Voldemort ordered Nagini to kill Snape in hopes of claiming the Elder Wand's ownership.

Let's suppose that Snape was indeed the owner.

In this scenario, would the Elder Wand's ownership truly pass to Voldemort?

I ask this because, after all, the one who overpowered Snape was Nagini, not Voldemort.

  • Voldemort ordered Nagini to kill Snape. However, this would be equivalent to ordering a Death Eater to kill Snape, in which case the Death Eater would gain the ownership - in a similar manner, Nagini is the murderer.
  • Nagini isn't a "spell": remember how Draco summoned a snake to attack Harry back at CoS? If that snake kills Harry, I'd imagine that Draco gains the ownership (if Harry had the Elder Wand) because that snake was a "spell" casted by Draco - but this time is different, because Nagini isn't a "spell" casted by Voldemort, but rather an actual third-party creature.

The curious thing is that Voldemort did cast some sort of spell (he flicked his wand), which I think caused Nagini's barrier to break so Nagini could kill Snape. In some way, Voldemort did provoke Snape's death - however, it was mostly indirectly.

So, would the ownership pass to Nagini or to Voldemort? If it passes to Nagini, would the Elder Wand's "ownership cycle" end, or would it continue if Voldemort decides to kill Nagini?

The simplified version of this question is: if an animal kills the owner of the Elder Wand, what happens to its ownership?

  • 12
    An interesting question in light of the revelations about Nagini's origins in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
    – SQB
    Nov 27, 2018 at 14:41
  • 2
    I'm not sure why this is opinion-based. If you think that there is some information about animals and wand-succession that can be inferred from the existing corpus of Harry Potter, then post that information as the answer; if you think that there is nothing about animals and wand-succession that can be inferred from the existing corpus of Harry Potter then post that as the answer.
    – Alex
    Feb 3, 2019 at 17:06
  • 1
    @Alex - TBH it's a silly question, but in light of the latest silliness about Nagini's origins, it's actually answerable
    – Valorum
    Feb 3, 2019 at 18:32
  • 1
    @Valorum Silly, perhaps, but not opiniony. (For the record, my vote to reopen was not inspired by any new information that has been revealed about Nagini.)
    – Alex
    Feb 3, 2019 at 19:11
  • 1
    I'm not posting this as an answer because I don't really have any evidence for it, but is was Voldemort who brought along the death of Snape. It was Voldemort who would have defeated the master of the Elder Wand (if Snape had ever been the master).
    – user112267
    Aug 8, 2019 at 0:42

5 Answers 5


Nagini was a horcrux of Voldemort, containing a part of his soul. So, when Nagini killed Snape, Voldemort equally contributed to this murder.

Also, a wand chooses its master, which must be a magic user (or the Wand would be useless). Nagini didn't look like a magic user.

  • 15
    I think you need some citation for claiming that having part of your soul inside another being makes you responsible for the murders committed by it. Harry has part of Voldemort's soul too, so what then? Any wand claimed by Harry belongs to Voldemort? (which isn't true)
    – Saturn
    Apr 22, 2014 at 11:44
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    I suppose it depends -- if Nagini is only intelligent because of Voldemort's soul, then the dominant "person" who is, via fangs, killing Snape is the shard of Voldemort inside Nagini, which is presumably the thinking being controlling that body. By contrast, Harry is his own thinking being controlling his own body which happens to have a bit of Voldemort's soul inside it; he decides his own actions. But this all depends on something I'm not sure is true, so if you can find a good source one way or another it might be used to improve this answer Apr 22, 2014 at 13:37
  • 5
    Does this answer change with the fact that Nagini is a maledictus? Sep 28, 2018 at 12:13

I don't recall this directly discussed in any canon.

But since Nagini was somewhat intelligent (Voldemort talked to her); I think the two closest logical parallels would be worth examining:

  1. Voldemort ordering a human underling to kill Snape - that human (as did indeed happen to Draco Malformed acting on V's orders, even though he merely disarmed Dumbledore) would then be the true owner of the Wand; NOT Voldemort.

  2. However, Nagini (a snake) has no way to even hold a wand or cast a spell with it. As such, an even more appropriate situation would be Voldemort ordering an attack dog or Whomping Willow to kill Snape. In that case - which never happened in canon - I would posit NOBODY would be the owner of the Deathstick; as if Dumbledore was killed by a stonefall or disease.

