113

At the very end of Deathly Hallows, after Harry repaired his own wand with the Elder Wand, he tells Dumbledore's Portrait in the office:

“I’m putting the Elder Wand,” he told Dumbledore, who was watching him with enormous affection and admiration, “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.

Now, this seems incredibly foolish to me.

"The previous master will never have been defeated" would only have been assuredely true if Harry had died right after depositing the Elder Wand back into Dumbledore's Tomb.

If not, Harry (the Wand owner) would still be alive, and at the risk of being Disarmed (as was shown with Harry and Draco Malfoy, it doesn't matter if the Elder Wand's owner is defeated by death or simple disarming, AND it's not even required that the Disarming would involve the Elder Wand!).

So, if Harry merely put the Elder Wand back into the Tomb, and some years later, someone would disarm him (or, even worse, kill him) - then that someone would become the Elder Wand owner, either by accident or by design:

  • By accident - Harry is likely to get into plenty of magical duels in the future. Even discounting friendly one (teaching people the Expelliramus), he plans on becoming an Auror!

  • By design - plenty of people have been in the Great Hall hearing Harry explaining to Voldemort that he, Harry, was now the owner of the Elder Wand, so the fact of his ownership would most assuredly NOT remain a secret, inviting countless people tempted by owning the Deathstick to hunt Harry down. Oh, and the location is now also known!

So "its power will be broken" is quite unlikely to come true!

Is Harry hopelessly wrong? Or am I missing something in the above logic? Was this addressed in canon/JKR info?

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    I think you're right on. I thought the same thing, as did my wife, and pretty much everyone else who I asked the same question. Harry should have snapped it in half. – David Stratton Mar 6 '12 at 3:52
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    +1 fot both. The movie got a better version, probably encouraged by Rowling herself. – Janoma Mar 6 '12 at 4:29
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    @DavidStratton, you're assuming the Elder Wand could be snapped in half. I'm inclined to doubt it. (I'm taking the liberty of completely ignoring the movie depiction.) – Kyralessa Mar 7 '12 at 1:42
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    Come to think of it, the way it floats in and out of magical history, are we sure that natural death breaks its spell (pun intended)? I assume that direct Elder Wand-related deaths are well documented since, hey, someone was claiming invincibility. Since deaths of this nature are few and far between, I think it is reasonable that some unwitting master of the wand has already died by natural means. – VoldemortFan Feb 9 '15 at 17:41
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    aaaand... Harry Potter worked as an auror when he was older. Fighting dark wizards. most definitely not the cleverest idea. – user32390 Feb 3 '16 at 3:55

13 Answers 13

23

The fact that he will likely be disarmed by countless people, who will unknowingly become masters of the Elder Wand - and will in turn be disarmed by countless other equally unwitting people - will mean that the true master of the Elder Wand will soon not only be impossible to find, but will also never know that she/he is connected with the Elder Wand in any way.

In addition, anyone who decided they want to be the Elder Wand's master after all would have to track down and disarm or kill a whole lot of - possibly all of - the people who might have been involved. And, considering that we're talking about an Auror and his colleagues and enemies, many of those people will be either other Aurors or hardened criminals, some of whom will believe they are fighting for their life. A really serious set of guards to get through.

As Ellesedil put it in the comments, Harry's actual plan is nuts but accidentally effective. Taking up the Auror profession is, in fact, the safest thing for Harry to do, outside of destroying the wand.

