He was wearing Professor Quirrell’s turban, which kept. . . telling him he must transfer to Slytherin at once, because it was his destiny. . . . [H]e tried to pull it off but it tightened painfully—and there was Malfoy, laughing at him. . . . [T]here was a burst of green light and Harry woke, sweating.
Harry has this dream at the end of Chapter 7, and it reveals much not only about Harry’s fate and his situation, but also about Harry’s own challenge in having to deal with such a burden. Before describing this dream, the narrator suggests that the dream comes perhaps because Harry has eaten too much, but we know better. We understand that Harry is wrestling with some very difficult issues that are affecting his dreams. His dream of Quirrell is prophetic, as Harry discovers only in Chapter 17 that Quirrell, not Snape, is behind the evil plot; perhaps he suspected Quirrell unconsciously all along. The talking turban clearly reminds us of the Sorting Hat, which represents fate for Harry in assigning him to a house at Hogwarts.
The turban also reminds us how Voldemort talks to Harry much later from under Quirrell’s turban and how Voldemort and his evil green light are also part of Harry’s fate. But even fate is not so easy to understand, as we recall that Harry is able to persuade the hat to assign him to Gryffindor rather than Slytherin; perhaps fate can be changed through personal actions, just as Harry tries to pull off the turban of destiny in his dream. Finally, the presence of Malfoy in Harry’s dream shows that his adventure in solving the Sorcerer’s Stone mystery is intertwined with his more everyday task of having social interactions, choosing friends, and facing down one’s enemies. Malfoy plays no part in Voldemort’s plot, but he seems important to Harry nevertheless, as one of the many confusing factors in Harry’s attempt to make sense of his Hogwarts experience.