Tom Riddle's wand was 13½" long, crafted from yew, and affixed with a phoenix feather core. The core of wand was taken from Fawkes, Albus Dumbledore's phoenix, whose tail feathers had also been used in the construction of Harry Potter's wand, making the two wands siblings.
It was with this wand that Riddle murdered James and Lily Potter and countless others, including Muggle Frank Bryce, Amelia Bones, and Ministry of Magic ex-employee Bertha Jorkins. On Voldemort's orders, Peter Pettigrew used this wand to kill Cedric Diggory in June of 1995 as well.
In 1938, the eleven-year-old Tom Riddle travelled to Diagon Alley. Riddle entered Ollivanders Wand Shop and purchased a wand thirteen and one half inches long, made of yew and with a core composed of a Phoenix feather which chose Riddle as its master.
Weapon of the Dark Lord
Over the course of his years at Hogwarts, Riddle's personality became darker and darker in secret, while to the outside world he appeared to be a model pupil. Inside, however, he was cruel, greedy and murderous, with a disregard for anyone but himself and seeing all others as either obstacles to be overcome or tools to be manipulated. The ends to which Riddle put his wand were less than noble and at times violent in his school years. Although Riddle rose to stardom in the eyes of much of the Hogwarts staff, he was never fully trusted by Albus Dumbledore due to their first encounter at Riddle's orphanage, where he accidentally let his true personality show in Dumbledore's presence.
In the summer of 1943, Riddle used his wand to enact a plot of revenge against his father, Tom Riddle Snr, who had abandoned Riddle's mother, Merope Gaunt, along with himself many years before and fled back to the village of Little Hangleton to live in his family's home, the Riddle House. Riddle came to the village and met his uncle, Morfin Gaunt, who told him the full story of Tom Riddle Snr and his sister Merope Gaunt. This story enraged Riddle, who then used his wand to stun his uncle and take his wand from him in turn. Riddle then proceeded to the Riddle House and murdered his father and his Muggle grandparents, Thomas and Mary Riddle, with the Killing Curse using Morfin's wand.
Riddle then returned to the Gaunt Shack and replaced Morfin's wand on his person and used his own wand to modify Morfin's memory to make him confess to killing the Riddles so there would be no further investigation into the murders by the Ministry of Magic. Riddle then stole Marvolo Gaunt's Ring from Morfin's hand and fled Little Hangleton, having committed the first of what would become many murders throughout the remainder of his life. However, he did not use his own wand to do so, in order to prevent any official from discovering his crime at the time.
Shortly after this, Riddle created the name of Lord Voldemort from an anagram of the letters of his true name to spare himself the memory of his "filthy Muggle father." Obsessed with immortality, he began studying Horcruxes from books in the restricted section of the Hogwarts Library and used his wand to create one using his childhood diary through the use of his earlier indirect murder of fellow student Myrtle Warren by means of the Basilisk of the Chamber of Secrets. He later questioned Potions Master Horace Slughorn about what would become of the wizard who made more than one Horcrux, inadvertently revealing his desire to make his soul a seven-part soul. Riddle continued to perfect his use of the Ollivander wand throughout his school career, eventually graduating from Hogwarts in 1945.
Following his graduation from Hogwarts, the newly-minted Lord Voldemort began to more openly put his wand to evil ends, using it to perform powerful dark magic and to murder others for the creation of new Horcruxes to insure his shield against death. After disappearing for a solid decade, Voldemort returned to request the Defence Against the Dark Arts post at Hogwarts from the new Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, who turned him down upon realising his true intentions in seeking the job. Riddle used his wand at that time to place a jinx on the job, causing its occupant to suffer some misfortune that would drive them from the job in a year or less.
First Wizarding War
After his failure to acquire the Hogwarts post he sought, he declared open war on the wizarding world, intending to rule the world forever to make his ultimate dream a reality. He frequently employed the three Unforgivable Curses through the use of his wand, not hesitating in using the Killing Curse on those who opposed or annoyed him. Over the course of the First Wizarding War, the wand had become a weapon of murderous intent and a tool of dark magic at the hands of its master, who sank deeper and deeper into the Dark Arts until there was very little left of the boy who had originally purchased it that fateful day in Diagon Alley so many decades before.
