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"There are gaps, of course, and long ones, where it vanishes from view, temporarily lost or hidden; but it always resurfaces. It has certain identifying characteristics that those who are learned in wandlore recognise... Whether it needs to pass by murder, I do not know. Its history is bloody, but that may be simply due to the fact that it is such a desirable object, and arouses such passions in wizards. Immensely powerful, dangerous in the wrong hands, and an object of incredible fascination to all of us who study the power of wands."
Garrick Ollivander discussing the Elder Wand[src]

The Elder Wand is one of three objects that make up the fabled Deathly Hallows. According to "The Tale of the Three Brothers", it was the first Hallow created, supposedly by Death himself. It was bestowed upon Antioch Peverell after he requested, as his bounty, a wand worthy of someone who had outsmarted Death. According to legend, whoever united the wand with the other two Hallows (the Resurrection Stone and the Cloak of Invisibility) would become the Master of Death.[4]

It is said to be the most powerful wand that has ever existed, able to perform feats of magic that would normally be impossible even for the most skilled wizards, such as mending another wand damaged beyond normal magical repair.[5] The Elder Wand's core is the tail hair of a Thestral, a potent yet tricky substance to master; only a witch or wizard who is capable of accepting death can do so, since only by them can a Thestral hair even be seen.[6]

Description

The wand is made of elder wood[3] and contains a Thestral tail-hair core[3][7]. The latter is "a tricky substance that only wizards that mastered death can control."[8] Despite it's legendary reputation and immense ability, the Elder Wand was an unassuming object. Appearing at face value to be a wand like any other, it had a smooth, unadorned shaft and a handle formed from two conjoined spheres.

History

Mythic origins of the Elder Wand

"So the oldest brother, who was a combative man, asked for a wand more powerful than any in existence: a wand that must always win duels for its owner, a wand worthy of a wizard who had conquered Death!"
The Tale of the Three Brothers[src]
DH1 The Elder Tree

The Elder Tree from which the wand was made

According to the "Tale of the Three Brothers" (as compiled in The Tales of Beedle the Bard ) three brothers — suspected to be Antioch, Cadmus, and Ignotus Peverell — were out travelling when they came to a treacherous river that had been known to claim the lives of many that had attempted to cross it.[3] Taking no chances, the three brothers pulled out their wands and conjured a bridge out of thin air. However, as they began to cross it, they found a hooded figure blocking their path. It was Death himself, dressed in a simple long black cloak. Death felt cheated that the three brothers had outsmarted him and had not drowned in the river, as many others had.[3][4]

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Death gives Antioch Peverell the Elder Wand

While pretending to congratulate them for their triumph, Death schemed against them. He offered each brother their choice of gift as a reward for outsmarting him. The eldest went first, and being a belligerent man he asked for a wand that would defeat all others. Death went to a nearby elder tree and created a wand from its wood, which he handed to the eldest brother. The second brother, who wanted to humiliate Death even further, asked for an object that would recall the dead and was given the Resurrection Stone. The youngest was wiser than his brothers and was sceptical of Death's intentions. He asked for an object that would allow him to live his life without the fear of Death following him. Reluctantly, Death handed over his own Cloak of Invisibility.[3][4]

Antioch's possession

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Antioch's throat is slit

Albus Dumbledore thought it was unlikely that the Elder Wand was actually made by Death, and assumed that it may have been created by the eldest of the three Peverell brothers, Antioch. However, Antioch did not possess the Elder Wand for very long: After killing a rival wizard in a duel shortly after creating the wand, Antioch drunkenly boasted of the wand's powers. He was murdered in his sleep that night and another wizard took possession of the wand.[3]

Known owners

"The bloody trail of the Elder Wand is splattered across the pages of Wizarding history."
Xenophilius Lovegood[src]
Over time, this powerful and mysterious wand passed through various hands, usually by violent means, and acquired names such as "the Deathstick" and "the Wand of Destiny".[1] Several of the wand's owners are well-known to wizarding history, as the "bloody trail" wrought by the wand was recorded in numerous historical accounts.[2][9] Many owners were killed by their successors in a lust for power, and over time the inaccurate legend grew that murder is necessary in order to attain mastery of the Elder Wand.

Emeric the Evil

Main article: Emeric the Evil
Emeric the Evil was a short-lived but exceptionally aggressive wizard. He was the first historically known master of the Elder Wand after Antioch Peverell's killer, though it is possible that others possessed the wand before him. Emeric terrorised the south of England in the early Middle Ages and was eventually "slaughtered" in a ferocious duel against Egbert the Egregious.

Egbert the Egregious

Main article: Egbert the Egregious
Egbert the Egregious became Master of the Elder Wand after defeating and killing Emeric the Evil in a duel. What became of Egbert after mastering the Elder Wand is unknown. What is known is that century later, Godelot is recorded to have obtained mastership of the wand.

