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Warning: heavy spoilers regarding the end of the 6th Harry Potter book, and the 7th book.

Near the end of the 6th book, Harry and Dumbledore land on the top of the Astronomy Tower. Malfoy appears, disarms Dumbledore, then Snape arrives and kills Dumbledore. Since that was part of a deal between Dumbledore and Snape, and since disarming Dumbledore counts as defeating him (for some reason), Malfoy is described as inheriting the ownership of the Elder Wand this way.

Why would it change anything to the Elder Wand ownership whether Snape made a deal with Dumbledore or not ? If we accept that Malfoy disarming him grants Malfoy the ownership of the wand, why would it matter what happens to Dumbledore afterwards, whether he's defeated again and whether he's killed and by whom ?

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    I am not sure why it matters (Deal between D&S), is there something in the book that brings it up? (Been too long since I read it) BUT, no one knew that Malfoy had disarmed Dumbledore (Except Harry, Malfoy and Snape) And everyone knew that Snape had killed Dumbledore, and thus assumed he had defeated him. So Voldemort thought he had to defeat Snape to gain control of the Elder Wand.
    – NJohnny
    Jan 29, 2023 at 23:24
  • Which coincidentally saved Malfoy from death at V's hand. Dumbledore valued the potential of youth to reform. Jan 29, 2023 at 23:36
  • To destroy the power of the Elder Wand? But that was a failure on Dumbledore's part, as Malfoy did get the wand. Jan 30, 2023 at 0:40
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    I clarified the title. It does matter, of course, the cause of death of Dumbledore and the allegiance of Snape matter very much. I'm only asking as to how it changes anything regarding the Elder Wand. Jan 30, 2023 at 1:53
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    Can we please not have such a huge spoiler in the title of the question? Even people who want to avoid reading this question will be forced to see its title.
    – Stef
    Jan 30, 2023 at 13:55

2 Answers 2

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Yes, it does matter

It matters that Snape and Dumbledore made a deal beforehand because they didn't plan on Draco disarming Dumbledore, he meant to die undefeated.

'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!'

They didn't know that Draco would disarm Dumbledore, making him the true master of the elder wand. If all had gone to plan and Draco didn't disarm Dumbledore, Dumbledore would have died undefeated, making it so that no one could become the true master of the elder wand, even if they had possession of it.

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  • Emphasis on "if all had gone to plan", in your quote. If it had, then that deal would probably matter, but since it hasn't, what does the existence of the deal change to the effective line of succession ? I.e if there hadn't been a deal, given that Malfoy disarmed/defeated Dumbledore before any action on Snape's part, what effective change(s) would it have made on the Elder Wand ownership ? Jan 30, 2023 at 22:20
  • @Gouvernathor That is in the answer. Dumbledore would have died undefeated -- Snape would not have won ownership of the wand because it was not a duel, but an agreement. The Elder Wand would forever belong to Dumbledore. At least, that was what Dumbledore believed would happen.
    – Turbo
    Jan 30, 2023 at 23:06
  • @Turbo how does that make sense : you're saying that if Dumbledore deals with Snape, Malfoy disarming him defeats him, but if Snape and Dumbledore don't have a deal... what, Malfoy's disarming doesn't count ? How can that be a consequence of a deal Malfoy is not a part of ? Jan 31, 2023 at 1:39
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    @Gouvernathor Whether or not they had a deal is a moot point, because Malfoy beat them to the punch. Malfoy disarming him counts either way, because Malfoy beat him first. The short answer is, anyone who defeats the master of the Wand becomes the new master. If the master dies undefeated (as would have been the case if Snape "beat" Dumbledore before Malfoy), it is believed the wand will be forever masterless.
    – Turbo
    Jan 31, 2023 at 1:49
  • These seems to be the definitive answer. After all, who would know more about it than the current Master of the Elder Wand?
    – RC_23
    Feb 3, 2023 at 4:05
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Yes, the deal matters.

Dumbledore made the deal with Snape to destroy the wand's power. If all had gone as planned, Dumbledore would have been the wand's last owner. (Drawing from The Boy Who Lived's excellent quote):

"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

But Draco (unexpectedly) became the wand's owner.

"The true master of the Elder Wand was Draco Malfoy."

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The wand changes ownership when the previous owner is defeated. This includes disarming, stupefying, or killing. This can happen accidentally, as seen with Malfoy who was clueless to the fact that he was the owner of the Elder Wand until he heard Harry tell Voldemort.

Killing

"That very night, another wizard crept upon the older brother as he lay wine-sodden, upon his bed. The thief took the wand and, for good measure, slit the oldest brother’s throat."

Disarming

“You still don’t get it, Riddle, do you? Possessing the wand isn’t enough! Holding it, using it, doesn’t make it really yours. Didn’t you listen to Ollivander? The wand chooses the wizard. . . . The Elder Wand recognized a new master before Dumbledore died, someone who never even laid a hand on it. The new master removed the wand from Dumbledore against his will, never realizing exactly what he had done, or that the world’s most dangerous wand had given him its allegiance. . . ."

Stupefying

And now Harry was hurrying along a dark corridor in stout little Gregorovitch’s wake as he held a lantern aloft: Gregorovitch burst into the room at the end of the passage and his lantern illuminated what looked like a workshop; wood shavings and gold gleamed in the swinging pool of light, and there on the window ledge sat perched, like a giant bird, a young man with golden hair. In the split second that the lantern’s light illuminated him, Harry saw the delight upon his handsome face, then the intruder shot a Stunning Spell from his wand and jumped neatly backward out of the window with a crow of laughter.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

What would happen after?

Dumbledore would no longer be the master of the Elder Wand. He could still be able to use it, like Voldemort, but the Wand won't let him utilize the full power [see above quote for "Stupefying"]. If anyone were to disarm Malfoy, the Wand's master would change. But if anyone disarmed Dumbledore, the Wand wouldn't do anything.

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  • Not only was Draco unaware that the Elder Wand had become his, there's every chance that he'd never heard of the Elder Wand until that very moment.
    – EvilSnack
    Feb 9, 2023 at 5:00
  • @EvilSnack I don't know. "Wand of elder, never prosper" seems like a very popular wizarding world saying. Maybe Malfoy hasn't heard of the elder wand, but he might have heard of the saying. Feb 9, 2023 at 16:43

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