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Why did Dumbledore have James' cloak?

by David Haber

On a new post on her official web site, J.K. Rowling admitted she made a mistake in New York when she was asked, what question have you never been asked that you ought to have been asked? She now says the question should have been, Why did Dumbledore have James' invisibility cloak at the time of James' death, given that Dumbledore could make himself invisible without a cloak?

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Reader Comments: (Page 17)

Tracy, it can't be. It's an unsolveable paradox. If Harry is a horcrux, then he must destroy himself. But his quest is to destroy ALL the horcruxes before he can face Voldemort, who then be mortal. He can't ever face Voldemort if he has to himself first.

OK, now my head hurts.:-)

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on October 6, 2006 7:04 PM

I think that James has a horcrux. It all makes sense, because how did James obtain the cloak in the first place? Maybe Dumbledore gave it to him when he was marked by LV. If Dumbledore has Fawkes as his horcrux, Dumbledore wouldn't need the cloak for anything else, because he doesn't need a cloak to become invisible. I think Harry learn about the cloak being a horcrux, and learn where James was to bring him back, along with Dumbledore.

Posted by Kevin from LaPorte on October 6, 2006 7:05 PM

...ok...deep breath... I feel much better now Dave, you're right, that IS his mission as DD told him so, so it doesn't make any sense...thank you!
I was (am? kinda?) certain that Harry was going to make it through because I remember hearing/reading (?) an interview with Jo. Someone asked her directly if Harry would make it and she responded by saying that she thought Professor Trelawny had made that perfectly clear... The last thing Prof. Trelawny actually says (about Harry's survival)is that she had been wrong that Harry would not an early but in fact live to a ripe old age, become minister of magic and have 12 children. (OoP-sometime after Harry's 'press release')... well at least I'm hoping this is what she was referring to.

Posted by tracy on October 6, 2006 7:54 PM

Remember in GOF at the graveyard when Harry's and LV's wand connected? LV's wand regurtitated all its last spells - successful ones anyway. Note that Harry DID NOT COME OUT OF THE WAND BUT JAMES DID. LV did not come out of his wand either. Why? LV and Harry did not . James did. I am sure James can not have a horcrux.

Now, I agree that LV planned to make a horcrux AFTER he ed Harry (necessary for the bit of soul thing). But he didn't Harry. So he would not have made a horcrux beforehand. We must also consider that LV planned to Harry. Why on earth would he make a body into a horcrux?

But, of all the simple straight forward logic, I love Dave's - Harry couldn't face LV if he had to himself first.

We have to becareful not to overthink this. If you torture the data enough it confess to anything. Keep it Simple.

Posted by John from Riverside, CA on October 6, 2006 7:56 PM

John, good points there, but I think you're confused on how "Priori Incantatem" works.

It doesn't make all the spells come out of your wand that you have ever done and ever do. "Priori", as in "prior". It only knows the spells you have done in the past. In GoF, those were all the s that Voldey had caused up to that point.

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on October 6, 2006 8:00 PM

Tracy, what if it's not Harry who's the Horcrux but his scar and because he has the "...power the Dark Lord knows not...." using the power of love, he can rid himself of LV's soul without ing himself? I can imagine a situation similar to his confrontation with LV in the MoM where his love for Sirius forced LV out.

It seems to me that JKR always previews major events in some understated way. What if the MoM battle is just that--a foreshadowing of what play out at the end? Love has to play a major role in the vanquishing of LV. In that way, Harry be able to face Voldemort and defeat him. I can't think what the actual scenario could be. I just believe it could happen.

Posted by Hannah from Los Angeles on October 6, 2006 8:07 PM

I believe I read in a comment somewhere on this site that the last word in book seven be scar. I think Hannah may have something with thinking the scar could be a horcrux. Remember in book one Hagrid tells Harry that a mark like that only comes from being touched by an evil curse. Okay horcruxes we know are evil. Maybe its got something to do with the power of love thing and maybe at the end after voldermort is finally finished the scar disappear or something hence the last word in book seven being scar. I know it is far fetched idea but it has been playing in my mind since I first read people were thinking Harry was a horcrux.

Posted by tonya from cordele, ga on October 6, 2006 9:15 PM

Harry CANNOT be a Horcrux. How? I read on another site by sheer stroke of luck, that during GoF and all the Priori Incantatem business before James and Lily came out of Voldy's wand, there should've been some sort of spell regurgitated, that showed making of a Horcrux or atleast something related to Harry. Like when the silver shadow of Wormtail's hand appeared. But there was nothing of the sort.

I'm sure it must've happened inadvertently if Voldy made Harry a Horcrux, but it definitely didn't happen without a spell. So, where's that spell?