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    Wow. Never thought about it this way.. – Kalissar Mar 23 '16 at 9:19
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    @Kalissar Heh :) And if someone did want to try to be the Elder Wand's master, he/she would a hell of a time fighting all the people an Auror ever had to deal with. I think I'll actually add that to the answer. – Misha R Mar 23 '16 at 17:37
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    This might be a good addition to the original question. Personally, I think the chosen answer there leaves a lot to be desired. – Dave Johnson Mar 23 '16 at 17:52
  • Or they just need to quick enough to become the first person to disarm Harry. – Xantec Mar 23 '16 at 17:54
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    @randal'thor: With this answer now here (and it's my favorite answer on this page), it kind of doesn't make a whole lot of sense in regards to the wording of the question. Essentially, this answer should now say that Harry's plan is completely nuts, but his solution is still accidentally effective. – Ellesedil Mar 23 '16 at 19:09
48

I personally don't think it was Harry's most cerebral moment in the series . . . I'm shocked that Hermione didn't dissuade him from placing the Elder Wand back in Dumbledore's tomb, she being uber logical. It was a risky decision on Harry's part, no matter how remote a chance of someone figuring out that Dumbledore was master of the Elder Wand, and that the wand lay in Dumbledore's tomb. After all, Dumbledore himself came to believe in The Tale of the Three Brothers -- is it inconceivable that another would come to believe the same thing? No. It's not inconceivable.

Further, in the chapter King's Cross in Deathly Hallows, Dumbledore shares with Harry his own story, wherein he eschews his desire for power and the difficulty he had in managing power -- he declined offers to become the Minister for Magic, although he participated in the Wizengamot in a lesser role than Minister. Would Dumbledore even want to be buried with the Elder Wand? Maybe not. He must have had a second wand somewhere -- the wand he likely got from Ollivander when he was eleven. Would it have been more appropriate to have buried Dumbledore with his original wand? I think it might have been. After all, it had been Dumbledore's plan to turn the wand's allegiance to Snape; that it went to Draco was purely accidental.

I suppose we can assume that no one recovered Dumbledore's wand -- the Elder Wand -- but I don't think Harry thought through the risks of returning Dumbledore's wand to his tomb. The Elder Wand would have been safer in Harry's Gringott's vault, left guarded and away from prying eyes (presumably) until Harry's death, at which time the magic of the Elder Wand would cease.

Speaking of wands, what would Harry have done with Draco Malfoy's wand? He certainly couldn't return it to Draco or else Harry would run the risk of the Elder Wand switching allegiance back to Draco. I'll pose this question separately, though.

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    I don't think returning the wand would do anything. Draco wouldn't havr 'defeated' Harry, nor would it nullify the original defeat (what's done is done). Then again, wandlore is complex. – Manishearth Mar 6 '12 at 8:13
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    @Manishearth - Wandlore is complex, which is why I've always wondered whether or not Harry could give Draco his wand back without having the Elder Wand switch allegiance again. I believe I asked this as a question on SCIFI.SE once and IIRC, the consensus was that, no, Harry could not give Draco his wand back, but I could be misremembering. I find wandlore fascinating, personally. – Slytherincess Mar 6 '12 at 22:57
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    @Slytherincess: Here's a link to your question scifi.stackexchange.com/q/8100 :-) – Hendrik Vogt Mar 13 '12 at 18:14
  • @HendrikVogt -- Thank you! :) – Slytherincess Mar 14 '12 at 1:09
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    @Slytherincess If Hermione HAD done that, would she then be the true owner of the Elder Wand? – Zibbobz Nov 19 '14 at 14:24
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There are a few points here that make this situation very muddy.

  • Even if Harry is defeated, it's very possible that Harry can just defeat them again sometime in the future, getting the Elder Wand back. He would however have to pay attention to any who's-beaten-who chains that pop up.
  • Harry ends book 7 with two wands under his control: the Elder Wand, and his own (one can presume - even if it was someone else's at some point, repairing a wand will probably make it think good of you). If Harry's defeated, which wand changes allegiance? The one he's using? The other one, if the first has already changed? Both at once? We don't know this.
  • Let's say that Harry succeeds in dying with the Elder Wand still attached to him. What happens to the wand's allegiance? Does it become a freelancer wand, and whoever is the first to claim it become the new owner? (We know that wands are created with no allegiance, and appear to pick people they like, but we don't know if a wand can have a null owner afterwards.) Does it remain attached to the dead owner, and therefore cannot be swayed as its owner cannot be defeated? Does its allegiance pass on to their spouse or eldest child? (This would make a degree of sense but has no real evidence either way.)

