21

In Half-Blood Prince, on the train, after performing Petrificus Totalus, Harry couldn't move anymore. Malfoy hides Harry using his invisibility cloak.

Wouldn't a more clever move have been to take the cloak (after all Harry and Malfoy are not what people might call friends)? Small reasoning says:

  • Malfoy is supported by Snape at Hogwarts, so the odds on very severe punishment are not that large;
  • If Harry complains, he will have to state first he has an invisibility cloak, something that is not known by most Hogwarts inhabitants by that time, Harry is thus probably not eager to tell the teachers Malfoy has his cloak;
  • Malfoy is not that interested in continuing school - he didn't participate in quidditch games, so even if he is removed from Hogwarts, that's not his first concern;
  • The invisibility cloak would be helpful to find out how to kill Dumbledore, the task he is supposed to carry out, it would allow almost free movement in the castle;
  • Malfoy could probably use another trick to hide Harry; and
  • Hiding Harry using the cloak doesn't seem to make much sense since a person that would look around for people would probably stumble (literally) upon Harry anyway. After all Harry lies on the floor.

What were the reasons Malfoy decided not to take the cloak?

  • 12
    I always assumed it was simply that he didn't realize the significance of the cloak; Invisibility Cloaks aren't that rare in the HP Universe - they are talked about from time to time. As the Scion of a wealthy family, I suspect Draco no more wanted to steal it from Harry than he would have stolen Ron's second-hand robes. Now, had he understood that it was no run-of-the-mill cloak, things might have been different.. As it was, Harry could have ended up on a second trip. And, should Draco be called on it, Harry was under a cloak, so 'Oops! Must have hit him with my luggage; never saw him.' – K-H-W Mar 16 '15 at 2:36
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    I think being removed from Hogwarts is a concern. If not first, maybe a close second. His task to kill Dumbledore is a lot harder if he's no longer at Hogwarts. And wasn't Malfoy's goal to hide him from someone checking the train before it left? – Don_Biglia Mar 16 '15 at 7:49
  • If Harry complains directly to Dumbledore, he doesn't have to admit anything to anybody else. Anybody checking for stragglers on the train isn't going to enter every compartment, they're just going to take a quick look through the window to check that it's empty (not expecting somebody to be hidden by an invisibility cloak); if I recall correctly, it was the fact that somebody was specifically looking out for Harry and Malfoy closed the blinds on that carriage that caused Harry to be found in time. – Anthony Grist Mar 16 '15 at 14:26
20

I've thought about this a lot, and I believe there's some sort of magic woven into the cloak by Ignotus Peverell that ensures the cloak will stay within the family line.

The first clue is in the Tales of Beedle the Bard:

"But though Death searched for the third brother for many years, he was never able to find him. 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."

Although this story is from a children's fable, some believe it has factual roots -- quirky Xenophilius, of course, as well as Dumbledore and Grindelwald among them. The fable chronicles not only the items of legend, but also the manner in which they change possession.

Nega-Dumbledore later states:

“The Cloak, as you know now, traveled down through the ages, father to son, mother to daughter, right down to Ignotus’s last living descendant, who was born, as Ignotus was, in the village of Godric’s Hollow.”

None of this is even remotely conclusive proof, of course. But it does lend evidence to explain how, despite Harry's cavalier, negligent treatment of the cloak, he never lost ownership of it. Each time Harry and his cloak were parted, they were infallibly reunited. Imagine if the cloak were a hundred dollar bill. Would the following statements remain true?

  • In book 1, Harry leaves the cloak at the top of the tower after handing off Norbert to Charlie's associates. Dumbledore returns it later.

  • In the Prisoner of Azkaban, he tosses it aside at the base of the Whomping Willow. Snape helpfully brings it to Harry in the Shrieking Shack. Harry, determined to lose the thing, leaves it behind yet again. Lupin eventually retrieves it and returns it to Harry.

  • When Harry is captured by Umbridge in her school office, the cloak is left in a heap on the floor yet again. Nothing more is said of the cloak for the rest of the book; but apparently, miraculously, all the Slytherins ignore it and it is somehow returned to Harry's possession by the next book. Despite his most fervent efforts, Harry can't seem to rid himself of the cloak.

  • On the train in Half-Blood Prince, Harry tumbles out of the luggage rack and loses his cover. Malfoy graciously replaces the cloak over Harry, tucking him in like a caring mother. Later, the cloak is again tossed aside at the top of the Astronomy tower, where it remains all but forgotten until the next book.