Godelot

Main article: Godelot
"My moste wicked and subtle friend, with bodie of Ellhorn, who knowes ways of magick moste evile."
—An entry on Godelot's notebook regarding the Elder Wand[src]

Godelot is known to have become Master of the Elder Wand around a century after Egbert the Egregious. Godelot considered the Elder Wand an instructor, and used his knowledge of the Wand's powers to write Magick Moste Evile, a book containing information on Dark magic (including a passing reference to Horcruxes in its introduction). Godelot perished in his own cellar after he was locked in there by his son, Hereward, who did this to gain ownership of the Wand.

Hereward

Main article: Hereward
Hereward mastered the Elder Wand after defeating and killing his father, Godelot. He succeeded in this by locking his father in his own cellar to die and stealing the wand afterwards.

Barnabas Deverill

Main article: Barnabas Deverill
Following Hereward, the next known Master of the Elder Wand was Barnabas Deverill. In the early eighteenth century, he used it to carve out a reputation as a fearsome warlock until his reign of terror was ended by Loxias, who murdered Barnabas and gained mastery of the wand.

Loxias

Main article: Loxias
Loxias became Master of the Elder Wand following his defeat of Barnabas Deverill. Loxias gave it the name "the Deathstick" and used it against anyone who displeased him. It is unknown who defeated and/or killed Loxias, as — according to Dumbledore — many claimed to have finished him off, including Loxias's own mother. From Xenophilius Lovegood's understanding of history, either Arcus or Livius seemed to have killed him, as he believed one of them to be the next Master of the Elder Wand.

Arcus or Livius

Main articles: Arcus and Livius
It is debated whether Arcus and Livius became the Master of the Elder Wand after Loxias's death, as tracking the wand's history any further than this point becomes difficult.

Recent History

Mykew Gregorovitch

Main article: Mykew Gregorovitch
At some point during the nineteenth century, the Elder Wand came into the possession of wandmaker Mykew Gregorovitch. Upon realising that it was the most powerful wand in existence, Gregorovitch spent many years experimenting to try and duplicate its powers. Gregorovitch, somewhat foolish by nature and hoping it would improve his business, even started a rumour detailing that he possessed the wand and his efforts to replicate its properties. This would eventually lead to his undoing; sometime between 1899 and 1926[10], Gregorovitch heard someone breaking into his workshop one night. He promptly ran inside and saw that an intruder had taken the wand: a blonde haired young man, who promptly shot a Stunning Spell at Gregorovitch to acquire mastery of the wand,[1] before leaping out the window. Gregorovitch never discovered the man's identity.

Gellert Grindelwald

Main article: Gellert Grindelwald
Gellert Grindelwald was one of the most dangerous Dark Wizards of all time, with only the more powerful evil Lord Voldemort being deemed to be his superior. He was educated at Durmstrang Institute, but was later expelled. Grindelwald's great-aunt was the famous magical historian Bathilda Bagshot, and following his expulsion he lived with her in the village Godric's Hollow for a summer. During this time he struck up a friendship with a young Albus Dumbledore, and the two made plans to find the Deathly Hallows. They believed that possessing the Hallows would allow them to create a world in which Muggles, out of necessity and for the greater good, would be subservient to wizards and witches. This partnership fell apart after the two were involved in a vicious three-way duel with Albus' brother Aberforth, which resulted in the accidental death of his sister Ariana.[1]
Young Gellert Grindelwald

Grindelwald steals the Elder Wand from Gregorovitch

After his falling out with Dumbledore, Grindelwald delved into his research of the Deathly Hallows and uncovered the location of the Elder Wand. Rumours had been circulating that the renowned wandmaker Gregorovitch had the wand and was trying to duplicate its properties. Grindelwald broke into the wandmaker's workshop, and succeeded in claiming ownership of the fabled wand by waiting until Gregorovitch came and then casting a stunning spell at him, making himself the rightful owner.

Grindelwald killing Aurors

Grindelwald killing Aurors somewhere in Europe in 1926

Over the years, Grindelwald raised an army and began a reign of terror that spread through several European countries and resulted in the murder of many wizards and Muggles. He never attempted to seize power in Britain, though, due to his fear of his former friend Dumbledore, who was "a shade more skilful" than he was. During his reign, Grindelwald built the Nurmengard prison to hold any enemies or objectors, all while claiming that everything he did was "for the greater good", which was the phrase he inscribed above the entrance of Nurmengard.

