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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 50)

What if James used the cloak to transport someone, like a baby, who would have needed to be carried and couldn't have co-Disapparated with him? What if Petunia had another child, one who was magical, and wanted to put that child up for adoption. Petunia agreed with Dumbledore to give Harry room and board in exchange for arranging the adoption of her child (they later wiped Vernon's memory). James agreed to transport the baby to Dumbledore and decided to leave his cloak with Dumbledore for Harry for safe-keeping in case something should happen to him or Lily.

Posted by SMB from Alabama on February 24, 2007 8:42 PM

I have just finished reading a lot of JKR interviews, and she says that there was a significant reason that James left this cloak with Dumbledore for safe keeping, and that James had inherited it from HIS father. Dumbledore may have hidden Petunia with it, as I think, but that is not the reason that James had left it in his posession I don't think.

And I can't figure out why he would have done this for safe keeping, if he thought he was completely safe with Wormtail as secret keeper, why would he have thought that the invisibility cloak was not safe too? And if he didn't feel safe with Wormtail as secret keeper, then why was he worrying about the cloak and not Harry and Lily?

Posted by karen from Texas on February 24, 2007 9:30 PM

james gave harry the cloak because he didnt need it anymore. he was protected by the fidelius charm and was ing to pass anything that would be of use to dumbledore to help the order. as long as james didnt leave the house he had no need for it.

Posted by david from south windsor CT on February 25, 2007 08:30 AM

I think that Karen may be onto something from her post from Feb 19th (p. 49 of this discussion). Dumbledore was controlling the events with his time-turner. He had Snape hear only part of Trelawnley's prophesy and then somehow got Petunia to GH at the time of Lily's inorder to use his ancient love magic. He needed Petunia to be present in order for it to work. This would be why James left the invisibility cloak with Dumbledore. Read Karen's post--she explains it much better.

Anyway, this is from JKR official website, regarding Dumbledore's correspondence to Petunia "So: Dumbledore is referring to his last letter, which means, of course, the letter he left upon the Dursleys' doorstep when Harry was one year old. But why then (you may well ask) did he not just say 'remember my letter?' Why did he say my last letter? Why, obviously because there were letters before that�"

Her last sentence "Why, obviously because there were letters before that..." is crucial. He must have sent letters requesting her help in protecting Harry prior to the letter on the doorstep. Dumbledore and Petunia were there that Halloween night. Dumbledore already invisible, and Petunia under the cloak.

Posted by Heather from NJ on February 28, 2007 10:15 AM

Heather and, whos original post it was, Karen-
The only thing I would like to say is that Dumbledore wrote in his Howler "Remember my last, Petunia" NOT "Remember my last letter, Petunia."
He could have been referring to the night he (as we speculate) took Petunia to Godric's Hollow. He wasn't very specific until later on in the book.

Posted by Ashley from Missouri on March 1, 2007 12:27 PM

I love the idea of Petunia being hidden by the Invisability Cloak.

JK indicates that the Cloak was given to Dumbledore by James, which we can presume was before he d. So the purpose of the cloak, and the significance of it, has to be something other that the events of the night he was ed (even if it may have come in handy somehow). I doubt James could have predicted that Harry would have survived Voldemort's ing Curse, as everyone else in the wizarding world were astounded by it. I think the significance of it is outside the boundaries of what happened that night, however, I like the idea of it being used to hide Petunia, as I have been trying to figure out how she be significant in DH as indicated by JKR.

Also - I have been toying with the idea of the signifance of Harry having his mother's eyes, and thought that perhaps Voldemort attempted to make a horcrux of Harry after ing Lily...but concluded that since the prophecy says "while one lives the other cannot" Volemort wouldn't make a horcrux out of Harry since he cannot live if Harry does, and so would have to inevitably him (or be ed).

Back onto the signifance of Neville being blindsighted by Voldemort, the significance of the phrophecy is that Voldemort marked Harry as his equal, hence Neville was elimated from the phrophecy as soon as he did that. I do, however, believe that there is more to Neville that we woudl believe.

