Quote 4

Your father left this in my possession before he died. It is time it was returned to you. Use it well. A very merry Christmas to you.

This note accompanies the vanishing cloak that Harry mysteriously receives at Christmas in Chapter 12. It signals once again that Harry’s growth at Hogwarts will bring him back into contact, at least symbolically, with his long-lost parents. The cloak also becomes an important symbol of the relationship between Harry and Albus Dumbledore when we find out later that it is Dumbledore who has given the cloak to Harry. It symbolizes Dumbledore’s growing trust in Harry, as the great wizard surely knows that giving a boy the gift of invisibility is bound to lead to some naughtiness, which it in fact does. Dumbledore may caution Harry to “[u]se it well,” but in all his wisdom he must realize that Harry will use it wrongly, breaking into the restricted-books section of the library and hauling an illegal dragon across the campus.

Yet, in the long run, Dumbledore’s trust in Harry is justified, because Harry does learn finally to use the cloak—and all his magic gifts—toward the right ends. His disaster in being caught and punished after the dragon incident, when he stupidly forgets to wear the cloak, forces him to think more carefully about the consequences of his actions. We sense that Harry’s education in personal responsibility is all part of Dumbledore’s grand plan in giving Harry the cloak, because after the dragon affair Dumbledore returns the cloak to Harry neatly folded. With it, Dumbledore places his own vote of confidence in Harry.