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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 47)

I think that Snape had used the Invisibility Cloak before: in GoF when Harry is trapped in that trick stair, Snape is all "Potter! He is here in his Invisibility Cloak!" where did Snape get the completely correct idea that Harry had an Invisibility cloak?

Posted by Ashley from Missouri on February 13, 2007 06:49 AM

Amy: Your comment about Snape, knowing it was Harry's "Invisibility Cloak" in the Shrieking Shack, made me smiling benignly! Naturally, while under Harry's Cloak he heard everything spoken between Lupin Sirius and Co!

Although don't forget, the occurrence with Draco in Hogsmeade, happened BEFORE the incident in the Shrieking Shack! Where we also get the impression that Snape knew about the Cloak!

Ashley: To answer your question - yes Snape knew that Harry had an Invisibility Cloak - because of what had happened a year ago in PoA.

On a small note... Snape correctly guessed that Harry was near - under the Cloak in that scene you described - because he saw the Maurauder's map in the false Moody's hand! And as it says in GoF:

But Snape's black eyes were darting from the egg in Filch's arms to the mag in Moody's hand, and Harry could tell he was putting two and two together, as only Snape could....

Posted by Mistral from Switzerland on February 13, 2007 10:46 AM

you know, it maybe could be a horcrux from dumbledore, because he has ed grindelwald...but that would mean dumbledore has the same half-life as voldemort had...if snape really used avada kadavra and didn't used a other spell in his mind...and when the flames come around dumbeldore's tomb, harry thinks a phoenix is flying away, so maybe that is dumbledore...

Posted by metallica from maastricht, netherlands on February 13, 2007 3:25 PM

Heather, Amy, and Patty,

Thank you all for your responses to my question "What was Snape doing in that crucial year?"
It seems to me that it would be very telling of Snape's character whether he actively tried to prevent the Potter's demise or turned to Dumbledore only after Voldemort was vanquished.

Posted by Mikey from New Jersey on February 13, 2007 6:41 PM

In the Pensieve in GoF, Dumbledore says during Karkaroff's trial that Snape turned spy against Voldemort at great personal risk. Which would mean that he had turned BEFORE Voldemort's fall. I think you find that it was Snape who warned that Voldemort was after James and Lily. I'd check the books for a reference, but I'm actually meant to be working right now!

Posted by Elizabeth from Australia on February 13, 2007 7:25 PM

I think that Dumbledore might be able to know when the Invisibility Cloak is being used, or where it is at. It seems like when ever Harry loses it it gets returned to him, How? It only seems likely that Dumbledore goes and retrieves it knowing where it is. Which could explain how he finds it at the Grimmauld Place, when the house is supposed to be in ruins.

Any suggestions?

Posted by Kyle from Kearney, Nebraska on February 13, 2007 10:51 PM

There are too few comments about the original question Dave asked us: Why Dumbledore had the cloak, and what Jo wanted to think us about it? Was this only a measure to direct our discussion... again into the dark? Or really a hint?
I don't get a clue what the horcuxes have to do with the matter? But I find it very interesting to speculate, who was there witnessing the s of Harrys parents. Sirius, Petunia, Alberforth, Peter or Severus? I think the discussion about theories what else happened that night in the home of the Potters is most important.
Anyway whoever was there - under the cloak or otherwise unseen - he must have been told the secret from Peter. It seems unlikely that Peter could have told the secret anyone without Voldemort's permission (Peter hasn't the courage for such a thing). So only eaters seem likely - again Severus?
I also think Snape's been already loyal to the Order that time (the pensieve scenes from the court).
I can't see that the cloak's anything to do with Godric Gryffindor, but I do believe that is has more magical qualities than the obvious one.
Another idea I got from the further discussion:
Lily and James (and Dumbledore that time providing the script for the drama and in book 6 on his own account again) not only knew their fate but prepared to sacrifice themselves, because they knew about the prophecy, their own calculated would give Harry time to grow up before Voldemort manages to recover. We know how Lilly protected Harry and indirectly caused (even temporarily) complete loss of power to Voldemort. What did James do there? I think he did something we learn in book 7... but does it have anything to do with the cloak?

