Why Quirrell Is the Smartest Death Eater
Professor Quirinus Quirrell. A riddle wrapped in a mystery. The man with two faces. There are many ways to describe the young man who brought Voldemort into the castle and nursed him. But would you ever consider calling him the smartest of the Dark Lord’s followers? Yes, you heard me right: the smartest. Now, I’m not basing this on actual IQ but on three factors that allowed him to outwit others and become the most successful Death Eater.
As almost anyone can tell you, Professor Quirrell worked as the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Before that, he was the Muggle Studies teacher for several years. What is it about his appointment as a Hogwarts professor that is so vital, you ask? For starters, professors must possess an immense amount of magical expertise. The most notable demonstration of his intelligence, though, is that Dumbledore himself gave Quirrell the position. Meanwhile, it took Snape years to get that far – without the most evil wizard of all time growing on the back of his head! Furthermore, Quirrell was the most successful at infiltrating Hogwarts and came closest to his ultimate goal.
On the other hand, the most ardent fans know Professor Quirrell’s Hogwarts House: the ready-minded Ravenclaw. Now, this does not mean that he was the brightest of the bunch – just like not all Slytherins are evil. What is noteworthy is the fact that Quirrell was one of the few non-Slytherin Death Eaters. Unlike Slytherins, who are selected for their cunning, Ravenclaws are selected for their cleverness and creativity. These characteristics lend themselves well to his goal of infiltrating Hogwarts and stealing the Stone undetected. For example, his ingenious stutter made him appear harmless and fearful – far too timid to consort with the Dark Lord.
Seeing as these are reasons why Quirrell is the smartest Death Eater, I’ll take this time to highlight the fate of his peers. Following the downfall of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, many Death Eaters were imprisoned or killed. Those who escaped court, such as the Malfoys, often remained under immense scrutiny. Despite never previously giving a reason for suspicion, Professor Quirrell was still deft enough to hide his true motives. This includes being the one to report the “troll in the dungeons” (SS 172), throwing off any suspicion. Now, I should add that he even fooled Harry Potter, but let’s be honest: Harry is not very observant at all.
So what do you think? Do you suppose Quirrell really was the most intelligent? Or do you believe there is a Death Eater who could even outwit Quirrell?