36

In the first chapter of Deathly Hallows, Voldemort states that he needs a new wand, and will therefore borrow one from a Death Eater. Unfortunately, nobody seems really thrilled by the idea, and he ends up taking Lucius' wand.

“As I was saying,” continued Voldemort, looking again at the tense faces of his followers, “I understand better now. I shall need, for instance, to borrow a wand from one of you before I go to kill Potter.”

The faces around his displayed nothing but shock; he might have announced that he wanted to borrow one of their arms.

“No volunteers?” said Voldemort. “Let’s see... Lucius, I see no reason for you to have a wand anymore.”

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, chapter 1, "The Dark Lord Ascending"

You could argue that it had always been Voldemort's intention to take Lucius' wand, since he resents Lucius for his failure at bringing him the prophecy at the end of Order of the Phoenix, and that nothing would have changed his mind.

I can even understand that he would not want to borrow Bellatrix's, since she is a skilled fighter and duellists (presumably) fight better with their own wand; it would make sense to keep her at full potential.

My problem is, it happens that Bellatrix Lestrange is in the exact same room, and Bellatrix is pretty much the most obsessed extremist example you can get. Let's not expand on the multiple times that obsession was pictured, but here are at least four instances in a dozen lines from this very chapter:

“My Lord,” said a dark woman halfway down the table, her voice constricted with emotion, “it is an honor to have you here, in our family’s house. There can be no higher pleasure.”

She sat beside her sister, as unlike her in looks, with her dark hair and heavily lidded eyes, as she was in bearing and demeanor; where Narcissa sat rigid and impassive, Bellatrix leaned toward Voldemort, for mere words could not demonstrate her longing for closeness.

“No higher pleasure,” repeated Voldemort, his head tilted a little to one side as he considered Bellatrix. “That means a great deal, Bellatrix, from you.”

Her face flooded with color; her eyes welled with tears of delight.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, chapter 1, "The Dark Lord Ascending"

Bellatrix has shown time and time again that she will do anything for her master, and would even be prepared to let her children go on a deadly mission for him. My, she even uses the words give them up!

She [Narcissa] crumpled, falling at his feet, sobbing and moaning on the floor.

"My only son... my only son..."

"You should be proud!" said Bellatrix ruthlessly. "If I had sons, I would be glad to give them up to the service of the Dark Lord!"

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, chapter 2, "Spinner's end"

So, why would she not jump at the occasion to prove her devotion by giving the Dark Lord her wand?

  • I initially thought she had no time to do so, but the first quote suggests that there was a bit of time when the statement was made ("Let's see...");
  • Various quotes from the second chapter of Half-Blood Prince seem to indicate Voldemort is a bit colder to Bellatrix, in the wake of the blunder at the Ministry, but that was roughly a year before the scene I'm talking about, and even if the situation had not improved, I reckon that would have made Bellatrix even more lenient to give him her wand;
  • Voldemort does discredit her by mentioning how her niece (Tonks) recently married a "beast", but that is later in the scene;
  • Depending on how much credit you give to Cursed Child, Bellatrix even went as far as

    giving him a child. I'm not a parent, but based on what I've heard of pregnancy and delivery, you might as well lend the partner an arm. ("he might have announced that he wanted to borrow one of their arms")

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    i like bella's answer and it kind of re-enforces the idea of the shock even bellatrix would have about giving up her wand. And something that may have been an internal crisis for her, love of voldemort = love of wand, was taken out of her hands by voldemorts fast choice of lucias. nice question +1, and @bella nice answer +1 – Himarm Aug 3 '18 at 21:33
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    You could argue that it had always been Voldemort's intention to take Lucius' wand, since he resents Lucius for his failure at bringing him the prophecy at the end of Order of the Phoenix, and that nothing would have changed his mind. Absolutely that was the case. He mocked the Malfoy family throughout that meeting didn't he? And yes your own wand is best - and in the case of Bella's wand it's Unyielding so even more a reason for Voldemort to not have it. And I cringe at the word 'fangirl' ... that's so not Bellatrix. – Pryftan Aug 4 '18 at 0:44
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    Depending on how much credit you give to Cursed Child none at all because it’s a bunch of non-sense, might be an appealing stage production but that’s where it’s positives end... – Edlothiad Aug 4 '18 at 4:36
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    Much better! I'm glad you edited it in too (for I wouldn't have). And I completely agree with @Edlothiad - CC is absolute rubbish to say the least (and I am appreciative of the comment because it's a thought I had I just already had included other things and cba adding anything else). – Pryftan Aug 5 '18 at 0:49
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    @Pryftan I always knew I liked you, but now I like you even more! ;) – Bellatrix Aug 7 '18 at 1:10
29

