Why does Harry drop the Resurrection Stone in ‘Deathly Hallows?’

When it comes to the trillion mysteries stored within the magical world of Harry Potter, almost all have been answered in the novels and films or else solved by its renowned author, J.K. Rowling. That said, there are still some questions that have maintained their secret status such that even the cinematic adaptations of the books didn’t try to solve them. Undoubtedly, one of the biggest baffling questions of all time centers around why on earth Harry dropped the Resurrection Stone in the Forbidden Forest.

The event takes place towards the end of the last book and film in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, where Harry decides to sacrifice himself to kill Voldemort’s Horcrux inside him and save everyone’s lives. While walking through the Forbidden Forest (on his way to the Dark Lord), Harry cracks Dumbeldore’s code for unsealing the Golden Snitch and manages to get the Resurrection Stone stored inside it. 

He then proceeds to use the Resurrection Stone to momentarily reunite with the spirits of his parents, his godfather, and Remus Lupin. They provide him with the courage he needs to voluntarily walk up to his nemesis and willingly accept death. But just as he is about to face Voldemort, he allows the stone to slip from his fingers, where it joins the thousands of others on the forest floor, after which all the spirits around him vanish. Was Harry concerned that Voldemort would see the spirits around him? No, because it has been clarified that no one but who has used the stone to summon their deceased loved ones can see them. So why did he drop it?

Harry was never power-hungry like Voldemort

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

Voldemort was never after all three Deathly Hallows ⏤ he just wanted the Elder Wand, as he sought to become the most powerful wizard in order to beat Harry. On the other hand, any true Harry Potter fan knows that the young wizard never craved power like his archenemy. In fact, he was kind, brave, and ready to fight for what was right. He never had any desire to dominate others. Despite knowing the infinite power the three Hallows would bring him (while already possessing the Invisibility Cloak), Harry instead chose to continue hunting for the Horcruxes. 

The fact that he never harbored any desire to possess the Hallows was further stressed in the film, where after the battle, he proceeds to break the Elder Wand in half and throw it into the chasm below. The same goes for the stone; he never even remotely entertained the notion of possessing it. Also, while the one uniting the three Hallows would be called the Master of Death, Harry truly deserved the title. It was not because he finally had all three Hallows, but rather because he embraced death head-on, without being afraid of it, that he mastered it ⏤ unlike Voldemort, who created the Horcruxes to ward off his inevitable end.

Harry didn’t want Voldemort getting the Stone

When Harry bravely walked up to face Voldemort, he had no idea that the Killing Curse would only target the part of the Dark Lord’s soul inside his body. He truly thought that there was no way out for him and he didn’t want Voldemort or his evil cronies to get their hands on the stone. So he hid it the best way he could in the short time he had: by dropping it amidst similar-looking ordinary stones.

The Dark Lord never knew he had the stone; he was always after the Elder Wand and never really grasped the concept of becoming the Master of Death. But even then, had he survived and planned to search for the stone, he likely never would have thought to look for it in the forest. Even if he did, since the stone doesn’t look very different from others you might find in the woods, Harry couldn’t have found a better hiding place for it.

Harry understood the stone’s illusions

Harry Potter Resurrection Stone

We’re all familiar with the story of the three brothers and how the Hallows came into existence. While all three Hallows were made by Death, the stone and the wand were a result of the first two brothers’ greed, arrogance, lust for power, and desire to trump Death itself. The Resurrection Stone was more dangerous than the Elder Wand. While the latter served to amp up the greed of power in those wanting the wand, the stone provided a watered-down illusion of whoever the user wanted to see. It taunted them with their unmet desire and those that never understood it were driven to extreme measures, like the second brother in the story who killed himself to be with his dead lover.

Harry always remembered Dumbledore’s teaching that “it does not do to dwell on dreams, and forget to live.” When he met Dumbledore after his “death” via the Killing Curse, the Headmaster lauded him for letting the stone remain lost in the Forbidden Forest. He knew that Harry had craved the presence of his loved ones all his life, but despite that, he made the “wise and courageous decision” to not go looking for the stone again. He knew that what the Stone brought back was not real ⏤ they were merely shadows of people who had already moved on long ago. He understood that the best he could do for the people he loved wouldn’t be to summon them again, but to live his life to the fullest.

It was certainly not a sequel-creating move

JK Rowling
Photo credit: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images

Many fans have wondered whether Harry dropping the Resurrection Stone was J.K. Rowling’s way of leaving an opening for a sequel, where it will be used to bring back Voldemort or will be discovered by another baddie to create more chaos. For starters, Harry dropping the stone was only added to symbolize his status as a true, selfless hero. As for Voldemort’s return, we have already explained how the Stone can never bring someone back to life. Earlier, in Goblet of Fire, he managed to come back to life because of his Horcruxes, and even then it took years. 

In fact, You Know Who, whose soul was already beyond damaged as it had been torn multiple times to create the Horcruxes, would be an especially difficult soul to summon, forget bringing him back to life. 

As for the Resurrection Stone being discovered by another villain in a possible future Harry Potter sequel, Rowling has personally squashed the scenario. During a live webchat with fans back in 2007, she clarified that the stone will never be found again, as it was “squashed into the ground by a centaur’s hoof as the centaurs dashed to the aid of the Hogwarts fighters, and thereafter became buried.”