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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 5)

There is no way that the cloak could be a relic of Godric Gryffindor. I don't have the exact quote, but when Dumbledore is telling Harry about the Horcruxes, he says that the only known relic of Godric Gryffindor is the sword that Harry pulled from the sorting hat in his Second Year. If this is true (which I can't see any reason why it wouldn't be true), then that must mean that the cloak is important in some other way. I don't think we know enough yet about what was happening around the time of Lilly and James' s to be able to figure out what significance the cloak has. However, I have somewhat of a wild guess: In the note Dumbledore leaves for Harry he says "It is time that is was returned to you." The note says "...returned to you" which would imply that Harry had previously been in posession of the cloak, otherwise Dumbledore would have said something like "It is time that you have it." I think (and again this is a wild guess) that the cloak was used to hide Harry and whoever was watching him when he was very young while Lilly and James were fighting with the Order of the Phoenix. When the Potters went into hiding they wouldn't need the cloak anymore so they left it with Dumbledore. I know that my scenario is HIGHLY unlikely and has a few unexplained items in it, but hopefully it inspire someone else out there who come up with the real reason. Let me know what you think.

Posted by Michael from Virginia Beach, Virginia on September 15, 2006 9:25 PM

Ok I think it's a given that none of our Heros would make a horcrux, they are just "To Noble" to do so.
The cloak has other propertys that should be looked into.
As far as Dumbledore being an animagus, his name suggests a "White/Sliver Bumblebee" (depending on translations)
It stands to follow that DD has kept an eye on Harry while at the Dersleys. (even explanes a few commets he has made in the books).
As far as Harry being the Horcrux, consider Lily has already given her life/love to Harry, I doubt that LVM could of transfered anything intenionally to him to penetrate the Love magic.

Posted by J.B. Moore from Columbus, Ohio on September 15, 2006 10:19 PM

There are many unanswered question in HP books. JKR develops many plots in the books that go parallel to the main plot, and some times makes them intertwine, but some times she does not.

What is the importance, for example, of Hagrid's never ending facination with dragons? What role Hagrid's giant brother play in the plot? The importance of that giant spider (I forgot the name, sorry) is never spelled out, even though JKR takes great pains to keep him/it in the story until its and ensures that his venom is collected. What about the mirror that Sirius gave to HP for communication but HP never used it until it was too late; or is it?

To me, the most important question that surfaced from HBP is that, while knowing very well that HP is not a very learnt wizard (his strenghth is his courage and the help of faithful friends), and Dumbledore is gone (most likely), how is HP going to find the horcruxes (which requires high skil and knowledge, especially in the dark arts) and destroys them?


Posted by Ibrahim from Dhahran on September 16, 2006 01:10 AM

I don't think your theory is "highly unlikely" Michael in fact it's pretty good, it makes much more sense that my thought....Here's one that IS highly unlikely...It's a rough thought at the moment and I can't wrap my little brain around any of the details, but what if DD had the cloak because he isn't ( or wasn't) really DD (at the time)...what if there was some polyjuice involved...maybe "DD" had the cloak because at the time he was really James.....
I know that's reaching a bit. Does anyone have any theories about why the Potter's house may have been destroyed? Aveda Kedavera doesn't cause any damage.

Posted by tracy on September 16, 2006 04:05 AM

There are some really good points raised here. Now if we put them all together we might find something.

It says when Harry is on the train in PS/SS, when he gets his first frog card (Dumbledore) that he (Dumbledore) assisted in the capture of a Dark Wizard in the 1940s or something. It could be assumed (I'm out on a limb here) that Dumbledore had to this Dark Wizard to capture him. So technically Dumbledore could have a Horcrux, but as it says numerous times, to nake a Horcrux requires a s in immense dark magic and, I'm pretty sure he has that s, as if he would create a Horcrux.

I don't believe that Dumbledore would let James make a Horcrux even if it would allow him to come back. And I would have the impression that the one the Horcrux is for HAS to be the one who makes the Horcrux. As smart as James is and even though he has Dumbledore, I don't think that one of the 'good guys' would make a purely evil thing.