I think Harry is banking on the fact that trying to die with the Elder Wand in his "possession" is the best chance he has of breaking its power. He knows that no one knows what will happen afterwards and is probably hoping that no one will remember a thing about it sixty years from then. Like most of his plans there are glaring flaws, but it's not as stupid as it looks, considering the amount of unknowns.

And let's not forget that Harry survived the Killing Curse twice. While unlikely to get the hat trick, that's a reputation that will probably stop people from trying to use it on him.

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    Death would finally have defeated Harry so Death would be the owner of the wand. – Wayne In Yak Mar 11 '13 at 20:12
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    Is it true that its dead owner cannot be defeated? There's the whole way station scene near the end with Harry and Dumbledore, which doesn't imply that there's an afterlife in the Potter universe, but doesn't exactly totally exclude it. Rampant speculation here, but is it possible the owner could somehow be defeated in the next world, and the wand change hands that way? – David Conrad Jun 25 '14 at 17:15
23

I think Harry's logic is fine, but not for the reason he explains. You are correct - without destroying the Elder Wand (and in the books I don't think we know that that is necessarily possible), it more than likely will pass to the next person to best Harry, whether that be in a duel, fight or other mechanism. So the part about its power being broken is incorrect.

However, if Auror trainer Joe Bloggs or Dark Wizard Jim Bob happen to best Harry somehow, and thereby become the next owner of the Elder Wand it's incredibly unlikely that they will know that they suddenly obtained this hidden status and that they will also know where Harry has hidden the Elder Wand. If someone locates the Wand, they have to defeat Harry prior to anyone else. If someone defeats Harry, and multiple people probably will, who will know who is the real owner besides Harry himself?

In effect Harry is neutralizing the Wand without destroying it, barring a startling coincidence.

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    Please see the end of the question. People WOULD know that besting harry gets them the Elder Wand ownership, because Harry stated the theory behind this in public to Voldemort. In front of HUNDREDS of people, some of them Death Eaters. And plenty of people can guess to check Dumbledore's Tomb for it since that's the last known hiding place. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Mar 6 '12 at 7:17
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    I saw the end of the question before I posted my answer. :P Harry is more likely to face some casual defeat at the hands of someone who does not necessarily know of him being the owner of the Elder Wand than others, and once he does anyone else who comes hunting to defeat him for the wand is irrelevant. – dlanod Mar 6 '12 at 19:55
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    @DVK - while this point is valid as Harry's announcement would make this point "known" instead of "secret," one assumes the death eaters will be arrested and prevented from doing anything with their knowledge and that as the period of presumed ensuing peace at the absolute destruction of Voldemort (finally), certain details of the story will get lost - as happens with real history. dlanod's general answer still stands here. – balanced mama Dec 29 '12 at 0:13
  • Accio Elder Wand. That would almost certainly work if you owned it already. – Joshua Jan 16 '18 at 0:14
6

Even if Harry were defeated and the wand shifted alliances, the new owner wouldn't even know that they were the owner to this super powerful wand (like Draco didn't know).

That said the Elder Wand has such a history of violence because a)people who have it tend to brag and b)people who have it also make a power play.

Now Harry is defeated and the wand shifts

a )New person doesn't know that they have a super powerful wand so they can't brag.

b) New owner doesn't have the knowledge that they are at an advantage for a power play.

So if Harry were to fail in dying undefeated, he might have succeeded in breaking/slowing the trail of Death following the Elder Wand and his vanquisher might then die undefeated.

2

I think the implication of the wand-lore is that you'd have to be in a proper fight, which wouldn't happen because 'happily ever after'. It's unlikely he'd see many more life and death struggles. Besides, your wand would fail every time someone jinxed another person at school. You'd never get any magic done. I'm sure the circumstances of your loss are important. Perhaps the deathstick is only interested in important fights of powerful people.

Or perhaps it's a set up for the next book -harry fights death!

She doesn't really say much about 'magical theory' in the books.