Additionally, the cloak is not summonable. In Deathly Hallows:

“Accio Cloak!” roared one of the Death Eaters.

Harry seized its folds, but it made no attempt to escape: The Summoning Charm had not worked on it.

I believe the reason for this is two-fold. Obviously, an anti-summoning charm would add to the perfection of the invisibility offered by the cloak. Secondly, it would be one of possibly many enchantments preventing the cloak from being stolen.

There are situations where others borrow the cloak -- Snape, at the Whomping Willow; Ron and Hermione, scouting the Ministry of Magic; and Dumbledore from James as he was investigating the Deathly Hallows. But it's clear that they all considered Harry to be the owner of the cloak. If Draco had taken the cloak against Harry's wishes, I'm guessing he would do so not intending to give it back -- which is what the hypothesized enchantments would prevent. Evidence suggests that anyone who comes across the cloak has a compulsion to intend to return it to its owner.

  • 5
    This explanation is great. Perhaps one can't even think about stealing the cloak ;). – Willem Van Onsem Mar 16 '15 at 14:09
  • 2
    "tucking him in like a caring mother" - I'll never read/watch HBP the same way again. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Mar 16 '15 at 18:24
  • 1
    Excellent analysis and +1, unfortunately it can't be correct here as Draco wouldn't have known that he couldn't take it, he didn't even try to take it in the first place. – Möoz Mar 16 '15 at 22:21
  • Also, Dumbledore didn't actually believe in the "Death" as a literal character part of that story. – Möoz Mar 16 '15 at 22:22
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    There is some magic that seems to act upon fate more than physical properties or direct actions. Felix Felicis is one example, although fate nudges actions there. What's to say fate doesn't nudge Malfoy et. al. in a similar fashion away from taking the cloak for themselves? – rojo Mar 16 '15 at 23:40
6

Malfoy did not know that the cloak was special. So there was no need to take it from Harry. Invisibility cloaks were special but not impossible to make as this articles makes it clear.

They may be made from hair of Demiguise, a magical creature that possesses the power to become invisible. This property is used to make the wearer of the cloak invisible.

The cloak can also be formed from an ordinary traveling cloak, enchanted with an exceptionally strong disillusionment charm or a bedazzling hex.

http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Invisibility_Cloak

  • Ron says in the book that they are rare. – mikeazo Mar 16 '15 at 14:28
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    @mikeazo Considering their differing social and economic status, Ron and Draco may have different standards for what they consider "rare". – KSmarts Mar 16 '15 at 15:01
  • @KSmarts that might be true. – mikeazo Mar 17 '15 at 16:06
5

Draco Malfoy is a respectable pureblood scion* of a fantastically wealthy and well connected family, not a thief or a plunderer. The thought of stealing the cloak probably never even crossed Draco's mind. Even if he was specifically interested in having an invisibility cloak for himself, he probably would not have considered stealing it permanently.

Draco would only have taken the cloak specifically as a plot to harass or harm his rival, and even then more likely and even then he'd be more likely hide it or sabotage it than to keep it for himself. And it's hard to imagine on such short notice what plot would have been a better way to harass or harm his rival than preventing him from arriving at the school and leaving him injured where nobody could find him.

*: at least in the eyes of some social circles

2

It really is simple: Malfoy left the cloak there so nobody would find Harry lying there on the train.

  • 4
    Per the question, there are a significant number of ways to hide a body, why then did he not take the (valuable) cloak and use another method to conceal Potter? – Valorum Mar 28 '15 at 23:35
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    @Richard: I imagine getting one up on Harry is more valuable than an invisibility cloak to Malfoy. – user12616 Mar 29 '15 at 1:21
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    The train was going to leave soon. Leaving the cloak was the quickest answer to keep Harry hidden. – neverendingqs Mar 29 '15 at 1:56
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    1)Malfoy had no idea the cloak was valuable. 2)He probably already had a cloak. 3)He had no need of a cloak. 4)Many teachers knew that was Harry's cloak; Dumbledore, Ron, and Hermione at least would have recognized Harry's cloak, and 5)Malfoy may not have known how to do a Dissilusionment Charm (Goyle says in DH, "We can do Diss-luison Charms now!" That implies that they hadn't learned them until since they had last seen Harry. – JoeyZ Mar 29 '15 at 2:13
  • @JoeyZ - Those should be in your answer. – Valorum Mar 29 '15 at 7:07

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