Harry Potter Plotholes: What Albus Dumbledore Should Have Done to Protect the Sorcerer's Stone?
The Sorcerer's Stone or Philosopher's Stone is the first book in the 7-book Harry Potter series (it's a fantasy story about wizards and magic) by J.K. Rowling.
The stone in question (totally no relation to the stone in the Full Metal Alchemist anime or manga series; those 2 are so different, they're not exactly comparable in the least) is a magical artifact that's said to be able to make anyone immortal or allow them to live forever.
Book 1 of the HP series
This is where we first find out about the Sorcerer's or Philosopher's Stone. What's so special about this stone that many would want to steal it? Who was in charge of protecting this stone and how come they failed? What should they have done instead in order to keep the stone safe?
Naturally, there are many who are after this stone so it's only to be expected that it would be under heavy security to ensure its safety. However, could it be possible that the Sorcerer's Stone wasn't as well-protected as it should have been?
Could it be that the one in charge of protecting it (coughAlbusDumbledorecough) didn't care enough to make sure no harm would come to it or could it be that this person actually wanted the Philosopher's Stone to be stolen as evidenced by the way he handled this matter, which was so incompetent and so far from perfect that it was really like he was inviting people (coughDarkLordVoldemortcough) to please come and steal the stone?
Who Are These People? What's Going on?
Let's have a bit of an explanation or short summary for those who may have forgotten what happened or those who may be new to the HP series.
How well do you know book 1 of the HP series? Find out by taking this short quiz:
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For those who already know the basic details or can still remember what happened in book 1, then just scroll further down to see what's up with Dumbledore and the Sorcerer's Stone.
Who's in Charge of Protecting the Sorcerer's Stone?
Albus Dumbledore is the one who is in charge of keeping the Philosopher's Stone safe.
He's the Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (though he has many other titles and positions aside from that).
He's old and many people respect him for his supposed knowledge and wisdom.
He's also said to be the only wizard that Dark Lord Voldemort (he's the main villain / antagonist / bad guy of the HP series) was afraid or wary of.
How Did Albus Dumbledore Try to Keep the Sorcerer's Stone From Being Stolen?
Here are the things that Headmaster Dumbledore did to keep the Philosopher's Stone safe (whether these things were effective and/or helpful is another matter entirely):
- he brought the stone to Hogwarts (yes, he took an important and powerful magical artifact that many wanted to steal and would kill to obtain to a school that's full of curious, little children)
- he set up traps that were intended to protect the stone and stop it from being stolen
The traps and protections for the stone
Here are the traps or protections that Dumbledore set up:
It Says 'Everything' But There's a Whole Lot More to It Than That
- the Philosopher's Stone was kept in third floor corridor and everyone was forbidden from going there
- it was inside a room that was locked but which could easily be opened by the Alohomora spell (this is a spell that opens locked doors)
- Fluffy, a three-headed dog, was tasked to guard the trap door that led to where the stone was located
- Devil's snare (a plant that can bind and choke people), a room with flying keys (you need to get the right key in order to open the locked door), a giant chess set (you need to play and win in order to get past this room), a troll (you have to fight this troll to get past it), a room with potions and a ring of fire (there's a puzzle you have to solve so you can pick the right potion that will let you get past the ring of fire), the Mirror of Erised (a magical mrror that shows you your heart's true desires) - these are all traps that are supposed to prevent thieves from getting to where the stone was
All the Traps That Are Supposed to Protect the Sorcerer's Stone Are Beyond Useless
Basically, all those traps are supposed to keep the stone safe and make sure that it won't be stolen, specially not by Voldemort.
Unfortunately, those traps (except maybe for the troll and the mirror but let's not get into that now) were more than useless. They're so useless that no words could possibly adequately describe just how useless they all are.
In fact, they were so useless that three 11-year old kids (cough Harry, Ron, Hermione, the main characters cough) were able to get past them and get to where the stone was.
