I've searched far and wide, and I know that this question has been asked before, but, I didn't seem to get the real answer.

So we all know for a fact that Harry has an invisibility cloak, which, according to Xenophilius Lovegood, 'truly renders the wearer completely invisible, and endures eternally, giving constant and impenetrable concealment, no matter what spells are cast at it.'

What bothers me is, a spell (Homenum revelio) was used on it, and it failed to 'render the wearer(s) completely invisible.' The first time, in Chamber of secrets, when Dumbledore cast the spell non-verbally and detected Harry and Ron inside Hagrid's Hut; and the second time, when a Death Eater used the spell to check if Harry was really inside the Lovegoods' house. Both times they knew that Harry & co. were there.

Dumbledore had not taken his bright blue eyes off Lucius Malfoy’s cold gray ones.

“However,” said Dumbledore, speaking very slowly and clearly so that none of them could miss a word, “you will find that I will only truly have left this school when none here are loyal to me. You will also find that help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it.”

For a second, Harry was almost sure Dumbledore’s eyes flickered toward the corner where he and Ron stood hidden.

—Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 14 (Cornelius Fudge), Pages 263 - 264

But here, neither Harry nor Ron felt that a spell was used. The next time that Harry & co. were hiding in the cloak, Harry felt 'an odd sensation'.

“I swear . . . I swear . . . Potter’s upstairs!”

“Homenum revelio,” said the voice at the foot of the stairs.

Harry heard Hermione gasp, and he had the odd sensation that something was swooping low over him, immersing his body in its shadow.

There’s someone up there all right, Selwyn,” said the second man sharply.

—Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 21 (The Tale of the Three Brothers), Page 421

Is Harry's cloak the real Invisibility Cloak told in The Tale of the Three Brothers?

  • 1
    Related: Does Death really exist in Harry Potter?.
    – Valorum
    Apr 8, 2017 at 9:28
  • 2
    Your question seems to be in two parts. The answer to the second (why didn't Harry feel it earlier) is that Dumbledore is a master wizard with decades of experience. Casting a spell delicately (and wordlessly) is definitely his style. By comparison, Travers seems to be little more than a hired brute
    – Valorum
    Apr 8, 2017 at 9:32
  • 4
    I see The Tale of the Three Brothers as a story inspired by the "real" Peverell brother, who probably created the three items. So the "Deathly" Hallows actually have human origins and can have flaws: the Elder Wand is powerful but not invincible, the Cloak can deflect some spells but not every spell (see this: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/65534/… ). Maybe Xenophilius - or Ignotus himself - was just bragging too much about the Cloak. Apr 8, 2017 at 9:34
  • 2
    Also, how come Mad-Eye Moody can see through it? Apr 8, 2017 at 18:48
  • 1
    @marcellothearcane, see this: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/16888/… Apr 9, 2017 at 6:17

3 Answers 3


Per Pottermore (referencing Harry Potter Film Wizardry)

The first of the Deathly Hallows to appear in the films was the Invisibility Cloak, given to Harry by Dumbledore in Philosopher's Stone. Several versions of the cloak were created using a velvet fabric embossed with planetary and alchemical symbols.

Behind the scenes: the look of the Deathly Hallows


One of the three Deathly Hallows, a cloak that once worn can make the user invisible

Pottermore - Explore the Story - Invisibility Cloak


Invisibility Cloak fact file
TYPE: Deathly Hallow

Pottermore - Explore the Story - Invisibility Cloak

  • 3
  • 9
    @Joshinder - The short answer is that the legend of the cloak is more impressive than reality. By the same token, the Elder Wand and Resurrection Stone are also less useful than described.
    – Valorum
    Apr 8, 2017 at 9:39
  • 3
    Dumb question from a non-book reader, but isn't the difference that the Homenum Revelio spell is not cast "at it" (the cloak) but rather it is cast at any humans in the area? Like, if Dumbledore had cast a spell at the cloak to reveal who was beneath, it wouldn't have worked, but just detecting that someone was there and then inferring it was Harry and Ron is a loophole?
    – delinear
    Apr 10, 2017 at 10:44
  • 1
    @delinear That's my understanding as well. Rowling also talks about the moment where Dumbledore reveals that Harry and Ron were in Hagrid's house (and refers to Hermione doing it in DH). Remember that Dumbledore knows Harry has the cloak because he gave it to him! Furthermore he's smart enough and aware enough of the relationship between Hagrid and Harry to deduce that Harry and probably Ron were both under that cloak. He also made himself invisible in PS and also knew that Harry was there too.
    – Pryftan
    Dec 21, 2017 at 21:52
  • 1
    Upvoted! :) This does confirm it - the bit in “Film Wizardry” is particularly convincing, since that’s published and would have been more closely checked for accuracy! :)
    – Obsidia
    May 29, 2018 at 1:05