  • You don't have to defeat the owner of the Elder Wand in a duel to obtain it: the second owner ever of the Elder Wand got it by killing the first one in his sleep. – Thomas Jacobs Sep 18 '15 at 12:29
2

Probably not the most thorough answer, but being who he is, it's probably for the best.

Harry is the symbol of the defeat of evil. The beacon of hope in dark times, knowing a few secrets, owning DA, etc. All those make him a great target for evil and dark wizards. Who'll want to be the one who killed Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived.

From that perspective, it's better for him to be well prepared for the fights ahead. And well protected as well. And hard to be better protected that at the head of a bunch of Aurors.

  • I just merged the two questions (the one you answered today, and the one it was closed as a duplicate of), so you might want to merge this answer together with the one you posted a year ago, now that they're both in the same thread. – Rand al'Thor Mar 23 '16 at 18:18
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    @randal'thor Were they considered duplicates? I mean they were asking for different things, IMHO. I don't know how I can merge the two. I might just delete the other one (0 score)... but I don't think this one actually answers the current question... :-/ – clem steredenn Mar 24 '16 at 7:09
  • They were asking for similar enough things (and both had good enough answers) that I decided they were worth merging. I realise it made this answer less relevant, so sorry about that; but that's why I left the comment above: so that you can fix this :-) My advice would be to edit the contents of your other answer into this one and then delete the 0-score answer. – Rand al'Thor Mar 24 '16 at 10:59
1

Harry's plan certainly doesn't seem to make sense, since he will become an Auror. However, I think that the point of Harry's plan, is to make the ownership of the Elder Wand so mixed-up, that no one knows who the Elder Wand's owner is.

1

It is a complex matter. One has to consider the full chain that we know of

  • Gregorovitch had the wand. We don't know where he got it from, though he quite probably bought it. Was he the master of the wand? We don't know.

  • Grindelwald stole the wand from Gregorovitch. Is that enough to be the master? Probably...

  • Dumbledore beat Grindelwald in a famous duel, and acquire the wand for himself. It would be unlikely that Dumbledore kept the wand so long if he wasn't the master of the wand.

  • Draco disarmed Dumbledore and thus got the mastery of the wand.

  • Harry wrestle out Draco's wand from his grip and thus got the ownership as per the story. But there is the question of how did the Elder wand know that this happened? Could it be under the influence of Draco's wand, which changed allegiance. So maybe the Elder wand recognised the possessors of Draco's wand to be its own master..?

Where does that lead us? Well we don't really know and neither does Harry.

The wand is picky. Stealing in the middle of the night, without physically defeating its previous master seemed to be enough for Grindelwald. So anyone getting to the tomb and picking it up might do it. Or Gindelwald was lucky to be spotted while stealing?

Then, if the Elder wand is aware of anything that happens, anyone who beats Harry would get the ownership. Even if the precise location of the wand might be lost in history.

However, one may say that the wand recognise Harry as its master, and the only way for Harry to lose the ownership would be for him to be defeated while with the Elder wand. And the master of the wand that beat the pair would become its new master. In that case, as long as Harry does not have it, it won't change its master.

Regardless, it's still a good way to attempt to drown it in history.

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    Wait what? I'll have to look this up, but I think Grindelwald has got the allegiance of the wand when he stole it. The line you quote is Grindelwald trying to lie to the Dark Lord that he's never stolen or had the wand. – b_jonas Sep 18 '15 at 11:58
  • @b_jonas, please do confirm it. I might have misunderstood one point. But I think he says something along the lines of "You don't understand, Voldemort, it was never mine." I mean he explicitely says that he was waiting for him to get the wand. So I don't see the point of lying at that point. – clem steredenn Sep 18 '15 at 12:01
  • He specifically says something along the lines of "I knew you'd come to see me, Voldemort. You would come to take it." What's the point of lying then. – clem steredenn Sep 18 '15 at 12:07
  • I found the proof. Hallows chapter 35, “At last he [Harry] said, ‘Grindelwald tried to stop Voldemort going after the wand. He lied, you know, pretended he had never had it.’ / Dumbledore nodded, looking down at his lap, tears still glittering on the crooked nose. / ‘They say he showed remorse in later years, alone in his cell at Nurmengard. I hope that it is true. I would like to think he did feel the horror and shame of what he had done. Perhaps that lie to Voldemort was his attempt to make amends … to prevent Voldemort from taking the Hallow …’ ” – b_jonas Sep 20 '15 at 15:16
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    @b_jonas Fair enough, misinterpretation and forgotten parts. – clem steredenn Sep 21 '15 at 6:57
1