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Grindelwald holding the Elder Wand

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Grindelwald casting Protego Diabolica in the Lestrange Mausoleum

In 1927, Grindelwald used the wand in his escape. When Aurors infiltrated the rally in Lestrange Mausoleum on Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, Grindelwald used the Elder Wand to conjure a circle of protective fire around himself, and added an enchantment designed to test the loyalty of his followers: those who entered with complete fidelity and believed in his cause would survive; those who did not, would be engulfed and perish. AbernathyVinda Rosier, Credence Barebone, and Queenie Goldstein joined Grindelwald into the circle and Apparated. Grindelwald proceeded to use the wand to quickly dispatch many Aurors, manipulating the ring to cast columns and balls of black fire that slayed even Aurors in mid-apparation. Ultimately, about half a dozen of the fifty Aurors Theseus Scamander had brought along accepted his offer and joined him in the circle as well. Then Grindelwald, mocking Newt Scamander by asking whether he thought Dumbledore would mourn for him, attacked him and Theseus and would have succeeded in burning them alive had he not been distracted by Leta Lestrange, who screamed to him to stop. Grindelwald did so, manipulating the black fire to act as a wall to prevent Theseus from doing anything, and in response, offered her to join his ranks. She refused, however, and cast the Stunning Spell at him that missed and blasted Vinda Rosier instead, causing her to drop it, smashing his skull hookah into pieces, with Grindelwald killing Leta with the flames, incinerating her. Having struck down Leta, Grindelwald let out his fury over losing such a valuable tool by fully unleashing the dark fire, with the intent on destroying the entirety of Paris, and all of those present along with it, before he disapparated. Just in time Nicolas Flamel has arrived and instructed Newt, Theseus, Tina Goldstein and Yusuf Kama to form a ring around the mausoleum, plant their wands in the ground and use the General Counter-Spell. The effect was the creation of a counter-spell so great that it forced the black fire back into the mausoleum where it ended its effects.[11]

In 1945, at the height of Grindelwald's power, Albus Dumbledore finally felt compelled to confront his former friend due to the public outcry. Despite Grindelwald's mastery of the Elder Wand, as well as putting up a fight, Dumbledore defeated him in what became known as a legendary duel. Grindelwald was subsequently incarcerated in his own prison, Nurmengard, where he remained for decades. He was eventually slain there in 1998 by Lord Voldemort, who was in search of the Elder Wand. Grindelwald, however, refused to divulge any information about the wand, defying Voldemort in a last attempt to find redemption.

Albus Dumbledore's possession

"I was fit only to possess the meanest of them, the least extraordinary. I was fit to own the Elder Wand, and not to boast of it, and not to kill with it. I was permitted to tame and to use it, because I took it, not for gain, but to save others from it."
Albus Dumbledore on the Deathly Hallows and the Elder Wand[src]
Dumbledore Memory

Dumbledore using the Elder Wand to get rid of thoughts and move them to the Pensieve

When Albus Dumbledore defeated Grindelwald in 1945, mastery of the Elder Wand passed to him.[12] Under his ownership, the wand was largely used for good, unlike many of its former masters. Dumbledore performed great magic with this wand, furthering his reputation as the world's most powerful wizard. Among that magic was the ability to produce Gubraithian Fire, a flame which has been enchanted to burn forever without dying. It is quite an advanced piece of magic, as few wizards were capable of it. Dumbledore provided Rubeus Hagrid with a branch of this fire as a diplomatic gift for the giants.

Dumbledore and Voldemort duel

Dumbledore fighting Voldemort with the Elder Wand in the Ministry of Magic Atrium

During the 1994-1995 school year, Dumbledore used the wand to stun Dolores Umbridge, Cornelius Fudge, John Dawlish, and Kingsley Shacklebolt as he made his escape when the Ministry tried to take him to Azkaban.[13] When he arrived at the Ministry to aid the Order of the Phoenix in the battle against the Death Eaters, he engaged in a ferocious duel with Lord Voldemort, using his wand to enchant the statues from the Fountain of Magical Brethren to protect Harry. Dumbledore was able to maintain the upper hand in the duel, countering Voldemort's attacks. While the Dark Lord was able to counter or dispel Dumbledore's hail of assaults, he was ultimately forced to flee.[14]

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Dumbledore conjuring a Firestorm to scorch the Inferi

During Harry's sixth year, Dumbledore and Harry set out to the Cave where Dumbledore believed a Horcrux resided. When Harry dipped a goblet into the lake to provide water for Dumbledore (who was incredibly weak and thirsty after drinking the Drink of Despair to reach the Horcrux), all the Inferi that resided in the lake grabbed at Harry and attempted to drag him down and drown him in the lake. Dumbledore recovered enough to conjure a firestorm around them to ward off the Inferi, but remained very weak.[15]

When they returned to Hogsmeade, Madam Rosmerta informed them that the Dark Mark had been conjured over the Astronomy Tower. In the tower, Dumbledore told Harry not to interfere in the events that were about to take place there, and, to ensure this, placed him in a Body-Bind Curse under his invisibility cloak. Hidden, Harry was unable to intervene as Dumbledore (now extremely weakened by the potion) was Disarmed by Draco Malfoy. The wand flew from Dumbledore's hands over the battlements,[16] but was clearly found later, as it was placed in Dumbledore's grave alongside his corpse.[17]

