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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, also nicknamed "The Deathstick" and "The Wand of Destiny", was one of three magical objects that made up the fabled Deathly Hallows, along with the Resurrection Stone and the Cloak of Invisibility. According to The Tale of the Three Brothers, it was the first Hallow created, supposedly made 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.[1][2]

It was said to have been the most powerful wand ever to exist, able to perform feats of magic that would normally be impossible even for the most highly skilled wizards,[1][2] such as mending another wand damaged beyond normal magical repair.[4] The Elder Wand's core was the tail hair of a Thestral, a vigorously potent yet extremely tricky substance to master; only a witch or wizard who was capable of accepting death could do so.[6]


The wand was made of elder wood,[2] was 15 inches[7] and contained a Thestral tail hair core.[2][8] This type of wood contained powerful magic and was the rarest of all wand woods, but was said to be deeply unlucky and much more difficult than any other to master. Only a highly unusual person who was the superior of their company would find their perfect match with this wood. The Thestral core was "a tricky substance that only wizards that mastered death can control".[9]

Despite its 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.

The Elder Wand gave its loyalty to whoever could win it from its previous master. Most people believed that meant one had to kill the Elder Wand's current master, but this was not actually the case. One simply had to disarm the master of the Wand, either by knocking it out of their hand with a spell or physically grabbing it out of their hand. It did not necessarily have to be the Elder Wand that the master was disarmed of for its loyalty to change, the change in loyalty also happened if the master was disarmed of their own wand, as long as they were disarmed and even if they did not have the Elder Wand with them at the time. Normally, a wand still had some bond with its previous master(s), even when its loyalty changed, but this was not the case with the Elder Wand; its estrangement towards its former masters and change in loyalty was complete and total.


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 Tales of Beedle the Bard, "The Tale of the Three Brothers", 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.[2] Taking no chances, the three brothers pulled out their wands and conjured a bridge out of thin air. However, halfway across it, they encountered a tall, cloaked, hooded figure, blocking their path. The figure, revealed to be Death himself, felt cheated that the three brothers had outsmarted him and had not drowned in the river, as many others had.[2][1]

The Tale of the Three Brothers - Death produces a wand

Death giving 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. Antioch, the eldest, went first, and being a combative man he asked for a wand that would defeat all others (i.e. "a wand that must always win duels for its owner"). Death went to a nearby elder tree and created a wand from its wood, which he handed to Antioch.

The second brother, Cadmus, who wanted to humiliate Death even further, asked for an object that would recall the dead and was given the Resurrection Stone.

The youngest brother, Ignotus, was much wiser than his brothers and was distrusting of Death's intentions. Therefore he asked for an object that would allow him to live his life without the fear of Death following him. Reluctantly, Death handed over a part of his own Cloak of Invisibility.[2][1]

Antioch Peverell's possession[]

Antioch Peverell's Death

Antioch's throat being 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. Hence he was murdered in his sleep that night by another envious wizard who slit his throat and took possession of the wand.[2]

Known owners[]

"The bloody trail of the Elder Wand is splattered across the pages of Wizarding history."
Xenophilius Lovegood on the history of the Elder Wand[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][10] Many owners were killed by their successors in a lust for power, and over time the inaccurate legend grew that murder was 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 belligerent 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.[11]

Egbert the Egregious[]

Main article: Egbert the Egregious
Egbert the Egregious

Egbert the Egregious holding the Elder Wand

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.


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 much information on advanced 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.


Main article: Hereward

Hereward holding the Elder Wand

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.


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

According to Xenophilius Lovegood, 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's possession[]

Main article: Mykew Gregorovitch

At some point during the late nineteenth or early twentieth 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.


Gregorovitch while he was in possession of the Elder Wand

This would eventually lead to Gregorovitch's undoing; sometime between 1899 and 1926[12], he heard someone breaking into his workshop one night. He promptly ran inside and saw that an intruder had taken the wand: a young blonde haired man, who promptly shot a Stunning Spell at Gregorovitch to acquire mastery of the wand,[13] before leaping out the window. Gregorovitch never discovered the man's identity.

Gellert Grindelwald's possession[]

Main article: Gellert Grindelwald

Gellert Grindelwald was one of the most powerful and dangerous Dark wizards of all time. 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.[13]

Grindelwald in Gregorovitch Zauberstäbe stealing Elder wand

Grindelwald stealing 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.

Lightning-Summoning Charm

Grindelwald summoning lightning with the Elder Wand while escaping

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 for many years. 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.

In 1927, Grindelwald used the wand in his escape. Later on, 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. Abernathy, Vinda 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-Apparition. 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.

