Happy Birthday Professor Quirrell! I hope you enjoy this amusing insight from the first book:
JK Rowling wrote an interesting post on Professor Quirrel on Pottermore that goes into his childhood and how he met Voldemort. See the etymology of Quirrell’s name below, based on information from JK Rowling:
Quirinus Quirrel: Quirinius is a Roman God associated with war. Quirrell is close to “squirrel,” and also to “quiver.” JK Rowling said that she wanted to give him a name that represented the contradictions involved in his apparent nervousness and his dark nature.
What I find most interesting about Professor Quirrell is the nature of his possession by Voldemort. We have seen Voldemort possess people in three different way throughout the series. We have Quirrell, who doesn’t only have his personality subjugated by Voldemort, but actually has Voldemort physically on the back of his head. Then we have Ginny, who is possessed by Voldemort’s soul but has no physical representations of this possession. She is her normal self most of the time, but there are large stretches of time when she can’t remember what she was doing or how she got there. We have no way of knowing whether Quirrell had a similar experience, or whether he was entirely subjugated by Voldemort. Then we have Harry who, as a Horcrux, permanently has a piece of Voldemort’s soul within him. The scar on his forehead is physical evidence of this connection. Harry’s connection with Voldemort is different than both Ginny’s and Quirrell’s. It is a two way connection, and and more based on feelings and visions. Voldemort can plant images in his head, but he doesn’t actually have any control over his actions. The only time he actually tries to possess Harry, in Order of the Phoenix, ends in extreme pain for Voldemort. Why is it that Voldemort possesses Quirrell so completely, and isn’t able to possess Harry to the same extent? I think the answer is love. Quirrell actively went looking for Voldemort, seeking to control him. Ginny, similarly, connects herself so emotionally to the piece of Voldemort’s soul, actively pursues conversation with it, that she is overcome before she knows what’s happening. Once she realizes what’s happened, however, she starts to fight the possession, and almost wins. Both Harry and Ginny’s hearts are too full of love for Voldemort to be able to stay within them.