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 talking 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.

Professor Quirinus Quirrell is the main antagonist of Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone. He was a half-blood wizard and the Muggle Studies professor at Hogwarts. He became the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher during Harry Potter's first year at Hogwarts. Although Severus Snape was initially thought to be the one trying to steal the Philosopher's Stone, it is ultimately revealed that the real villain is Quirrell, who is a dark wizard working for Voldemort.

He was portrayed by Ian Hart, who also did the voice of Voldemort in the same film.


Early life

Quirinus Quirrell was born on September 26, 1958, somewhere in the British Isles, to one Muggle (non-magical) parent and a witch or wizard, and was considered very gifted and delicate as a child. When he started at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he was sorted into Ravenclaw due to his brilliant mind, but was 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, hoping to gain undesirable power that would help him pick himself up. These feelings of worthlessness that this bullying fostered embittered the boy, forging a latent desire to make the world sit up and notice him.

Following his graduation from Hogwarts, Quirrell 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 at Hogwarts for some time, he took a year-long travel around the world in 1990 to get subject for his lessons in the Dark Arts, claiming it was a sabbatical he was taking in order to "gain first-hand experience". During one of these travels, he expected what ever remained of the one of the most powerful (and immortal) psychopathic dark wizards of the century, Lord Voldemort, who met his defeat nine years back at the hands of Harry Potter (who was then a year old at the time), partly out of curiosity and the unacknowledged desire for importance from his childhood. At the very least, Quirrell fantasised that he could be the man who tracked Voldemort down, proved successful when he found the disembodied dark wizard in a forest in Albania but was no match for him (even in such a weakened state). When Voldemort realized that Quirrell had a position at Hogwarts, he used his charisma to manipulate the young teacher into joining his cause.

From then on, the shy, young Quirrell became much more confident and ruthless, but kept acting like his old self as a facade. He kept up the pretense of stuttering and twitching his body, but this was all a facade. Under the apparent shyness and nervousness of the young professor was in fact a ruthless monster, circling the young Harry like a shark about to strike. The real Quirrell was cold, cruel and arrogant, and had mastered high levels of dark magic from Voldemort - such as flight, Oclumency, and conjuration - yet he kept these levels of magic hidden from the body of Hogwarts.

Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone

When Harry and Hagrid are about to visit Diagon Alley to buy Harry's equipment for Hogwarts they enter the Leaky Cauldron. In the Leaky 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 attempts to steal the Philosopher's Stone, but 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; Voldemort's presence results in a foul stench to emanate from it. Students, including Harry, notice the 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, Snape begins to utter a counter-curse in order to save Harry. 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 facing Quirrel over the attack at the Quidditch field, however from Harry's point of view it seems as Snape is trying to intimidate Quirrell. Sensing that someone is near, Snape stops intimidating 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 in the Ministry of Magic. 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. To his shock, he is not awaited by Snape or Voldemort, but by Quirrell.

Quirrell immobilizes Harry and then again 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 would be able to get it, not the ones whose desire was it to use the stone, 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 the last year, including bewitching his broom. 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 tells 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 reveals that he knows Harry has the Philosopher's Stone in his pocket, causing Harry to tray to escape. With a snap of his fingers, Quirrell conjures a wall 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 hands blister and crumble 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 to dust. In the books, Quirrell tries to kill Harry despite the pain and is stopped by Dumbledore, who wrestles Quirrell off Harry's body, the later having become unconscious. When Voldemort leaves the mortally wounded body of his fallen servant, Quirrell dies. Also, instead of a wall of fire, Quirrell conjures mystic ropes that binds Harry.

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.


Quirrell was a young man with light blue eyes and very pale 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.




  • 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.
  • 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 on 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).
  • listed Quirinus Quirrell as #9 on their Top 10 "Most Evil Harry Potter Characters" list.


           Harry Potter Villains

Death Eaters
Lord Voldemort | Severus Snape | Draco Malfoy | Gregory Goyle | Quirinus Quirrell | Lucius Malfoy | Peter Pettigrew | Barty Crouch Jr. | Dolores Umbridge | Bellatrix Lestrange | Snatchers (Fenrir Greyback & Scabior) | Corban Yaxley | Kreacher | Amycus & Alecto Carrow | Thorfinn Rowle

Other Dark Wizards & Witches
Salazar Slytherin | Marvolo Gaunt | Gellert Grindelwald | Gilderoy Lockhart | Herpo the Foul | Merwyn the Malicious | Ekirzdis | Delphini

New Salem Philanthropic Society
Mary Lou Barebone | Credence Barebone

Basilisk | Acromantula (Aragog & Acromantula Colony) | The Dementors | Centaurs | Giants | Inferi | Nagini | Charlatan