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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 43)

I have a hard time seeing the invisibility cloak as a Horcrux. If it was one, wouldn't Dumbledore have been able to sence the the evil of the magic used to create it? (he latter proves the ability to sence such magic) Does any one truely believe Dumbledore would have handed such an evil object to an eleven year old boy? It may be some other form of magical item (beyond an invisibily cloak) but not a Horcrux.

Posted by Kevin from Wisconsin on February 5, 2007 08:29 AM

K this goes way back to Mistral's post from November 5th. James was indeed in the first movie, he showed up in the mirror of Erised right beside Harry and Lily...he was played by an actor named Adrian Rawlins.

Posted by Eilan on February 5, 2007 10:26 AM

So I'm finally finished reading through all the posts on this website, and I've got a couple of things I want to comment on.

We all know that JKR is fantastic at manipulating words and it seems to me that she never uses a complex word without reason. Some examples are easier (like the fact that Sirius can turn into a dog, when the dog constellation is called Sirius, or that both Lupin's first and last names point to him having a wolfish nature) and some are more complex (Regulus Black for example: the historical Regulus was a Roman patriot martyr who was captured by the Carthaginians during the Punic wars and forced to return to Rome to argue the Carthaginian case, on threat of torture should he fail. Instead of doing so, he encouraged the Romans to fight harder and returned to Carthage knowing full well that he would be tortured to for his deception....might give us a little clue into Regulus Black's ...JKR never uses classical references by accident) okay I got a little sidetracked there but back to my main point. The exact wording of Dumbledore's note to Harry re:the cloak has been bothering me. "Your father left this in my possession before he d" kind of makes it sound like he forgot the cloak. And wouldn't it be crucial if in fact the cloak would have helped the Potters buy some time to escape, but they didn't have it and so d? Just a thought.....

I also really like the idea that Petunia and Lily were in fact from a family that was perhaps still a part of the wizarding world but had no magic anymore. Why else would they be so proud to have a witch in the family? Hermione's parents were just confused when they found out that their child was a witch.

It's also been bugging me that Sirius turned up in Godric's Hollow right after Hagrid the night Harry's parents d. We can assume that Dumbledore would have been informed of their location since there was no chance that Voldemort could torture the location out of him, perhaps by a note written by Pettigrew (and he could have thought Sirius wrote it) so it follows that he would have told Hagrid. But how did Sirius find out? The point of having a secret keeper is to go completely into hiding. You wouldn't be likely to have your friends around for afternoon tea, and risk the chance that they could be followed. I'm also wondering why Sirius would have argued with Hagrid over who would take Harry if he had already decided to go after Pettigrew. Is it possible that it wasn't Sirius there at all? Could it have been a eater in disguise trying to get ahold of Harry one last time? I don't know, just a thought.

That's it for now!

Posted by Eilan on February 5, 2007 1:08 PM

Doesn't Sirius tell Harry in POA that he went to Godric's Hollow that night, after he couldn't find Pettigrew? I can see why he asked to take Harry. He'd have been devastated, blaming himself, not thinking clearly and wanting to do something to make up for what he'd see as HIS mistake. Then when Hagrid refused and said Harry had to go straight to Dumbledore, it would have slowly sunk in to him what a mess he was in. Dumbledore believing he'd been the secret keeper and the only people who could have cleared it up, .

I also think you need to have a look at how the Fidelius Charm works. Any number of people know that Grimmauld Place is the Order's HQ. Every single member plus Harry, Ron, Hermione and the twins. But only Dumbledore could TELL someone where it is, even with a note. There is a good explanation of it in PoA. So even if Voldemort knew or could have a good guess where the Potters were, unless the Secret Keeper blabbed, then the house would be hidden from him. Check the chapter in OotP when Harry arrives at Grimmauld Place. Until he reads the note from Dumbledore, the house is hidden from him. The Secret cannot be tortured out UNLESS the person being tortured is the Secret Keeper. That is the whole point of the Charm.

Great point about the name Regulus! That fits perfectly with what we suspect about Regulus Black having taken the locket. Thanks.

Posted by Elizabeth from Australia on February 5, 2007 5:22 PM

I think that the secret keeper AND James and Lily could tell anyone about their location. Once you are told, you can get there: look at Moody in OotP, he can get to Grimmault place without any note. I would assume that Dumbledore, Hagrid and Sirius knew all three perfectly where Godric Hollow was and how to get there. The only thing they could not do was revealing it to someone else.

Posted by herve from strasbourg on February 6, 2007 12:53 AM

Looking again at Aunt Petunia's reaction to the reemergence of Lord Voldemort at the beginning of OOP there is more fear of him suddenly displayed than any Muggle would have. Petunia seemed to have no interest or knowledge about her Sister's world until suddenly in the same scene she reveals knowledge and emotion about it.

This easily can be a clue that it was Petunia who was visiting her sister the night that the family was attacked. As she is a Muggle and could not defend herself James and Lilly could have put her under the cloak and had her hide while the rest of the scene unfolded. This could account for her real and substantial fear of Voldemort. In hiding there she was found by Dumbledore, who returned her to Privet Drive but kept the invisibility cloak.

Of course this is wild speculation from a single clue, but it does fit that particular clue.

Posted by Charlie Tarbox from Gettysburg, Pa on February 6, 2007 06:03 AM

But how did Sirius know about Godric's Hollow quickly enough to arrive so soon after Hagrid. If he wasn't in on the Secret how did he know that was where the Potters were? And how did he know of the attack so soon? I wonder if he had a device similar to the Foe Glass or the mirror he gave to Harry so he could keep an eye on the Potters.

