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Ignotus Peverell

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Ignotus Peverell (12 July, 121418 May, 1291) was one of the three brothers mentioned in The Tale of the Three Brothers in The Tales of Beedle the Bard. Though he was the youngest brother, Ignotus was described to be the humblest and wisest of the three, and had survived Death's cunning schemes due to these traits. He received the last of the Deathly Hallows, the Cloak of Invisibility, which was passed down through his family to Harry Potter. Ignotus was also an ancestor of the Potter family.


Early life

Little is known about Ignotus Peverell's childhood. He was born into the Peverell family on 12 July, 1214[1] in the village of Godric's Hollow in the English West Country,[2] a younger brother to Antioch and Cadmus.

Being knowledgeable in the magical arts,[2] it is unknown whether the Peverell brothers attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, were home-schooled or learned about the magical arts on their own, autodidactically.

The Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter: "So it's true? All of it? The Peverell brothers —"
Albus Dumbledore: "— were the three brothers of the tale. Oh yes, I think so. Whether they met Death on a lonely road… I think it more likely that the Peverell brothers were simply gifted, dangerous wizards who succeeded in creating those powerful objects. The story of them being Death's own Hallows seems to me the sort of legend that might have sprung up around such creations."
Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore during the former's visit to Limbo.[src]

According to Beedle the Bard in his work The Tale of the Three Brothers, Ignotus was the humblest and wisest of the three Peverell brothers.

When the three brothers managed to cheat Death while travelling along a "lonely, winding road at twilight", Death pretended to congratulate them on their magic and presented them with a gift of their choice. Ignotus did not trust Death by any means. So, rather than ask for something to further his own desires, he requested the power to leave that meeting without being followed by Death. Death, not wishing to betray any hint of his true intentions, most begrudgingly took his Invisibility Cloak and gave it to Ignotus. Ignotus's two older brothers met terrible fates due to the murderous lust the Elder Wand created in wizards, and the limitations of the Resurrection Stone.[4]

Ignotus Cloak

Ignotus Peverell with the Cloak of Invisibility.

It should be noted, however, that Beedle the Bard most likely employed artistic license as some aspects of his story seem not to match actual aspects of the Peverell's life (i.e. the story heavily implies that Cadmus Peverell killed himself before having descendents,[4] when in actuality he was a direct ancestor to the House of Gaunt[6]) and, as such, it should not be taken as an accurate account of the historical facts. As Albus Dumbledore himself theorised, it is much more likely that the Peverell brothers, as gifted wizards, managed to create the Deathly Hallows by themselves.[2]

Later life and death

"It was only when he had attained a great age that the youngest brother finally took off the Cloak of Invisibility and gave it to his son. And then he greeted Death as an old friend, and went with him gladly, and, equals, they departed this life."
Beedle the Bard, The Tale of the Three Brothers[src]

Ignotus most likely married at some point, having had a son.[4]

Ignotus Death

Death takes Ignotus Peverell from this life, as his son is left with the Cloak of Invisibility.

Ignotus went on to live into his seventy-six years, dying on 18 May, 1291[1] on his birthplace of Godric's Hollow.[2] He left his son his Cloak of Invisibility, one of the Deathly Hallows,[4] and was buried in the churchyard by the Parish Church of St. Clementine.[7]


Hermione Granger: "Look at this! Harry, that's the mark in the book!"
Harry Potter: "Yeah… it could be…"
Hermione Granger: "It says Ig — Ignotus, I think…"
Hermione Granger and Harry Potter come across Ignotus's weathered grave in 1997.[src]

In 1899, Gellert Grindelwald stayed with his great-aunt Bathilda Bagshot in Godric's Hollow in an attempt to "explore the place the third brother had died" as he sought the Deathly Hallows.[2]

In late December, 1997, Harry Potter and Hermione Granger came across Ignotus Peverell's much eroded grave, where they noted the sign of the Deathly Hallows was engraved beneath the barely legible name.[7]


Ignotus's gravestone by the late 1990s.

Personality and traits

According to legend, Ignotus was a very wise, modest and humble young man, far more so than his two self-centred, arrogant older brothers. He was therefore far more shrewd and was the only one of the three to see through Death's deception. His request for something to hide him from Death, rather than something to enhance his own very personal glory, kept him alive for many happy decades. Ignotus preferred a rather joyful, peaceful life, unlike his brothers. As such, he lived for several years with no quarrels or worries and raised a family. Ignotus saw to it that the very last thing he did in his life was pass the cloak on to his son, guaranteeing that his future descendants could live long happy lives as he had, and when he finally left the mortal world with Death, Ignotus had no regrets.[4]

Magical abilities and skills

  • Transfiguration: Ignotus could create a perfect bridge without fail alongside his two brothers via Conjuration, a complex form of magic.[4]
  • Magical manufacturer (possibly): Legend has it that Death was the original owner of the Cloak of Invisibility and handed it to Ignotus when he asked it.[4] However some people, like Albus Dumbledore have speculated that Ignotus created the cloak himself.[2] To this day the Cloak remains the only Deathly Hallow still owned and used, moreover by Ignotus's direct descendants. The Elder Wand and Resurrection Stone were never used again after 1998 further contributing to how Ignotus' humble nature ultimately proved vastly more successful than that of his brothers.[8]

Ignotus' Cloak of invisibility


Interestingly enough, though not surprisingly, the word "Ignotus" is yet another of Rowling's uses of the Latin language. Meaning Unknown, the name is appropriate, due to his mastery of invisibility and successful concealment from even Death. Also another form of the name Ignatius, which shows up throughout history, such as Ignatius of Loyola.

The etymology of the name "Ignotus" can also refer to the Latin word "īgnōtus" which means "forgiven" ( Therefore, with Christian themes abounding in the Potter series, it is reasonable enough to suspect that the Invicibility Cloak has something to do with being forgiven and thus being hidden from the enemy, Death. In Christian faith that "hiddenness" is the righteousness of God (see Romans 6, 2 Cor. 5:18-21 etc.) and anyone who is cloathed in his righteousness (Isaiah 61:10) has nothing to fear from death (1 John. 4:17-19). Therefore, it is most plausible that the Cloak of Invisibility also has to do with Divine forgiveness and justification.

Behind the scenes

  • According to the book Nature's Nobility: A Wizarding Genealogy, the surname of Peverell disappeared fairly early in wizarding history. It is said that James Potter inherited the Cloak, and it is also said that Ignotus had a son. However, somewhere not far down the line one of his descendants probably gave birth to a baby girl, which could explain why their family's surname disappeared so quickly. This would mean the Cloak was passed down from mother to daughter, until one of them had a son, continuing the father to son tradition. But it is known, according to J.K. Rowling, that James Potter got the Invisibility Cloak from his father.[9]
  • The Tale of the Three Brothers states that Ignotus died when he "attained a great age". However, Harry Potter Film Wizardry puts his age at the time of his death as 76, which is not considered old in wizarding terms. However, the Tales of Beedle the Bard are fairytales and don´t portray everything like it was in reality. Another possibility is that the average lifespan of wizards was shorter during the Peverell brothers' time just like in the real world where average lifespans have been shorter in the past and 76 was considered a great age for wizards in the 1200s, not least of all because of the level of bloodshed duelling involved in those days.


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