Ignotus Peverell (12 July, 1214 – 19 May, 1292) was an English pure-blood wizard, one of the three brothers mentioned in The Tale of the Three Brothers in The Tales of Beedle the Bard . The youngest of the three brothers, Ignotus was also described as the humblest and wisest of them, and had survived Death's cunning schemes due to these traits. He received the last of the Deathly Hallows, the Cloak of Invisibility, which was passed down through his family to the Potter family, and eventually to Harry Potter.
Little is known about Ignotus Peverell's childhood. He was born into the Peverell family on 12 July, 1214 in the village of Godric's Hollow in the English West Country, a younger brother to Antioch and Cadmus.
Being knowledgeable in the magical arts, it is unknown whether the Peverell brothers attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, were home-schooled or learned about the magical arts on their own, autodidactically.
The Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter: "So it's true? All of it? The Peverell brothers —"
- Albus Dumbledore: "— were the three brothers of the tale. Oh yes, I think so. Whether they met Death on a lonely road… I think it more likely that the Peverell brothers were simply gifted, dangerous wizards who succeeded in creating those powerful objects."
- — Harry and Dumbledore during the former's time in Limbo[src]
According to Beedle the Bard in his work The Tale of the Three Brothers, Ignotus was the humblest and wisest of the three Peverell brothers. When the three brothers managed to cheat Death while travelling along a "lonely, winding road at twilight", Death pretended to congratulate them on their magic and presented them with a gift of their choice. Ignotus did not trust Death by any means. So, rather than ask for something to further his own desires, he requested the power to leave that meeting without being followed by Death. Death, not wishing to betray any hint of his true intentions, most begrudgingly took his Invisibility Cloak and gave it to Ignotus. Ignotus's two older brothers met terrible fates due to the murderous lust the Elder Wand created in wizards, and the limitations of the Resurrection Stone.
It should be noted, however, that Beedle the Bard most likely employed artistic licence as some aspects of his story seem not to match actual aspects of the Peverells' lives (e.g. the story heavily implies that Cadmus Peverell killed himself before having descendants, when in actuality he was a direct ancestor to the House of Gaunt) and, as such, it should not be taken as an accurate account of the historical facts. As Albus Dumbledore himself theorised, it is much more likely that the Peverell brothers, as gifted wizards, managed to create the Deathly Hallows by themselves.
Later life and death
Ignotus went on to live to seventy-six years, dying on 19 May, 1292 in his birthplace of Godric's Hollow. He left his son his Cloak of Invisibility, one of the Deathly Hallows, and was buried in the churchyard by the Parish Church of St. Clementine. His date of birth and death however can be contested. Ignotus' granddaugter (Iolanthe) married the son (Hardwin) of Lindfred 'the Potterer' of Stinchcombe, a 12th century wizard. Ignotus can not have lived and died in the 13th century if his granddaughter married the son of a 12th century wizard.
In late December, 1997, Harry Potter and Hermione Granger came across Ignotus Peverell's much eroded grave, where they noted the sign of the Deathly Hallows was engraved beneath the barely legible name.
Personality and traits
According to legend, Ignotus was a very wise, modest, and humble young man, far more so than his two self-centered, arrogant older brothers. He was therefore far more shrewd and was the only one of the three to see through Death's deception. His request for something to hide him from Death, rather than something to enhance his own very personal glory, kept him alive for many happy decades.
Ignotus preferred a rather joyful, peaceful life, unlike his brothers. As such, he lived for many years with no quarrels or worries and raised a family. Ignotus saw to it that the very last thing he did in his life was pass the cloak on to his son, guaranteeing that his future descendants could live long happy lives as he had, and when he finally left the mortal world with Death, Ignotus had no regrets.
Magical abilities and skills
Ignotus was described by Albus Dumbledore to be a gifted and dangerously powerful wizard.
- Transfiguration: Ignotus could create a perfect bridge without fail alongside his two brothers via Conjuration, which was a complex form of magic.
- Magical manufacturer (possibly): Legend has it that Death was the original owner of the Cloak of Invisibility and handed it to Ignotus when he asked it. However, some people like Dumbledore have speculated that Ignotus created the cloak himself. To this day, the Cloak remains the only Deathly Hallow still owned and used, moreover by Ignotus's direct descendants. The Elder Wand and Resurrection Stone were never used again after 1998 further contributing to how Ignotus' humble nature ultimately proved vastly more successful than that of his brothers.
Interestingly enough, though not surprisingly, the word "Ignotus" is yet another of Rowling's uses of the Latin language. One meaning of the word is Unknown, which would make the name appropriate due to Ignotus' mastery of invisibility and successful concealment from even Death. It is also another form of the name Ignatius, which shows up throughout history, such as Ignatius of Loyola or Ignatius of Antioch.
