18

There was a sudden movement behind them. Gilderoy Lockhart’s knees had given way.

‘Get up,’ said Ron sharply, pointing his wand at Lockhart.

Lockhart got to his feet – then he dived at Ron, knocking him to the ground.

Harry jumped forward, but too late. Lockhart was straightening up, panting, Ron’s wand in his hand and a gleaming smile back on his face.

‘The adventure ends here, boys!’ he said.

Chamber of Secrets - page 224 - Bloomsbury - chapter 16, The Chamber of Secrets

Gilderoy Lockhart took Ron Weasley's wand by force.

Did Ron's wand switch its allegiance to Lockhart or not?

I'm looking for an answer based in wandlore, not a quick "Because Ron's wand was broken" one-liner with no supporting explanation, canon references, or wandlore. I'm interested in hearing about how wandlore and damaged wands might work together to affect the ability of a wand to change its allegiance -- I'm sure Ron's wand being broken could have been a factor either way, but why and how? Subjective answers with wandlore and the spirit of canon are totally fine. I'm not looking for any HP Wiki/Wikia answers.

ETA: I was talking with DVK and he indicated my question sounded like I had already made up my mind that Ron's wand did switch allegiance. I have edited this slightly to be more neutral because I don't have an opinion on whether the wand switched allegiance or not. That's why I'm asking. Hopefully my clarifications will help.

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    I'm adding this as a comment because you don't want to hear it. Ron's wand (say that five times fast) turned on Lockhart because it was broken, much in the same way it turned on Ron for the very same reason... – TGnat Jun 28 '12 at 14:40
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    Why do you persist in believing that all wands change allegiance the same way that the Elder Wand does? – Martha Jun 28 '12 at 15:00
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    @onewho I could be wrong, but I thought Harry physically took the wands from Malfoy in Deathly Hallows, thereby winning the allegiance of the Elder Wand, so I don't think that it needs to be magical disarming. – Anthony Grist Jun 28 '12 at 15:13
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    I don't get this. We have someone here, Slytherincess, who has demonstrated so much knowledge on HP that, for a while, some of us where wondering if she was JKR and, when she asks a question in HP, many say, "If she doesn't know, who does?". In other words, this question is asked by a person proven to be knowledgable in the field. In other words, she's smart enough to know if there's more to it than a broken wand and asks for more. Then someone says that, ignoring all that's asked, and everyone votes for and defends that comment? This is stupid and, @Martha, that's just rude. – Tango Jun 28 '12 at 16:07
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    Sorry, coming in late (stoopid real job): I don't understand how my comment was rude, but since it seems to have been interpreted that way, I sincerely apologize. No offense intended, just honest curiosity. – Martha Jun 28 '12 at 22:20
35

Ron's wand was malfunctioning throughout the entire book, and there is evidence that the difficulty of the spell being performed increases the likelihood that the wand will backfire.

Here is a quote from when Ron is regurgitating slugs:

“That’s a difficult curse to work at the best of times, but with a broken wand —”

Seeing as how the memory charm that Lockhart had cooking up for the boys was indicated to be very difficult, it is likely that the reason the wand backfired was due to the difficulty of the spell and not its allegiance.

There is also the fact that Ron may not even have the allegiance of the wand himself.

From The Sorcerer's Stone:

He rummaged around in his trunk and pulled out a very battered-looking wand. It was chipped in places and something white was glinting at the end. "Unicorn hair's nearly poking out..."

and

"You never get anything new, either, with five brothers. I've got Bill's old robes, Charlie's old wand, and Percy's old rat."

As with most of Ron's possessions, the wand was a hand me down, and as the wand chooses the wizard in so far as allegiances go, I find it likely that the wand was never Ron's to begin with. Therefore I think that Lockhart never had a chance to win Ron's wand from him, since it was not Ron's to begin with. The wand performed as poorly for Lockhart as it had for Ron, due to the fact that it was both broken, and did not have an allegiance to either of them.

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    +1 Good point about the wand not choosing Ron. There's another quote somewhere that lists who he got the wand from. It's something like "Charlie's old wand and Percy's old rat" and Bill's robes, maybe? I don't have the books in front of me, so I can't confirm. – chama Jun 28 '12 at 18:00
  • @chama I thought I had read that too, but searched The Chamber of Secrets and The Sorcerer's Stone and couldn't find it. – NominSim Jun 28 '12 at 18:07
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    @chama: it is right there in Philosopher's Stone chapter 6. Ron says ‘You never get anything new, either, with five brothers. I've got Bill's old robes, Charlie's old wand and Percy's old rat.’ – b_jonas Jun 28 '12 at 18:36
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    Good point about Ron likely not having had allegiance in the first place. +1 – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jun 28 '12 at 18:40
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    If Ron never had the wand’s true allegiance, it should actually have worked worse for Lockhart than for Ron, since, as Rowling has said herself, “Where there is a family connection, a wand will work a little better than a wand chosen at random, I think. Even without its allegiance, Ron should be able to use ‘his’ wand better than some random wand that has no relationship with him at all. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 9 '16 at 14:13
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I'm going to have to take the plunge here and dare to suggest that the answer to the question of "Why didn't X happen" is "because DID happen".

In other words, there is absolutely no evidence that Ron's wand did NOT switch its allegiance to Lockhart.

Remember that switching allegiance means that the wand bonds to the wizard and performs as well for the new owner as it performed for the original owner (and better than a random wand would).

But - as was repeatedly shown throughout CS (e.g. when Ron cast a rebounding curse that cause him to vomit slugs), the wand DID backfire on Ron, more than once. Despite Ron having allegiance from it.

So it's absolutely NOT against the canon wandlore that the wand would backfire on Lockhart if/when he had its allegiance.


Actually, the allegiance switching IS possibly supported in canon, if you look at it in a certain way.

Lockhart's memory modification charm ended up being very powerful, seemingly more powerful than average memory charms Lockhart employed on others:

  • it completely obliterated the target's memory

  • judging by the scene in OotP where he's still at St. Mungo's; it had multi-year or possibly permanent mental effect

  • On top of which if caused a major physical explosion that caused a cave-in.

I would posit that this evident power of the charm is caused by the wand giving Lockhart its allegiance.

It was just bad luck for him that the wand was broken, so all that power backfired at the wrong target.


To use a real world analogy, imagine a wand being a human assistant flunky. If he gives you his allegiance, he will do better work for you than someone merely hired to do the work - that's how leadership works. If he gives someone else allegiance, he will do the best work he can for them.

BUT, the key word here is "best work he can".

If the flunky is given a bat and told to hit someone, he would do so; and more enthusiastically if you have his allegiance.

But if the flunky is a total spazz and manages to hit you (standing behind him) while swinging the bat, that has to do with him being a useless uncoordinated idiot, despite being extra super loyal to you. He might even hit you HARDER because his loyalty motivated him to swing harder.

  • +1 for the fact that anyone in Britain in Authority would have a hissy fit at the word Spazz! – Steven Wood Feb 18 '14 at 12:23

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