I could be possible that the invisibility cloak is needed to enter Godric's Hollow, but that would probably mean that anyone who wanted to enter the Hollow must have that prticular cloak on or they couldn't get in. That would be both impractical and quite annoying.

I also believe that an invisibiliaty cloak couldn't be used as a Horcrux. It says in HBP that Horcruxes are different from portkeys in that they are generally treasured items. Although that cloak is a treasure i think it is the wrong sort of treasure. The cloak is supposedly meant to be, basically, a cloak with the consistancy of water (I think it's in the decription of the cloak when Harry first gets it). Do you really think that it would be physically possible to put part of a soul into a cloak tat is water-like? Nah.

All these ideas are good but they have too many flaws in them that aren't consistant with the story. I hae no idea what the purpose of the cloak might be, I can only guess, but if it is important to the story then J.K. must be planning the 7th book to be something close to three feet long because there are so many questions that have been asked and not answered because, apparently, they are relevant in the next book.

Posted by Ned from Blue Mountains, NSW on September 16, 2006 04:12 AM

I think it's highly unlikely that the Cloak is James Potter or a Godric Gryffindor Horcrux. It takes pure evil to make a Horcrux, and according to the books Godric Gryffindor don't sound evil to me, neither does James Potter. But it is possible that it might have belonged to Godric G. and that James P. and Harry P. might be descendants of Godric G,
but J.K Rowling has told us in interviews that Harry is not a relative of Godric's.

Posted by J.D from Sweden on September 16, 2006 04:27 AM

Michael said in his comment that he thinks that Harry has had the invisibility cloak before. In a comment I read earlier someone (don't remember who it was, though) said that there is a 24-hour gap when we don't know where Harry is (the time between the attack on Lily and James and til Hagrid leaves Harry on the Dursley's doorstep). Maybe he is still in Godric's Hollow, but under the invisibility cloak? Just a thought that crossed my mind.

Posted by Malin from Karlskrona, Sweden on September 16, 2006 06:55 AM

I think we need to focus more on the function of the invisibility cloak. I agree with the many who have expressed skepticism about the cloak being a horcrux. It is also improbable that it is a Gryffindor relic. The purpose of the cloak is to make someone invisible. If Dumbledore does not need the cloak to become invisible, then the question is "who?". The polyjuice option is interesting. With the potion or without there is a possibility that another wizard ( Snape, Sirius?) was at Godric's Hollow that evening. The details of the events there are sketchy and I think crucial to the understanding of the events that have come to pass and are still to come. My vote is on Snape. Perhaps he needed the cloak to hide from LV while aiding Dumbledore.

The horcrux theory is interesting, but since JK introduced the concept of a horcrux and the existance of some "mystery" horcruxes, everything in the HP world has become at some point in some thread or another a horcrux. The knowledge and existence of horcruxes is very rare. Voldemort went to extraordinary lenghts to try to achieve "inmortality". The creation of a horcrux seems to be a very dificult and obscure task which does require preparation, knowledge, and a . All these factors make it improbable that many wizards engage in the practice of creating horcruxes. ( I would not put it past Dumbledore, although I doubt he would create a horcrux: )

It is interesting to speculate about such things,but again, let's think about the why and the who surrounding the use of the cloak.

Posted by Rebeca from Albuquerque, NM on September 16, 2006 07:57 AM

Don't forget that Sirius was at Godric's Hollow the night the Potter's d. Wormtail used Sirius as a scapegoat, Hagrid had Sirius'motorcycle and said that Sirius had let him (Hagrid) borrow it. Perhaps Sirius had Harry until Hagrid arrived?

Posted by Beth from Erie, PA on September 16, 2006 08:57 AM

There's a buncha holes in the story as yet, I think. We don't have enough information to come to any conclusion, and THAT is just what she wants;)
We don't KNOW why James gave the cloak to Dumbledore. Was he prescient, did he knopw he wouldn't get to do it himself? OR did it have nothing to do with Harry?

Someone go ask her!