Dumbledore death off tower

Dumbledore's death and the wand switching allegiance to Draco Malfoy

Dumbledore was conversing with Draco about the plot to assassinate him when several other Death Eaters entered the tower and tried to persuade Draco to finish his task as well as Dumbledore. The present Death Eaters included Thorfinn Rowle, Corban Yaxley, Gibbon, Amycus Carrow, Alecto Carrow and Fenrir Greyback. Dumbledore briefly exchanged words with Bellatrix and Grayback. When Draco hesitated, Severus Snape appeared and performed the Killing Curse on Dumbledore himself. Harry learned that, in order to save himself from a more agonising death, and to prevent Draco from tarnishing his soul, Dumbledore had instructed Snape to kill him, of which Snape himself had reluctantly agreed to.[16]

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Harry with The Elder Wand

Unbeknownst to Snape, Dumbledore had also done this to ensure that when Snape killed him, Dumbledore would not unintentionally be "defeated" (as they had agreed to it beforehand, and Dumbledore intended to pass on the Elder Wand to Snape and was ready to accept death) and thus the mastery of the Elder Wand would be with Snape. However, not all went according to Dumbledore's plan, since Dumbledore was disarmed and thus was defeated by Draco Malfoy. Without his knowledge, Malfoy thus became the next master of the Elder Wand.[1]

Lord Voldemort's search

"The Dark Lord no longer seeks the Elder Wand only for your destruction, Mr Potter. He is determined to possess it because he believes it will make him truly invulnerable."
Ollivander[src]
During the summer of 1997, Voldemort held a meeting at Malfoy Manor with his Death Eaters, in which he revealed that, in order to defeat Harry, he would need to borrow another person's wand because of the connection that his own wand shared with Harry's. He finally settled on Lucius Malfoy's wand as a way of punishing the Malfoy family, but that wand was destroyed by Harry's during the Battle of the Seven Potters. After this, a furious Voldemort tortured Garrick Ollivander into revealing more solutions to defeat Harry, eventually leading Voldemort to know of the Elder Wand's existence. Although originally desiring another wand only to defeat Potter, upon hearing the wand's legendary powers he sought its mastery in order to not only to conquer Harry Potter, but also to secure his desire as the ultimate wizard in the world, which he believed would make him invincible.[1]
Voldemort and Grindelwald

Voldemort interrogating Grindelwald at Nurmengard about the Elder Wand, moments before murdering him

He devoted the latter half of 1997 (and into the spring of 1998) into a relentless and murderous search for the Elder Wand.[1] He killed many people who stood in his way, including an innocent Muggle woman and her two small children. He eventually traced the wand's recent history, murdering both Gregorovitch and Grindelwald in the course of his search. It was after breaking into Grindelwald's cell in Nurmengard that Voldemort tracked the wand's ownership to Dumbledore, despite Grindelwald's efforts.[1]

DH1 Voldemort testing the Elder Wand

Voldemort testing the Elder Wand's power after removing it from Dumbledore's tomb

Voldemort broke into Dumbledore's grave and robbed it of the wand, which had been buried with its former master. However, unbeknownst to Voldemort, the former owner of the Elder Wand, Albus Dumbledore, had been disarmed by young Draco Malfoy. He believed that Severus Snape was the true owner of the wand after he realised the wand was not living up to its full potential, as Voldemort thought that Snape had been the one to kill Dumbledore, not taking into account the fact that

Elder Wand Voldemort

Voldemort holding the Elder Wand

Draco had disarmed Dumbledore before Snape killed him. As a result, Voldemort got his pet snake and Horcrux Nagini, to murder Snape. He believed he was now the Elder Wand's true master, but in the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry Potter, his young adversary, revealed to Voldemort that the wand had not belonged to Snape, but to Draco, and, after defeating Draco himself, Harry Potter.

Harry Potter's possession

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Harry Potter overpowers Draco Malfoy and masters the Elder Wand

Nearly a year after Draco had unintentionally become the wand's master, Harry Potter had taken Draco's wand by force during the Skirmish at Malfoy Manor, making him the new master of the Elder Wand.[1] Late in the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry, who had learned that he had been accidentally made into Voldemort's Horcrux when he was a year old, walked into the Forbidden Forest to sacrifice himself to Lord Voldemort.[1] Voldemort cast a Killing Curse on Harry using the Elder Wand. The wand seemingly worked because Harry intended to die at Voldemort's hand, much as Dumbledore had planned his death with Snape. Harry had entered a limbo state, portrayed as King's Cross Station, from which he could choose to return.[1] When he did return, Voldemort cast the Cruciatus Curse on Harry's "dead" body but caused no pain. At this point, Harry realised that he was, in fact, the master of the Elder Wand.[1]