COG Gellert Protego Diabolica

Grindelwald casting Protego Diabolica in the Lestrange Mausoleum

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 at 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. This caused her to drop his skull-hookah, which smashed 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 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.[14]

Dumbledore and Grindelwald fight in Bhutan

Dumbledore and Grindelwald fighting in Eyrie

In 1932, Grindelwald used the Elder Wand to remove Yusuf Kama's memory about the murder of his sister, Leta Lestrange. Later, during the walk of the Qilin in Bhutan, Grindelwald used the Elder Wand to torture Jacob Kowalski with the Cruciatus Curse. When Newt Scamander, with the help of Credence Barebone and Bunty Broadacre, discovered Grindelwald's deception about the enchantment of a dead Qilin, a furious Grindelwald fired a Killing Curse at Credence with the intention to kill. Albus Dumbledore and Aberforth Dumbledore blocked the Killing Curse with their own spells, which caused in destroying the blood pact between Albus and Grindelwald. As a result, Dumbledore and Grindelwald fought a fierce duel that ended in stalemate. Wizards present at the ceremony wanted to capture Grindelwald, but he cast a Shield Charm around himself, then added that he had never been an enemy of the Dumbledores, then or now, and then Disapparated.

At dawn on 2 November 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.[15] 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.

Order-of-the-phoenix-duel dumbledore

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.[16] 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.[17]

Firestorm HBPF

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 lasso of fire around them to ward off the Inferi, but remained very weak.[18]

Draco disarms dumbledore

Dumbledore being disarmed by Draco Malfoy and the Elder Wand switching its allegiance to Draco

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,[19] but was clearly found later, as it was placed in Dumbledore's grave alongside his corpse.[20]

Dumbledore death off tower

Dumbledore's death

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 himself. The present Death Eaters included Thorfinn Rowle, Corban Yaxley, Gibbon, Amycus Carrow, Alecto Carrow, and Fenrir Greyback. Dumbledore briefly exchanged words with Bellatrix and Greyback. When Draco hesitated, Severus Snape appeared and performed the Killing Curse on Dumbledore himself. Harry later learned that, in order to save himself from a more agonising death, and to prevent Draco from tarnishing his soul, Dumbledore had previously instructed Snape to kill him, to which Snape had reluctantly agreed.[19]

Harry-potter-half-blood-elder wand

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, the Elder Wand's power will end with Dumbledore, who was ready to accept death) and thus the mastery of the Elder Wand would be vanquished for good. However, not all went according to Dumbledore's plan, since Dumbledore was disarmed and thus was defeated by Draco Malfoy. Without his knowledge, Draco thus became the next master of the Elder Wand.[13]

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."
Voldemort and Grindelwald

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

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.[13]

Voldemort testing the Elder Wand

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

He devoted the latter half of 1997 (and into the spring of 1998) into a relentless and murderous search for the Elder Wand.[13] He killed many people who stood in his way, including an innocent 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.[13]

Lord Voldemort's possession[]

Main article: Tom Riddle
Elder Wand Voldemort

Voldemort holding the Elder Wand

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 already 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 Draco had disarmed Dumbledore before Snape killed him.

Nagini attacks Severus Snape

Voldemort murdering Snape using his snake Nagini

As a result, Voldemort got his pet snake and Horcrux Nagini, to murder Snape.[5] Nagini attacked in rapid succession biting Snape on the neck multiple times. 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.[4]

Harry Potter's possession[]

"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]
Harry disarming Draco GIF

Harry Potter overpowering Draco Malfoy and mastering 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, thus making him the new and final master of the Elder Wand.[13] 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.[13] Voldemort cast the 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.[13] When he did return, Voldemort cast the Cruciatus Curse on Harry's "dead" body; however it caused him no pain, as the wand refused to harm or kill its true master. At this point, Harry realised that he in fact was indeed the true master of the Elder Wand.[13]

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.[13]

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 officially defeated, and Harry now the true and final 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". 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 finally be broken as Dumbledore had intended. The portrait of Professor Dumbledore approved. Ron Weasley was somewhat dissatisfied with Harry's choice to let the most powerful wand be sealed away, but Hermione Granger agreed with Harry.[13]


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 bound Delphini.[21] It is unknown if these actions had any effect on the allegiance or ownership of the Elder Wand.

Alternate timelines[]

In an alternate reality inadvertently created by Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy, in which Voldemort maintained his immortality when his final Horcrux was not destroyed, Voldemort successfully killed Harry Potter and dominated the wizarding world, meaning he had successfully attained mastery over the Elder Wand. This alternate world was eventually undone by Scorpius.


"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 by far than any believed to be magically possible.[13] 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 Harry did so despite not having any training in wandlore.

