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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 9)

Yes, Dave... You're probably right there.
But I can't let go of the thought that the powers transformed to HP (from LV that night) play a highly important role in the 7th book. (I'm sure I'm not in any way the first to believe this, some people probably think it to be selfevident)
In any other case JKR would've worded the prophecy differently, instead of: mark him as his equal (or something like that).

I really like the idea of harry being a horcrux, or at least having a part of LV that has to be vanquised inside his body. But the theory doesn't make sense, nor does it fit to the prophecy... So, thats kind of sad, but I'm sure JKR has great plans. The Zenith is yet to come

Posted by Andrea from �rebro, Sweden on September 22, 2006 2:06 PM

I don't think the Invisibility cloak has any special powers. In Sorc. Stone, when Harry first puts on the cloak, Ron tells him that they are rare (and I think expensive), but that's it. Also, throughout the books, other characters have had the cloaks (Crouch in GoF, and the Order in OotP). Also, if there is something important about this cloak, why was it given to Harry in his first year? If it was something of a lot of importance, wouldn't DD have given Harry the cloak around the same time that he told him about the Prophecy?

Also, in regards to the Secret Keeper, I'm pretty sure only people Pettigrew told were able to find the location of the house (along with the Potters of cours). I thought that's how the spell worked. In the case of Grimald Place, it was DD who gave everyone the address (he had to write the address on a letter to be given to Harry in order for Harry to be able to get in). If this is the case, Pettigrew would have needed to give the address to anyone and everyone who wanted access to Godric's Hollow. And he didn't do that with anyone in the Order, because then people would have known that Sirius wasn't to blame, it was Pettigrew to blame. So I'm thinking the only people that were at the Potter's that night were eaters. But then how did DD, Hagrid, and Sirius know where to go when the Potters were ed?

Posted by KC from Enfield, CT on September 22, 2006 2:45 PM

About Secret Keepers - If Dumbledore is(was) the secret keeper for the Order, does his cancel "kept secrets" and mean that anyone can find Grimmauld place now and the artifacts inside it (the locket)?
(Speaking of that, Mundugus was stealing things out of the house after Sirius d - do we know what he stole?)
Or if doesn't cancel the spell, who is the secret keeper now? Does the secret get passed on automatically to someone else if the secret keeper s?
And - Pettigrew was the secret keeper for the Potters at Godric's Hollow, and he is NOT - so how can Harry find what is left of the house (or at least it's location) unless Pettigrew tells him? Pettigrew is in Harry's , but there a graveyard with Lily and James graves? What is Harry planning to visit?
Also, Prisoner of Azkaban (the book) doesn't say that Sirius and Pettigrew met and fought in Godric's Hollow - it could have been anywhere with muggles - but it does say that Hagrid pulled baby Harry out of the house and then Sirius flew up on his motorbike. Hagrid says he was there on Dumbledore's orders, so Dumbledore told him where to go (could he? He's not the secret keeper), and Sirius probably had been there to visit and so could go to the address even though he couldn't reveal it(as Kreacher knows the address for Grimmauld Place and could come and go but couldn't tell the eaters the secret). But, how did Dumbledore know the Potters had been attacked and to send Hagrid unless he, or someone that survived the attack that was reporting to Dumbeldore, was there? Interesting....
About the final ending of the whole saga -
Two things - In OotP, in the battle in the lobby of the ministry, Dumbledore says to LV when LV taunts him for not wanting to him outright - "We both know there are other ways of destroying a man, Tom...Your failure to understand that there are things much worse than has always been your greatest weakness..."
made me speculate that perhaps the best way to truly destroy Voldemort is to make him lose his magic, in essence permanently become a muggle, which would be a fate worse than for him.
Can you imagine the world's most "powerful" evil becoming powerless and having to live, alone and unloved, with no magic and no power? This is great because Harry had to begin his life as a muggle and would be quite capable of living exactly that way if he had to, but LV would be devestated, vulnerable, powerless like his muggle father - for him a fate worse than .
"Sigh" - although that theory would be a delicious end to LV, I think that Ms. Rowlings has told us already what to expect...later in OotP very specifically, Harry asks Dumbledore outright "..does that mean that one of us has to the other the end?"
"Yes," said Dumbledore.
That's pretty direct, even for Jo.

Posted by Julianne from Tempe, Arizona on September 22, 2006 10:30 PM

Lets not forget dumbeldore words "there is something far more worst than " with that said we can or i can assume that dumbeldore had no intentions to create a horcrux. James, i would believe couldn't make a horcrux because in goblet of fire, we see the spirit of James come out of voldermort wand. unlike voldermort who created a horcrux lived a half life, a curse life after trying to harry. Even so, james wouldn't of made a horcrux because it was a banned subject at hogwarts and it wasn't taught. Agian, assuming that it could be taught to james by dumbeldore, it seemed as if dumbeldore didn't know to much about horcruxes until after doing research himself and it wasn't until harry obtained the memory that dumbeldore was certain about the horcrux.
About the invisiblity cloak: dumbeldore inherited the cloak to bestow upon it protection. Assuming this all, in the final books it was requested that harry keep the cloak with him at all times. This was weird because harry ending up leaving the cloak in the astronomy tower. that most likely has some relevance.