Posted by Ed R on September 16, 2006 3:32 PM

- Horcruxes should not have anything to do with the cloak. It is clear that Dumbledore stud them mostly towards the end of his life. If he knew about them, and as by theory thought of making one, he would have certainly thought Voldemort could have done the same.

- The GG relic theory does not give a sense of "critical". Harry already has the sword and the hat, so there is no need for another relic just for the sake of it being one.

- The key to Godric's Hollow theory misses a few points, such as the fact that it was a village (I sensed people were referring to it as if it were the house of the Potters or something). Since the Potters had a house there, and since Sirius Black was accused of ing all those muggles just after the happenings, I would conclude that the village was not as yet abandoned and therefore needed no key to enter it.

- Baby Harry was not wrapped in it since in Harry's memory bursts, his parents make no effort to hide or conceal an invisible baby - they try to escape, with the baby. In addition, Voldemort's Aveda Kedavera hit its target well enough which would be quite difficult if Harry was invisible.

* The crucial detail in Rowling's comment is that the cloak was being used before the Potters' s. Add that Dumbledore did not need the cloak anymore, at lease since Harry's first year at Hogwarts. Keep in mind that the Potters DID expect bad things to happen - that is why they covered Harry in all that old magic. Also, if Dumbledore knew that the cloak would be important in Harry's fight against Voldemort, he would have surely explained to Harry how to use it - since he thought Harry was ready to accompany him in search of horcruxes, he would have given Harry any info like that too.

+ My conclusion from this is that the meaning of the cloak lies solely in the past, and that it is unrelated to the actual destroying of Voldemort. Instead, it is meaningful to the plot, Harry's story.

= My first guess went on the lines of: Dumbledore coordinated the Order of the Phoenix. Sirius Black was supposed to be the secretkeeper (oops forgot the word!) for the Potters' location. Sirius was also a friend of theirs. So Mr Potter simply gave the invisibility cloak to Dumbledore to have it delivered to Sirius, but Dumbledore did not have the time and since Sirius was then suspected and condemned of treatury Dumbledore would have kept it.

... Yet this, while historical enough, has nothing critical.

And therefor I declare myself lost:) Though I have two hunches which I simply cannot fit together:

1. Someone was there too. Maybe under the cloak. Maybe Black, maybe Snape.

2. Severus Snape is actually Harry Potter's real father, explaining:
(i) Dumbledore's blind faith in Snape
(ii) Snape's loathing the fact that Harry was bad in potions
(iii) Snape never ing Harry despite all the occassions
(iv) Snape locking out certain memories from Harry to keep him from getting to know the truth

I do have to acknowledge the fact that Harry physically resembles James not Severus.

Posted by Noel G from Malta, EU on September 16, 2006 7:39 PM

Just a few observations:
1. We don't know when DD learned to be invisible without a cloak. It may have been during the years that the cloak was in his possession. JK would think it fun for us to forget that.
2. LV was on the prowl for lots of victims. The cloak could have been used to help hid either a muggle or a squib.
3. Penelope knows more than she lets on.
4. In OOP it is common practice to rely on the stealth provided by such a cloak. They are rare (quoting Ron), but obviously available.
5. To look for the source of the explosion that destroyed the Potter home, remember Pettigrew's knack for explosions. Perhaps used that ability twice on the same night. The first one at the Potter home was probably used by the coward as he tried to defend himself from either a Eater, or a member of the Order. Sirius wasn't there, but his Shrieking Shack speculation that Peter had surmised that they followers of LV were looking for him sure seemed to make Peter nervous. He would be the second wizard who was really good at one special spell, while rather inept at most others. Remember a certain wizard whose one and only talent (besides deceit) was memory charms?
6. Please give up the tiresome horcrux of this good guy or that good guy. Creating a horcrux makes one less human. DD said so. Show some evidence of DD or any other good guy of being less human and then those theories have some merit. Otherwise you're ideas are likely to end up on another site's Wall of Shame.

Posted by Steve S from Frisco, TX on September 16, 2006 8:37 PM

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