Murder of the Potters
In 1980, at the height of his power during his reign of terror, Lord Voldemort learned from one of his Death Eaters, Severus Snape, that a prophecy had just been made concerning the coming birth of a child who would bring about his destruction from newly-appointed Professor of Divination, Sybill Trelawney. Voldemort panicked at this and sprang into action, despite the fact that Snape had not heard the entire prophecy. He targeted Harry Potter some months later, and the Potter Family was forced to go into hiding in the village of Godric's Hollow. Though their location was concealed by means of the Fidelius Charm, they were betrayed by their Secret-Keeper, Peter Pettigrew, who sold their secret to Lord Voldemort to win the Dark Lord's favour.
On Hallowe'en night in 1981, Voldemort proceeded to Godric's Hollow shortly after Pettigrew's revelation and made his way to the home of the Potters. Once there, he quickly dispatched James Potter using his wand and proceeded upstairs to finish off his newborn nemesis. Lily Potter refused to step aside despite Voldemort's offer to let her live, and he again used his wand to kill her as well.
This triggered a powerful means of protection for Harry that Voldemort could not easily penetrate henceforth. He then turned his wand on the infant Harry Potter, who was in his crib a few feet away. Voldemort attempted to use his wand to fatally curse Harry, but the Killing Curse backfired, rebounding upon Voldemort and ripping him from his body. At that moment, part of Voldemort's unstable soul fragmented and attached itself to the infant Harry Potter (accidentally making Harry Potter his unintentional seventh Horcrux) while the remaining part of Voldemort's maimed soul fled the scene.
Upon his curse rebounding upon himself and obliterating his body, Voldemort's wand fell somewhere nearby the spot where Voldemort had stood while casting the curse on Harry in the ruin of the Potter home. After Rubeus Hagrid rescued the infant Harry from the wreckage of the house later that evening, Peter Pettigrew returned to the house and discovered the Dark Lord's wand in the wreckage taking it with him as he fled the scene in order to prevent the wand from falling into the Ministry's hands and possibly exposing him as a traitor since all wands have a record of the spells they have cast and can be examined by those trained to do so. He would keep this wand in an undisclosed location for twelve long years afterwards, until the time when he could locate its true owner once again.
Wand and wizard reunited
In June of 1994 many years later, Peter Pettigrew was forced out of hiding in his Animagus form of a rat by his former friends, Sirius Black and Remus Lupin. The pair were of a mind to kill Pettigrew for his betrayal of the Potters as well as his subsequent framing of Black for the massacre Pettigrew himself had committed, resulting in Black's incarceration in the wizarding prison Azkaban for twelve years. However, Harry Potter intervened on Pettigrew's behalf and persuaded Black and Lupin to turn him over to the Dementors of Azkaban rather than kill him, so they could clear Black's name.
This created a Life debt between Pettigrew and Harry, which would be a great help one day years later. However, when Lupin unexpectedly assumed his werewolf form, Pettigrew was able to escape in the confusion and transformed into a rat, escaping to find Lord Voldemort and help him return to power.
Pettigrew recovered Lord Voldemort's wand and went in search of its master, finding the Dark Lord in Albania. There, he helped the Dark Lord create a rudimentary body so he could travel and perform magic. It was then that Voldemort was reunited with his wand after his fall in Godric's Hollow. Shortly after this, Pettigrew met and overpowered Ministry of Magic employee Bertha Jorkins and brought her to Lord Voldemort, who extracted information about the upcoming Triwizard Tournament from her before using his wand to murder her. He then used his wand to turn his serpent, Nagini, into another Horcrux using Jorkins' murder as the tool.
Rebirth of Lord Voldemort
While he was finally able to use a wand again, he could not perform the extraordinary magic he had done with a proper body. On the night of the Third Task of the Triwizard Tournament, Harry Potter entered the Triwizard Maze in search of the Triwizard Cup, the tournament having been grossly manipulated by Lord Voldemort through his servant Barty Crouch, Jnr to have Harry get to the cup first and be teleported to the Little Hangleton graveyard. However, due to his sense of fair play and in the spirit of sportsmanship, Harry insisted that fellow Hogwarts student Cedric Diggory take the cup with him to tie for first place. When they touched the cup together, they were teleported to the Little Hangleton graveyard, as had been planned by Voldemort and his Death Eaters.