Bellatrix wants to fight. She wants to be the most honoured death eater.

[T]he woman with the heavy-lidded eyes looked up at Crouch and called, 'The Dark Lord will rise again, Crouch! Throw us into Azkaban, we will wait! He will rise again and will come for us, he will reward us beyond any of his other supporters! We alone were faithful! We alone tried to find him!'

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - p.517 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 30, The Pensieve

That's who she is. That's what she wants. That's want she went to Azkaban for. She doesn't really want to go into this battle with some second-hand wand and she certainly does not want to sit this one out on the touchline with the half-time oranges and the fat wheezy boys with a note from matron.

You're also right to bring up her failure at the Ministry and Tonks. Although Voldemort doesn't taunt her about Tonks until later we can gather that things haven't been going well for Bella really. She wants to prove herself. She wants to regain favour.

'Many of our oldest family trees become a little diseased over time,' he said, as Bellatrix gazed at him, breathless and imploring. 'You must prune yours, must you not, to keep it healthy? Cut away those parts that threaten the health of the rest.'

'Yes, my Lord,' whispered Bellatrix, and her eyes swam with tears of gratitude again. 'At the first chance!'

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - pp.16-7 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 1, The Dark Lord Ascending

Again she doesn't wanna miss out on her chance to fight and succeed.

But most of all, to deprive a witch of her wand is to virtually deprive her of her magic. But to deprive a Death Eater of her wand is even worse, surely? These are people who base their self-worth and their identity on their magic. Carrying a wand is a symbol, it's one of the rights that wizards denied Goblins and that's one of the things that Goblins resented about wizards. To remove a wand from a Death Eater is to utterly humiliate them. In Bellatrix's own words:

'Your authority!' she sneered, attempting to wrench her hand from his grasp. 'You lost your authority when you lost your wand, Lucius!'

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - p.373 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 23, Malfoy Manor

I mean, you have it there in your own quote:

'No volunteers?' said Voldemort. 'Let's see ... Lucius, I see no reason for you to have a wand any more.'

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - p.14 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 1, The Dark Lord Ascending

That's what taking the wand means, isn't it? Your services are no longer required.

There is no way that volunteering to give up your wand would impress Voldemort or demonstrate that you are a worthy servant. On the contrary, it would be being willing to live like a Muggle. A true wizard, with true wizarding sense, uses their wand all the time in their daily lives.

There was a deafening clang. Merope had dropped one of the pots.

'Pick it up!' Gaunt bellowed at her. 'That's it, grub on the floor like some filthy Muggle, what's your wand for, you useless sack of muck?'

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - p.194 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 10, The House of Gaunt

Having a wand and using a wand is integral to the kind of ideology a Death Eater would have. It would be a contemptible thing to hand over your wand willingly. It would be being prepared to stoop and pick things up off the floor like some Muggle. It would not be a good way to demonstrate her love or get back on side.