"You are the true master of death, because the true master does not seek to run away from Death. He accepts that he must die, and understands that there are far, far worse things in the living world than dying."
Albus Dumbledore to Harry Potter[src]
B7C36M2 Voldemort vanquished

Voldemort's death and defeat at the hands of Harry Potter

Only in his final encounter with Harry at the Battle of Hogwarts was Voldemort told that he had failed to win the true allegiance of the wand, as he did not gain ownership by defeating its previous owner. Despite this, Voldemort used the Elder Wand to cast his final Killing Curse against Harry's Disarming Charm. However, because the wand's allegiance was to Harry, Voldemort's spell backfired and killed him, once and for all.[1]

Harry's decision

"I'm putting the Elder Wand back where it came from. It can stay there. If I die a natural death like Ignotus, its power will be broken, won't it? The previous master will never have been defeated. That'll be the end of it."
—Harry's decision to give up the Elder Wand[src]
Harry Elder Wand

Harry Potter with the Elder Wand after defeating Lord Voldemort

With Voldemort defeated, and Harry now the true master and possessor of the Elder Wand, he used it to repair his damaged original wand of holly and phoenix feather, which he said he was "happier with".[1] After the repair, Harry told Dumbledore's portrait that he would place the Elder Wand back in Dumbledore's tomb, and when Harry died a natural death, the wand's power would be broken as Dumbledore had intended. The portrait of Professor Dumbledore approved.

Delphini

After using a Time-Turner to go back to 31 October, 1981, the night of Lily and James Potter's murder by her father Tom Riddle, Delphini engaged in a duel with Harry Potter. During the duel she disarmed Harry, and later on, Hermione binded Delphini.[18] It is unknown if these actions had any effect on the allegiance or ownership of the Elder Wand.

Known masters of the Elder Wand

Power

"An unbeatable wand, Hermione!"
Ron Weasley[src]
The Elder Wand was the most powerful wand in existence. Its owner could have used it to cast spells more powerful than any believed to be magically possible.[1] For example, Harry Potter was able to repair his regular Phoenix feather wand using the Elder Wand in 1998, even though broken wands were held, by experts such as Garrick Ollivander, to be damaged beyond magical repair, and despite not having any training in wandlore. Both Ollivander and Voldemort believed that the wand's legendary powers is the only one capable of overpowering the bond between the latter and Harry, which created such an effect that Harry managed to overcome Voldemort's attempt to kill him.[1]
Order-of-the-phoenix-duel dumbledore

Dumbledore duelling Voldemort with the Elder Wand

However, there does exist limitations in the Elder Wand's power, appearing to merely able to improve pre-existing spells to perform the seemingly impossible but not actually able to perform the impossible. Dumbledore himself was incapable of curing the petrified victims of Salazar Slytherin's Basilisk or nullifying the curse on Marvolo Gaunt's ring entirely, and neither was he able to overcome the enchantments upon Voldemort's Drink of Despair with the wand amplifying his own magic. In addition, while most of the times where the Elder Wand shifted allegiance was not in a fair fight but by cunning assassination, it does not entirely guarantee victory against others, as displayed by Dumbledore's ability to defeat Gellert Grindelwald despite him having mastered the Elder Wand, while Egbert the Egregious was known for having actually defeated Emeric the Evil in a duel to claim the wand.

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Voldemort casting the Shield penetration spell with the Elder Wand, to breach Hogwarts protection

While it is stated that a wand will not give up its master so easily if it is attempted to be won, The Elder Wand seems to do this time and time again. However this might not be referring to its willingness to give up its master, but rather to the amount of effort it took to defeat the wielder of the Wand. As the wand, like the eldest brother in the Tale, embodied the conceit that "Might is Right", greater power would, from its perspective, indicate superiority. Ron has noted that he would choose the wand of the three Hallows, but argued that he would do so while not proclaiming his ownership of it, reasoning that the wand was only dangerous to the first brother because he bragged about owning it rather than the wand being dangerous on its own.

When Lord Voldemort used the Elder Wand without mastering it he claimed that the wand only unleashed his regular (albeit immensely powerful) level of magic and not the unbeatable effects it was rumoured to possess. It's unknown if the wand would work this way for another who hasn't mastered it though, as Voldemort has used the wands of others in the past with no handicap, it's likely that this is his own power rather than that of the Elder Wand.

It did have one redeeming quality like all other wands, however: it refused to harm or kill its master nor those under sacrificial protection.

Symbolism

In the Deathly Hallows symbol, the Elder Wand is shown as the vertical line that goes right through the middle of the circle and the triangle; it represents the aspects of power and invincibility of the Hallows as a whole, the tent pole, as it were, of the entire edifice.