Almost immediately upon their arrival, Voldemort ordered Pettigrew to use his wand to kill Cedric Diggory, an order which Pettigrew obeyed without question. Pettigrew then tied Harry Potter to the tombstone of Tom Riddle Snr and performed the gruesome ritual of recreating Lord Voldemort's body by means of adding three ingredients to the potion designed by Voldemort himself: bone of the father, flesh of the servant, and blood of the enemy. Lord Voldemort then emerged from the flaming cauldron set up near the Riddle Grave, fully restored to power.
The wand was then returned to the hand of its master by Peter Pettigrew on Lord Voldemort's command. Voldemort then turned the wand on Harry, torturing him with the Cruciatus Curse before attempting to kill him, unaware of his wand's familial connection to his enemy's. Both wands sensed each other's presence and instead of harming each other, both connected in the reverse-spell effect. Harry's wand won the battle of wills and Voldemort's began shrieking in pain (and possibly remorse) as it was forced to regurgitate the last spells it had performed. Harry eventually broke the connection and escaped, leaving Voldemort furious.
Second Wizarding War
After his rebirth, Voldemort began his rise to power and Second Wizarding War began, though the Ministry of Magic did not officially recognise this until the end of 1996. During his ascension to power, the wand served its master in many crimes and dark arts, including the murder of Amelia Bones, Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement in the summer of 1996, though she put up a good fight. He also tortured and killed Rufus Scrimgeour over the whereabouts of Harry Potter on 1 August 1997.
He also used this wand to engage Albus Dumbledore in a duel in the Atrium during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries. In addition, sometime before 24 December, 1997, Voldemort may have used his wand to murder magical historian Bathilda Bagshot and cast a piece of dark magic to allow his serpent, Nagini, to inhabit her corpse and lie in wait for Harry Potter, or possibly Voldemort ordered Nagini to commit the murder herself.
Discovering of the twin cores
- Voldemort: "As I was saying, I understand better now. I shall need, for instance, to borrow a wand from one of you before I go to kill Potter. No volunteers? Let’s see ... Lucius, I see no reason for you to have a wand any more."
- Lucius: "My Lord?"
- Voldemort: "Your wand, Lucius. I require your wand."
- — Voldemort taking Lucius Malfoy's wand at the Meeting at Malfoy Manor[src]
However, prior to the Battle of the Seven Potters, Voldemort was given advice by a kidnapped Garrick Ollivander of the Priori Incantatem effect between his own wand and Harry Potter's wand and how both twin cores prevented them from defeating each other. Voldemort then took Lucius Malfoy's wand to prevent that from happening, and murdered Charity Burbage, the Muggle Studies teacher at Hogwarts, to test out his new wand during the Meeting at Malfoy Manor. However, during the subsequent battle as Harry left 4 Privet Drive, Harry's wand inadvertently destroyed Lucius's wand when it shot golden flames (without Harry's decision) at Voldemort when the Dark Lord personally came after Harry in the motorbike the boy was riding with Rubeus Hagrid.
Before Lucius's wand was destroyed by Harry's, Voldemort used it to murder Alastor Moody during the battle. Because Lucius's wand was destroyed, Voldemort went back to using his old yew wand. During the Fall of the Ministry of Magic to Death Eater control, it is possible that Lord Voldemort himself used the Killing Curse with his wand on Rufus Scrimgeour, then-Minister for Magic, on 1 August, 1997, because the Minister refused to give him information on Harry's whereabouts.
Voldemort's search for the Elder Wand
Under further torturing Ollivander, Voldemort discovered a wand of unparalleled power; the Elder Wand, of which Voldemort desired to overcome the Priori Incantatem. However, as he heard of the wand's legendary powers, Voldemort no longer desired to possess it just to defeat Harry, but to own it permanently to immortalise his status as the most powerful wizard in the world.
In order to the find the Elder Wand, Voldemort used the information he had tortured out of Ollivander and decided to travel to the former home of the wandmaker Gregorovitch on 1 September, 1997. He found a German family living there, and when the mother of the family told him that Gregorovitch no longer lived there and that they did not know him, Voldemort used his wand to murder the woman and her two children. Upon finding Gregorovitch on 2 September, Voldemort kept the wandmaker from escaping by using Levicorpus. Voldemort demanded he give him the wand, but Gregorovitch said it had been stolen from him many years ago.
