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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 41)

Could it be possible that the cloak has special properties that makes it possible for Harry to defeat Lord Voldemort? Maybe Harry needs to wear the cloak in order to defeat Voldemort. It could be possible.

Posted by Rohith Prakash from Plano, TX on February 1, 2007 4:16 PM

I had a thought about Lilly & Petunia. What if their mom was a squib? When Petunia first reveals to Harry the real facts about Lilly she says that their mom was "so proud to have a witch in the family". Is the daughter of a squib just a muggle if they are not magic as well? If Filch or Ms. Figg had kids would they be muggles? If that is so it would explain why Petunia's and Lilly's mom was happy that Lilly was a witch. Petunia would not be a squib with this reasoning. This would lend a little more credence to the theory that Petunia was at Godric's Hollow under the invisibility cloak.

I do think there is something under the creaky step in the Dursley's house, Lilly's wand, a memory in a vial, or some other surprise. Lilly would have then been able to get the invisibility cloak back to Dumbledore via Ms. Figg. Why else would they live in the same neighborhood and have Harry go there periodically?

Posted by Dave Porter from New Mexico, USA on February 1, 2007 6:54 PM

JKR has told us (her loyal fans) there is "more to Aunt Petunia than meets the eye". In August 2004, at the Edinburgh Book Festival she was asked if Aunt Petunia was a Squib. She denied that she was a Squib, but there was that "but" to keep us guessing. She said that she was a "muggle, but-". Apparently, the but must be significant because she it seemed like she thought she was revealing too much. Perhaps, Dave Porter is onto something.

Alot has been hidden about Aunt Petunia. In all the books she has had very few lines. When JKR mentions her, we should take note. For example, in OoP after Harry tells the Dursleys that Voldemort is back...
"Back?" whispered Aunt Petunia.
She was looking at Harry as she had never looked at him before. And all of a sudden, for the very first time in his life, Harry fully appreciated that Aunt Petunia was his mother's sister...All he knew was that he was not the only person in the room who had an inkling of what Lord Voldemort being back might mean." (p38 US)

Taking us back to the invisibility cloak--I am agreeing with those that have suggested the Dumbledore had it for Aunt Petunia. Somehow she may been helping Lily. That creaky step is highly suspicious too.

Posted by Heather from NJ on February 1, 2007 8:26 PM

i dont think that james or godric or anyone from gryffindor would make any horcrux as you need to someone to make it... and its most unlikely of them to someone for their benefit... and if its a horcrux, dumbledore would have known it and he certainly would have told harry about it

Posted by XYZ from INDIA on February 1, 2007 9:16 PM

That's very good thinking, Dave P & Heather. If there was witchcraft a generation or so back in Petunia and Lily's family, it would make a lot of sense. Petunia has always come across as jealous. That diatribe in the first book, when Hagrid comes for Harry, reeks of it. And in OotP, she does seem to understand what's going on. She accepts immediately that Harry has to remain, despite Uncle Vernon's gut reaction to kick Harry out. Perhaps it is just the blood being thicker than water thing: when it comes down to it, she can't kick out her sister's child to be ed. Also, if she did know anything about the Dementors, she would have to realise that for Dudley to have survived, Harry must have risked his own life to save him. You know, I would really like to see a little reconciliation there.
As I understand Arabella Figg's involvement, she was planted there, along with her kneazles, by the Order to keep an eye on Harry.
I'm not too sure about Petunia being at Godric's Hollow under the cloak. If she had been, surely she would have had more of a reaction the following day when Uncle Vernon asks her if she has been in contact with Lily. I mean if she had just seen her sister ed. Although I suppose Sirius or Hagrid might have performed a memory charm on her. That would make sense.
The cloak is fascinating anyway. Dumbledore's note to Harry says quite clearly that "Your father left this with me before he d." Not, "This was delivered to me after your father d." Has Rowling actually said that someone was there that night under the cloak?
One point; I've always suspected that Dumbledore could see through the thing, or at least sense when someone was using it. Would it be reasonable to expect that Voldemort might have the same ability? It seems to be only the more instinctual (is that a word?) magic that involves love or ing self-sacrifice that he slips up on. All the technical stuff he has down pat. Wouldn't he have noticed if someone else was there? Of course, he might not pick up on a muggle as easily as another wizard or witch whose power he could sense. Like the little boat in HBP which didn't register Harry's power.
I need to have another read through for that creaky stair. Maybe James and Lily's wands are both there. Or if it exists, Petunia's memory of that night.
Do you realise that in six months we'll being kicking ourselves at the outcome and muttering, "How did we miss THAT!?"
One thing, I'm praying like crazy that she hasn't ed off Remus Lupin or Tonks. I'm a hopeless romantic, but I really like that pair, and nothing gets me like a wounded hero.

Posted by Elizabeth from Australia on February 2, 2007 04:16 AM

Elizabeth, i totally agree with you about Voldemort's instincts. I think he would have sensed her presence. Maybe he was too wrapped up in the ing moment though to nice. I'm not sure if JKR actually confirmed that somebody was under the cloak or not, but she did say that Snape was not.

As for Petunia, I find it hard to believe that she was at Godrics Hollow on Oct 31st when James and Lily were ed. Wouldn't she have been more distressed when we first met her in SS the day after the . You do make a good point, perhaps her memory was altered.

