Dumbledore himself said this:

“If you planned your death with Snape, you meant him to end up with the Elder Wand, didn’t you?”

“I admit that was my intention,” said Dumbledore, “but it did not work as I had intended, did it?”

Meaning Dumbledore definitely should understand that Voldemort would have to kill Snape when/if he (Voldemort) gets the Elder Wand. It even doesn't matter if the allegiance of the Wand transferred to Snape in this case. If Snape kills Dumbledore, Voldemort would have him killed simply to be 100% sure the Wand works for him properly.

Does this mean Dumbledore actually planned Snape to be murdered and saw him just as another necessary sacrifice to his case (same way as he saw Harry)? As far as we know, Dumbledore never told Snape that his wand was The Wand, so by signing up for Dumbledore's plan Snape even wasn't aware of the danger.

  • Related questions: scifi.stackexchange.com/q/25286/76048 scifi.stackexchange.com/q/25292/76048
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 11:10
  • 8
    This presupposes, of course, that Dumbledore thought that Voldemort would work out that his wand was the Elder Wand - which didn't happen until March of the following year. (Voldemort didn't even start looking for the Elder Wand until after Dumbledore was dead...) Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 12:55
  • @Chronocidal True, I had that in mind as well. But the chances were enough for Dumbledore to predict this possibility. I guess
    – Shana Tar
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 17:05
  • 1
    @ShanaTar The possibility that, if Voldemort and Harry next crossed wands they weren't using their normal wands and the priori incantantum still took place, and Voldemort then interrogated someone about wands who might reveal the existence of the mythical fairy-tale "death stick", and that Voldemort might decide to go chasing that particular wild goose instead of, I don't know, throwing a dagger at him? Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 19:35
  • In my opinion, his plan was forged in the last year of his life where he is suffering from the curse so definetly he hadn't considered every possible outcome Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 1:44

4 Answers 4


No, he meant Voldemort to think it his.

It seems highly unlikely that Dumbledore planned that Snape would have to die. He likely had reasoned that Voldemort would consider stealing the wand from his tomb to be enough to master it, which he did, for quite some time. Voldemort stole the Elder Wand before Easter break, and when he decided he needed to kill Snape to master the Elder Wand, Easter break was already over, and Hogwarts students were back at school. That means for weeks he could not figure out why it was not working for him when he stole it from Dumbledore’s tomb, and had not considered it necessary to kill Snape.

“I sought a third wand, Severus. The Elder Wand, the Wand of Destiny, the Deathstick. I took it from its previous master. I took it from the grave of Albus Dumbledore.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 32 (The Elder Wand)

Dumbledore likely intended for Voldemort to be defeated without ever deciding he needed to kill Snape to master the Elder Wand, possibly without ever realizing he had not indeed become the master of the Elder Wand when he stole it. Additionally, Dumbledore never risked Voldemort gaining mastery of the Elder Wand through Snape. Dumbledore’s plan was not to pass the mastery of the Elder Wand on to Snape - it was to die by his own choice and therefore undefeated, in a way that would not pass the mastery of the Elder Wand on.

“That wand still isn’t working properly for you, because you murdered the wrong person. Severus Snape was never the true master of the Elder Wand. He never defeated Dumbledore.’

‘He killed –’

‘Aren’t you listening? Snape never beat Dumbledore! Dumbledore’s death was planned between them! Dumbledore intended to die undefeated, the wand’s last true master! If all had gone as planned, the wand’s power would have died with him, because it had never been won from him!”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 36 (The Flaw in the Plan)

Further confirmation of this - when Harry tells the portrait of Dumbledore in Hogwarts of his plan to put the Elder Wand back in his grave and asked if his dying naturally would break the Elder Wand’s power, Dumbledore agreed with all of it.

“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.’

Dumbledore nodded. They smiled at each other.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 36 (The Flaw in the Plan)

Dumbledore also had plans dependent on Snape to carry them out. He intended Snape to be alive to tell Harry that he held a piece of Voldemort’s soul himself. Furthermore, Dumbledore does not seem to have told anyone other than Snape this, so he relied only on Snape to pass this crucial knowledge on.

“But what must he do?’

‘That is between Harry and me. Now, listen closely, Severus. There will come a time – after my death – do not argue, do not interrupt! There will come a time when Lord Voldemort will seem to fear for the life of his snake.’

