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Ignotus Peverell

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The Harry Potter Canon

"Ignotus Peverell is buried in Godric’s Hollow. ...He’s my ancestor. I’m descended from the third brother! It all makes sense!”
-- Harry Potter (DH22)

Ignotus Peverell

Ignotus Peverell, the youngest and also the wisest of the three Peverell brothers, asked Death for a Cloak of Invisibility, which enabled him to escape Death until he reached old age, at which point he passed the cloak on to his son (TBB/TTB). Ignotus is buried in the Godric’s Hollow graveyard. His ancient-looking stone has the symbol of the Deathly Hallows on it (DH16).

  • The Cloak of Invisibility is no ordinary cloak, but one which never falls apart or loses it's abilities. Xenophilius Lovegood explains that it "renders the wearer completely invisible, and endures eternally, giving constant and impenetrable concealment" (DH21).
  • Dumbledore borrowed the Cloak of Invisibility from James Potter because he wanted to study it and discover if it was one of the Deathly Hallows (DH35). He did not need the cloak himself because he had the ability to use a strong Disillusionment Charm on himself in order to become invisible (PS12, TBB/TTB -footnote). It was extremely unfortunate that Dumbledore chose that particular time to examine the Cloak because it might have saved their lives when Voldemort attacked them in Godric's Hollow. Of course the Potters were supposed to be protected by the Fidelius Charm at the time, except Peter Pettigrew betrayed them and led Voldemort to their door (PA19).

Family

Brothers: Antioch and Cadmus

Descendants: Iolanthe Peverell, Henry "Harry" Potter, Fleamont Potter, James Potter, and Harry Potter

Commentary

Etymology

"Ignotus" = Latin for "unknown" - sometimes used in historical or religious books for unknown authors.

 

Notes

The name "Ignotus" may be the author's pun about his lowly grave in Godric's Hollow ("Unknown"), or the fact that his descendents , such as the Potter family, did not know that their family heirloom was one of the Deathly Hallows. It is quite interesting that unlike most heirlooms, it was not held back until the child had come of age, but handed over when they were children, to be used mostly "for sneaking off to the kitchens to steal food," which Dumbledore believed James did, or for more serious shenanigans such as the Marauders and Harry got up to. Perhaps that tradition of giving the Cloak of Invisibility to children began in an attempt to protect the younger generation from Death itself, but as time went on the family took it for granted, or did not realize how valuable the Cloak was. Like most wizards, the Potters seem to have believed the Deathly Hallows and the Tale of the Three Brothers were fairy tales or myths.

Roman writer Ovid penned the phrase "Ignoti nulla cupido" meaning "we don't desire what we can't see." This applied to Ignotus, whose Cloak of Invisibility kept him from being seen by anyone, especially Death.

 

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