Some content in this article is derived from information featured in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and, as such, spoilers will be present.
The Cloak of Invisibility is a magical artefact used to render the wearer invisible, and one of the fabled Deathly Hallows. In "The Tale of the Three Brothers" it was the third and final Hallow created, bestowed on Ignotus Peverell, supposedly by Death himself (who the cloak had been already in his possession at that time) after the wizard requested, as his bounty, something with the power to hide him if he were to go place to place without being followed by Death. According to legend, whoever united it with the other two Hallows, the Elder Wand and the Resurrection Stone, would become the Master of Death.
It was the only known invisibility cloak that would not fade with age and would provide everlasting protection to the wearer, something no normal invisibility cloak could provide. As such, it was the only Hallow known to have been successfully passed down from generation to generation since Ignotus' time. In 1991 it passed to the possession of Harry Potter who used it to great success in the Second Wizarding War and resolved to pass it down to his own children.
Mystic origins of the Cloak of Invisibility
According to The Tales of Beedle the Bard - "The Tale of the Three Brothers", a wizarding fairytale, three brothers were out travelling the world. They came upon a river that was too deep to wade through and too dangerous to swim across. So the brothers used magic to conjure a bridge. They got to the middle when Death appeared and spoke to them. Angered that they had outwitted him, Death offered each brother a "prize" for beating Death. The eldest brother asked for an unbeatable wand, and Death created a wand of Elder and gave it to him. The second brother requested the ability to return those who have died, and Death gave him the Resurrection Stone. The youngest brother did not trust Death and requested the ability to leave without being followed by Death. Unwillingly and reluctantly, Death handed over his own Invisibility Cloak, and they parted ways. Death soon claimed the two elder brothers, but he could not claim the youngest until he grew into an old man when he gave the Cloak to his son and joined Death as old friends.
Many familiar with the Deathly Hallows believed the Peverell family to be the brothers in the tale. Antioch Peverell, the eldest, taking the Elder Wand; Cadmus taking the Resurrection Stone; and Ignotus, the youngest, claiming the Cloak from Death. It is more likely, however, that they were simply three immensely powerful wizards who created the items themselves. This is the view of Albus Dumbledore, who believed that the Cloak was created by Ignotus, himself, and used throughout his lifetime.
The Cloak of Invisibility was passed down to Ignotus's son. Ignotus's son had no male heirs so his oldest daughter, Iolanthe, inherited it instead. The Peverell family died in the male line around this time, but the heirloom was passed down the generations through the female line, the Potters, as Iolanthe had married a Hardwin Potter from Stinchcombe.
In the 20th century, the Cloak eventually ended up in the hands of Henry Potter, a Wizengamot member, who passed it to his eldest son Fleamont. Fleamont was the father of James Potter, Harry Potter's father. James used the Cloak of Invisibility in many of his misdeeds at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and kept it afterward. Around the time that Lord Voldemort was hunting the Potters for their son, the Cloak of Invisibility came to the attention of Albus Dumbledore when James showed him the Cloak, and Dumbledore, who had searched for the Deathly Hallows in youth, asked to borrow the Cloak from James to study it. After James was killed, the Cloak was left in Dumbledore's possession.
Ten years later, Dumbledore gave Harry Potter the Cloak of Invisibility as a Christmas present anonymously and told him to "use it well." This would be one piece of advice that Harry would use quite well over his school life and beyond, as the Cloak of Invisibility aided Harry on countless trips and missions, including his hunt for Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes. It was not until 1998, that Harry learned the true nature of his own Invisibility Cloak and its true identity as the Cloak of Invisibility, as spoken of in the legend of the Deathly Hallows. As Ignotus' last remaining descendant, the Cloak was rightfully Harry's and was kept by him after Lord Voldemort's defeat. Harry resolved to pass it on to his own son/daughter(s) one day, just as his ancestor Ignotus had done with his son.
Before the start of the his eldest sons sixth year at Hogwarts, Harry gave James Sirius the Cloak as a present. After accidentally turning his hair pink with a joke comb that his Uncle Ron had given him, James complained that he'd have to use the Cloak to hide his hair. The Cloak was stolen from James' trunk by his younger brother Albus during the same year, who used it to hide from Professor McGonagall in the library.
- "It's never occured to me before, but I've heard stuff about charms wearing off cloaks when they get old, or them being ripped apart by spells so they've got holes in. Harry's was owned by his dad, so it's not exactly new, is it, but it's just... perfect!"