‘For Nagini?’ Snape looked astonished.

‘Precisely. If there comes a time when Lord Voldemort stops sending that snake forth to do his bidding, but keeps it safe beside him, under magical protection, then, I think, it will be safe to tell Harry.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 33 (The Prince’s Tale)

Since this conversation with Harry as Dumbledore had planned it would have to take place soon before Harry’s and Voldemort’s final battle, Dumbledore would have had to intend that Snape remain alive at least until shortly before that final confrontation.

  • 3
    The last quote convinced me :)
    – Shana Tar
    Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 3:18
  • 1
    @ShanaTar Thanks, I’m glad my answer makes sense! :) I forgot to mention this in the answer itself, but I also don’t think Dumbledore told anyone other than Snape that Harry had a piece of Voldemort’s soul, so he was relying exclusively on Snape to tell Harry that crucial piece of information.
    – Obsidia
    Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 5:02
  • 2
    Also note that Voldemort was not even seeking a more powerful wand until the events leading to the destruction of his own. A lot of things had to fall into place that had not when Dumbledore made these plans. Voldemort had to first desire the wand, then find it, then master it. Ollivander was really the weakness in this plan that put Snape in danger, as he put Voldemort on the right trail and could have learned about wand mastery from him.
    – rtaft
    Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 15:07

There's some flaws with that theory. Spoilers ahead. Let's start off with

Snape was a well-planted double agent

This was Dumbledore's master stroke. He had managed to get someone close to Voldemort without Voldemort (or the audience) suspecting. It makes little sense for Dumbledore to have gone through all that trouble, only to have him do something that Dumbledore knew would get him killed. It's also been theorized

Non-canon speculation - may be he also planned to have Snape to lose the wand to Harry to transfer the Mastery to Harry.

Voldemort kills Snape over a misunderstanding

The Elder Wand follows the path of power

Rowling: The Elder Wand is simply the most dispassionate and ruthless of wands in that it will only take into consideration strength. [..] the Elder Wand knows no loyalty except to strength. So it's completely unsentimental. It will only go where the power is. So if you win, then you've won the wand. So you don't need to kill with it. But, as is pointed out in the books, not least by Dumbledore because it is a wand of such immense power, almost inevitably, it attracts wizards who are prepared to kill and who will kill. And also it attracts wizards like Voldemort who confuse being prepared to murder with strength.

Voldemort assumes two key things that are wrong

  1. Snape disarmed Dumbledore (since it was Snape who killed Dumbledore) and thus Snape owns the wand
  2. The wand belongs to whomever kills the previous owner

This nearly derails the plans Dumbledore and Snape had been working on. Snape doesn't want to die and is only barely given a chance to keep Dumbledore's plan alive by passing his memories to Harry (which lets Harry see that Draco disarmed Dumbledore)

  • 2
    It doesn't really matter if Voldemort's assumptions about the wand were right or wrong. The point is that Dumbledore should have been able to predict what Voldemort would assume and that it will most probably lead to Snape's death
    – Shana Tar
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 14:47
  • 2
    @ShanaTar Voldemort killed Snape out of desperation and ignorance. In other words, if Dumbledore really did plan it that way, it relied solely on how Voldemort's mood would play out. That's leaving a LOT of things to chance for someone who was an immaculate planner.
    – Machavity
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 14:56
  • 2
    @ShanaTar Yes. Dumbledore should have been able to predict that the Muggle-raised Tom Riddle, completely uninterested in childish things such as Fairy Tales, would suddenly decide that a fanciful artefact from a children's fairy tale was real, and that Dumbledore had been in possession of it. ("Nyaah! My wand's super powerful! It was made by Death, and can never be beated, so you lose, stinky-head") Completely impeccable logic there </sarcasm> Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 19:20
  • 1
    @Chronocidal The legendary Unbeatable Wand was a common knowledge, most of the people didn't connect it with Fairytales or Deathly Hallows. Voldemort would likely have heard about the wand even if he didn't know the Fairytale. The question was more if he'd believed the stories were true and tried to track the wand.
    – Shana Tar
    Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 3:26
  • 3
    Harry did already know that Draco disarmed Dumbledore; he was there when it happened. What’s less clear, is, when did he realize the implication regarding the Elder Wand.
    – Holger
    Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 7:26

No, Dumbledore intended Snape to survive and inherit the Elder Wand

Immediately before the quote you mentioned, Dumbledore expresses his sympathy and regret for Snape's death.

