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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 61)

My question is in the 3rd film when Harry was in the cloak and scaring Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle, how did he do it without taking his hands out of the cloak and making them visible?

Posted by Justin P from Prattville Alabama on May 21, 2007 7:00 PM

Justin P from Prattville,

At that point in time, Harry, Hermione, and Harry could be completely hidden under the cloak, it is only later in the story when they grow and have trouble to hide themselves entirely under the cloak.

If three people can be fully hidden under the same cloak, it is possible for Harry to be alone under it and be able to grab Draco and the others THROUGH the cloak, by this I mean that his hands are inside it and it is the fabric of the cloak that touches the others, thus remaining completely hidden.

Posted by Emilio from Mexico City, Mexico on May 22, 2007 11:54 AM

Though this article made a most interesting read, I have a more mundane answer to this question than it being James or Godric Gryffindor's horcrux. Perhaps, this cloak originally belonged to Godric Gryffindor and it was passed from generation to generation till it reached James Potter. He then gave it to Dumbledore for safekeeping upon hearing that Voldemort was after him. And why did Voldemort want to get to James so badly? For his cloak, the last relic of the founders of Hogwarts, certainly suitable to make into his last and final Horcrux! A certain bit of irony is interwoven here too: that Voldemort wanted his last horcrux to be Gryffindor's relic, signifying Salazar Slytherin's ultimate victory over Godric Gryffindor. Gryffindor, however, as he had done before even while the founders were alive vanquished Slythering and triumphed again untill the next confrontation.
A bit far-fetched perhaps, but very possible.

Posted by Zahan from Mumbai, India on May 23, 2007 12:29 AM

well your point of james or gryffindor's horcrux is cool, even though, in the case of james, it seems unlikely, as it is a sign of a Dark wizard. but as in the prophesy, harry should be born in a family who deceived voldermort thrice, when the Potters did to Voldemort thrice, that is never told. also the point that nothing much has ever been written about James' family, his parents (harry's grandparents) are never mentioned, and it is never told how they d. it is just mentioned that Sirius was welcomed at their place when he ran away. that means they were alive at least till james was 17. maybe the cloak and the rest of the story has something to with them. Grodric's hollow is James' parents house, and holds their story. maybe they are descendants of Gryffindor.

Posted by Anu from delhi on May 23, 2007 01:22 AM

Anru: Godric Hollow's isn't the name of the house, but the name of the village. There is no hint in the books to find which one the house really was (no adress, no location). And Jo said Harry wasn't a descendant of Gryffindor. This proves that James can't be one.

Posted by herve from strasbourg on May 24, 2007 03:18 AM

Jo has written a lot more to most of the characters than appears in the books. She had stated (I believe it is on her website) that there was "nothing sinister" about both James' parents' s, and that it was brought on by a "wizard disease"; this was in the approximately 3-4 years between Sirius running away at 16 and James' . But since this information has little to do with the story, it was left out. And Albus confirms that James and Lily had indeed "thrice defied" Voldemort. I do agree that if their story is to be told, it be in Godric's Hollow.

Posted by monkeeshrines from orlando fl on May 24, 2007 06:40 AM

i don't think the cloak is the last horcrux. what about the sword (the one harry pulls out of the hat in the 2nd year...) we all know that the sword isn't the horcrux because the sorting hat was 'carrying' it before (he pulled it out). i think the cloak may have belonged to griffindor but i don't think it is the only remaining thing of his.

Posted by R.A.B. on May 24, 2007 6:15 PM

wouldnt the cloak have be the ultimate horcrux as it is invisible no one could find it? i dont think it is a horcrux though.

Posted by Mark from N.IRELAND on May 25, 2007 09:51 AM

Mark, the cloak itself isn't invisible.

But about the founders. Harry is definitly not a descendant of gryffindor. JK said so, and that should be enough proof. I think the cloak is just in the potter family, because james got it from his father. And about the 'maybe james has a brother or father who are still alive' theorys. JK also mentioned that harry has no other family than the dursleys.

Posted by Claudia on May 25, 2007 1:43 PM

JKR has neither said Harry is nor isn't Gryffindor's ancestor. One quote I read makes it seem either is a possibility.

Posted by mmc from sa, australia on May 27, 2007 10:57 PM

mmc from sa, many sites have interviews in which it is stated that he isn't.

Posted by Claudia on May 28, 2007 1:10 PM

Speaking genealogically, it would be almost impossible for somebody alive 1,000 years ago to have one and only one genetic "heir". Think for a moment about your own family. Pick one of your grandparents-- how many grandchildren does that one have? Three? Six? Twelve? Each of my grandparents ended up with six grandchildren, and we're a pretty small family-- never more than 2-3 kids in each. Imagine, Godric and his wife have, say, one child. That one child has two, and each of them have two (on average) for 1,000 year's worth of genetic history... he'd have hundreds of descendents. 3/4 of the wizards alive in Harry's time could have his blood in them! It's kind of what Hermione meant when she said of Slytherin, "He lived 1,000 years ago, for all we know he could be [your ancestor]".

I realize that Salazar Slytherin managed to produce just the one heir, but statistically that's basically impossible and JKR provides a pretty decent explaination as to how it happened: the family was pretty nuts and refused contact with any non-pure-blooded family and so it shrank, became inbred, and ultimately pretty unfertile. That ancestry also provided the plot for an entire HP book, so there was a good reason for it. The odds that Gryffindor's family would also just happen to take this (highly improbable) path that would lead to a single living descendent are just too slim.

Of course there are heirs of property as well as blood, but so far the only property relics of the original Godric are his hat (now the Sorting Hat) and his sword, which both seem to belong to Hogwarts or its Headmaster. There's been no implication that either belong or belong to Harry-- the sword was clearly on "loan" from the Headmaster's office and only arrived when he declared his loyalty to Dumbledore and the school.

Posted by Claudia on May 28, 2007 1:31 PM

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