  • I presume by Wheezy you mean Ron et al? If so remember only Severus knew that there would be seven Potters. – Pryftan Aug 4 '18 at 0:46
  • @Pryftan Hehe no it was a reference to the extremely popular British sitcom Blackadder, starring Rowan Atkinson, there wasn't anything to read into it Harry Potter wise :) – Au101 Aug 4 '18 at 1:06
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    @Jenayah Would you mind me pleading my answer’s case? (Usually I wouldn’t bother, but I'm particularly invested here.) I don’t think this is quite right, because there’s nothing really implying (until the Dark Lord actually takes Lucius’s wand) that whoever volunteered their wand would be somehow ‘stripped’ of their right to carry a wand. I agree that Death Eaters would disdain the idea of not having any wand more than most, but I don’t think that comes into play in this specific situation. That’s why I’ve based mine around her wanting to keep her own wand. I’ve also updated to address this. – Bellatrix Aug 7 '18 at 1:54
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    @Jenayah Thanks! :) I’m convinced now - this answer gets right to the heart of why Bellatrix would be insulted at the suggestion that she’d want to give up her wand. :) – Bellatrix Aug 7 '18 at 19:38
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    @Au101 Here’s an upvote, great answer! ;) Bellatrix herself approves! ;) – Bellatrix Aug 7 '18 at 19:40
34

Bellatrix‘s wand, like most wizards’, would be like a part of her.

Wizards’ wands are very important to them. The relationship between a wizard and their wand grows stronger as they continue using it over the years. The more they use it, the better it works for them, and the connection between the wizard and their wand increases as they use it and grows stronger over time. Asking them to give up their wand would be like asking them to cut off their arm.

“The best results, however, must always come where there is the strongest affinity between wizard and wand. These connections are complex. An initial attraction, and then a mutual quest for experience, the wand learning from the wizard, the wizard from the wand.” Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 24 (The Wandmaker)

Bellatrix had (probably) been using the same wand for her entire life, and it had learned from her enough that when Hermione had it, she said it ‘felt like a bit of her’. Bellatrix probably felt the same way about it, and was unwilling to simply give it up, even for the Dark Lord.

“Hermione looked frightened that the wand might sting or bite her as she picked it up.

‘I hate this thing,’ she said in a low voice. ‘I really hate it. It feels all wrong, it doesn’t work properly for me … it’s like a bit of her.” Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 26 (Gringotts)

Hermione suspected that the wand was Bellatrix’s original wand, and therefore it’d be fairly connected to her and adapted to her style of magic by her having used it exclusively for years.

“But that’s my point!’ said Hermione. ‘This is the wand that tortured Neville’s mum and dad, and who knows how many other people? This is the wand that killed Sirius!” Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 26 (Gringotts)

She likely was attached to her wand, and didn’t want to give it up. The Dark Lord could relatively easily get a wand, and she probably didn’t want to part with hers. In addition, if she did give it up, it’d mean she would be in the midst of a wizarding war with a less-than-optimal wand. Actually taking part in the war to the best of her ability would be very important to her. She’d want to be front and center in the battles, so she wouldn’t want to handicap herself by having to change wands to one that won’t work as well. She’d know it’d decrease her ability to duel if she could no longer use her own wand, and she definitely wouldn’t want that to happen. She thrived on battle.

“Potter, you cannot win against me!’ she cried.

He could hear her moving to the right, trying to get a clear shot of him. He backed around the statue away from her, crouching behind the centaur’s legs, his head level with the house-elf’s.

‘I was and am the Dark Lord’s most loyal servant. I learned the Dark Arts from him, and I know spells of such power that you, pathetic little boy, can never hope to compete –”
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 36 (The Only One He Ever Feared)

Since like most wizards she’d likely be attached to her wand, and in her specific case she’d need a reliable one for duels, she’d probably not want to willingly volunteer to give it up when she doesn’t have to. We do see an example of how a wizard feels when forced to part with his wand. When Harry’s wand is broken, he’s extremely upset, and he feels like he lost a part of his magical power.

“The holly and phoenix wand was nearly severed in two. One fragile strand of phoenix feather kept both pieces hanging together. The wood had splintered apart completely. Harry took it into his hands as though it was a living thing that had suffered a terrible injury. He could not think properly: everything was a blur of panic and fear.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 17 (Bathilda’s Secret)

He considered losing it worse than many of the other horrible things he’d experienced, including physical injuries, and felt vulnerable without it. Though this was partially because his wand defended him from the Dark Lord of its own accord, from what we see of the relationship between wizards and their wands, most wizards probably feel somewhat the same about their wands.

