In HP and the Deathly Hallows, Harry receives a mokeskin pouch for his 17th birthday. Hagrid vouchsafes to him that anything inside is inaccessible to anyone but the righful owner:

‘Here, Harry – couldn’ think what ter get yeh, but then I remembered this.’ He pulled out a small, slightly furry drawstring pouch with a long string, evidently intended to be worn around the neck. ‘Mokeskin. Hide anythin’ in there an’ no one but the owner can get it out. They’re rare, them.’

Why then did Dumbledore not simply hide the Philosopher's Stone in a mokeskin pouch?

  • 9
    How inaccessible are they actually? I know it's magical, but could stronger magic defeat it? Mar 21, 2015 at 16:44
  • @ArturoTorresSánchez - Dunno. Given that everyone in Harry Potter is a damn wizard, the fact that they have a reputation for being inaccessible suggests you need very powerful magic indeed.
    – Valorum
    Mar 21, 2015 at 16:49
  • 45
    Because JKR is terribly not only at maths, but at creating/planning for items and plot elements that work for anything other than the specific plot line she wants them in. See also: Time Turners.
    – phantom42
    Mar 21, 2015 at 17:36
  • @phantom42 - I agree with that one.
    – Valorum
    Mar 21, 2015 at 17:43
  • Can a Mokeskin pouch have more than 1 owner? Let's say Dumbledore is the owner of the pouch but is indisposed for whatever reason. Who then would be capable of securing the stone in the event of a breach?
    – Ellesedil
    Mar 23, 2015 at 14:04

5 Answers 5


I think probably because Moke skin makes an excellent pouch in which to hide money or an object, but Moke skin is not unfailingly impervious, despite what Hagrid says.

Moke skin is highly prized among wizards for use as moneybags and purses, as the scaly material will contract at the approach of a stranger, just as its owner did; Moke-skin moneybags are therefore very difficult for thieves to locate.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - page 29 - Bloomsubury

Not that Dumbledore's ultimate plan didn't turn out to be fallible, but I suspect he didn't use a Moke skin pouch because it wasn't safe enough. Very difficult does not equate impossible.

  • 2
    Surely the quote you've provided makes them even more attractive as a hiding place. There's also no mention of them not being impervious.
    – Valorum
    Mar 21, 2015 at 17:44
  • 1
    @Richard -- You're indicating to me that you asked this question with a set answer already in mind. If Moke skin was indeed impervious, it makes sense that Newt Scamander would have noted this. I'm just going by what canon tells us; I'm sorry if the info doesn't perfectly fit your theory. You and I see canon differently, though. Mar 21, 2015 at 17:52
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    While it makes sense why Dumbledore didn't rely on moke skin, he could have still put it in the moke skin pouch and then hid that in the mirror, couldn't he? Why only have x number of defenses when you could have x+1 (aside from the issue of extending the story to ridiculous amounts eventually)?
    – phantom42
    Mar 21, 2015 at 18:10
  • 4
    @phantom42: Considering the defenses were almost good enough to keep out three first-year students, I'm pretty sure the 'x+1' defenses really needed 'x+10000' to be anything like good enough.
    – Jeff
    Mar 22, 2015 at 13:21
  • 1
    @jeff - In fairness, one of them was protected by foolproof plot armour.
    – Valorum
    Mar 22, 2015 at 15:13

Multiple times in the later books, Dumbledore points out that he is not perfect. Especially when it comes to artifacts of great power and temptation. It's possible that Dumbledore was afraid he might abuse the power of the stone — or for that matter, simply take it out to look at it at the wrong time, and thus allow it to fall into Voldemort's grasp. The way he did hide it required a good, selfless person to retrieve it and so was very nearly a perfect defense; perhaps he couldn't even have drawn it out himself.

I think the question asker might be putting too much stock in Hagrid's assessment of the pouch, as well. Other things that were more fallible than he claimed include Gringotts, Fluffy, Hogwarts Castle, Hogwarts faculty, Grawp, and Dumbledore himself.

As mokeskin can clearly be cut, because mokes can be skinned, there exist multiple magical and mundane ways of retrieving items from them. Moreover, as Fantastic Beasts details the exact way the pouch functions (only when physically approached by a stranger), a Summoning Charm should also work. These pouches are useful, but not infallible. By the end of Philosopher's Stone, indeed, I don't think Quirrell would be considered a stranger by the pouch. After all, if the people you see on a daily basis triggered the pouch to contract and hide, Harry wouldn't be able to examine its contents with Ron and Hermione in the tent in Hallows.

  • 5
    I've noticed that quotes from Hagrid are frequently cited in questions and answers here. I think it's important to note that Hagrid is often wrong, exaggerating, or at least not completely correct at all times. So I like this answer.
    – Whelt
    Mar 23, 2015 at 14:48

Because Mokeskin pouches were rare and were not foolproof. The defenses laid by the teachers would have been much stronger than just a pouch.

If something happened to Dumbledore then it would have been lost forever (though as phantom42 says in the comments , losing it will actually prevent it from getting into the wrong hands).
Even the Cruciatus Curse or Veritaserum could be used against Dumbledore (if he got captured) to find out the location or force him to open the purse.

  • 6
    "If something happened to Dumbledore then it would have been lost forever." Would that have really been the worst thing that could happen? If your goal is to keep it from the most evil wizard around, it becoming completely unretrievable by anyone becomes a good way to keep it from falling into the wrong hands.
    – phantom42
    Mar 21, 2015 at 20:18
  • 1
    @phantom42 Good point . I will edit it .
    – stud
    Mar 22, 2015 at 15:02
  • The defenses laid by the teachers were circumvented by a few ten-year-olds. I think a mokeskin pouch might have fared better.
    – KSmarts
    Mar 23, 2015 at 15:06

Because the rightful owner was Nicolas Flamel which means the easiest way for someone else to get the stone would be to threaten Flamel or simply kill him and his heirs until the stone no longer has any owner or when the owner is someone who doesn't know what it is and would be prepared to sell it without knowing he would be bartering away eternal life.

  • 1
    I read it that none but the rightful owner of the pouch could access the contents, not the rightful owner of the things inside the pouch.
    – Valorum
    Mar 22, 2015 at 22:26

Why then did Dumbledore not simply hide the Philosopher's Stone in a mokeskin pouch?

There is no canonical explication as to a negative/lack of action in this specific scenario you propose.

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