Published on Jun 22nd 2022
When Harry, Ron and Hermione went through the trapdoor in the Philosopher's Stone, they faced many obstacles. But which was the toughest? We've had a think and ranked them from least to most hard.

7th: The troll

On any other day, fighting a troll would be much higher up our list. Trolls are big, powerful, aggressive and can cause serious damage (plus they smell bad). Harry, Ron and Hermione were incredibly lucky to defeat the one they encountered one on Hallowe’en. Knowing that, you might question our decision to put them right at the bottom of our list – but we do have a reason! The troll that Harry and Hermione met through the trapdoor was unconscious. Quirrell had already defeated it – and knew exactly how to do so, seeing as he had put it there to begin with. So, there really wasn’t a lot for them to do. They just had to walk past it. The only reason we haven’t given this obstacle 0/10, is because of the foul smell emanating from it – we can imagine not vomiting was rather tricky!

Difficulty rating: 1/10

6th: Fluffy

Coming face-to-face with a three-headed dog is a terrifying prospect, but we don’t actually think they’re too difficult to tackle – if you know what you’re doing. All it takes is a bit of music and this giant beast falls into a deep slumber – it doesn’t even have to be good music! Once Harry, Ron and Hermione had extracted that particular bit of information from Fluffy’s owner, Hagrid, they were sorted. Harry played the flute (rather tunelessly we might add) and Fluffy nodded off. The tricky part came when the trio had to physically go through the trapdoor and swap who was playing the flute as quickly as possible. However, they even did that pretty seamlessly. When Harry passed the instrument to Hermione, Fluffy may have given a little growl but he was soon snoring away again. Pretty simple if you ask us!

Difficulty rating: 3/10

5th: Devil’s Snare

Ah Devil’s Snare – you wouldn’t want to end up entangled in this plant’s powerful grip. And if you do… well we hope you paid attention in Herbology. Thankfully, Hermione had. As the tendrils wrapped around Harry and Ron, she managed to recall that it thrived in the dark and damp – so lighting a fire would cause it to recoil. Easy, right? Well not if you allow the stress to get to you, as it did with Hermione, who briefly forgot she was a witch and started worrying that they had no wood. Though with some… gentle encouragement from Ron (‘HAVE YOU GONE MAD?... ARE YOU A WITCH OR NOT?’) she managed to summon her signature bluebell flames and free her friends. This challenge may seem more straightforward than some of the others, but it relies on keeping a cool head, as well as some excellent Herbology knowledge, making it quite formidable.

Difficulty rating: 5/10

4th: The flying keys

Next, we have the flying keys. On the surface, this obstacle might not appear as tricky as a troll, Fluffy or Devil’s Snare – after all, the keys aren’t particularly dangerous. However, while you don’t need to risk your life with this task, it is a lot fiddlier than it looks. Not only do you have to identify the right key among hundreds of similar ones, but you also need to be able to catch it. And if you don’t have a talent for flying, quite frankly, you’d be stuck. Luckily Harry, the youngest Seeker in a century, was there to find the elusive key and did so rather efficiently (with a helping hand from Ron and Hermione). It also helped that Quirrell had got there before the trio and had accidentally bent the key’s wing, helping it to stand out. So, while this task is rather awkward, it played to Harry’s strengths and wasn’t quite as treacherous as some of the others.

Difficulty rating: 6/10

3rd: Giant wizard chess

McGonagall’s giant chessboard was a truly impressive piece of Transfiguration and our choice for third place. As wizarding chess is rather more aggressive than its Muggle counterpart, it ramped up the danger somewhat. Yet, once again it played to the strengths of one of our golden trio – this time, Ron. While his skills at wizarding chess allowed him to make quick work of the match, the difficulty lay in the brave decision he had to make. To win and move forward he had to sacrifice himself. For those who are more cowardly, that might have been impossible and marked the end of the journey through the trapdoor. Yet, Ron was able to pull together his skill, courage and determination and defeat this intimidating task (while knowing he was facing serious injury). All of this makes us believe that this was one of the more difficult challenges faced by the trio, which is why it deserves a place towards the top of our list.

Difficulty rating: 7/10

2nd: The Potion Puzzle

We think you might be surprised but our choice for second place, but the Potion Puzzle was truly a challenging task. While not as flashy as or as dramatic as some of the others, it was hardly a walk in the park. Not only could drinking from the wrong bottle have fatal consequences, but it was also a task that relied on more than just book learning or magic. Solving the riddle required excellent critical thinking skills – and we still haven’t figured out how Hermione came to the right conclusion! Created by Snape, it was an ingenious test and if Hermione hadn’t been there… well, we reckon Harry would still be stuck between the flames in that room.

Difficulty rating: 8/10

1st: The Mirror of Erised

In the top spot we have the obstacle created by Dumbledore himself – you certainly wouldn’t have expected something straightforward from such a powerful and intelligent wizard. He even called it one of his more brilliant ideas. Only someone who wanted to find the Philosopher’s Stone, but not use it, would be able to remove it from the Mirror of Erised. Although Harry was able to look into the mirror and easily acquire it, this task still managed to thwart Quirrell, who was a fully trained wizard and professor, as well as Lord Voldemort, one of the most powerful wizards to have ever existed. If that’s not a sign of this obstacles complexity we don’t know what is. Ultimately, we think that this task deserves to take the top spot as very few would actually meet the criteria to defeat it.

Difficulty rating: 9/10

What do you think? Do you agree with our ranking? Or would your list look a little different?