“Without realising it, he was digging his fingers into his arms as if he were trying to resist physical pain. He had spilled his own blood more times than he could count; he had lost all the bones in his right arm once; this journey had already given him scars to his chest and forearm to join those on his hand and forehead, but never, until this moment, had he felt himself to be fatally weakened, vulnerable and naked, as though the best part of his magical power had been torn from him.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 18 (The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore)

Bellatrix would know there would be other ways for the Dark Lord to get a wand, so there was no real need for her to volunteer hers but for the possible chance of impressing the Dark Lord (who seemed more to be taunting them all than expecting someone to actually do it), it was unlikely he’d go without a wand. Though she valued the Dark Lord, she still wouldn’t want to just give her wand up, especially since it’d hamper her ability to fight for the Dark Lord and Death Eaters if he took it.

It probably wasn’t that she was afraid she’d remain wandless.

The reason she didn’t want to volunteer her wand probably isn’t because she was afraid that she wouldn’t have any wand at all after giving hers up. The Dark Lord hadn’t said that whoever gave him their wand wouldn’t be allowed to get a replacement, and wizards do sometimes have to get replacement wands. From what the Dark Lord says, it doesn’t seem like she’d be concerned she’d have no wand, and be no better than a Muggle. The only time he implied someone was ‘unworthy’ to have any wand was when he said he would take Lucius’s instead. The only reason why Lucius ‘lost his authority when he lost his wand’ is because of how he lost it - after not getting any offers, the Dark Lord told Lucius it wasn’t necessary for him to have a wand, implying he’s useless.

“No volunteers?’ said Voldemort. ‘Let’s see … Lucius, I see no reason for you to have a wand any more.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 1 (The Dark Lord Ascending)

However, the way he asked for volunteers to give him a wand, he didn’t imply they were giving away their right to a wand if they did, just that they were giving him their specific wand. Bellatrix herself eventually has to get another wand because Harry and co. took hers, so her wand was forcibly taken away from her by them, and this doesn’t get in the way of her getting a new wand since she has one at the battle. Even if the Dark Lord was upset at her ‘allowing’ her wand to be taken away, he still (presumably) allowed her to get another one.

“Bellatrix was still fighting too, fifty yards away from Voldemort, and like her master she duelled three at once: Hermione, Ginny and Luna, all battling their hardest, but Bellatrix was equal to them, and Harry’s attention was diverted as a Killing Curse shot so close to Ginny that she missed death by an inch –”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 36 (The Flaw in the Plan)

Bellatrix, specifically, didn’t have much reason to think the Dark Lord would leave her without a wand at that time. He hadn’t yet mentioned her niece reproducing with a werewolf, and while she fell out of favor a bit after the failure to get the prophecy, she didn’t seem to be being punished in the same way the Malfoy family was. Therefore, her reasoning was probably based on a desire to keep her own wand instead of getting a new one that wouldn’t work as well for her.

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    Well blimey that was fast. You really thought that through did you? Ever felt like you might have to explain yourself to someone at some point? :) – Jenayah Aug 3 '18 at 21:32
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    @Jenayah Thanks! :) Yes, I did think this through, quite a lot actually and for a while before. Now I get the chance to explain myself! :) – Bellatrix Aug 3 '18 at 21:35
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    @Jenayah No, I’m just really obsessed with Bellatrix! ;) I never expected this to be asked, I wanted to find the answer for my own reasons. – Bellatrix Aug 3 '18 at 21:41
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    Nevertheless, as usual, great answer, and as @Himarm points out above I like the suggestion of an internal crisis for such a wicked character. +1, soon to be accepted if no better answer is posted, blahblahblah, same old song. :p – Jenayah Aug 3 '18 at 21:42
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    Straight from the horse's mouth! – user76284 Aug 4 '18 at 7:43

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