Posted by Patty from Quincy MA on February 6, 2007 06:59 AM

To Patty, Heather, Elizabeth and Kevin
Thanks for your encouraging nice words on my English, I take this as a great compliment:-)

Due to the fact, that I read Eilan's comment, I spent the whole afternoon re-reading all important Chapters in PoA. Just like Elizabeth said, Sirius arrived at Godric's Hollow shortly after Hagrid. How much time had gone by since Lily and James's ,we are not TOLD!

So it is not out of the ordinary that Sirius met Hagrid, but rather a coincidence ( though the rule says, coincidences don't exist) - what seems peculiar is why Sirius told Hagrid to take his motorbike, saying he didn't need it anymore!

At that point he did not know that he would actually find Pettigrew - if he had in mind to the traitor, his motorbike would have been practical to go into hiding, at least at the time being. Afterwards he would have been able to transform into his animagus/Snuffles form!

To respond to Patty about the mirror's, my first impulse would be yes. Sirius told Harry that James had also a mirror and that they used to talk to each other between detentions. Maybe Sirius and James had an agreement that once a day they would communicate with each other.

On Halloween's night Sirius wanted to check on the Potters, took out the mirror and called James, who did not response as was agreed!

However, Sirius tells Harry in the "Shrieking Shack" Quote

...."The night they d, I'd arranged to check on Peter, make sure he was safe, but when I arrived at his hiding place, he'd gone.Yet there was no sign of a struggle.. I set out for your parent's house straight away."

Since he had been the Potter's Secret Keeper before Pettigrew, it is consequential that he knew where the hiding place of Harry's parents was! Something Hagrid was NOT informed of!

I still cannot be persuaded to believe that Petunia was there under the Invisibility Cloak on the night of the . We have no reliable clue so far - assuming she was there...what sister could of watched the of her sister without at least giving a small sound from her - even though she was scared to ... a sound Harry would have remembered when the dementors attacked him...and importantly, it was Dumbledore who told Harry, that James had left the Invisibility Cloak in his care! No mentioning of his aunt Petunia.

What I would like to know is what Dumbledore wrote in that letter he left together with baby Harry, at the Dursley's doorstep! I assume it was Dumbledore who told her about the house being destroyed and that they were ed by Lord Voldemort in person. Petunia tells Vernon and Harry ( in OotP) that she heard "that awful boy" mention his name. I know there is more to her and I am still trying to figure it out. My newest guess is, that she is maybe not Lily's real sister. But then I wonder how the "Blood-Protection" would work. Though knowing how powerful Dumbledore was, that should be no problem.

Posted by Mistral from Switzerland on February 6, 2007 10:18 AM

I've been thinking about what everyone has been saying about Petunia being under the cloak the night of the attack. I don't think it fits with Petunia as we know her. I don't disagree that she may have visited (possibly under the cloak) or even that she was a witness to other things but I don't think she could have been there that night. What would she have told Vernon? I could be wrong about this but weren't the Potters ed in the middle of the night? It makes some sense if she had been there during the day while Vernon was at work but I don't think she would have snuck out during the night.

Posted by tracy on February 6, 2007 10:31 AM

I have a speculation on why Petunia was scared of Voldemort, but I have no real clue for it, only guesses. When Voldemort spoke to the DE at the end of GoF, he said that before going further on paths of immortality, he had to recover his body. This body (his old one) is mortal. I've thought for quite a while that making the Horcruxes wasn't enough for Voldemort. He also wanted to get rid of his old body and get a much younger one. Then Harry Potter gave him an opportunity. All along his childhood, wizards would ensure his safety, for he was supposed to be the "one who can vanquish the Dark Lord".

If Voldemort transfered his own soul and consciousness inside Harry's body and brain, nobody would notice the difference, and they would raise the new Voldemort. For that, he only needed a mother. Lily was the perfect choice, but she refused. Then Petunia was the second choice. That's why she might have been called to Godric Hollow.

If this is true, then Voldemort asked Petunia to do an Unbreakable Vow with him. She sweared to raise Harry as her own son, and not tell a word about that night. All that would explain why she is so scared about SPEAKING OF WIZARDRY, and why she is so scared when she hears from Voldemort. Her thoughts must have really been confused.

Posted by herve from strasbourg on February 6, 2007 10:37 AM

Patty, Sirius KNEW where the Potters were, but the working of the Fidelius Charm stopped anyone but Pettigrew from telling anyone else. There is something about this in the Spinner's End chapter of HBP. Bellatrix is interrogating Snape and is sneering at him for not saying where the Order's HQ is. He tells her that since he is not Secret Keeper for the Order, he CANNOT tell her. "You know how the charm works?" He also points out that Voldemort himself accepts the impossibility of Snape passing that information.
Also in POA Prof. Flitwick explains the spell to Madame Rosmerta. "An immensely complex spell... involving the magical concealment of a secret inside a single, living soul. The information is hidden inside the chosen person, or Secret Keeper, and is henceforth impossible to find - unless of course the Secret Keeper chooses to divulge it. As long as the Secret Keeper refused to speak, You-Know-Who could search the village where Lily and James were staying for years and never find them, not even if he had his nose pressed against their sitting room window."

Sirius tells Harry in POA that he went to check on Peter that night to make sure that he was safe, but he was gone with no sign of a struggle. He got the wind up and went to Godric's Hollow to check on James and Lily. He got there after Hagrid, so obviously Dumbledore already had the news that the Potters were . One assumes that there was also someone living near by to keep an eye on things. Perhaps even Hagrid.

Posted by Elizabeth from Australia on February 6, 2007 5:50 PM

I have read a lot of discussion regarding how Dumbledore knew so quickly that the Potters had been attacked. There is a really simple possiblity. All they had to do was put a portrait of someone in both the Potter's house and Dumbledore's office.

Dumbledore would have known at once.

Posted by Michael Brinkley from Oceanside, CA on February 6, 2007 9:14 PM

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