Although what Richard says is true I want to answer your question about why the Death Eaters could seemingly see through it (actually even Dumbledore didn't he just inferred it as he knew who owned the cloak and he also knew that Harry got along well with Hagrid). What you must understand is in that same scene the Cloak of Invisibility isn't even over them. What happened is this: Mr. Lovegood was in his folly sure that Hermione was wrong and that the Erumpent horn wasn't dangerous because it was from a Crumpled Snorkack. This would be to the destruction of his house. He just told the trio that he would have to turn Harry in:

'The Quibbler's going for a new angle, then?' Harry asked coldly, his mind working very fast. 'Is that what you were doing when you went into the garden, Mr. Lovegood? Sending an owl to the Ministry?'

Xenophilius licked his lips.

'They took my Luna,' he whispered. 'Because of what I've been writing. They took my Luna and I don't know where she is, what they've done to her. But they might give her back to me if I — if I —'

'Hand over Harry?' Hermione finished for him.

'No deal,' said Ron flatly. 'Get out of the way, we're leaving.' Xenophilius looked ghastly, a century old, his lips drawn back into a dreadful leer.

'They will be here at any moment. I must save Luna. I cannot lose Luna. You must not leave.'

Once the Death Eaters arrived though he decided to try and stun the trio. However, they got out of the way just in time. This blew up the house just as the Death Eaters arrived:

'HARRY!' Hermione screamed.

Figures on broomsticks were flying past the windows. As the three of them looked away from him, Xenophilius drew his wand. Harry realised their mistake just in time: He launched himself sideways, shoving Ron and Hermione out of harm's way as Xenophilius's Stunning Spell soared across the room and hit the Erumpent horn.

This blew the house apart and the Death Eaters thought it was an ambush and they also seemed to have cast Crucio on him:

'Didn't I tell you there was no need to hurry, Travers?' said a rough voice. 'Didn't I tell you this nutter was just raving as usual?' There was a bang and a scream of pain from Xenophilius. 'No . . . no . . . upstairs . . . Potter!' 'I told you last week, Lovegood, we weren't coming back for anything less than some solid information! Remember last week? When you wanted to swap your daughter for that stupid bleeding headdress? And the week before' — another bang, another squeal — 'when you thought we'd give her back if you offered us proof there are Crumple' — bang — 'Headed' — bang — 'Snorkacks?'

What happens next shows that the trio weren't under the Cloak at the time:

'You lying piece of filth,' shouted the wizard named Selwyn. 'You've never seen Potter in your life, have you? Thought you'd lure us here to kill us, did you? And you think you'll get your girl back like this?'

'I swear . . . I swear . . . Potter's upstairs!'

'Homenum revelio,' said the voice at the foot of the stairs.

Harry heard Hermione gasp, and he had the odd sensation that something was swooping low over him, immersing his body in its shadow.

'There's someone up there all right, Selwyn,' said the second man sharply.

'It's Potter, I tell you, it's Potter!' sobbed Xenophilius. 'Please . . . please . . . give me Luna, just let me have Luna. . . .'

'You can have your little girl, Lovegood,' said Selwyn, 'if you get up those stairs and bring me down Harry Potter. But if this is a plot, if it's a trick, if you've got an accomplice waiting up there to ambush us, we'll see if we can spare a bit of your daughter for you to bury.'

Hermione as usual did the logical thing, remembering that Ron wasn't supposed to be with them but actually ill, not on the run:

'All right,' breathed Hermione, as the broken printing press blocking the top of the stairs began to tremble; Xenophilius was feet away from them. She was still white with dust. 'Do you trust me, Harry?'

Harry nodded.

'Okay then,' Hermione whispered, 'give me the Invisibility Cloak. Ron, you're going to put it on.'

'Me? But Harry —'

'Please, Ron! Harry, hold on tight to my hand, Ron, grab my shoulder.'

Harry held out his left hand. Ron vanished beneath the Cloak. The printing press blocking the stairs was vibrating: Xenophilius was trying to shift it using a Hover Charm. Harry did not know what Hermione was waiting for. 'Hold tight,' she whispered. 'Hold tight . . . any second . . .'

