Considering the frequency with which “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling pops up online to answer mysteries, you might think at this point there’s no (sorcerer’s) stone unturned.
Rowling has handled burning questions about Hogwarts tuition (it’s free), Ron Weasley as a time-traveling Albus Dumbledore (nope) and whether Draco Malfoy is a werewolf (also no).
But now, even after nearly two decades since the movie “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” was released, and more time than that since the first book was published, there’s still one question that’s keeping us up at night — or it did until we recently got some insight from the Boy Who Lived (Daniel Radcliffe) himself.
How did Quirrell sleep with Voldemort on the back of his head?
For those who need a refresher, Quirinus Quirrell was the nervous, purple turban-wearing Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher during Harry Potter’s first year at Hogwarts. He also secretly had Lord Voldemort’s face living on the back of his head.
With that said, “How does Quirrell sleep at night?” isn’t a philosophical inquiry, as in how does he live with himself. It’s a physical one: “Literally, how does Quirrell sleep at night?”
Was it on his side? Was he sleeping on his front? Wouldn’t that suffocate the dude on the back of his head, aka He Who Must Not Be Smothered By A Pillow?
The question has come up again and again. Thus far, the best answer is from the “Harry Potter” parody, “A Very Potter Musical,” which shows Quirrell and Voldemort’s somewhat unorthodox bedtime routine.
But with official sleeping arrangements still up in the air, we went to Radcliffe himself to get his thoughts.
The actor’s new movie, “Escape from Pretoria,” reunites him with Ian Hart, who played Professor Quirrell in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” During an interview with HuffPost, we asked Radcliffe, “How do you think Quirrell slept at night with Voldemort on the back of his head?”
“What’s that? How did he sleep at night?” Radcliffe asked, confused.
We clarified: “Yeah, do you think he was on his side? How do you think he slept at night?”
Radcliffe, who clearly hasn’t been obsessing over this question for years, said, “That’s out of nowhere,” before putting on his sorting hat thinking cap and giving a surprisingly in-depth response.
“I would say that the only practical thing to do there would be to sleep on your side, unless Voldemort doesn’t need air, which I’m not sure,” Radcliffe said. “As long as there’s breath coming into the body, he’s probably asleep on his front because it would still circulate around the whole thing.”
“I’m guessing back-of-the-head Voldemort could survive off front-of-the-head Ian Hart’s air supply,” he added.
If Voldemort can survive off of Quirrell’s air supply, and considering the Dark Lord was hidden under a turban all day, perhaps it wouldn’t matter that much if Quirrell smashed his face into a pillow. As Radcliffe put it, air would still “circulate around the whole thing,” so there’s no side-sleeping required.
And now, we can finally Slytherin to bed in peace.
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