Spoiler alert: this question arises from the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, so if you didn't watch it yet and don't want it spoiled, stop reading. I also apologize if the question was asked before, I wasn't able to find it.

Near the end of the movie we see Percival Graves (a.k.a. Gellert Grindelwald in disguise) battling multiple MACUSA officials in the underground and slowly gaining the upper hand (not surprisingly, since he is basically the second best wizard alive). He is, however, stopped by Newt Scamander with the aid of a flying beast (forgot its name at this point), disarmed, and sentenced to death.

Since the movie implies that Grindelwald was already on a rampage throughout Europe before coming to the USA and assuming Graves's identity (the year is 1926), it's very likely that he was already in possesion of the Elder Wand, i.e. he already stole it from Gregorovitch.

We also know that he and Dumbledore battled in 1945 (19 years later) and that Dumbledore won both the duel and the Elder Wand. From there on we know the rest of the Wand’s story.

My question is: how is Grindelwald in 1945 still in posession of the Elder Wand if he lost it in 1926, when he "lost" to Newt Scamander? We know that one need not win an actual duel to win over the Elder Wand, or that the wand itself doesn’t even need to be present (examples of this behavior include Grindelwald simply stealing the wand from Gregorovitch, or, even more to the point, Harry "defeating" Draco and winning the wand by simply outwrestling two wands from his hands in Malfoy Manor), which is important since Grindelwald used the real Graves's wand as a part of his disguise and the Elder Wand is hidden somewhere else.

Is it also possible that this is a subtle, but profound clue that Grindelwald and Scamander will duel again, and that this time Newt will lose? This seems to be supported by Grindelwald saying an ominous (foreshadowing?) sentence while being taken away:

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3 Answers 3


The mastership of the elder wand will be a plot point in later movies

Snitchseeker: The first question, what happened to the Elder wand? Where is it? The elusive Elder wand.

J.K. Rowling Where is it right now?

Snitchseeker: Yeah.

J.K. Rowling I can't tell you, but you will find out in movie two.

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them premiere

Regarding your last question, this is (director) David Yates' explanation of Grindelwald's final line:

SnitchSeeker: What did Grindelwald mean at the end when he told Newt, “Will we die, just a little?” just before he’s taken away?

David Yates: You know, ultimately, I think that’s what he’s saying there is he’s saying, “We’re gonna be on this amazing journey together, you and I. And it will demand an enormous amount from both of us in what it will put us through. And in that journey, we will probably sacrifice quite a bit. We will lose part of ourselves on the journey. So that’s what that means, I think. Will we die, just a little?

David Yates, Eddie Redmayne, Dan Fogler talk 'Fantastic Beasts' plot points, Obscurus


Probably not - Newt didn’t forcibly take Grindelwald’s wand.

While Newt was the one to both tie up Grindelwald and reveal his true identity, he didn’t take his wand. It was actually Tina who took his wand away, and that wasn’t by either Disarming him or physically taking it from him like Harry did to Draco at Malfoy Manor. In fact, Grindelwald drops the wand he was using - which he very likely could have done on purpose once he realized he was going to be captured anyhow, to avoid losing mastery of the Elder Wand.

With a sense that he’s been holding this one back, he slashes it through the air: out flies a crackling rope of supernatural light that wraps itself around GRAVES like a whip. GRAVES tries to hold it off as it tightens but staggers, struggles and falls to his knees, dropping his wand.

- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay

By willingly surrendering the wand he had, he would probably retain mastery of the Elder Wand, since he remained “undefeated” since he would have purposefully dropped the wand before they could take it from him.

  • 5
    Now that is new information ! I had always assumed that he didn't let go of the wand purposefully. In the movie it is'nt clear that he drops it and it looks like Tina takes it from him but that screenplay changes everything. Grindelwald might simply remain the owner because he didn't lose it, just let it go... So Tina definitely can't be the new owner, it's either Grindelwald or Newt if the wand decided that Newt defeating him was sufficient to switch allegiance. Anyway I'll see the new movie with totally different expectations now, thanks !
    – Cartolin
    Commented Dec 20, 2017 at 10:16

I'm actually not sure why there is so much debate on this subject. It was quite obvious to me whats happened so far if you understand that JK will very much reuse old plot devices in her work because... its easy and very much in line with her writing style:

  1. Grindlewald was the master of the elder wand in FB1 since he's undefeated upto this point

  2. Newt defeats grindlewald at the end of FB1 (he clearly restrains him with his spell) and is now the master of the wand (remember tina only summoned the wand after newt won so she's irrelevant to the discussion)

  3. Newt is the only one actually able to defend against the protego diabolica spell in FB2 (watch closely, it incinerates the aurors while newt has no problem deflecting it out of his way) because as master of the elder wand the spell wont hurt him. Thesius only deflects the fire because a) he's alongside newt whos actually doing the work (unless i'm mistaken they're side by side for most of the scene) or b) because leta's 'love' saves him when he's briefly separated from newt (we do remember the whole love thing right? why else would leta's death change the fire like that and why would she mention "doing it to save him")

aaaaand thats where we are so far. Newt is pretty obviously the current master based on the above observations and we just hav2 wait and see what happens next.

The simplest solution would be grindlewald defeating newt in a later movie so hes back in charge of it for the 'Dumbleduel'

However i suspect JK is going to go for a rehash of her 'who's actually the master' plot device from harry potter - ie: Dumbledore will disarm newt at some point and will be the elder wand master (unbeknownst to grindlewald) so he will have the edge in the 'Dumbleduel' allowing him to beat grindlewald. This actually makes sence since dumbledore will use the same strategy to help harry beat voldemort decades later (Dude had to learn the strategy from somewhere, why not by using it to take down grindlewald first).


  • 4
    This seems like speculation
    – Valorum
    Commented May 25, 2021 at 23:57
  • 1
    Hi, welcome to SF&F. Answers should be based on actual facts we know from the books/movies and official statements from the author. Please cite the evidence for your theory.
    – DavidW
    Commented May 26, 2021 at 0:31
  • Well, he's The Doctor, so obviously, he's traveled to the future, watched the rest of the movies, and has come back with spoilers! ;)
    – FreeMan
    Commented May 26, 2021 at 15:34
  • Sorry guys, new to forum. Can the theory not be based on obervational evidence from watching the film? or should I add in that as the citation?
    – TheDoctor
    Commented May 26, 2021 at 22:19
  • No, this is not like other sites to discuss fan theories. Answers on this site need to be based on facts in the work in question or on something a director, writer or any other person involved said, wrote or did... Of course some of this actions might be open for interpretation, but all interpretations again need to show the facts that they are based on.
    – Tode
    Commented May 27, 2021 at 10:14

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