Other elder wands

While "The Elder Wand" (capitalised) refers to one of the Deathly Hallows, other wands have been made from elder wood.[2] In general wizards seem to eschew elder wands, due at least in part to the sordid history of the Elder Wand itself, favouring wands made from various other woods, such as holly, willow, vine, and oak.[2] Ron repeats an old wizarding saying, "Wand of elder, never prosper" after Hermione reads The Tale of the Three Brothers, to illustrate how wizarding lore may be passed from generation to generation.[1]

Behind the scenes

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Elder Wand in LEGO form

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The real elder wand film prop

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The Elder Wand cracking

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The Elder Wand as seen in Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

  • The filmmakers first designed Albus Dumbledore's wand for its first appearance in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in 2005, years before it was revealed to be the Elder Wand, or indeed what the Elder Wand even was, when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was published in 2007. Fortunately, the wand they created happened to be unique and immediately recognisable among all the wands in the film series: the prop was made of English oak, with a small bone inlay inscribed with runes, and outcroppings of nodules running down its length[23] — which even resemble clusters of elderberries.
  • Dumbledore's commentary on the Tale of the Three Brothers notes that all known Masters of the Elder Wand had been men, with no woman even claiming to have possessed the artefact.[2]
  • Elder Wand Dumbledore

    Elder Wand in the Cave

    The wand has been available to purchase on the Noble Collection website while contained in an Ollivanders Wand Shop box. This implies, incorrectly, that the wand was made and sold at the shop by Garrick Ollivander. (Though this could be due to the fact that the Noble wand was released before Dumbledore's wand was revealed to be the Elder Wand)
  • Those to whom the Elder Wand isn't loyal can perform feats of magic equivalent to owning a regular wand. In the Battle of Hogwarts, Voldemort remarked about this to Severus Snape and reasoned that, since he believed Snape to be the master of the Elder Wand, Voldemort would have to kill him to claim true mastery of it. The only thing that it has been shown that the Elder Wand can't do (or, rather, won't do) is harm its own master if it finds itself in the physical possession of another. Unfortunately for Voldemort, Draco Malfoy was the master of the wand, as he was the one who disarmed Dumbledore.[1]
  • At the end of the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the Elder Wand is seen lying on the headmaster's desk, instead of being buried in the White Tomb. This scene must take place before Dumbledore's burial (which isn't seen on film), given that in the next film adaptation, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, the wand is buried with its former master.
  • In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Albus Dumbledore claimed he would make it easy for Draco Malfoy and allowed Malfoy to disarm him, though he could have defended himself. Therefore it seems as though he wanted Malfoy to have the Wand; however it should be noted that the Elder Wand was said to only switch allegiance if it was removed from its master against his will. However it's possible that Dumbledore truly hadn't expected Draco to attack him, even if only to disarm him, and was therefore genuinely caught off guard. Also, because he was in a very weak and slow state from drinking the Potion, it's likely that he was just too slow and weak to defend himself.
  • If Dumbledore had managed to keep his wand and not be disarmed by Draco Malfoy, then he would have presumably been disarmed by one of the Death Eaters before Snape came, if they saw him. However they didn't attack him directly, as they knew that Draco needed to kill him, so it's possible that Dumbledore could have kept his wand. It's unknown how Severus Snape would have reacted if he had seen Dumbledore with the wand, but most likely, given the ravaging effects of the curse which Dumbledore was already suffering, he would have killed him anyway.
  • It's unknown what would have happened to the Elder Wand if Dumbledore had been killed by the Inferi in the Horcrux Cave. It might be that its loyalty would have passed to their master, as Voldemort seemed to believe would be the case when he instructed Nagini to kill Snape.
  • Albus Dumbledore and Egbert the Egregious are the only known wizards to have defeated a Master of the Elder Wand (Gellert Grindelwald and Emeric the Evil, respectively) in a wizarding duel.[12] Other Masters of the Elder Wand obtained mastery through deceit, stealth (as when Grindelwald stole it from Gregorovitch),[1] foul play (the murder of Antioch Peverell in his sleep),[3] happenstance (as when Draco Malfoy disarmed Albus Dumbledore, who was concurrently casting a Full Body-Bind Curse on Harry Potter)[16] or beating the current master while he doesn't physically possess the wand (as in Harry Potter's disarming of Draco Malfoy).[1] This is another testament to Dumbledore's innate magical skills, which he references to Harry when the latter is in limbo by admitting that although both he and Grindelwald were near evenly matched, he was a shade more skilful. The Elder Wand, therefore, bears a certain resemblance to the One Ring in J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings", as an instigator of murder and mayhem.
  • In the film adaptation for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Parts 1 and 2, it seems that the Elder Wand has a much darker colour; this may be a change the film makers employed to make the wand fit better with Voldemort's "dark and evil" personality.
  • The curse that killed Lord Voldemort came from the Elder Wand. As Voldemort thought that Snape was the Master, Voldemort killed him. Draco, however, was the true Master, as he had disarmed Dumbledore, and then Harry disarmed Draco. So, when Voldemort tried to kill Harry, the Wand wouldn't harm its master, and so turned the spell back on Voldemort. Although this does make one wonder why it didn't backfire on Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest, as Harry was already the Master of the Elder Wand by then. Perhaps it was because Nagini, a Horcrux, was still alive, or it may have been because Harry intended to die, much as Dumbledore did when facing Snape in the Astronomy Tower. Alternatively, it may have been that, since Harry didn't fight back, he couldn't be defeated. Alternatively, it's possible that the curse did indeed backfire because it destroyed the piece of Voldemort's soul that was in Harry's forehead.
