Teachers at Hogwarts in Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone

Posted: March 26, 2012 in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

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Albus Dumbledore  
 
The kind, wise head of Hogwarts. Though he is a famous wizard, Dumbledore is as humble and adorable as his name suggests. While other school officials, such as Professor McGonagall, are obsessed with the rules, Dumbledore respects them (as his warnings against entering the Forbidden Forest remind us) but does not exaggerate their importance. He appears to have an almost superhuman level of wisdom, knowledge, and personal understanding, and it seems that he may have set up the whole quest for the Philosopher’s Stone so that Harry could prove himself.

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Hagrid 
 
An oafish giant who works as a groundskeeper at Hogwarts. Rubeus Hagrid is a well-meaning creature with more kindness than brains. He cares deeply for Harry, as evidenced by the tears he sheds upon having to leave the infant Harry with the Dursleys. His fondness for animals is endearing, even if it gets him into trouble (as when he tries raising a dragon at home). Hagrid symbolizes the importance of generosity and human warmth in a world filled by conniving villains.

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Professor McGonagall 
 
The head of Gryffindor House at Hogwarts and a high-ranking woman in the wizard world. Minerva McGonagall is fair but extremely stern and severe in her punishments. Her devotion to the letter of the law is impressive but a bit cold, and we constantly feel that she could never become a warm and wise figure like Dumbledore.
 
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Professor Snape  
 
A professor of Potions at Hogwarts. Severus Snape dislikes Harry and appears to be an evil man for most of the story. His name associates him not only with unfair snap judgments of others but also with his violent intentions to snap the bones of his enemies. Snape’s grudge against Harry, which is nevertheless far from a murderous ill will, helps us remember the difference between forgivable vices and unforgivable evil intentions.

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Professor Quirrell 
 
A stuttering and seemingly harmless man, and a professor of Defense against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts. Quirrell appears as nervous and squirrelly as his name suggests for most of the story. It is he, for example, who nearly faints when announcing the news that a troll is loose in the school. It turns out later, however, that Quirrell has faked his withdrawing meekness and is actually a cold-blooded conniver.
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