Enraged to have exhausted months of effort to find Gregorovitch and to find out he was not any closer to the wand, Voldemort believed he was lying, and as such performed Legilimency to confirm it. During his search through Gregorovitch's memories, Voldemort found the memory of the incident when he lost the wand to a blond-haired thief. Finishing his search of Gregorovitch's mind, Voldemort immediately demanded to know who the thief was, but when Gregorovitch admitted he never found out, Voldemort, recognising he had all the information he required, ignored Gregorovitch's pleas for mercy and cast the Killing Curse on him.
Realising that it was in fact the Dark Wizard Gellert Grindelwald who stole the wand from Gregorovitch, Voldemort went and found Grindelwald in the wizard's cell at Nurmengard in March, 1997. Grindelwald refused to give Voldemort information on the whereabouts of the Elder Wand, and Voldemort furiously killed him. However, Voldemort realised that the wand must have fallen into the possession of the wizard who beat Grindelwald, and this must have been the winner of the famous duel between Grindelwald and Dumbledore. Knowing at last who possessed the wand, Voldemort set off to Hogwarts.
Upon arriving on the Hogwarts grounds, Voldemort saw where Dumbledore was placed to rest and used his own wand to perform its last act: breaking into Dumbledore's tomb, in order to steal the Elder Wand. After acquiring the strongest wand in history, Voldemort no longer needed his old wand, which had been with him for almost sixty years. After Voldemort's death the fate of his original wand is unknown; however, yew wands (when buried with their owners) have been known to grow into a yew tree to defend their owner's grave.
Behind the scenes
- In the film adaptations Voldemort's wand is depicted as being white in colour, with a bone-like handle that matches the wand's sinister aesthetic. In reality, yew wood is a deep, rich caramel colour.
- In the film adaptations, Voldemort's wand is curved, whereas the Noble Collection makes the wand with a straight shaft. Also, the wand in the movies is a bit more white than the Noble Collection wand.
- Ralph Fiennes requested the hook-like part coming out of the bottom of the handle.
- Garrick Ollivander described this wand to Harry as "very powerful" (likely thanks to the the potency of the combination of the wood and core); this seems to contradict Hermione Granger's statement that wands are never independently powerful, but are "only as powerful as the wizards that use them." However, it is likely Ollivander and Granger were using two different meanings of the word "powerful", Hermione likely referring to the power granted by magical knowledge and skillfull spellcasting while Ollivander alluded to the raw power of spells cast with the wand.
- Assuming the wand was still intact at the time, Harry Potter might have won its allegiance following his final duel against Voldemort. If that is the case, it is highly unlikely that Harry will ever physically own, let alone use the wand considering Harry's violent history with the wand and its original owner.
- The wand is part of the Wizarding world franchise logo.
- Interestingly, Ginny Weasley's wand is also made of yew. Therefore Harry Potter's mortal enemy and his soulmate had the wand made of the same material.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First mentioned)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film) (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (First appearance) (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film) (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (play)
- Wizarding World
- Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault
- LEGO Harry Potter
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- LEGO Dimensions
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery (Appears as a Boggart form)
- Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
- Harry Potter: Magic Awakened (Mentioned only)
Notes and references
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 5 (Diagon Alley)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 32 (Flesh, Blood and Bone)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 36 (The Parting of the Ways)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 1 (The Riddle House)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 1 (The Other Minister)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 17 (The Heir of Slytherin)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 13 (The Secret Riddle)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 17 (A Sluggish Memory)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 23 (Horcruxes)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 20 (Lord Voldemort's Request)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 37 (The Lost Prophecy)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 17 (Bathilda's Secret)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 33 (The Death Eaters)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 35 (King's Cross)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 1 (The Boy Who Lived)
- J. K. Rowling's official site
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 19 (The Servant of Lord Voldemort)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 20 (The Dementor's Kiss)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 35 (Veritaserum)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 31 (The Third Task)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 34 (Priori Incantatem)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 36 (The Only One He Ever Feared)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 8 (The Wedding)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 11 (The Bribe)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 1 (The Dark Lord Ascending)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 4 (The Seven Potters)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 5 (Fallen Warrior)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 24 (The Wandmaker)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 12 (Magic is Might)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 14 (The Thief)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 23 (Malfoy Manor)
- Pottermore - Behind the scenes: How the wands were made
- YouTube - 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2' Press Conference