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In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010), why does Lucius look unhappy while offering his wand to his lord?

  • 1
    See this related post....
    – Tode
    Dec 17, 2021 at 13:52
  • possible duplicate - scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/158505/…
    – NKCampbell
    Dec 17, 2021 at 16:20
  • 1
    Considering that the first use that Voldemort makes of the wand is to break off its handle, this shouldn't be surprising. Dec 17, 2021 at 19:42
  • 6
    I can't think of a way to say it that doesn't sound like trolling, but I feel like the language about wands (including all of the polishing) has a lot of phallic imagery, with Lucious being forced to surrender his wand being symbolic emasculation.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Dec 17, 2021 at 20:32
  • 5
    "Give me your cellphone and PIN." How does that feel? That's how wizards feel about their wands. Dec 19, 2021 at 15:38

5 Answers 5


A wand and a wizard have a special affinity.

Taking a wizard's wand away is like taking one of his hands away.

The sun was coming up: The pure, colorless vastness of the sky stretched over him, indifferent to him and his suffering. Harry sat down in the tent entrance and took a deep breath of clean air. Simply to be alive to watch the sun rise over the sparkling snowy hillside ought to have been the greatest treasure on earth, yet he could not appreciate it: his senses had been spiked by the calamity of losing his wand. He looked out over a valley blanketed in snow, distant church bells chiming through the glittering silence.

Without realizing 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 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.

(The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore, The Deathly Hallows)

Being forced to surrender one's wand is extremely humiliating

A wand is something that every witch and wizard has; from Muggle-borns to Purebloods. A wizard without a wand is almost no better than a Muggle, which is very humiliating for a proud Pureblood like Lucius.

Therefore, Lucius is deeply saddened and embarrassed by the loss of his wand.

  • 9
    You could expand your last paragraph to include that, at this point, Lucius is deep in Voldy's bad graces, which makes the taking of his wand an even more calculated slight
    – fez
    Dec 17, 2021 at 20:03
  • 4
    "A wizard without a wand is almost no better than a Muggle" — that's wrong: not only is wandless magic possible, it's even possible to do nontrivial things with it (apparently, even to kill, though it wasn't actually done in the books), not only for goblins and house elves, but for wizards too, as Quirrel demonstrated at the end of HPPS, see e.g. this discussion
    – Ruslan
    Dec 17, 2021 at 21:54
  • 3
    Adding to the point about humiliation, taking away a wizard's wand is also what is done in cases of serious crime (like Hagrid, who illegally keeps the remnants in that umbrella).
    – dbmag9
    Dec 18, 2021 at 14:24
  • re: wandless magic... the most obvious example of this (being possible, at least) is underage magic
    – somebody
    Dec 18, 2021 at 19:39
  • @Ruslan wandless magic is possible but rarely done by the average wizard. I always had the feeling that a side effect of the wizarding school(s) is wizards becoming helplessly dependent on wands as that’s what is taught. Even things they did unconsciously and wandless as underaged suddenly require a wand. But the Quirrell discussion is misleading. He did not wave his wand while doing magic, but he still carried one—an entirely different situation.
    – Holger
    Dec 20, 2021 at 8:48

Lucius is unhappy because a wizard's wand is a very personal object to be handing over.

‘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 him displayed nothing but shock; he might have announced that he wanted to borrow one of their arms.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Chapter One - The Dark Lord Ascending

Lucius is unhappy because he's been humiliated in front of his peers.

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

Lucius Malfoy looked up. His skin appeared yellowish and waxy in the firelight and his eyes were sunken and shadowed. When he spoke, his voice was hoarse.

‘My Lord?’

‘Your wand, Lucius. I require your wand.’

  • To bluntly make subtext text: the wand is a phallic symbol. No wonder Lucius was upset about giving that one up. (For a more canonical example, recall all the jokes in the books about polishing wands…) Dec 20, 2021 at 11:10

It leaves him completely defenseless in a world where all of his enemies have wands - and where he can't really trust his "friends" or his "lord", either.

  • 6
    He also knows that he's being singled out for his previous failures. Voldemort could have "requested" a wand from anyone, but he specifically chose Malfoy. It's meant as a punishment, and Malfoy knows it.
    – chepner
    Dec 17, 2021 at 14:00
  • Agreed, but he's not completely defenseless. Wandless magic is possible. No idea how good Lucius is at it though. Probably wouldn't be able to defend himself against Voldy, but then, the wand probably wouldn't help much there anyway, and besides, a good minion doesn't defend himself against his master's punishment... wow, that wandered quickly!
    – FreeMan
    Dec 17, 2021 at 15:27
  • 1
    It leaves him temporarily wandless. I'd imagine that a smart wizard would have an acceptable spare stashed somewhere (or in the worst case, could get one of their cronies to grab them something usable)
    – Valorum
    Dec 17, 2021 at 21:18
  • 1
    Lucius probably shouldn't start flaunting a spare wand around when Voldemort has publicly stripped him of his primary wand, and everyone knows it's a punishment, though. Voldemort hasn't banned him from using all wands, yet, and Lucius probably wants to keep it that way.
    – notovny
    Dec 17, 2021 at 23:02

Having one's wand taken from you is a specific insult. We also see from other characters that it's seen as a deliberate undermining of Lucius Malfoy as a wizard, and as a person of authority.

From Deathly Hallows Chapter 23:

"I was about to call him!" said Lucius, and his hand actually closed upon Bellatrix's wrist, preventing her from touching the Mark. "I shall summon him, Bella, Potter has been brought to my house, and it is therefore upon my authority-"

"Your authority!" she sneered, attempting to wrench her hand from his grasp. "You lost your authority when you lost your wand, Lucius! How dare you! Take your hands off me!"

As we can see here, from another wizard's PoV, it's the losing of his wand that she claims stripped him of his authority. Not the fact that he's failed, not the fact that he's in disfavour with Voldemort, specifically the fact that he lost his wand. And Voldemort was being calculating in that choice, and it's heavily implied that he knows it would be the consequence, when he took his wand away from him:

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

  • I don't see that a follows b. It's that the wand was taken from him that signals his lack of authority, not the lack of a wand (or else he could just go get a new wand).
    – Valorum
    Dec 21, 2021 at 20:54
  • @Valorum I dunno that that's a distinction with a difference in the story at that point. Ollivander's a prisoner and not making anyone wands, Voldy is busy killing other wand makers, Lucius' house has been co-opted as a HQ, it's not like Lucius can just go get a new wand made. One way or another, this is a quote showing how another person views him after Voldemort takes possession of the wand.
    – DariM
    Dec 22, 2021 at 3:03
  • Harry and his guys just acquire new wands by looting the dead
    – Valorum
    Dec 22, 2021 at 8:21

As Garrick Ollivander once said: "The wand chooses the wizard, Harry" He felt scared because Voldemort might punish him if his wand did not work accordingly for Voldemort like Voldemort's own wand did.

  • 8
    Hi, I'm glad you want to participate, but "probably" doesn't really answer the question . You need to find some book or movie quotes that support your argument.
    – Spencer
    Dec 17, 2021 at 19:55
  • Okay I changed it. Dec 17, 2021 at 20:01
  • 1
    Surely he can just get another similar wand and have that choose him.
    – Valorum
    Dec 17, 2021 at 20:01
  • Well, that is possible, since Harry got Malfoy's wand, and it worked perfectly for him, so I'll change it a little Dec 17, 2021 at 20:03
  • @readingminer Removing the word "probably" doesn't really make the sentence more definite... a quote would be much more helpful
    – Righter
    Dec 18, 2021 at 14:36

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