Don't know the policy for spoilers, so spoilers ahead!

At first, it seems that Snape defeated Dumbledore by killing him, so by killing Snape Voldemort became the next owner. But it is later shown that the wand has a more abstract notion of 'defeating': while Snape killed Dumbledore, it was Draco who first disarmed him, and thus defeated him.

Yet the only reason why Draco disarmed him in the first place was because he was already severely weakened, by taking Voldemort's potion. By the wand's own reasoning, Voldemort defeated him. Furthermore, Snape killed Dumbledore because of an agreement they had earlier, based on the fact that Dumbledore was going to die anyway. And why was he going to die? Because he fell for a deadly trap involving a cursed ring placed by, you know it, Voldemort.

Is there a way to reconcile these events with what we are told about how the owner of the Elder Wand is determined?

  • 1
    Yes, the notion of defeating is more loose, but it seems pretty clear from the books that ownership is transferred after actual dueling or other kinds of physical violence (since the original brother was stabbed I think?). More directly and immediately causing death or defeat. Not indirect actions.
    – Alarion
    Dec 17 '16 at 7:22
  • 3
    Dumbledore willingly chose to drink the potion (mostly). Voldemort had very little to do with it.
    – TGnat
    Dec 17 '16 at 14:27
  • 3
    Disarming someone doesn't seem like an abstract notion to me. Setting a trap for someone isn't the same thing as defeating them in direct combat. Dec 18 '16 at 2:11

Voldemort didn't defeat Dumbledore with his potion.

Albus chose to drink the potion of his own accord; it's not like Voldemort forced him to. This is like when Snape kills him - he does it because Dumbledore wants him to. This is not defeating.

It was only when Draco defeated Dumbledore by disarming him, so that Albus was disarmed involuntarily, that the ownership changed.

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