- "The ancient study of alchemy is concerned with making the Philosopher's Stone, a legendary substance with astonishing powers. The Stone will transform any metal into pure gold. It also produces the Elixir of Life, which will make the drinker immortal."
- —An unknown book[src]
The Philosopher's Stone was a man-made, blood-red stone with magical properties. It could be used to create the Elixir of Life, which extended the drinker's lifespan, as well as transform any metal into pure gold.
The famed alchemist Nicolas Flamel created the only known Philosopher's Stone in existence. Flamel used the Elixir of Life made from the stone to extend his and his wife Perenelle's lifespan for over six centuries.
In 1991 the Philosopher's Stone became the target of the Dark Wizard Lord Voldemort in his quest for the Elixir of Life in order to create a new body for his mangled soul after his failed attack on Godric's Hollow. Voldemort used a human host, Quirinus Quirrell, to seek it out at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where it was being held. The stone was originally stored at Gringotts Wizarding Bank in Vault 713. However, possibly suspecting a threat, Albus Dumbledore had Rubeus Hagrid retrieve the stone the very morning of an attempted robbery.
After that, the Stone was placed in a special chamber and guarded by seven enchantments and creatures, provided by the professors at Hogwarts: Professor Sprout's web of Devil's Snare; flying keys, charmed by Filius Flitwick; a life-size board of Wizard's Chess, transfigured by Professor McGonagall; Professor Quirrell's mountain troll; Snape's potion riddle; and the Mirror of Erised, placed there by Albus Dumbledore. Hagrid's massive three-headed dog, Fluffy, guarded the trap door through which the chamber lay. In order to keep them safe from Fluffy, Dumbledore forbade the third-floor corridor to all students.
Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger suspected that the stone would be stolen. In overhearing out-of-context conversations, they believed the thief would be Hogwarts Professor Severus Snape.
Harry felt compelled to protect the stone and he and his friends, using intellectual power and heroism far exceeding their years, fought past the obstacles, until finally Harry was forced to face Quirrell and Lord Voldemort himself. In the final showdown, Quirrell lost his life, and Lord Voldemort lost his meager hold on the physical world once again.
After securing the stone, Dumbledore and Flamel discussed its future, and agreed that it was best to destroy it. Flamel ensured he had enough remaining elixir to set his affairs in order before he and his wife would ultimately die, a fate with which they were quite content.
After his failure, Voldemort correctly deduced that Dumbledore would destroy the stone to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands again. Voldemort had then given up on the stone and waited for another method to regenerate his body. He only wanted the stone to create a body for himself, and nothing more, as being dependent on the Elixir and Stone for his immortality is unacceptable.
Behind the scenes
- The Stone is known in the United States books and films as the Sorcerer's Stone (with the exception of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, where it is referenced as "the Philosopher's Stone"). This was so because American children were supposedly not as familiar with the real-world mythology surrounding the Philosopher's Stone.
- Snape's Potion Riddle and Quirrell's Troll Guardian were not shown in the film version. However, the Potion Riddle was included as a viewer-playable extra on the DVD release. This is ironic as Snape and Quirrell are the ones who are suspected of stealing the stone. The Potion Riddle is also included in the video game.
- Critics of the Deathly Hallows claim that Beedle was inspired to create the life-restoring Resurrection Stone from the life-extending Philosopher's Stone.
- Historically for Alchemists, the Philosopher's stone was a symbol of achieving perfection, a theme that is carried throughout the Harry Potter series as Harry goes through a "Refiner's Fire" or "Crucible", and becomes the man he is at the end of the series.
- According to a page in Advanced Potion-Making, "the Philosopher's Stone was believed to mystically amplify the user's knowledge of alchemy so much that anything was attainable."
- Five years after the stone's destruction, Harry suggested that if Voldemort was obsessed with immortality, he could either create or steal a Philosopher's Stone, implying that the one created by Flamel was not unique, nor is the method.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Characters of the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- Harry Potter Trading Card Game