Additionally, when Grindelwald used the Cruciatus Curse on Jacob Kowalski in Bhutan in 1932, the effects of the spell continued to affect Jacob even after he stopped pointing the wand at him. Conversely, when Voldemort used his own regular wand to use the Cruciatus Curse on Harry Potter in Little Hangleton, the effects of the spell ceased the instant Voldemort stopped pointing his wand at him. 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.[13]

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 improve pre-existing spells to perform the seemingly impossible, not actually being 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 without killing him and despite Grindelwald having mastered the Elder Wand, while Egbert the Egregious was known for having actually "slaughtering" Emeric the Evil in a duel to claim the wand.

This can be attributable, however, to the fact that in these circumstances, the proper counter-charms or counter-potions weren't known to the master of the Elder Wand at the time. Moreover, not all spells have a counter-spell, but instead, a counter-potion. These scenarios are comparable to when Neville in his first few years studying at Hogwarts was cursed by Draco Malfoy many times, such as being bounded by the Leg-Locker Curse, which only Hermione in their year, was able to undo the effects of. Neville himself was unable to undo the Leg-Locker Curse's effects on him, but Hermione was, highlighting the fact that knowledge of the curse, its effects, and counter-curses or counter-potions are important in removing the effects of curses and other dark magic.

Shield Penetration

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

While it is stated that a wand would not give up its master so easily if it is attempted to be won, the Elder Wand seemed 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 true master when in the hand of someone else. It also wouldn't harm or kill those of whom were under sacrificial protection.

Known masters of the Elder Wand[]


In the Deathly Hallows symbol, the Elder Wand was shown as the vertical line that went right through the middle of the circle and the triangle; it represented 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) referred to one of the Deathly Hallows, other wands had been made from elder wood.[2] In general wizards seemed 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 repeated an old wizarding saying, "Wand of elder, never prosper" after Hermione read The Tale of the Three Brothers, to illustrate how wizarding lore might be passed from generation to generation.[13]

Behind the scenes[]

Lego elder wand

The Elder Wand in LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7

Wands display TMoHP closeup 3

The Elder Wand film prop


The Elder Wand cracking


The Elder Wand as seen in Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

Wand Sign

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

  • The filmmakers' first design for Albus Dumbledore's wand was conceived for the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in 2004 by Pierre Bohanna,[26] but its first appearance wasn't until 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[27] — 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]
  • 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, Harry Potter was the master of the wand, as Draco Malfoy disarmed Dumbledore before Snape killed him, and Harry had since disarmed Draco in the Malfoy Manor.[13]
  • 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.[15] Other masters of the Elder Wand obtained mastery through deceit, stealth (as when Grindelwald stole it from Gregorovitch),[13] foul play (the murder of Antioch Peverell in his sleep),[2] happenstance (as when Draco Malfoy disarmed Albus Dumbledore, who was concurrently casting a Full Body-Bind Curse on Harry Potter)[19] or beating the current master while he doesn't physically possess the wand (as in Harry Potter's disarming of Draco Malfoy).[13] 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 film 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 before throwing it away from the viaduct as opposed to the seventh book where he uses it to repair his own wand and returns the Elder Wand to Dumbledore's grave. Rowling approved this change, justifying that the Elder Wand was extremely dangerous to fall into the wrong hands again and its destruction helped prevent its misuse.
  • 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.[1]
  • 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."[28]
  • 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.[15] 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.
  • The Elder Wand is among many wands available to buy at the Harry Potter-themed attractions in Universal parks, the 'Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour' in London, and Harry Potter shops around in the United Kingdom and New York, 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 Newt Scamander, had Grindelwald already obtained the Elder Wand's allegiance by that time, may have temporarily become master of the Elder Wand in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film, as the Elder Wand switches allegiance when its master is overpowered. Since Newt, with the help of his Swooping Evil, overpowered Graves to the point of being unarmed, beyond resistance, it's possible the Elder Wand perceived Scamander as a superior level of (real) power. If Newt did in fact become the Elder Wand's master, then, following the events of the saga, Grindelwald would have to directly (or indirectly) gain the Elder Wand's allegiance back, before his final duel with Albus Dumbledore.
  • It is also possible that, Yusuf Kama, should Newt Scamander obtained and mantained the Elder Wand's alleagiance by that time, may have temporarily become master of the Elder Wand in the Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald film, as the Elder wand switches allegiance when its master is overpowered. Since Yusuf Kama, by disarming and imprisoning him, overpowered Newt beyond resistence, it's possible that the Elder Wand perceived in Kama a superior level of (real) power. If Kama did in fact become the Elder Wand's master, then, following the events of the saga, Grindelwald would have to directly (or indirectly) gain the Elder Wand's allegiance back, before his final duel with Albus Dumbledore.
  • The Elder Wand is part of the Wizarding World franchise logo and represents the connection between the Harry Potter saga and the Fantastic Beasts saga.[29]
  • It was suggested that even if Voldemort was aware of the Deathly Hallows, only the Elder Wand would pique his interest.
  • It is most likely possible, for a skilled enough wandmaker, to create an exact replica of the Elder Wand.
  • J. K. Rowling stated that wands with Thestral tail hair cores can only be mastered by those who can accept death. Therefore, it would seem impossible for someone like Voldemort, who was obsessed with immortality and therefore unwilling to accept death, to ever master the Elder Wand.

