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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 42)

i dont believe that dumbledore or james would carelessly take a life of someone unless for the case of the dark wizard dumbledore ed earlier in his life. BUT! it is possible that james, or even godric gryffindor had taken someone's life in order to make a horcrux and leave in the cloak. james could have ed a follower of voldemort in that time (very unlikely) but i do think that it be dumbledore that come and help harry in his final battle with Voldemort. I also believe that their be a great big battle with voldemort harry the eaters dumbledore sirius etc. maybe james or godric and then harry and voldemort have to finish the battle forever between good and evil. something along those lines...

Posted by Henry Erdman from MN on February 2, 2007 3:43 PM

Why does the cloak have to be anything other than what it is? An invisibility cloak. I have read nothing anywhere that would indicate that it was any type of artifact, horcrux, mystical object of any sort.

It is just a cloak that turns its wearer invisible. Just like the Weasley's invisibility hats that turn the wearer's head invisible. Just like the other invisibilty cloaks that members of the Order have. I see no reason whatsoever to speculate on it being anything else. The only thing special about them are that they are really rare and really valuable.

What we do know is this. Dumbledore had need of an invisibility cloak. Given the fact that Dumbledore can turn invisible himself, that means one of two things.

a. He needed for someone else to not be seen for a while.


b. He needed for some item to not be seen for a while.

The only question is; who or what did Dumbledore need to hide?

Posted by Michael Brinkley from Oceanside, Ca on February 2, 2007 3:43 PM

To everyone who has recently commented, "why do we care?", please read the original article. JK herself brought this up as a question she said we should be asking.

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on February 2, 2007 3:49 PM

Two more thoughts occured to me since my posting a couple days ago. In almost every comment that gets posted on these wonderful articles about Harry being a decendant of Godric Gryffindor they try to link him through his father James. What if his connection is thru Lilly?

Also, the basis of this discussion is on why Dumbledore has James' cloak. Perhaps Dumbledore knew the Potters would be able to concoct an adequate defense for Harry, so Dumbledore had it to loan to the Longbottoms to protect Neville. There is a strong connection between Harry and Neville, and we do not know what transpired with the Longbottoms after the Potters were ed. Did Belatrix torture them to find out where Neville was so she could him in case the prophacy meant Neville? I don't think at the time the Longbottoms were tortured that anyone knew exactly what had happened with Voldemort. I think this connection between Harry and Neville come thru in book 7.

Posted by Dave Porter from New Mexico, USA on February 2, 2007 6:12 PM

Michael Brinkley,
You're absolutely right about Lily being in Gryffindor. Slughorn tells Harry in HBP Chapter 4. How did I miss that. Though I still think the real revelation be about Lily and Petunia, not James.

Also I like your point about the real question regarding the cloak is why did Dumbledore have it?

One question that just occured to me. Do we know how James got the cloak? Off hand I can't remember it being stated that it was a family heirloom.

Posted by Mikey from New Jersey on February 2, 2007 7:37 PM

Mikey from New Jersey
According to an AOL online chat with JKR in 2000, the Invisibility Cloak is definitely a Potter family-heirloom which belonged to Harry's father James Potter.

Posted by Mistral from Switzerland on February 3, 2007 07:36 AM

I just read in SS, Dumbledore is talking to Harry about the cloak. "Ah- your father happened to leave it in my possession and I thought you might like to have it."[pg. 299 U.S.]
It sounds to me as though there was no grand plan about Harry getting the cloak for some specific purpose.
Dumbledore goes further to say that Harry's father used the cloak mainly for sneaking into the Hogwart's kitchen.

Posted by Mikey from New Jersey on February 3, 2007 09:01 AM

what if dumbledore needed james cloak to hide someone else, Harry himself. We know voldemort wanted harry but what if harry was hidden before voldemort arrived at godrics hollow? if dumbledore had used james cloak to hide harry, then who did voldemort curse? we know from the books that lily was an exceptional potion maker so what if to protect harry, lily or james "became harry" by the use of polyjuice potion. it would certainly explain why "harry" knew how to fly,and also his stag patronus, or why he has his mothers to think about eh! heres another one, not only why did dumbledore have james cloak, but why did the potters and then hagrid have the philosopher stone. And by the way if james or lily is harry, then who is the real harry? of course JK always leaves us clues, so when stan shunpike asks for his name on the knight bus, JK tells us, "Neville longbottom"

Posted by neil ch from west midlands uk on February 3, 2007 11:24 AM

Eh, Neil... Then who would the third person be? Seeing both Lily and James were ed by Voldemort... So if one of them impersonated Harry, then one of them would be the real Lily or James but the other couldn't... Myth busted!

Posted by Mike Hoekstra from Drachten, the Netherlands on February 3, 2007 1:43 PM

Dave Porter mentioned the possibility that Dumbledore was using the cloak to protect Neville. This is a very good possibility. Neville has shown a very strong psychological reaction to the use of the Cruciatus curse. It could simply be because his parents were driven insane by it. But it makes even more sense if he witnessed it happening. Could it be that Dumbledore left the cloak with the Longbottoms in order for them to hide Neville in the event of an attack? When the eaters showed up they did just that. They covered their son with the cloak and faced their attackers. Meanwhile, Neville witnessed it all.

This would parallel what happened to Harry in HBP. Dumbledore paralyzed Harry so he couldn�t move or cry out, and he was hidden beneath the cloak. Neville�s parents could have done the same thing; paralyzed him so that he could not cry out and be found.

Hmm...This does open up an interesting line of reasoning.

Posted by Michael Brinkley from Oceanside, Ca on February 3, 2007 4:07 PM

I think the biggest gap in your cloak as horcrux idea is that if the person who created the horcrux s (like James and Godric Griffyndor did) they are supposed to revert to the horcrux, so if it were a way to make James come back to life, he'd have done so the very second he d, but would have been in a weakened state for the first few books just like Voldemort. It cannot be a horcrux for someone then. And I think it unlikely it would be a horcrux for someone else important. I think the idea that the cloak belonged to Gryffindor is a very good one and perhaps most likely.

Posted by Eilan Cavell on February 5, 2007 06:12 AM

I do not think that the cloak is a James' or Godric Gryffindor's horcrux because to do an horcrux we need to a person and i don't belive that any of them would a person only to have an horcrux. I think that Dumbledore was in Godric's Hallow when Harry d and that he and Harry's mother were the ones who saved Harry from ing when Voldemort tried it

Posted by potter fan from london on February 5, 2007 07:45 AM

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