Posted by Thomas from Kuopio,Finland on February 14, 2007 3:59 PM

Thomas: I got to the same conclusions. There could have been witness(es) of Lily's and he/she/they had to get inside the house where the Potter were hiding. For instance, I find Dumbledore very much aware of what's going on. Petunia looks like she is concealing something. Jo said Snape wasn't there (I think) but she never said nobody was there.

Besides that, I think that Dumbledore and Hagrid didn't know the secret, because if they did, they would have known that Pettigrew was the secretkeeper.

If Dumbledore was there, he didn't need an invisibility cloak to hide himself, but he needed something to get inside the Potter's house. Was the cloak used as a portkey from Dumbledore's office to the Potter's house? Is such a thing possible, since it would somehow be contradictory with the purpose of the secret?

Posted by herve from strasbourg on February 15, 2007 01:33 AM

I also seem to remember reading somewhere that JKR said Snape was not at Godric's Hollow. When asked during an interview if anyone else was present at Godric's Hollow that night, she said "No comment"

You could be right about Dumbledore keeping tabs on the Cloak. After Norbert is taken from the Astronomy Tower, Harry forgets the Cloak and is found by Filch. Later he finds the cloak under his sheets with a note saying "Just in case". In HBP, Dumbledore tells Harry to keep his Cloak with him "just in case".
Just in case what? In case Harry needs to hide, or in case Dumbledore needs to find him?

Posted by Patty from Quincy,Massachusetts on February 15, 2007 08:07 AM

In order of the pheonix doesn't fudge say to dumbledore "theres nothing like a good witness" and dumbledore agrees may not mean anything but could be a hint

Posted by glorfindel from aberdeen uk on February 15, 2007 12:56 PM

"What question have you never been asked that you ought to have been asked?" Trick question. Why does every important object now have to be a horcrux? We know that invisibility cloaks are rare, and valuable. The Order had two in its possession. Kids lose things. Yes, Dumbledore once returned the cloak to Harry when he absentmindedly left it, rather like a good parent would. We see Harry leaving his cloak lying around all the time; in Hagrid's hut, on the lawn, down a passage, up a tower...knowing it was his father's. The question is not, "How is the cloak of stupendous importance?" but rather, "How is James' foresight significant?" Dumbledore's having it is significant, because the author herself tells us that it is. (I rather thought, before now, that James had accidentally left the cloak with Dumbledore; like father, like son?) We know what we know about the events at Godric's Hollow as we see them unfold for Harry, e.g. what he deduces from the dementor attacks, hearing his parent's voices. We also know, as Dumbledore says, "I am confident, however, that the only known relic of Gryffindor remains safe." Known. To Dumbledore and the wizarding world at large. So, why did Dumbledore have the cloak? James "left it in (his) possession before he d." Of course Dumbledore didn't need it. He needed to give it to Harry, most likely, and Dumbledore is the best person to survive all Voldemort's attacks and be able to give it to him..."Use it well." and "Just in case." don't really imply, "Whatever happens, hang on to this with your life." do they? But James knew he and his wife were going to lay down their lives for their son. We can surmise this much. Why was it so important to pass the cloak to Harry? Just in case...he survived the attack? Use it well...

Posted by Crash from Portland, Oregon on February 15, 2007 9:58 PM

We can assume that Harry's parents were "prepared" to lay down their lives for their son. We can "not" assume that they were planning to. Dumbledore made it very clear to Harry that no one could have predicted what happened when Harry was attacked. They were ready to protect him with their own lives, but the knew that if they d in the process all hope was lost because, without them alive to protect him, Harry was going to be ed.

That means James and Lily did not plan on so Harry could live. Therefore it is "highly" unlikely that James gave the cloak to Dumbledore in order for Harry to have it in the future.

No, James gave the cloak to Dumbledore for an entirely different reason. We just need to figure out what the reason was. I think we can pretty much rule out the possiblity that he gave to him to keep for Harry.

Posted by Michael Brinkley from Oceansied, Ca on February 16, 2007 07:32 AM

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