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In The Prisoner of Azkaban when Hermione and Ron are looking at the Shrieking Shack, Malfoy gets a snowball thrown at him by Harry.

How does the Invisibility cloak keep Harry's arm concealed, when he would have to have his arm free of the cover of the cloak?

Surely you would see his arm...

  • Can you see it in the film though? – Deckard-B26354 Dec 6 '16 at 15:58
  • I couldn't see it? I wondered if he has to keep under the cloak completely or if it would work more like the one ring in LOTR... – Deckard-B26354 Dec 6 '16 at 16:00
  • In the movie, it looked like he was throwing from behind a snowbank, so he may have kept his arm hidden while peeking his head over. – IllusiveBrian Dec 6 '16 at 16:06
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    @Deckard-B26354 He has to be within it completely. This becomes relevant by book seven as they can't all fit under the cloak anymore. – Bellerophon Dec 6 '16 at 16:23
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    In the books JK Rowling establishes a few chapters to explain snowball physics and their interactions with invisibility cloaks to clear this up. – Ghoti and Chips Dec 6 '16 at 17:42
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It happens off camera, so we don't know for sure.

Harry would very likely throw it from an angle which would make it difficult to see him, whether he was invisible or not. Remember, he still has to lift the snowball up to shoulder height and throw it, he probably couln't do that under the cloak.

At about 58 seconds into this video, Malfoy is struck with the snowball. It comes from off camera, so we don't know if Harry's arm is actually invisible or not.

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    If you check further on a snowball appears out of thin air (1:07) and Harry manages to manhandle all three bullies without any part of his anatomy being seen. That's hard to do. – Paulie_D Dec 6 '16 at 16:11
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    Why would he have to lift the snowball up to shoulder height? What about an underarm swing? – Rand al'Thor Dec 6 '16 at 16:13
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    @Paulie_D oh yeah... and the snowball is moving pretty quickly, so Harry clearly get's some good force behind it. Maybe the invisible cloak is more of an invisible tent or invisible marquee? So Harry has a bit of a runnning start before he throws the snowball... – Daft Dec 6 '16 at 16:15
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    @Randal'Thor I was just going by the force behind the throw, it looks like it was moving quickly enough. I'm starting to think this was done with CGI and there actaully isn't any invisble cloak at all!! – Daft Dec 6 '16 at 16:17
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    Obviously he used a time-turner so that there were multiple of him. Once he was done using it to save Sirius, he remembered that time he saw Draco getting pantsed, without doing so himself, so he knew it had to be a time-turner. – Ghoti and Chips Dec 6 '16 at 17:41
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I think there are several possibilities. The way I personally imagined it is like:

  • Step 1- the snowballs are done inside the cloak with bare hands, as muggle/no-maj would do it.

  • Step 2 - Wingardium Leviosa the snowball to your target.

Alternative way is that Harry did the snowball creation and throwing through the cloak itself. That is, he grabbed the snow near him, with his hands behind the cloak. Then, just throw it at the target.

The first scenario is more likely, as the second one would be a little clumsy when throwing. You could risk the cloak falling off you, but I think it is totally doable.

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From Malfoy's perspective, the snowballs were coming out of nowhere, so that's what the film shows (Malfoy's view of how things happened).

If the scene was true to life, and Harry had to expose his arm to throw, then there would surely be countless questions on Stack Exchange asking why Malfoy couldn't see a disembodied arm waving around. If Malfoy did notice the arm, the snowball attack wouldn't last that long.

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    Are you saying Harry Potter isn't true to life!?... – Deckard-B26354 Dec 7 '16 at 7:51

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