Lord Voldemort using Professor Quirrell manages to fool Albus Dumbledore, the most powerful wizard alive, throughout Harry’s entire school year in Hogwarts. He successfully conceals his identity and eventually tries to take the Philosopher’s Stone, only to be foiled by an eleven year old Harry Potter.
Sound a bit far fetched? There’s a good chance there might be more to it.
A popular fan theory suggests that Dumbledore purposely set up events to lead Harry to successfully take back the Philosopher’s Stone himself, knowing that only he could do it.
Dumbledore Confides in Hagrid
Harry first finds out about the existence of the Philosopher’s Stone when accompanying Hagrid who withdraws it from the vault during his first visit to Gringotts. The very existence of the Philosopher’s Stone is kept secret at this point, and it’s safety is of extreme importance. Why would Dumbledore not withdraw it himself, or ask someone more reliable to bring it to him? Even if he completely trusts Hagrid, why not ask Hagrid to take it when he’s alone and not with Harry?
Soon afterwards, Harry realises the importance of the package Hagrid withdrew when the Daily Prophet reports of a break in, into the same vault Hagrid visited. Only through this, and his visit to Gringotts, is Harry able to make the connection and realise that the package Hagrid took is the one that was targeted.
Harry later finds out that the package is related to Nicholas Flamel and is being guarded at Hogwarts, and that Fluffy is helping to guard it but can be sent to sleep with a flute, both pieces of information coming again from Hagrid.
While Hagrid may be trustworthy, he is seen as someone who is clumsy and not necessarily reliable, surely not someone who should be trusted with such sensitive information. Did Dumbledore want Hagrid to become closely involved, in the hopes he would leak that information to Harry?
Dumbledore Sets a Path for Harry to Reach and Defeat Quirrell
Hagrid might be responsible for Harry knowing about the Philosopher’s Stone, but he’s also strongly opposed to Harry going after it.. and then there’s the other issue of Harry actually being able to rescue it.
It’s here that Dumbledore needs to set a path to it that Harry is able to navigate.
The Invisibility Cloak allows Harry to visit parts of the castle undetected, given to him by a mystery benefactor at Christmas… later revealed to be Albus Dumbledore. It plays a key part in Harry being able to visit the restricted parts of the castle where Fluffy guards the trap door.
The tests and trials that follow Fluffy are designed to be the strictest test by each Hogwarts teacher in their specialist subject, proficient enough to stop any powerful dark wizard. So why is that three eleven year olds, with just one year of magical education each, are able to complete each task and eventually reach the final room? This is no more obvious than Hermione using the spell “Alohomora” to open the first locked door to Fluffy – after all, what’s the point of locking a door in a castle where every magical student will have the capability to open it?
Once in the room with Quirrell, Harry simply isn’t strong enough to defeat him and retrieve the Philosopher’s Stone. He uses the Mirror of Erised to take the Philosopher’s Stone, a mirror he came across after it was left in an abandoned room by Dumbledore, who then explains it’s use and purpose to Harry. After Quirell and Lord Voldemort attack Harry, he is able to burn Quirell through his touch thanks to the protective charm that Lily Potter left in him before she died. The only person who understands why this happens, and who later explains this to Harry… is once again Albus Dumbledore.
Throughout all of this, Dumbledore has travelled away from Hogwarts, due a fake letter from the Ministry of Magic requiring his urgent presence. After previous diversions, such as the troll in the bathroom, to try and take Dumbledore’s attention away from the stone, would such a wise person really not second guess such a letter’s purpose?
So why would Albus Dumbledore not simply confront and stop Professor Quirell himself?
As Dumbledore knew about Lily’s protection within Harry, he knew Harry wouldn’t have been at risk and was well placed to defeat Quirell and Voldemort (being the only person to do so eleven years earlier).
By doing so, he was able to test and prepare Harry for the later task of finding and destroying the Horcruxes before Voldemort himself, the success of which the entire wizarding community depended on.