  • Who says goblins and House Elves can't master wands? You mention Griphook's discussion with Harry but don't actually quote it. All I remember is multiple mentions of the Ministry prohibiting non-humans from owning wands, I'm pretty sure it's never stated that they can't master them. Apr 22, 2014 at 8:42
  • Griphook only complains that wizards don't share the secret of wand magic with goblins, but it doesn't specifically say goblins can't use wands
    – user13267
    Apr 22, 2014 at 10:21
  • In fact, I think Griphook mentions the right to carry wands being contested between goblins and wizards, which implies they probably can use wands, but the ministry regulates them probably
    – user13267
    Apr 22, 2014 at 10:23
  • @user13267 - You're right Apr 22, 2014 at 10:43
  • 1
    This has my +1 for suggesting that being killed by a creature incapable of holding a wand is tantamount to being killed by anything else (at least as far as the wand is concerned-- we know that wands [sort of] have personalities, so the Elder Wand probably sees little difference between a snakebite and a boulder). Mar 29, 2017 at 19:44

Wand chooses the master

This statement makes it clear that non-wand wielding beings will not be chosen by any wand. So if the above scenario were to occur - the owner of the elder wand will be the last person who dueled Snape and won OR who overpowered Snape. Voldemort will not come under the category of overpowering Snape as there was no struggle; Snape willingly submitted to Voldemort. If Snape had attempted to struggle against Voldemort's orders then Voldemort might have been the owner.

  • So you're saying that, after Nagini kills Snape, Voldemort would not become the Elder Wand's owner but rather, someone else (or nobody at all)?
    – Saturn
    Apr 22, 2014 at 1:43
  • I doubt nobody at all - but yes, the last person to overcome Snape in a struggle would become the master.
    – mustard
    Apr 22, 2014 at 2:24
  • 2
    Dumbledore didn't exactly put up a fight...
    – TGnat
    Apr 22, 2014 at 3:00
  • But Dumbledore was disarmed by Draco. So that is a duel.
    – mustard
    Apr 22, 2014 at 3:01

Based on the original seven books only: Voldemort would likely be the master of the Elder Wand.

It seems most likely that if Voldemort used Nagini to kill the master of the Elder Wand, the ownership of the Elder Wand would pass to Voldemort. To master the Elder Wand requires capturing it in some way from its previous master.

“Which is that the possessor of the wand must capture it from its previous owner, if he is to be truly master of it,’ said Xenophilius. ‘Surely you have heard of the way the wand came to Egbert the Egregious, after his slaughter of Emeric the Evil? Of how Godelot died in his own cellar after his son, Hereward, took the wand from him? Of the dreadful Loxias, who took the wand from Barnabas Deverill, whom he had killed? The bloody trail of the Elder Wand is splattered across the pages of wizarding history.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 21 (The Tale of the Three Brothers)

Nagini was directly commanded by Voldemort to kill Snape - in this instance, Nagini was no different than any tool used to kill. Presumably the results would be no different than if Voldemort used a spell or a knife to kill the master of the Elder Wand.

“It cannot be any other way,’ said Voldemort. ‘I must master the wand, Severus. Master the wand, and I master Potter at last.’

And Voldemort swiped the air with the Elder Wand. It did nothing to Snape, who for a split second seemed to think he had been reprieved: but then Voldemort’s intention became clear. The snake’s cage was rolling through the air, and before Snape could do anything more than yell, it had encased him, head and shoulders, and Voldemort spoke in Parseltongue.


There was a terrible scream. Harry saw Snape’s face losing the little colour it had left, it whitened as his black eyes widened, as the snake’s fangs pierced his neck, as he failed to push the enchanted cage off himself, as his knees gave way, and he fell to the floor.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 32 (The Elder Wand)

Nagini was commanded to kill in Parseltongue, which it seems snakes must obey - basilisks can be controlled by Parselmouths.

“However, since Basilisks are uncontrollable except by Parselmouths, they are as dangerous to most Dark wizards as to anybody else, and there have been no recorded sightings of Basilisks in Britain for at least four hundred years.”
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Since Nagini was just a tool used to do the killing, she would not become the master of the Elder Wand.

With the Fantastic Beasts reveal included: Nagini would still not become the master of the Elder Wand.

At the time when Voldemort had turned Nagini into his Horcrux, she had almost certainly permanently become a snake by then. Over the course of their lives, Maledictuses will become the creatures they transform into permanently, and be unable to become human again.

He whips open the curtains. There stands NAGINI in a snakeskin dress. Men in the crowd whistle and jeer.

Once trapped in the jungles of Indonesia, she is the carrier of a blood curse. Such Underbeings are destined, through the course of their lives, to turn permanently into beasts.”
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Since she would no longer be a human, that she was human at one point is unlikely to be enough to make her the master of the Elder Wand, since at the time she was fully and permanently a snake. Since she would then be a snake, she would also presumably be compelled to obey any commands made in Parseltongue. It seems most likely that if Voldemort commanded Nagini, who would be no longer human and entirely a snake by then, in Parseltongue to kill the master of the Elder Wand, the ownership of the Elder Wand would still pass to Voldemort.


I believe the answer is yes.

Nagini was a person, and saying she has part of Volemort's soul doesn't really prove anything because so did Harry. So Nagini should have become the master of the Elder Wand, and when Neville killed Nagini, that should ultimately have made Neville the true owner.

If someone could kill under orders, and the person that gave the order is the true owner, then Voldemort would already be the owner, and if part of his soul could be the owner then Voldemort should have been the owner the second Harry disarmed Draco.

I personally think no-one was truly the owner after Dumbledore's death as Dumbledore was never defeated properly - he let Malfoy disarm him and Snape kill him - so I feel no-one was the true owner.

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