I have just listened through books 1-5 in the Harry Potter series. I am currently almost at the end of book 6. In many places in the series we are given to understand that removing a wizard’s wand significantly reduces their ability at controlled magic. See for example the behaviour of Dumbledore’s enemies, when they finally have him cornered.

Given that, it would seem best practice to immediately obtain or break an enemy wizard’s wand, once you have neutralised them completely (f.e. with Expeliarmus and Petrificus Totalus, with Petrificus Totalus alone if the wand is accessible, with Expeliarmus and Impedimenta, with Expeliarmus and Levicorpus,…). Yet, such strategy seems to occur only very rarely (f.e. during the first encounter with Sirius). And it seems to play no role in major battles (f.e, battle for Hogwarts).

Are there reasons for that?

I am not claiming that removing the wand with Expeliarmus is rare. That happens all the time. I am wondering why taking away or breaking the wand after Expeliarmus does not seem to have become popular.

  • 3
    @Valorum what are you talking about? After they are neutralized you can just take it from them. The question is asking about after you are no longer in danger.
    – Joe W
    Commented Nov 24, 2022 at 19:45
  • 5
    Because the world of Harry Potter is completely inconsistent? I mean, why do some wands change allegiances and some dont? What happens when students are taught expeliarmus in classes, do they all need to go out and get new wands at the end of class, or is there someway to give a wand back? Why do humans need wands but other magical creatures seemingly don't? Why is some magic only done via wands and other magic isnt (disapparating for example)?
    – Moo
    Commented Nov 24, 2022 at 20:11
  • 2
    @Moo - HP may have lots of plot holes, but that is all explained. 1. Wands are quasi-sentient and have different personalities, just like humans. This can be influenced by the wand wood type and the core material, but is ultimately individual. 2. All wands except the Elder Wand build affinity with wielders over time. A single disarming charm will not cause them to shift their allegiance to the point of unusability, and whatever affinity is lost will be regained through further use.
    – Adamant
    Commented Nov 26, 2022 at 15:37
  • 2
    3. Any magical creature that can hold it and is intelligent enough can benefit from a wand, which is major sticking point between goblins and humans. Humans can perform magic without wands as well, but they do not have a talent for it, and at least at European Wizarding schools, it is not taught, so they get even worse at it. 4. Disapparition, like most magic, requires a wand if the caster is not talented with wandless magic. You don't need to wave it, but it is still necessary to have it on you.
    – Adamant
    Commented Nov 26, 2022 at 15:40
  • 3
    I agree with @Valorum here - the combat tactics employed by wizards make no sense, and clearly are chosen for storytelling value primarily. For example, any group of mediocre wizards should be able to defeat any individual wizard, regardless of power level, by employing small unit tactics. But none ever do. Everyone duels, because that makes for better storytelling in this universe.
    – tbrookside
    Commented Nov 28, 2022 at 1:51

1 Answer 1


Because it's hard to do

In the multi-wizard fights where we don't see Expelliarmus, the reasoning seems clear. You need to K.O. your opponent swiftly and might not be able to follow-up with another attack because you have to go fight somebody new.

Expelliarmus is both a blockable spell AND one simple enough for a twelve-year-old to learn. So presumably the reason you don't see it being used all the time is that the counters to the move are simple and obvious. It works for Harry in multiple instances because, reading between the lines, the move is so unlikely to work in a life-or-death situation that nobody actually expects someone to try it. Ergo it works for Harry in specific scenarios where his opponent is either overconfident (Voldy in the graveyard), surprised (Malfoy Manor), or under the Imperius Curse (Stan on his broom). In the first case He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is clearly not expecting much of a fight, and the fight he DOES expect would be one that he (never hesitant to kill) would make. In the other two instances it's fairly clear that other spells would have been more effective (Lupin straight-up tells Harry so regarding Stan in Book 7).

Even assuming the spell isn't as easily blocked as it appears, it's still clearly not a top-tier combat spell. You yourself said that Expelliarmus would be most effective when combined with another spell. But that means that in a fight you have to hit your opponent twice to get the same result as a stunning spell. Inefficient, and dangerous. To make it work you'd have to have both spells castable as quickly as possible. So, if you fire off Expelliarmus, you don't have time to see if it's worked—you gotta go right into Levicorpus. But if you missed, your opponent can now hit you back. If you take a second to see if they ARE disarmed, they can hide behind cover, grab their fallen wand, or perhaps (as we know you can at least do Lumos when the wand isn't actually in your hand) even cast something at you if their wand isn't too far away. And if you hit them with Expelliarmus you then need to cast ANOTHER SPELL to incapacitate your opponent. If you miss that one, they can get their wand, tackle you, throw a Neezle at you, whatever. At the very least you need to hit your opponent with Expelliarmus and then grab his wand as it goes flying through the air. It's extra time dealing with your opponent and that leaves you open to attack. Meanwhile with something like Stupefy or the Killing Curse the enemy is out of action, first hit, guaranteed.

  • 1
    "At the very least you need to hit your opponent with Expelliarmus and then grab his wand as it goes flying through the air." Very good point. Perhaps a reason why Harry prefers Expelliarmus is his Seeker reflexes.
    – Righter
    Commented Nov 29, 2022 at 16:08
  • Great first answer!
    – Oliphaunt
    Commented Nov 29, 2022 at 20:23

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