This is how Harry, Ron and Hermione look like
Yup, that's right, three 11-year old little kids who barely knew magic (they're just first year students) were able to get past all the traps that were meant to protect the Sorcerer's Stone. That's how effective and useful those traps were.
If three kids could manage this, then, naturally, it stands to reason that Voldemort would have an easier time getting to where the stone was.
What in the World Was Albus Dumbledore Thinking?
Haven't you ever found yourself wondering what Dumbledore was thinking or exactly what he was up to when he decided that all that stuff with the traps was the proper way to protect the stone and keep it safe.
Didn't you ever wonder why and how he could have decided that this was a good idea? Don't you want to know what made him think this was actually going to work?
After all, Albus was supposed to be wise, smart and knowledgeable so shouldn't he have foreseen the possible things that could have gone wrong with this plan of his? Shouldn't he have come up with something better?
The Alternative: What Dumbledore Should Have Done
Okay, we just established it. Albus' plan to protect the Philosopher's Stone was so epic fail that it was downright embarrassing. So, what should he have done instead? What's the alternative?
Albus Dumbledore Should Have Kept the Sorcerer's Stone With Him
That's right. Instead of leaving the Sorcerer's Stone somewhere in Hogwarts and relying on useless traps as protection, Dumbledore should have kept the stone with him or on his person all the time.
He could have put it in his pocket or somewhere in his robes, anywhere really, as long as it was somewhere within easy reach of him or somewhere near him or on him.
Do you think that Albus Dumbledore should have kept the Sorcerer's Stone with him instead of relying on useless traps to keep it safe?
What was stopping him from doing that? What's wrong with doing that?
Can you think of a single thing that could be wrong with this alternative? If you can, feel free to share it via the comments section below.
What Makes This Plan Feasible?
Exactly what is so good about this plan anyway?
The great thing is that this plan or alternative is pretty much fool-proof or, at the very least, it's way better than all the traps and protections mentioned above and this would definitely make it hard for Voldemort to try to steal the stone.
Let's take a look at the benefits of having Dumbledore keep the Philosopher's Stone with him all the time:
- Seriously, what better protection is there than Headmaster Albus Dumbledore himself?
Yes, he's old and he looks weak, but you shouldn't underestimate him. He's said to be smart, wise and powerful. More than that, he's also said to be the only one that Voldemort fears. So what's wrong with him personally hiding or keeping the Sorcerer's Stone with him at all times?
- Voldemort is said to be afraid of him so the Dark Lord would think twice before trying to steal the stone
- Besides, in book 1, Voldemort was pretty much like some sort of ghost thing that was barely alive (this is why he had to inhabit Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor Quirrell's body), which means that Dumbledore is at an advantage since the Dark Lord is currently not at full strength
- So if Voldemort wants to steal the stone, he really needs to plan. How can he steal it from Albus without the old man noticing or without blowing his cover as possessing Quirrell
- Furthermore, if the stone is with Dumbledore, then Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger (the 3 main characters who also happen to be 11-year old kids who don't know much about magic and spells yet) don't need to endanger their lives trying to protect said stone
- It should be safe with Albus so they won't have to deal with the traps and protections and Harry won't have to face Voldemort
The 3 main characters of the HP series
What Do You Think?
So, what about you? What's your opinion regarding this matter? Would you consider this a plot hole?
Should Dumbledore keep the Philosopher's Stone with him at all times in order to ensure its safety or was he right in leaving it somewhere in Hogwarts to be protected by traps?
Why or why not? Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions via the comments section below.
- Image with added text was modified by Freya Yuki (CC:BY-SA) based on the image by hayashinomura (CC:BY-SA) from deviantArt
- The red flower in the image is meant to symbolize the Sorcerer's Stone while the figure with weapons is meant to represent the traps that were supposed to protect the Philosopher's Stone
© 2014 Freya Yuki