Posted by Aditi Dani from Nagpur, India on October 6, 2006 11:14 PM

I dont think the cloak is a treasure from Godric Griffindor. Didn't Dumbledore state that the only treasure really left was the sword? I believe Dumbledore may have too been the descendent from Griffindor with Harry too (as been hinted heaps). It also seems the fight started in the beginning with Salazar and Godric would be played out by their ancestors in the end. I'm not sure if it means anything but in the school emblem the lion and snake are face-to-face with each other, as if ready to engage in a fierce battle.

Posted by Mana on October 7, 2006 02:06 AM

Here�s a theory nobody seems to have mentioned� it�s not very plausible, but I think it�s fun: What if the cloak is some kind of store for memories of the members of OOTP. Somebody on the forum pointed out that it�s not unusual for members of OOTP to use the cloaks when going about their business. Perhaps the cloaks were designed for this purpose, and as well as providing protection through invisibility, they store things seen and heard by the wearer in such a way that somebody who knew the secret of the cloak could recover this information in the event of the wearer�s .

Except for the apparent connection with OOTP (ie cloaks have only ever been used by members of OOTP), there are two reasons why I think this is possible:

Firstly, Harry�s memory flashbacks. I think it�s very unlikely that Harry would ever be able to regain memories of himself as a one year old baby, even memories of life changing moments such as his parents� s. Could it be possible that the prolonged contact with the cloak has �leaked� this memory back to him, as it was seen by somebody wearing the cloak at the time, potentially the mysterious �extra� person that other readers have suggested may have been present?

Secondly, this could provide lots of ways for the cloak to play a crucial role in the next book. For example, Harry could gain memories for the cloak that identify the wearer, learn important information that was uncovered by James or Lily before they d, or even gain power from the cloak � if Dumbledore deliberately impregnated it with knowledge of spells etc, Harry could benefit from all Dumbledore�s years of learning when the time comes to fight Voldemort. This would explain how an untrained wizard can hope to compete with Voldemort.

Thirdly, a side point could be that the key to unlock the cloak is specific to the cloak, and Dumbledore didn�t know the secret to that cloak. Perhaps over time he has managed to draw a few memories out of the cloak, but has given it to Harry and asked Harry to wear it all the time because he knows the best hope for regaining the secret is that Harry�s affinity for the memories of his blood kin might slowly draw memories out of the cloak as he trains his wizard ability?

Quick thoughts on the other theories � I definitely think none of the good guys would make horcruxes, this is clearly evil not just for sake of but because you have to sacrifice part of your soul. My cloak idea could be a �good� version of this, preserving thoughts but not unnaturally prolonging life.

Harry can�t be a horcrux because he can�t himself and then LV, but his scar could be � if LV was planning to make a horcrux after Harry�s he would have had to do some preparation � it�s not a crazy thought to imagine that accidentally attatching the soul segment to Harry could have been an outcome of the spell going wrong. And there is no apparent limit to how many times a soul can be split � LV might have split it accidentally many more times than he intended, after he lost track of horcruxes made or destroyed. And on the priori incantum spell � there is no saying it requires a wand to make a horcrux, it could be a mental spell or a potion etc.

I like the idea of Petunia being an untrained witch, but I think it is more plausible for her to genuinely think wizardry is wrong and to have rejected training, and be angry at Lily for not doing the same (possibly believing this caused her ), than to be jealous of Lily. I don�t think she was at GH when her sister d.

Posted by Ruth from Edinburgh, UK on October 7, 2006 09:39 AM

I think everyone is barking up the wrong tree. The question is why did DD have the cloak before James d? Why would James want to be without it? Wouldn't that have been a mode of protection for himself and family? JJ says the answer is crucial. I need to re-read every book as my memory fades from the details, but I am thinking there is a prophecy thing or future reading thing that James and Lily knew about or just DD knew about to get the cloak... in order to give it to Harry. I think the answer could be in DD's office in his memory dish (i forgot the name of the object that collects his memories for safe keeping). Maybe DD is more valuable than alive? Won't he be on the wall at least in his office talking and giving advice like the other past heads of Hogwarts?
Or could the cloak play a role in ending LV which DD knew so he obtained it for Harry which he knew.... ok too many if ands and buts. I give up!

Posted by JENNY from CENTERVILLE, VA on October 7, 2006 5:44 PM

Ruth, in the sixth book, the teenage Voldemort asks Slughorn about Horcruxes and Slughorn explains that after splitting the soul you encase part of it in an object. Voldemort asks how that's done and Sluggy exclaims "There's a spell. Do not ask me! Do I look like a er?"

You do require a wand for a Horcrux as it has to be made with a spell, non-verbal or verbal.

Posted by Aditi Dani from Nagpur, India on October 7, 2006 11:21 PM

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