In Deathly Hallows, Dumbledore's seems to put some stock in a person's worthiness to unite the Hallows.

“I was such a fool, Harry. After all those years I had learned nothing. I was unworthy to unite the Deathly Hallows, I had proved it time and again, and here was final proof.”

— Deathly Hallows, chapter 35 (King's Cross)

However, while Harry is undoubtedly the hero of our tale, and a good/heroic person - his ownership of the Hallows is mostly chance -

  1. Harry unknowingly defeating Draco after his defeating Dumbledore gets him the Elder Wand,
  2. Dumbledore leaves the Stone to him
  3. He inherits the Cloak from his parents (via Dumbledore!) as a family heirloom.

Nothing particularly 'worthy' in any of those specific instances, and Harry being the one to disarm Draco in particular is specially chancy.

Later, while Dumbledore calls Harry The True Master of Death "because the true master does not seek to run away from Death." at the same time he also says that the Hallows were most probably unconnected objects created by three individuals and the legend of Death and the Three Brothers sprung up afterwards, indicating that there isn't actually any truth to the whole 'Master of Death' idea.

Additionally, the curse that leads Dumbledore to lament about his unworthiness is an artefact of Voldemort's conversion of the Hallow to a Horcrux and nothing to do with the Stone's 'Hallowness', so to say.

So the question is, is there any canon info indicating whether worthiness (however it's being defined) actually was a factor when it came to owning all three Hallows at the same time and this is not just Dumbledore airing out all his issues with self-worth?

Is Harry being 'worthy' supposed to be have caused chance to make sure he gets all three Hallows?

  • On Additionally.2), it's not so much that he used the stone, but why he used it
    – Izkata
    Jul 16, 2014 at 2:25
  • @Izkata He used the stone to talk to his dead family, right? I mean, sure he did it because he thought he might be dying soon himself, but ultimately he wanted to talk to his dead family one time, which is what Dumbledore wanted too - it's inconceivable that with all the info D. had, he would have been actually trying to bring his dead family to life 'for real'.
    – Shisa
    Jul 16, 2014 at 2:30
  • Grief does a lot, and remember Dumbledore blamed himself for his sister's death. I don't find it hard to believe that he was hopeful it would work.
    – Izkata
    Jul 16, 2014 at 2:50
  • @Izkata I do agree that the point confuses the issue a bit. :) Have removed.
    – Shisa
    Jul 16, 2014 at 5:35
  • (1) I don't think there's a firm canon support for it, but I would suspect that the Hallows may be owned without worthiness but wouldn't work for the owner as well if he wasn't worthy, especially the Stone. Sorta like Mirror of Erised - you won't get the stone unless you desire to get it with a noble goal. Jul 16, 2014 at 13:28

1 Answer 1


In terms of canon information or confirmation, it's pretty light, possibly even non-existent. There's not a definitive statement from JKR (that I know of), for example, where she says that worthiness is a crucial part of mastering the Hallows. However, I think there's a lot that's heavily implied by the choices Harry made in the books, the choices that other people made in similar situations, and what Dumbledore said at the end of Deathly Hallows.

Owning? No. Mastering? Yes, depending on your definition of mastering. Or perhaps it would be more correct to say that mastering them proves that you're worthy.

You seem to be assuming that owning and mastering the Hallows is the same thing. I think the point is that they're very different things; just because you have them doesn't mean you can master them - which ultimately seems to mean using them (or not, as the case may be) responsibly and in a selfless manner.

Additionally, the curse that leads Dumbledore to lament about his unworthiness is an artefact of Voldemort's conversion of the Hallow to a Horcrux and nothing to do with the Stone's 'Hallowness', so to say.

Not exactly. The curse was proof that Dumbledore, despite his age, experience and wisdom, still couldn't resist the allure of the Resurrection Stone, and what it meant to him personally. He was weak and selfish, he wanted to see the family he'd lost again and to be forgiven by them. The curse was the result of that weakness, not the reason for his regret.

Harry, on the other hand, used the Stone for entirely selfless reasons. He was walking to his death, and he'd accepted that, it was okay because it meant that the people he cared about would be safe. He simply needed that extra bit of strength that seeing those he'd already lost would provide to go through with it.

When he's done he drops (albeit accidentally) the Stone in the Forbidden Forest, and decides not to go looking for it. He makes the same choice with the Elder wand - he uses it to repair his original wand then places it back in Dumbledore's tomb, with the intention of allowing its power to dissipate when he dies a natural death. In both cases he's making a conscious choice to give up a large amount of power, in order to protect other people from the dangers they pose.

To me it seems like the only way to win is to not play. To really be worthy, to master the Hallows, you have to choose to not use them and to not allow anybody else to have them.

  • Dumbledore's curse was because he tried (and failed) to cast a spell on the stone, which is the horcrux, and due to that it backfired
    – Oak
    Jan 25, 2016 at 9:05
  • @Oak As far as I'm aware that's not true. He put on the ring, which had a curse on it (to protect the Horcrux). If you've got some canon evidence - quotes from the books or from material directly from JKR - then I'd be happy to see it. Jan 25, 2016 at 9:57
  • Harry didn't drop the Stone accidentally. He did it on purpose, and tried not to notice too many details where he dropped it, so he would never find it again.
    – Brindha
    Mar 9, 2016 at 6:48
  • @Brindha It's entirely possible I misremembered when writing my answer. Do you happen to have the relevant quotes from the book to hand? Mar 9, 2016 at 9:39
  • I would argue that the Elder Wand does in fact consider worthiness; it actually does if you look at it in that it's power, control, whatever you wish to call it, that makes it loyal and makes one become a master: you have to truly take claim of it. Is that not worthiness? I think it actually is.
    – Pryftan
    May 28, 2018 at 18:48

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