"For him (Voldemort), the Elder Wand has become an obsession to rival his obsession with you. He believes that the Elder Wand removes his last weakness and makes him truly invincible. Poor Severus..." - King's Cross, Deathly Hallows

If he had intended Snape to die, he would have told Harry here; Dumbledore said earlier in the chapter, "I have no secrets from you anymore."

And in The Prince's Tale, the portrait of Dumbledore tells Snape,

"...I am counting upon you to remain in Lord Voldemort's good books as long as possible, or Hogwarts will be left to the mercy of the Carrows..."

Which implies that Dumbledore was planning and hoping that Snape would be Headmaster as long as the Carrows were at Hogwarts, which would likely be as long as Voldemort was in power.

  • 1
    I think Dumbledore said Poor Severus because Snape was killed by Nagini : which is a really painful way to die. .. Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 13:59
  • Those are some good quotes, thank you! The second quote was said to Snape though, meaning that if Dumbledore was not honest with him about Elder Wand before, he might be just saying what Snape was expecting to hear to keep him loyal.
    – Shana Tar
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 17:23
  • 1
    He was definitely not very transparent, but Dumbledore has a history of not letting his students be mistreated. With as sadistic as the Carrows were, this comment seems genuine.
    – Bishop
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 21:21
  • 2
    @TheMadHatter More likely because Snape died for nothing. And also "Poor Severus" because of the years he spent hiding his love for Lily and then Harry. Snape's story is a classic tragedy.
    – Graham
    Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 11:13
  • 1
    @TheMadHatter Not the way I interpreted it. The quote I thought of immediately upon seeing this question is that quote and I never thought it being about Nagini but rather that he was murdered. Not just murdered but in vain - there was absolutely no point in it. Severus never owned the wand!
    – Pryftan
    Commented Jun 13, 2020 at 0:04

Snape wanted to die eventually. He stayed alive only to help Harry , the child of whom he loved.

He fulfilled his mission ( helping Harry ) , and died in peace to rejoin Lily Potter.

He loved Lily even after she married James . When she died Snape was heartbroken ( especially as it was he who gave Voldy part of the Prophecy ) , so heartbroken that he asked Dumbledore to KILL HIM !

But Dumbleton said no because. ...

But if he had died then he would be viewed as a coward in his afterlife. He stayed alive to prove that he truly loved Lily Potter ( and gain her trust ) by helping her son, so when he dies he will be welcomed by her.

Dumbledore probably planned his death because he KNEW that Snape wanted to die.

EDIT : What's more Dumbledore really intended the wand's power to die with him . What he meant by " the last bit of his plan didn't work " is that Draco Malfoy became the Elder Wand's master . This blunder was repaired when Harry disarmed Draco and became the Wand's Master.

  • 1
    I'm not quite sure how any of this attempts to answer the question? Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 19:15
  • The OP asks whether Dumbledore planned Snape's death - the answer is yes; albeit I have written it in Snape's PoV , Snape did technically want to die and Dumbledore knew this, so he probably planned Snape's death. Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 3:18
  • 2
    Except that (per the OP's quote) Dumbledore explicitly intended Snape to end up in possession of the Elder Wand - and "possession" means having its powers too. Voldemort would then have been faced with the second most powerful wizard in Britain, arguably the best living duellist in Britain and possibly the world (let's not forget just how damn good Snape was!), armed with the most powerful magical artifact that has ever existed, who at the best of times before Lily died was pretty merciless, and who has now had years of a cast-iron grudge against Voldemort for killing Lily.
    – Graham
    Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 11:03
  • 2
    ...It's clear that Dumbledore didn't intend Snape to die - he intended Snape to utterly crush Voldemort. Snape already had the motive, opportunity and skills; Dumbledore intended to add the weapon to make absolutely sure. Harry was only part of that plan insofar as Snape would eventually have to kill him, and Dumbledore knew that Snape was tough enough for that. But Malfoy and Harry interfered at exactly the wrong time and screwed up that carefully-laid plan.
    – Graham
    Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 11:09
  • @Graham Ah - tis an interesting theory : you mean Dumbledore wanted Harry to die (and thus eliminating Volderemorts' last horcrux ) - then Snape would eventually kill Voldermort ? Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 13:59

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