  • Though Harry hoped to break the power of the wand by dying a natural death, he would need to do so without ever being defeated, even by simply being disarmed. Unless the aggressor knew that Harry was the Elder Wand's master, and was attempting to defeat him in order to become master of the wand (in which case, Harry would simply need to allow himself to be defeated intentionally to retain mastery) then it's unlikely the victor would ever know to take control of the Wand, so its mastery would become increasingly difficult to trace if they were defeated in turn, and the probability of their dying a natural death while undefeated would become more and more likely. Further, so long as Harry succeeded in subsequently defeating anyone who defeated him, the allegiance of the wand would return to Harry. This was emphasised when Delphini disarmed Harry without figuring out she attained mastery of the wand.
  • The Noble Collection wand is also not painted correctly. On the movie prop, the shaft is goldish bronze and the knobs are black, but the Noble wand is all black.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, when Voldemort tries to unleash the Elder Wand's capabilities upon the shield surrounding Hogwarts, he seems to feel a slight pain in his arm carrying the wand, similar to the effects of the Horcrux being destroyed. The wand as well cracks under the strain.
  • In Part 2 of the film adaptation, Harry simply destroys the Elder Wand by snapping it in half and throws it away as opposed to the seventh book where he repairs his original one. This is justified as the Elder Wand was too dangerous to fall into the wrong hands again.
  • When asked which of the Deathly Hallows they preferred, Hermione Granger chose the Cloak of Invisibility, while Ron chose the Elder Wand, and Harry chose the Resurrection Stone.[4]
  • In a interview with Melissa Anelli in the enhanced edition of Harry a History Rowling said that she and her American editor Arthur had an interesting conversation during the editing of book seven - the moment when Harry takes Draco's wand: "Arthur said, God, that's the moment when the ownership of the Elder wand is actually transferred? And I said, that's right. He said, shouldn't that be a bit more dramatic? And I said, no, not at all, the reverse. I said to Arthur, I think it really puts the elaborate, grandiose plans of Dumbledore and Voldemort in their place. That actually the history of the wizarding world hinged on two teenage boys wrestling with each other. They weren't even using magic. It became an ugly little corner tussle for the possession of wands. And I really liked that - that very human moment, as opposed to these two wizards who were twitching strings and manipulating and implanting information and husbanding information and guarding information, you know? Ultimately it just came down to that, a little scuffle and fistfight in the corner and pulling a wand away."[24]
  • It's mentioned in Dumbledore's (not entirely honest) commentary that rumours of an unbeatable wand are preposterous. For example, Grindelwald had mastered the "unbeatable" Deathstick, and yet was still defeated by Dumbledore in 1945.[12] However, it's more probable that only one who has mastered the wand by becoming a Master of Death (which is required to truly unlock the Wand's full power) will be unbeatable with it. This is supported by the fact that, although Dumbledore didn't defeat Lord Voldemort in their duel at the Ministry of Magic due to the latter's use of Horcruxes, but ended up fighting him to a stalemate, this is only because he fled.
  • The Elder Wand is now also available to buy at the 'Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour' in London, where it's known as Professor Dumbledore's Wand.
  • It has never been clearly defined what it means when it is said that the Elder Wand's power will break if its current master dies a natural death. It could mean that its powers would be diminished to the point of it becoming a regular wand, or it could mean its powers being utterly obliterated, as it is known to happen to some wands.
  • In an alternate reality in which Neville Longbottom never killed Nagini, Voldemort managed to kill Harry, suggesting that the Dark Lord had used his immortality to help him overcome the rebounding curse and mastered the wand.
  • There is a distinct possibility that Porpentina Goldstein may have temporarily become Master of the Elder Wand, as in the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, she disarms Gellert Grindelwald. As it is currently uncertain whether or not Grindelwald already had the Elder Wand by that point in time, it is therefore currently unknown if this is indeed the case. If she did in fact become the Elder Wand's Master, then at some point following the events of the film and before his final duel with Albus Dumbledore, Grindelwald would have had to have disarmed her, in order to once again become the Wand's Master, although Porpentina summoned the wand after Grindelwald had already dropped it. Furthermore, Grindelwald was using Percival Graves' wand at the time and presumably intentionally didn't use the Elder Wand and allowed the risk of being defeated to retain mastery over it. Also, the Summoning Charm is a non-combative spell and not used to directly defeat another witch or wizard, in contrast to the Disarming Charm, so this would have no effect on the mastery of the Elder Wand. He was seen fighting her with it in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, so curiously the Elder Wand does not seem to have switched allegiances at all.
  • It is also possible that, should the Elder Wand have already been in Grindelwald's possession, that Newt Scamander, not Porpentina Goldstein, became the Elder Wand's Master, as it is defeat, not specifically disarmament, that transfers mastery of the Elder Wand. While Tina disarmed Grindelwald, Newt had technically already 'defeated' Grindelwald beforehand, although this may not be the case, as Grindelwald was attacked by a Swooping Evil.
  • It was suggested that even if Voldemort was aware of the Deathly Hallows, he would not be interested in any except the Elder Wand.
  • It is most probably possible to create an exact replica of the Elder Wand if you are a skilled enough wandmaker.