We know that James had left the cloak with Dumbledore before he d. We just don't know how long before he d. Perhaps Petunia or Dumbledore had been using it for a while. In SS first chapter Vernon asked "ER--Petunia, dear---you haven't heard from your sister lately, have you?" As he expected, Mrs. Dursley looked shocked and angry....."No," she said sharply. "Why?"

It seems to me, that Petunia was being very defensive in her response. How often had she seen Lily? or Dumbledore? or helped in someway?

One other point, I don't think Petunia knew Mrs. Figg. Figg was undercover, working for Dumbledore.

Posted by Heather from NJ on February 2, 2007 07:02 AM

Voldemort probably sees through the cloak: at least, Nagini does when Voldemort is inside it, when Arthur Weasley is attacked.

Posted by herve from strasbourg on February 2, 2007 09:46 AM

Why would James leave the cloak in Dumbledore's possession before he d? It was clearly left under the instruction that one day it be returned to Harry; after reading Dumbledores's note we can see that. I suspect that James and Lily and Dumbledore had discussed the prophecy in detail. When they found that Voldemort had chosen their family, what if they (Dumbledore included) read the prophecy to mean "Harry Voldemort", and acted accordingly to ensure his saftey? This is to say, Harry's parents sacrificed themselves, and they knew full well what was going to happen in doing so. We might even go so far as to venture that they (with Dumbledore's help) foresaw Voldemort crippling himself when trying to Harry, and so let themselves for that cause. They may have done it to "buy Harry some time", because, we can presume that all throughout Harry's life he would be hunted by Voldemort and the Eeaters, and his parents must have known that he would probably be caught by a ing curse sometime growing up (think modern day weapons, and every day your son is being hunted). This way, they d to guarantee Harry's saftey throughout his most vulnerable years. Of course, knowing he would have to be ed, James gave the cloak to Dumbledore. This would also open up an interesting pathway of emotion in the 7th book, as Harry would be deeply conflicted about Dumbledore possibly "letting" his parents .

What do you guys think? Legitimate, at least at its core? This is why Dumbledore is also very ardent about interpreting the prophecy correctly throughout the novels; he must believe in what it contains, for he allowed James and Lily to in its name.

Also, to the people that think Harry might be a descendant of Godric Gryffindor: If he had Gryffindor blood in him, don't you think the sorting hat would pick up on it? Go back and re-read that part, I realize that Harry is "touched" by Voldy, but certainly Gryffindor blood would trump that in terms of Harry's house. Godrics Hollow would be a place very special to Gryffindors, and they are known for their courage. If I am right, certainly it would take all the courage in the world for James and Lily to stand up to Voldemort and sacrifice themselves, perhaps the setting was to bolster them.

Posted by Brian from Ann Arbor, Michigan on February 2, 2007 09:58 AM

Brian - Dumbledore told Harry that no one could have predicted what happened when Voldemort attacked Harry. So they could not have planned for what happened. Also, I have seen a lot of people here assuming that James left the cloak in Dumbledore�s possession for the purpose of Dumbledore giving it to Harry later in life. I have read all of the books no fewer than five times. I can not find any support for this in any of the books. People seem to point to Dumbledore�s note saying �It is time it was returned to you.�

Let�s say for a moment that my own father d when I was a baby. Let�s also say that he had a food processor and his boss at the time needed one for a party he was throwing. My father, being the nice guy he was, loaned the food processor to his boss. Later in the week, before his boss was able to return the processor to him, he and my mother get ed in a freak thunderstorm accident. Years later I end up getting hired at the same company that my father worked at and working for the same boss. For some strange odd reason I am in need of a food processor. For some stranger reason, there does not seem to be any available for purchase anywhere. Suddenly my boss remembers that he has my father�s old one. He sends it to me with a note saying, �Your father left this in my possession before he d. It is time it was returned to you.� Yea, I am saved. I now have a food processor.

Now, does that mean that my father knew that he was going to , I was going to grow up without him and that I was going to need a food processor when I got older? No, it simply means that my father was nice enough to loan it to someone that was nice enough to �return� it to the family�.me.

Many people are trying to answer the wrong question. The question isn�t why was the cloak saved for Harry. The question is, �Why did Dumbledore need it?� If we can answer that question, we come a long way to figuring out the final mystery.

Posted by Michael Brinkley from Oceanside, Ca on February 2, 2007 11:33 AM

it wouldnt be a relic of griffindor, its too common place, moody has two of them, and it has no indication that it is gryffindors, the locket the cup and the sword all do. the idea its a horcrus is rediculous, if james is infact not why oh why wouldnt he reveal himself to harry or sirius (who james knew wasnt a traitor) or lupin or even dumbledor or hagrid, and where is gryffindot then if he isnt ? im sure the cape has some part to play but i think youre reading a bit TOO much into it

Posted by heather on February 2, 2007 1:54 PM

Maybe the cloak isnt a horcrux but some other type of a powerful artifact... it could be that if it was Dumbledore's he could either have infused his power into it when (if) he d or if it was godric's horcrux he could reform in the body of the person wearing the cloak.

Posted by Henry Erdman from MN on February 2, 2007 3:21 PM

I realized that in OoP, Moody does explain that he has 2 cloaks and that he had lent one for another member of the Order--so that they can guard the door to the prophesy. Was Jo throwing us another clue? Was the Order hiding something back in time when Voldemort was at his peak (just prior to the Potter's ). Perhaps James had just lent it to Dumbledore for Phoenix business. We know Dumbledore himself didn't need it, but the other members did. What would they be hiding or guarding? Any ideas?

Posted by Heather from NJ on February 2, 2007 3:23 PM

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