hadn’t yet exhausted all avenues, given that somewhat harmless Gilderoy Lockhart is appointed the following year.

Plus, if we’re being real, maybe the post should remain vacant if your only option is literally Voldemort.

Anyway, Dumbledore knew that Quirrell was dodgy, and he still “hid” the Sorcerer’s Stone really badly and still let these tiny magical children be around him. Why? Because he wanted to see what would happen.

Because he was testing them.

Evidence level: Damning.

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What do you think about this theory? Is it another one to pass off, or was Dumbledor really leading Harry on? Let us know in the comments.