Posted by Timothy Mack from New Haven, CT on September 23, 2006 11:05 AM

I Still think that Either Dumbledore made a horcrux but not meaning it in a bad way only so he could get to harrys aid and help him out im guessing that he weaken LV and let harry do the final incantation(Avada Kedavra) or Godric Gryffindor Made a Horcrux so that a good Person (not Evil) could activate his horcrux and he could help them what ever trouble there in(so the Cloak might have been either of their horcruxes, but ofcourse only used for a good purpose
Just a Thought what do u think?

Posted by Abdul Buho from UK,London on September 23, 2006 12:49 PM

ok...I'm still thinking about the cloak theory so comment later but I have 2 questions instead that if someone wants to answer to as they are running around in my brain which I think may be important: 1- James saved Snape: what from? it's never been mentioned or gone into in detail again, maybe this come into play in the last book? 2- Dumbledore's brother is mentioned once (in a photo in the Order of the Phoenix - if I'm not mistaken)...if JK is saying no Gandalf like return how about a storyline involving the brother, a switch of somekind - I don't think it mentions the brother's fate?
nb re cloak - mmm maybe someone was cloaked and helped to protect Harry on the night he got the scar? we know Lily protected him but...? the site!

Posted by Julia from London, UK on September 23, 2006 3:04 PM

Julia, James saved Snape from a practical joke. From what we learn in POA and OOTP, Sirius and James lured Snape to the Whomping Willow, while Lupin was tranformed as a werewolf, meaning that Snape may have d. James ran in at the last moment and rescued Snape. Snape resents James enough as it is, but saving his life as well, it's too much! I think the enmity between the Maruders and Snape adds a great deal of extra tension to the novels. Alan Rickman does a brilliant job as Snape at capturing the resentment the character feels.

Posted by Susan from Sydney, NSW, Australia on September 23, 2006 3:58 PM

Anyone else think about the fact that it is mentioned in book 6 that the cloak is no longer long enough to properly cover Harry's feet? Sure, Harry has gotten taller, but based on age, he's probably not even completely DONE growing, and if the cloak were for a grown man it would have to be somebody shorter, otherwise it would have had to have been for a younger person to begin with.

Since (iirc) dumbledor is described as taller, not only does his ability to become invisible without a cloak question any reasoning behind him having the cloak, the fact that it couldn't have properly hidden dumbledor anyway also makes me wonder.

With regards to a horcrux? Poppy, throughout book 6 the creating of a horcrux is described as being heinously evil.

On the topic of secret keepers, even though Peter Pettigrew was the secret keeper for the Potters, it doesn't mean others can't go there. As far as I understand how it works, you simply need to be TOLD by the secret keeper to find the place. Anyone the secret keeper tells can go there, but IIRC nobody else has the ability to tell where it is.

Posted by Stephen from La Crosse, WI on September 24, 2006 2:06 PM

I still think Lily put a charm on the cloak and it was given to Dumbledore to use in the event of their s. The charm could have been a protection for only curses done in hate, the opposite of love for any of the members of the order of the phoenix, of which James and Lily were active. I think the cloak was given to DD at the same time the key to the Potter vault at Gringotts was given. Their money would be able to be used by the order if they did not survive. I think the cloak also protect members of the order from occulmency by V. Snape who is supposed to be the best at Occulmency could not read Harrys mind when he sensed him in SStone. If snape one of the best had aproblem that might be the protection offered against V. Just a thought I had.

Posted by nancy from wakefield nh on September 24, 2006 2:21 PM

Stephen: I think the mention of the cloak being too short was something like "could no longer cover all three of them" (or possibly just Harry and Ron). It easily covered all three kids together when they are smaller, but now that they're growing up it can only cover one of them without making their feet show...

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on September 24, 2006 2:28 PM

I have a question to put to you all, I know this is going to sound kind of "Star Warsy" but do you think it's at all possible that Harry had a sibling? Also, do you think his parents had a house elf? It has been said that James came from a wealthy family (or at least he inherited a lot of gold)
Ron says somthing about house elves being a luxury for wealthy wizarding families... anyone?... sorry, I've been mulling the invisibility cloak thing over quite a bit... I may be getting loopy.

Posted by tracy on September 24, 2006 7:47 PM

Dave: Ah, sorry, missed that part, but even alone when he climbed into the luggage rack his feet came out from under the cloak, and as I said before, you don't expect he's done growing yet, so still, I'd assume the cloak would still be a bit short on a full grown adult.

Posted by Stephen from La Crosse, WI on September 24, 2006 8:39 PM

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