One more thing - IF Petunia and Dumbledore were present at Godric's Hollow the night of the s, why would Dumbledore enlist Hagrid to bring Harry to him? Why not bring him directly themselves to the Dursely's?

Posted by Meredith from Sydney, Australia on March 1, 2007 5:25 PM

Ashley, JKR addresses the question as to why Dumbledore says "Remember my last"--he does mean his last letter to Petunia. This is JKR's quote about the situation. "So: Dumbledore is referring to his last letter, which means, of course, the letter he left upon the Dursleys' doorstep when Harry was one year old. But why then (you may well ask) did he not just say 'remember my letter?' Why did he say my last letter? Why, obviously because there were letters before that..."

It's in her last line that she admits that there was earlier correspondence between the two. Our question then is why? It probably has something to do with that cloak.

Posted by Heather from NJ on March 1, 2007 7:36 PM

I don't think Dumbledore or Petunia were at Godric's Hollow the night the Potter's were ed. First of all, I don't think Dumbledore would have stood back and watched the Potters without fighting Voldemort. Second, I believe Dumbledore himself said in one of the books that no one could have expected Harry to survive because it had never happened before.

Also, Petunia acts thoroughly surprised when Harry ends up on her doorstep in the morning and I think in book 1 we are told that she hadn't seen Lily in years and had never met Harry.

I think Wormtail may have been there though. From the way Sirius tells us in POA, he found Pettigrew pretty quickly and Pettigrew already knew what had happened and had thought of a good cover.

Also, if Voldemort became a vapor, how did he get his wand back? He has the same wand in GOF because we know only that particular wand could have connected with Harry's.

Posted by Lisa from North Carolina on March 1, 2007 8:01 PM

Im sorry Heather but I dont pay much (come to think of it, any) attention to what JKR says. I just read it from what other people say she has said and take their word for it.
About the cloak- I dont think this is why they were corresponding. I dont think Petunia was there on the night that James and Lily were ed. Just doesn't make too much sense to me...

Posted by Ashley from Missouri on March 2, 2007 06:03 AM

I think Petunia would have popped an artery if Dumbledore tried to get her to wear the cloak.
She screamed when she saw Harry on the doorstep, so I don't think she knew of the attack, but I do think she had been asked by Lily to take care of Harry if necessary. I don't think the cloak is in any way involved with Petunia.
My money is on Snape using the cloak to spy before the attack. What great irony for Harry to discover that Snape of all people used his dad's cloak.

Posted by Patty from Quincy,Massachusetts on March 2, 2007 09:22 AM

It's tricky with the Howler.

What did Dumbledore's Howler to Aunt Petunia mean? ('Remember my last'?)
So: Dumbledore is referring to his last letter, which means, of course, the letter he left upon the Dursleys' doorstep when Harry was one year old. But why then (you may well ask) did he not just say 'remember my letter?' Why did he say my last letter? Why, obviously because there were letters before that�

Now let the speculation begin, and mind you type clearly, I'll be watching�"

I take this to mean that there was a letter or prior letters sent to Petunia before Harry was left on the doorstep, because that is what it says. Petunia was putting up an act for Vernon and the neighbors when she pretended to be shocked.

I didn't change my mind that somehow Petunia had to have taken Harry as her own after lily d, but before that AK curse was cast by Voldermort. The Bond of Blood requires for a relative to for you, for someone to cast the charm, and for another relative to take you for their own BEFORE the protection starts.

I still think the Invisibility cloak was used for this. Either to bring Petunia in with the time turner, or to take Harry out with the time turner, to meet Petunia somewhere that night.

Now I also I think it was not the only time that Dumbledore had taken Petunia places under that cloak. And THAT is why I think James had left the cloak with Dumbledore. I am still working on the theory for this:)

Posted by karen from texas on March 3, 2007 10:14 PM

I don't think the cloak was used on Petunia. The thing Karen said about "Remember my last," is interesting. This probably does mean that there was a letter sent to her by Dumbledore before. I think Dumbledore invited Petunia to Hogwarts, too. Then, Petunia probably freaked out and didn't accept.

Posted by Dumbledore's Fan on March 4, 2007 08:26 AM

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