Author's comments

J. K. Rowling has discussed how the Elder Wand behaves slightly different from other wands in its loyalty:

"The Elder Wand is simply the most ruthless of wands in that it will only take into consideration strength. One would expect a certain amount of loyalty from one's wand. So even if you were disarmed while carrying it, even if you lost a fight while carrying it, it has developed an affinity with you that it won't give up easily. If, however, a wand is won, properly won in an adult duel, then a wand may switch allegiance ... However, the Elder Wand knows no loyalty except to strength. It's completely unsentimental. It will only go where the power is. So if you win, then you've won the wand. You don't need to kill with it. But ... almost inevitably, it attracts wizards who are prepared to kill and who will kill. And also it attracts wizards like Voldemort who confuse being prepared to murder with strength."[26]
"The secret of the elder wand is that it's more sentient than any other. It can identify the caster of any spell that touches it and keeps tally of which wizard has beaten which, giving its allegiance to the one it judges the victor. Physical possession is irrelevant."[27]

See also

Appearances

Wiki
The Harry Potter Wiki has 90 images related to Elder Wand.
Wand Sign

The Elder Wand is one of the Deathly Hallows, represented here by the vertical line

Notes and references

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 The Tales of Beedle the Bard
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 The Tale of the Three Brothers
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 21 (The Tale of the Three Brothers)
  5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 36 (The Flaw in the Plan)
  6. JK on Thestral tail hair
  7. Pottermore - Explore the Story - Albus Dumlboredore
  8. "The Elder Wand" at J. K. Rowling's Official Site
  9. Some of its early owners were Emeric the Evil, Egbert the Egregious, Godelot, Hereward, Barnabas Deverill, and Loxias. Either Arcus or Livius may have taken it from Loxias, but Dumbledore claims no one really knows and quipped that it could have been Loxias's own mother.
  10. In 1899 Grindelwald did not have the elder wand yet, and in 1926, he already had white hair (see this image), witch he did not have when he stole it. He had white hair a year later also, when he is already in possesion of the wand, meaning he stole it between 1899 and 1926.
  11. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
  13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 27 (The Centaur and the Sneak)
  14. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 36 (The Only One He Ever Feared)
  15. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 26 (The Cave)
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 27 (The Lightning-Struck Tower)
  17. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 30 (The White Tomb)
  18. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Act Four, Scene Eleven
  19. If Grindelwald possesses the Elder Wand by this time, Newt restrains Grindelwald, in the form of Graves, which may have transferred the Elder Wand's allegiance
  20. If Grindelwald possesses the Elder Wand by this time, Tina uses Accio to take Graves' wand from Grindelwald, in the form of Graves, which may have transferred the Elder Wand's allegiance
  21. During their duel in the Church, Delphini disarms Harry of his wand, which may have transferred the Elder Wand's allegiance
  22. During the duel in the Church, Hermione uses Brachiabindo to restrain Delphini, which may have transferred the Elder Wand's allegiance, although Ron, Ginny, Draco, and Hermione all helped subdue her previously.
  23. Pottermore - Features: "Behind the scenes: the look of the Deathly Hallows"
  24. http://www.snitchseeker.com/harry-potter-news/j-k-rowling-explains-grindelwald-and-dumbledores-relationship-dracos-wand-transfer-71142/
  25. https://www.pottermore.com/news/a-guide-to-the-wands-in-the-new-wizarding-world-logo
  26. 24 December 2007 PotterCast Interviews with J.K. Rowling
  27. https://twitter.com/jk_rowling/status/965566203694649344
  28. https://twitter.com/FantasticBeasts/status/930797574163873792



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