For me, a more gratifying end would have involved Harry taking the wand to Ollivander's shop, and letting him examine it. Ollivander had a great professional and historical interest in it, so he would find this very gratifying.

Once Ollivander is done looking it over, he hands it back to Harry, who immediately snaps it in half. Ollivander would probably be upset at this, but this would be mitigated by having been an eye-witness to the final chapter of the Elder Wand's history.

This would have complicated the resolution, both of the book and the movie, so it's better that it was left out.

  • This doesn't answer the question that was asked. – RedCaio Sep 25 '16 at 19:57
0

Disarming Harry would not be enough to become master of the death stick. The wand who disarmed Dumbledore and Voldemort was Draco's wand. If harry keep the death stick and Draco's wand away, nobody will become the master of both wands. Harry decided to use the phoenix feather wand (the one he repaired) so if disarmed, the witch who disarmed him would become the master of the phoenix feather wand only.

0

I'm surprised nobody talk about giving away the wand.
The plan was originally for Dumbledore to give away the wand freely and willingly, assuming it will break the curse.

The plan backfire when Draco took the wand against Dumbledore will, but it make sense that Harry tries to replicate it.

By giving away the wand to Dumbledore, two things can happen.

  1. The wand does not have an owner anymore.
    May be a wandmaker could find him a new owner, but it will be a case of random chance. If a Dark Wizard wants to gain ownership of the wand, he will need to first to kidnap (I assume he will not be lucky enough to find a valid candidate in his followers) hundreds of wizards to test the wand against, and kill the one wizard that the wand recognized as a owner.
    And this is assuming that a wand could accept multiple natural owners.

  2. The wand is owned back by (dead) Dumbledore. And once again we go boldly in the loophole territory. Is it enough to take the wand for the corpse to take ownership?
    Do you have to desecrate/destroy the body?
    Or is it impossible to beat a dead person? and therefore impossible to transfer ownership.

Now an important question would be : Was Dumbledore right in the first place ? Would his original plan have work ? Won't you keep ownership anyway by giving the wand to a dead body ? Could you have given the wand to a rock ?

We don't care, because that's not the point.
We all know that Dumbledore is not perfect, and made his share of mistake.
But Harry idolize Dumbledore, he trusted him with his life. Dumbledore plan was to give way the wand freely to break the curse/succession. Harry will give away the wand freely. No matter the consequences.

-1

I know this thread is old, but I just have to comment.

I believe that when Harry repaired his wand with the Elder wand, then destroyed the Elder wand... Harry's wand became the Elder wand.

Wands can't be repaired; Ron had to get a new one when his broke, yet the fact that Harry was able to repair his wand confirms that he truly had a wand more powerful than others. It confirmed the Elder wand existed, and he had it. It's reasonable to believe, that while repairing his wand, it was given additional powers, as the repair spell came from the Elder wand.

Additionally, the way people mastered wands, wasn't simply due to disarming them; it was always a true defeat of that opponent. For example -- In addition to the act of the disarm, Draco succeeded in thwarting Dumbledore's duty of keep the school safe, by bringing in the Death Eaters. He conquered Dumbledore. I believe it is these other intangible elements, that contribute to how magic works and flows.

Thus, returning to Harry's wand, the act of breaking the Elder wand, could have resulted in the transference of additional powers; thus the status of Elder wand.

Just my random extra thoughts.

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