Invisibility Cloaks are common magical items in the Wizarding World. They are quite popular among children and adults alike and are available in magic stores all over the world. However, the Cloak of Invisibility in question here is that owned by Harry Potter, given to him on his first Christmas at Hogwarts by a secret admirer. The note on the gift wrapper also claimed that it belonged to Harry’s father James but the ‘admirer’ borrowed it from him. Eventually, this admirer is found out to be Albus Dumbledore himself.
Invisibility Cloak – Object Profile
- Origin: Sometime in the 13th century.
- Function: Renders the wearer completely invisible, along with possession of the two other Deathly Hallows, making one the master of death.
- Created by: Death
- First Owner: Ignotus Peverell
- Other Owners: Ignotus Peverell’s son, grandson, other descendants, Iolanthe Potter, James Potter, Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter, James Sirius Potter, Albus Severus Potter.
- Other Names: Cloak of Invisibility
- First Appearance: In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, when Harry receives it as a gift for Christmas.
Harry Potter’s History With The Cloak
Harry Potter is spellbound when he first receives the cloak as a gift for Christmas. He and Ron wear it several times and revel in its magical abilities to hide its wearer completely. Harry first uses the Invisibility Cloak during his Christmas vacations to sneak into the school library at night and search for books that have information about the Philosopher’s Stone in the Restricted Section. However, he is almost caught red-handed, first by Mr. Filch and later by Professor Snape who seems to sense Harry’s presence. Harry continues to use it several times throughout the events of the book series sometimes also taking Hermione and Ron with him.
Harry’s Cloak Of Invisibility – A History
According to the legend of the Tale of the Three Brothers, it is said that when a trio of brothers went on a journey, Death appeared in front of them and gave them each a gift. The first two brothers got the Elder Wand and the Resurrection Stone according to their wishes, and the youngest brother, got the Cloak of Invisibility that Death fashioned out of his own Invisibility Cloak. It is said that this legend refers to the Peverell brothers who lived around the 13th century. The youngest brother is said to be Ignotus Peverell who lived in Godric’s Hollow and was buried in a graveyard there.
After his death, his son inherited the cloak and this tradition continued until one of the Peverell descendants had only one daughter, Iolanthe Peverell, who married Hardwin Potter, the son of Linfred of Stinchcombe, who was the patriarch who founded the Potter family. The tradition of inheritance continued into the line of descendants of the Potters until the cloak reached Harry’s father James Potter. It was later borrowed by Dumbledore to study its properties and to verify if it was actually a Deathly Hallow. Dumbledore later decided to rightfully hand the cloak to Harry and therefore sent it as a Christmas gift.
The Deathly Hallows
The Deathly Hallows are three strong magical objects created by Death himself according to the legend that is told through the Tale of the Three Brothers which is also one of the stories that appear in Tales of Beedle the Bard. According to this story, the first brother asks for a wand that can win every battle and make him invincible in any battle, which is why death gives him a wand fashioned from an elder tree nearby.
Interestingly, it was this very Elder Wand that eventually led to Lord Voldemort’s defeat. The second brother had lost someone very dear to him and therefore wanted something that could bring her back from the dead. Therefore, Death fashioned a Resurrection Stone. The last brother got the Invisibility Cloak because he wanted to live his life till he himself chose it was time to die. The Deathly Hallows were a major plot point in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as Harry, Hermione, and Ron were torn between the choice of destroying Lord Voldemort’s Horcruxes and figuring out about the Deathly Hallows.
Notable Events of Usage of the Invisibility Cloak
The Invisibility Cloak is used by Harry and sometimes the Trio, frequently in situations that need them to discreetly travel to places. The first instance of its use is when Harry is trying to sneak into the Restricted Section of the library at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The next instance is when Harry takes Ron to see the Mirror of Erised where they both hide under the cloak. The first instance that Harry, Hermione, and Ron all use the cloak is when they go to protect the Philosopher’s Stone (Sorcerer’s Stone) at the end of the first novel.
Other notable events where the Invisibility Cloak comes in handy include the time Harry and Ron hide at Hagrid’s hut from the Minister of Magic and Professor Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. However, it is widely believed by readers and fans that Albus Dumbledore is aware of their presence by using the Homenum Revelio spell which reveals to the caster, who is present in the room.
Other significant instances of Harry being outed despite wearing the cloak include the time Remus Lupin saw Harry, Ron, and Hermione sneak to Hagrid’s hut on the Marauder’s Map in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Another is when Barty Crouch Jr. disguised as Mad-Eye Moody sees Harry through his magical eye when Harry was snooping through the corridors in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Draco Malfoy suspects the presence of Harry in the Slytherin compartment aboard the Hogwarts Express despite being under the cloak.
Other Invisibility Cloaks
While Harry Potter’s Invisibility Cloak is one of a kind and was a magical heirloom of great repute, there exist other invisibility cloaks too. Some cloaks are made as toys for children, while many others are used by wizards and witches to maintain discretion. Some examples include traveling cloaks armed with a Disillusionment Charm, or a Bedazzling Hex, and cloaks that are made of the hair of a Demiguise.
However, since an invisibility cloak easily renders itself useless when confronted by detection methods like the spell Homenum Revelio, or magical objects like Moody’s magical eye and Sneakoscopes, most witches and wizards use a Disillusionment Charm instead. However, unlike most other cloaks, Harry’s cloak was the closest to being the one that provided impenetrable concealment to its wearer. While there is no real confirmation of Harry’s cloak being the cloak that is a Deathly Hallow, Harry Potter fans have long speculated it to be the Cloak of Invisibility.
How did James Potter get the Cloak of Invisibility?
James Potter inherited the Cloak of Invisibility from his father Fleamont Potter. Fleamont was a descendant of Hardwin Potter who married Iolanthe Peverell, the only daughter of one of the descendants of Ignotus Peverell, the original owner of the Cloak of Invisibility. James, like Harry, used the cloak for interesting escapades from the castle of Hogwarts.
Is Harry’s Invisibility Cloak the only one?
No, Harry’s Invisibility Cloak is not the only cloak with invisibility effects in the wizarding world. There are several other cloaks available as either toys or even as serious magical objects used by adult wizards and witches for discretion. While some are just traveling cloaks armed with a disillusionment charm or a bedazzling hex, many others are made separately as cloaks that cause the invisibility effect by using the hair of a magical creature known as the Demiguise as its raw material.
Did Dumbledore have all 3 Deathly Hallows?
Yes. At one point in time, Professor Dumbledore did possess all three of the Deathly Hallows. He had already owned the Elder Wand since 1945, which was the year he defeated Gellert Grindelwald in a historic duel. He had obtained the next Hallow when he collected the Gaunt ring from where it was hidden by Lord Voldemort as a Horcrux, which also contained in it, the Resurrection Stone. He obtained the third and final Hallow when he borrowed James Potter’s Invisibility Cloak to study it.