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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 51)

I may be splitting hairs but I think what saved Harry from the AK curse was not the Bond of Blood. I think it was Lily's sacrifice, her love which rebounded the curse. But this sacrifice only provided a one-time protection for Harry. Dumbledore knew Harry would need to be shielded until he was old enough and trained to protect himself. The Bond of Blood was enacted by Petunia accepting Harry into her home the next day, thus ensuring him a safe haven until the age of 17.
I think "Remember my last" means Dumbledore planned for the attack, including that Harry might be orphaned and need guardians. He had been in contact with Petunia to convince her to take in Harry if necessary.

Posted by Patty from Quincy,Massachusetts on March 5, 2007 05:39 AM

Has anyone found out why Harry didn't recognise Dumbledore's voice from the Howler, while Petunia seemed to understand it at once. Did she receive other Howlers from Dumbledore in her previous life?

Posted by herve from strasbourg on March 5, 2007 08:52 AM

1) I believe that whatever protected Harry is that Harry has "Lily's Eyes". That phrase has been repeated through-out the series.
2) I haven't quite worked it all out, but I do believe that Lily/James were Martyrs; There's been no reason given to why, at the very least Lily didn't apparate with Harry. She had enuf time. Lily/James/Dumbledore knew that Harry not only would be protected but also empowered. ( They had the power of the knowledge of the Prophecy. )
The Martyrdom explains, at least why Dumbledore had the Cloak. Why it's so important, not entirely sure, but I also recently have come to the conclusion that Molly's sweaters are somehow important, and now maybe with the cloak have extra power.
Also, about the Prophecy, I'm of the opinion this is why Dumbledore trusted Snape. Based upon Prof. Trelawneys retelling of that Night, Although Snape was apprehended, he DID hear (although Dumbledore says otherwise, says he was tossed out before hearing all), he did hear all of it. Trelawney would never have been able to know it was Snape if he'd been tossed out before she came out of the trance. In conclusion, I believe, Snape is a better occlumen than Voldemort, and was able to plant the idea of choosing Harry over Neville (Book 7 may explain this or the whole Muggle Blood made Harry easier to protect..and no living Wizarding relatives... for anyone to worry about)

One last thing to think about:
How/Why were so many Wizards able to recognize Harry as he was growing up? Remember book 1, first 2-3 chapters, Not only did Harry every so often, feel that people dressed in cloaks knew him, but when he goes to the Leaky Cauldron, I believe it was Dedalus Diggle that exclaims "He remembers me!" How - Why?

Posted by Mindy Jeanne Leslie from Riverdale, NY on March 5, 2007 10:45 AM

Doesn't Dumbledore say that he has what he believes is the only relic of Gryffindor, the sword, in his office? That makes the cloak insignificant.

Posted by Ray Royson from Mississauga, Ontario on March 5, 2007 6:28 PM

Ray - why does that make the cloak insignificant?

Posted by Michael Brinkley from Oceanside CA on March 6, 2007 3:09 PM

I don't think that the cloak is a horcrux because either Godric or James would have had to someone and that seems quite unlikely... I don't think that it is something of Godric either because we see that the sword has a clear imprint of Gryffindor's sign... but the cloak does not and it does not even show any signs of magical powers...

However it is very important because as we see in HBP Dumbledore tells Harry to just remove his cloak saying that be enough... it obviously means that there is some mystery about it... because I am sure Lord Voldemort can see through invisibility cloaks and there is some added protection to this

Posted by Vishesh from India, Mumbai on March 7, 2007 10:50 AM

i guess neither james nor dumbledore ever want to use horcrux even if they can create one. just imagine the situation that dumbledore returns to life in his full body with the help of his horcrux (cloak or flawkes whatever it is). not the subject of horcrux be as famous as harry himself and attaract may be even more wizards (evil of course) to take the same route as voldemort? i'm sure dumbledore not want it (remember hogwarts library not having any knowledge of horcruxes).

Posted by swati from India on March 7, 2007 9:35 PM

Well done Dave Haber - this is an excellent site.. i have to wait till my flat mates are in bed though before visits so they don't realise i'm a harry potter geek.. it's 2am here in england and man do i feel sad..

Frankly though, i think the horcrux idea is absurd because it's been made abundantly clear that creating one is an definate act of evil and is thus not apt for james/dumbledore/gryffindor. I also believe the idea of it simply being a gryffindor relic a bit flimsy because it doesn't really add much significance to the object with regards to the plot, unless it provides deeper protection for harry as a result of it's lineage, which is quite plausable i guess.

JK's wording is interesting though because she said in a deliberately vague way.. "Why did Dumbledore HAVE JAMES' INVISIBILITY CLOAK AT THE TIME OF James' ?" - doesn't that imply that it wasn't given to him to KEEP or LOOK AFTER? It's also because of dumbledore's particular wording of "left in my possession" as opposed to "gave" or "entrusted", that implies something beyond a simple offering. I think dumbledore had BORROWED it for some vital purpose, obvious guesses being to hide someone or something.. what or who though, is anyone's guess! Any offers?

Posted by Alex from England on March 8, 2007 6:46 PM

ha! yeah.. um.. having read a few pages back i see people have already considered my previous point. All this blood bond stuff is very interesting.. i must admit i can't remember any of that stuff from reading the books..
But would petunia actually need to be there (godrics hollow) to 'accept harry as her own'? nice idea that DD was hiding her beneath the cloak that night as well as activating the bond.. though it's pretty morbid and wierd to think that DD would just stand by and let the Potters .. not sure it quite works..

Posted by Alex from England on March 8, 2007 7:31 PM

Just been reading POA, and thought that perhaps Snape using the Invisibility Cloak to get through the tunnel from the Whomping Willow to the Shrieking Shack is significant.

I tend to take nothing for granted with JKR, and think perhaps this is significant.

Picture it - Snape's following Harry, Hermione et al, obviously exhilarated at the thought he might be able to catch his arch enemy Sirius Black, arguably rushing...sees the invisibility cloak on the would he know exactly what it is? How would he know it wasn't cursed? Because he has used it in the past...recognised it as James / Harry's cloak...

Could be reading too much into it...perhaps he saw it, recognised it instantly as in invisability cloak and decided to use it to his advantage. But how did he know it wasn't left there as a trap? As opposed to being simply discarded by Harry...

Posted by Meredith from Sydney, Australia on March 8, 2007 8:50 PM

I agree that Snape was too familiar with the cloak not to have used it before. My post on page 46 of this thread explains fully. I think Snape was a spy for Dumbledore for a long time.

Posted by Patty from Quincy MA on March 10, 2007 10:15 AM

if moody could see through the cloak. why not voldermort also

Posted by gordon from uk on March 10, 2007 11:29 PM

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