- —Ron Weasley on the Cloak of Invisibility[src]
The Cloak of Invisibility is especially powerful. It is resistant to jinxes, hexes, and other spells which would normally damage or otherwise render a normal Invisibility cloak ineffective. For example, just before the Battle of Hogwarts in 1998, while Harry, Ron, and Hermione were huddled under it, a Death Eater's Summoning Charm had no effect on removing the Cloak of Invisibility. It has also remained completely effective throughout its long existence of around seven centuries, unlike the other cloaks which lose their power over time. Even the Thief's Downfall did not affect it.
Although powerful, the Cloak of Invisibility is not infallible. While the Cloak itself resists spell damage, it does not shield the wearer from spells used against them personally. For example, Harry was immobilised while under the Cloak twice during the 1996–1997 school year. In addition, it will not hide the wearer from detection that is not based on optical sight, such as Alastor Moody's magical eye, magical creatures such as Dementors, spells such as the Human-presence-revealing spell, the Marauder's Map, or (arguably) certain Dark Detectors (e.g. Sneakoscopes would presumably still detect an untrustworthy action performed under the Cloak, and it's possible - but uncertain - that the Cloak would be detected by Probity Probes).
As the last of the Hallows, the Cloak is shown as the wide triangle that encompasses the circle and the line intersecting at their very middle; and being the only one to be properly treated as an heirloom, the Cloak of Invisibility seems to represent survival at most. It may also represent a certain goodness of spirit, as the artefact is the only one of the Hallows whose power can be shared by two or more people at once.
|1971 to 1978||James Potter used it to sneak into the kitchens to steal food.|
|James Potter also used it to accompany Remus Lupin to the Shrieking Shack.|
|1991||Harry Potter hid beneath it to sneak into Restricted Section of the library to find out about Nicolas Flamel in 1991.|
|Harry used it to view the Mirror of Erised along with Ron.|
|1992||Harry, Ron, and Hermione rotated use of the Cloak to help care for Norbert, Hagrid's dragon.|
|Harry and Hermione sneaked Norbert out of the castle to Charlie Weasley's friends with the Cloak.|
|The trio went under the Cloak to the Third Floor Corridor when they saved the Philosopher's Stone.|
|1993||Harry and Ron used it to get out of the castle to follow the spiders.|
|1994||Harry went to Hogsmeade underneath the Cloak, because he wanted to remain hidden during his second visit in 1994.|
|Harry, Ron, and Hermione used the Cloak to visit Hagrid before the Hippogriff, Buckbeak was sentenced to death for attacking Draco Malfoy.|
|Severus Snape also used it on the same day to hide in the Shrieking Shack in an attempt to capture Sirius Black.|
|Harry went to Hogsmeade under the Cloak, as he wanted to having a nice relaxing time without having to deal with any criticism about his being in the Triwizard Tournament from the non-Gryffindor students.|
|Harry ventured out to see the dragons for the First Task in 1994.|
|1995||Harry went to the Prefects' Bathroom and back to the Common Room to work on the egg's clue under it in 1995.|
|The trio used the Cloak to visit Hagrid when he returned from his mission to the giants in November, 1995.|
|1996||Harry used the Cloak to sneak into Dolores Umbridge's office to use the Floo Network in 1996.|
|Hermione and Harry sneaked back into Umbridge's office under the Cloak the day of the Battle of the Department of Mysteries.|
|Harry, Ron, and Hermione used the Cloak to follow Draco Malfoy to Knockturn Alley in 1996.|
|Harry tried to eavesdrop on Draco Malfoy on the Hogwarts Express under the Cloak in 1996.|
|At Professor Slughorn's Christmas party Harry used it to eavesdrop upon Malfoy and Professor Snape.|
|Harry also used the Cloak when he was trying to catch Malfoy in the Room of Requirement the same school year.|
|1997||Albus Dumbledore ordered Harry to wear the Cloak during their trip to the Horcrux cave in 1997.|
|Harry witnessed Dumbledore's murder while immobilised under the Cloak. He left the cloak at the top of the Astronomy Tower and presumably retrieved it later.|
|Harry was hidden underneath the Cloak after the trio escaped the Wedding of William Weasley and Fleur Delacour and during the Luchino Caffe Duel on the same night.|
|Harry, Ron, and Hermione rotated using the Cloak to spy on the Ministry of Magic in August 1997.|
|They used it during the Infiltration of the Ministry of Magic with Harry underneath it most of the time.|
|The trio used it for security while Apparating to various places in the countryside in 1997 and 1998.|