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."[30]
"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."[31]


The Harry Potter Wiki has 287 images related to Elder Wand.

Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 21 (The Tale of the Three Brothers)
  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 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 The Tales of Beedle the Bard, "The Tale of the Three Brothers"
  3. 3.0 3.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 24 (The Wandmaker)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 36 (The Flaw in the Plan)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 32 (The Elder Wand)
  6. JK on Thestral tail hair
  7. Albus Dumbledore Fact file at Pottermore (via the Internet Archive) (see this image)
  8. Pottermore - Explore the Story - Albus Dumlboredore
  9. "The Elder Wand" at J. K. Rowling's Official Site
  10. 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.
  11. The Tales of Beedle the Bard, "The Tale of the Three Brothers"
  12. 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.
  13. 13.00 13.01 13.02 13.03 13.04 13.05 13.06 13.07 13.08 13.09 13.10 13.11 13.12 13.13 13.14 13.15 13.16 13.17 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  14. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
  16. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 27 (The Centaur and the Sneak)
  17. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 36 (The Only One He Ever Feared)
  18. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 26 (The Cave)
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 27 (The Lightning-Struck Tower)
  20. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 30 (The White Tomb)
  21. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Act Four, Scene Eleven
  22. If Grindelwald was the master of the Elder Wand by this time, Newt may have gained the Elder Wand's allegiance, as he overpowers Grindelwald (in the form of Graves), beyond resistance, to the point of being unarmed.
  23. If Newt became the master of the Elder Wand in 1926, Yusuf Kama may have gained the Elder Wand's allegiance in 1927 by overpowering and imprisoning Newt in the underground hideout.
  24. During their duel in the Church, Delphini disarmed Harry of his wand, which may have transferred the Elder Wand's allegiance.
  25. During the duel in the Church, Hermione used Brachiabindo to restrain Delphini, which may have transferred the Elder Wand's allegiance, although Ron, Ginny, Draco, and Hermione all helped subdue her previously.
  26. The inside story on all the major Fantastic Beasts wands
  27. Pottermore - Features: "Behind the scenes: the look of the Deathly Hallows"
  28. http://www.snitchseeker.com/harry-potter-news/j-k-rowling-explains-grindelwald-and-dumbledores-relationship-dracos-wand-transfer-71142/
  29. https://www.pottermore.com/news/a-guide-to-the-wands-in-the-new-wizarding-world-logo
  30. 24 December 2007 PotterCast Interviews with J.K. Rowling
  31. Twitter

See also[]

The Tales of Beedle the Bard
By Beedle the Bard
Tales of Beedle the Bard

Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump · The Fountain of Fair Fortune · The Warlock's Hairy Heart · The Tale of the Three Brothers · The Wizard and the Hopping Pot


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 · Maiden · Maiden's kinsfolk · Old man · Old man's donkey · Old man's family · Peasant woman · Peasant woman's granddaughter · Sabre · Sir Luckless · Warlock · Warlock's family · 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 · Fountain · Gold statue of Babbitty · Hairy Heart · The Hopping Pot · Poisonous toadstool · Poultice for warts · Resurrection Stone · Silver chalice


Altheda's home · Cadmus Peverell's house · Enchanted garden · Lonely, winding road · Never-ending hill · River

Known owners of the Deathly Hallows
Elder Wand
Death (manufacturer) · Antioch Peverell · Antioch Peverell's killer · Emeric the Evil · Egbert the Egregious · Godelot · Hereward · Barnabas Deverill · Loxias · Arcus or Livius · Mykew Gregorovitch · Gellert Grindelwald · Albus Dumbledore · Draco Malfoy (master only) · Tom Riddle (owner only) · Harry Potter · (Interred)
Resurrection Stone
Death (manufacturer) · Cadmus Peverell · (generations of Gaunts) · Marvolo Gaunt · Morfin Gaunt · Tom Riddle · Albus Dumbledore · Harry Potter · (Lost)
Cloak of Invisibility
Death (manufacturer) · Ignotus Peverell · Ignotus Peverell's son · Iolanthe Potter · (generations of Potters) · Henry Potter · Fleamont Potter · James Potter I · Albus Dumbledore (owner only) · Harry Potter · James Potter II · Albus Potter