Ignatius of Antioch's musings on death could link him to Ignotus's etymological origins. Theologically, Ignatius of Antioch considered salvation as one being free from the powerful fear of death. Furthermore he regarded the Christian Eucharist as a medicine for immortality and a remedy to escape death.
"Ignotus" (Latin word "īgnōtus") in addition to "unknown," may mean "forgiven," "strange," "unacquainted with," or "ignorant of."
Some Christians have theorised that, if accepting "forgiven" as the meaning of the name, Ignotus' Invisibility Cloak may have some similarity to the concept of "the garments of salvation" and a "robe of victory"(Isaiah 61:10). In Christianity, it is suggested that becoming a slave of righteousness leads to holiness and thus eternal life (Romans 6) - as opposed to becoming a slave of sin, which leads to death. The concept of Jesus' death and resurrection granting forgiveness of sin (also Romans 6) might be interpreted as the "forgiven" being granted a "garment of salvation / robe of victory" and thus, defeating death.
If translating Ignotus as "strange," we might simply be seeing a bit of J.K. Rowling's quirky humour.
If translating Ignotus as "unacquainted with," we might consider Ignotus as unacquainted with Death for a lot longer than he perhaps should have been. However, as the story mentions that he met Death, then at the end of his life greeted Death as an "old friend" he appears to have been acquainted with Death for much of his life.
If translating Ignotus as "ignorant of", we may take the meaning to refer to Ignotus' ability to hide, so that others were ignorant of him. It is an error to translate Ignotus only as "ignorant".
Behind the scenes
- According to the book Nature's Nobility: A Wizarding Genealogy, the surname of Peverell disappeared fairly early in wizarding history. It is said that Ignotus had a son. Not far down the line, one of his descendants must have given birth to a girl, which would explain why the surname disappeared so quickly. According to J.K. Rowling, James Potter got the Invisibility Cloak from his father.
- The Tale of the Three Brothers states that Ignotus died when he "attained a great age", but Harry Potter Film Wizardry puts his age at the time of his death as seventy-six, which is not considered old in wizarding terms. However, The Tales of Beedle the Bard are fairy tales and do not portray everything as it was in reality. Another possibility is that the average lifespan of wizards was shorter during the Peverell brothers' time. Seventy-seven may have been considered a great age for wizards in the 1200s because of the level of bloodshed and duelling involved in those days, with the average lifespan for ordinary humans during the Middles Ages usually being less than half that amount.
- A fan hypothesis exists in which Ignotus is also the creator of the Pensieve, which keeps those invisible whilst in the past as opposed to the cloak which hides those in the present.
- Both Ignotus and his descendant Harry Potter were born in July and seem to share similar traits.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (First mentioned)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (First appearance) (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game) (Appears in flashback(s))
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- The Tales of Beedle the Bard (real)
Notes and references
- Harry Potter Film Wizardry (see this image and this image)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 35 (King's Cross)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 22 (The Deathly Hallows) - "The only place I’ve managed to find the name ‘Peverell’ is Nature’s Nobility: A Wizarding Genealogy. I borrowed it from Kreacher,” she explained as Ron raised his eyebrows. “It lists the pure-blood families that are now extinct in the male line. Apparently the Peverells were one of the earliest families to vanish.”"
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 21 (The Tale of the Three Brothers)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 22 (The Deathly Hallows)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Epilogue (Nineteen Years Later)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 10 (The House of Gaunt)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 16 (Godric's Hollow)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 36 (The Flaw in the Plan)
- The Tales of Beedle the Bard (real)
- "America Online chat transcript, AOL.com, 19 October 2000" on Accio Quote
Altheda · Amata · Amata's lover · Antioch Peverell · Antioch Peverell's enemy · Antioch Peverell's killer · Asha · Babbitty · Brigade of Witch-Hunters · Cadmus Peverell · Cadmus Peverell's fiancée · Captain of the Brigade of Witch-Hunters · Charlatan · Death · Evil Sorcerer · Gigantic white worm · Ignotus Peverell · Ignotus Peverell's son · King · Kinsfolk · Maiden · Old man · Old man's donkey · Old man's family · Peasant woman · Peasant woman's granddaughter · Sabre · Sir Luckless · Warlock · The Warlock's friends · Wizard · Wizard's father · Young woman · Young woman's child
Altheda's potion · Altheda's wand · Cloak of Invisibility · Creepers · Crystal casket · Elder Wand · Enchanted garden · Fountain · Gold statue of Babbitty · Hairy Heart · The Hopping Pot · Never-ending hill · Poisonous toadstool · Poultice for warts · Resurrection Stone · Silver chalice