|Harry and Hermione visited Godric's Hollow while disguised as Muggles by using Polyjuice Potion and hiding under the Cloak on Christmas Eve 1997.|
|Harry was hidden underneath the Cloak when the trio were searching for Xenophilius Lovegood's house just before the New Year in 1997.|
|On the same day, Ron was hidden in order to protect his alibi during the Ambush at the Lovegood House.|
|1998||Harry and Griphook hid beneath the Cloak on 1 May 1998 when they broke into Gringotts Wizarding Bank.|
|The same night, the trio Apparated to Hogsmeade to break into Hogwarts.|
|Harry and Luna used it to view the statue of Ravenclaw with her diadem in the Ravenclaw Tower.|
|The trio used it during intervals of the Battle of Hogwarts in which they did not want to be seen.|
|Harry hid under it when Lord Voldemort thought he was dead during the Battle of Hogwarts.|
|After Luna distracted everyone in the aftermath of the battle, Harry used the Cloak to find Ron and Hermione and tell them everything that had happened.|
|2020||James Sirius Potter comments that he'll use the cloak to hide his pink hair, caused by a joke comb given to him by his uncle. It's unknown whether he actually used it for this purpose.|
|After being stolen from James' trunk, Albus Potter used the cloak to hide from Professor McGonagall in the library with Scorpius Malfoy.|
Behind the scenes
- Although superior to any other cloak in terms of durability and longevity, the Cloak was unable to hide Harry from certain methods of magical detection, such as Alastor Moody's Magic Eye, the Marauder's Map and the Human-presence-revealing spell. It was also unable to hide Harry from creatures able to sense location by methods other than primarily sight, such as Dementors and Nagini.
- The Cloak also had the limitation of only being able to hide what it was large enough to cover - it did not grow with the user(s), and if any part of them accidentally slipped past the boundaries of the Cloak, that part risked exposing their presence to anyone nearby. Thus, as the trio grew taller, they often had to stoop more to be completely covered by the Cloak.
- While it shields the wearer from sight and cannot be harmed by any class of spell aimed at it, the Cloak does not act as a shield against spells, curses, or hexes, aimed at the user, as Harry is affected by the Full Body-Bind Curse curse twice while under The Cloak in 1996-1997.
- The Cloak's appearance in the movie differs from the one described in the book. In the book, it is described as a fluid-like silky, silvery material.
- When asked which of the Deathly Hallows they preferred, Hermione Granger chose the Cloak of Invisibility, while Ron chose the Elder Wand, and Harry chose the Resurrection Stone.
- It could be possible that Harry used the Cloak in his Auror years, until he decided to pass it on to James.
- In many eyes that follow the tales of the Hallows, they considered the Cloak of Invisibility to be the less important and less talked about. It is considered to be the weakest out of the Hallows, but later on it is seen that is could possibly be the most important and strongest out of the three Hallows.
- In the PlayStation2/Xbox/GameCube adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Dumbledore confiscates the Cloak from Harry after Harry finds the Mirror of Erised. This is more than a little out of character for Dumbledore seeing as how he's the one who gave Harry the Cloak in the first place. This also creates a plot hole as the Cloak aids Harry on many of his future adventures.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (play)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Building the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
- Harry Potter Trading Card Game
- LEGO Harry Potter
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault
Notes and references
Altheda · Amata · Amata's lover · Antioch Peverell · Antioch Peverell's killer · Asha · Babbitty · Brigade of Witch-Hunters · Cadmus Peverell · Cadmus Peverell's fiancée · Captain of the Brigade of Witch-Hunters · Charlatan · Death · Evil Sorcerer · Gigantic white worm · Ignotus Peverell · Ignotus Peverell's son · King · Kinsfolk · Maiden · Old man · Old man's donkey · Old man's family · Peasant woman · Peasant woman's granddaughter · Sabre · Sir Luckless · Warlock · The Warlock's friends · Wizard · Wizard's father · Young woman · Young woman's child
Altheda's potion · Altheda's wand · Cloak of Invisibility · Creepers · Crystal casket · Elder Wand · Enchanted garden · Fountain · Gold statue of Babbitty · Hairy Heart · The Hopping Pot · Never-ending hill · Poisonous toadstool · Poultice for warts · Resurrection Stone · Silver chalice