Xenophilius's paper-white face appeared over the top of the sideboard.

After covering Ron with the Cloak she wipes Lovegood's memory and then shows the Death Eaters that in fact Harry and Hermione were indeed there - but they then Apparated:

'Obliviate!' cried Hermione, pointing her wand first into his face, then at the floor beneath them. 'Deprimo!'

At this point the Death Eaters didn't see Ron but they did see Harry and Hermione. In this way they would know that Lovegood wasn't trying to trick them and it also didn't give away Ron's cover.

So in this case the Cloak was entirely irrelevant as they weren't under it.

But as it happens Dumbledore cast silently the same spell in the Chamber of Secrets but it's not impervious to that spell; it cannot be summoned but the human revealing spell doesn't actually target the Cloak itself; instead it targets the area. Even so Dumbledore wandlessly and silently immobilises Harry in Half-Blood Prince at the top of the Astronomy Tower but the target is Harry and not the Cloak itself.

  • 1
    This is an excellent point - Selwyn didn’t have to see Ron to know there were people there. Harry and Hermione were clearly visible! Have an upvote! :)
    – Obsidia
    May 29, 2018 at 1:03
  • 1
    @Bellatrix Thank you Miss Bella! Much appreciated. :)
    – Pryftan
    May 29, 2018 at 15:56
  • 1
    You’re very welcome! :)
    – Obsidia
    Jun 2, 2018 at 18:33

At that point in story, we don't know about non verbal spells in chamber of secrets. We don't see Dumbledore doing any sort of magic. so it is equally in line to assume that Dumbledore knows that Harry and Ron went to visit Hagrid by some other means.(i don't remember now but was it snowing then and he could have seen their footprints? or some other great Sherlock like power?) Also regarding 'looking at them directly', there was no eye contact and only a close view to their vicinity, which means Dumbledore could have made a eye sweep of the room and might have assumed the most probable place for 2 people to stand invisible during that scene.

Now, for the second situation, please verify if I'm wrong since its been too long, but i think harry was not already under the cloak when the revealing spell was used in Lovegood 's house. As far as i remember, it was Ron under the cloak because he was supposed to be sick at the burrow and Harry was supposed to be spotted to prove Lovegood was telling the truth.

So based on both the doubts you raised, the cloak was still flawless, though i asked a similar question in my page regarding the cloak when Dumbledore was able to curse harry on the balcony on the night he died while harry was under the cloak. Maybe Dumbledore is just special like that! or its one of those plot mistakes that we should just ignore? But otherwise in the two situations you mentioned, the cloak was still functioning properly. And so it IS the 3rd hallow since it also has a history of inheritance in families.

  • Except that Dumbledore knows that Harry is at the Mirror of Erised even though he had the cloak, this in PS. As for the case in the Lovegood house it's more like this: they were upstairs and Lovegood went downstairs. They cast the revealing spell (Lovegood had tried to stun them but he hit the horn that exploded) and find out that there is at least one person upstairs. Hermione being aware that Ron is supposed to be ill puts the cloak over him. However Hermione is known to be with Harry so they are not under the cloak: she then Apparates with them away from the Death Eaters.
    – Pryftan
    Dec 21, 2017 at 21:55
  • dumbledore could have known Harry was visiting the mirror even if dumbledore didnt see harry under the cloak. Its always assumed that dumbledore has many means to get information due to his magic as well as intelligence and so maintains an all knowing persona. He kept the mirror there so that harry can find it when he gave him the cloak.
    – Dev
    Jan 16, 2018 at 10:18
  • I don't disagree in the slightest with that. But that doesn't make what I said before untrue.
    – Pryftan
    Jan 16, 2018 at 18:37
  • I didn't get your point. are you saying the cloak had a fault? because my point was about that. Harry may have the cloak while visiting the mirror of Erised, but he wasn't wearing it at the moment he was caught. As for the Lovegood house, arent we both saying the same thing?
    – Dev
    Feb 23, 2018 at 10:57
  • Well I just reread part of your answer and I'll add that as for his ability to perform a petrification charm while Harry was under the cloak I don't think that has anything to do with the cloak being imperfect; I suspect either it doesn't make one immune to magic (e.g. Dumbledore performed silently the same spell Hermione performs in DH, when Harry and Ron are in the hut when they come to arrest Hagrid) or he is beyond powerful. Well I believe both but I think the former is relevant. No the cloak doesn't have a fault. Ah, I see. Let me continue in another comment.
    – Pryftan
    Feb 23, 2018 at 16:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.