Sirius Black and a few Death Eaters escape Azkaban and seem to operate after that with their wands intact.

How come?

If a mere expulsion from Hogwarts entails wand destruction (as happened with Hagrid), shouldn't an Azkaban sentence entail the same?

And even if we imagine that the perceived impossibility of escape from Azkaban made it seem unnecessary to destroy the wand, this would apply to Sirius but not to Death Eaters.

PS: Two comments suggested that the escapees acquired new wands. It would be nice to have a more definitive answer than just a suggestion or a list of possibilities. Thanks.

PPS: Returning the personal property to a released prisoner is one thing, but the wand is a different matter: this is usually the tool of the crime, and I don't see how it can be argued that it should be returned and not destroyed. Again, Hagrid had his wand destroyed and he was not even sentenced to Azkaban.

PPPS: Maybe wand destruction is only done for non-fully-qualified wizards?

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    Well, Hagrid managed to do a whole lot of magic for being someone who shouldn't have had a wand. I'm sure Sirius and a few other folks could find a way. And who says it's necessarily their original wand, and not a replacement? Ollivander's may be the best for crafting a wizard's first wand, but I'm sure they could get a cheap replacement at, say, the galleon store.
    – Zibbobz
    Aug 29, 2014 at 18:05
  • I think this question is basically going to be a list of opinions. However, at least in the US, when you go into a jail they take all your personal possession and store them. When you are released after serving your time, you get them all back. The logical place to store these wands would be the Ministry, which was basically under DE control, assuming that they follow the same protocols.
    – JohnP
    Aug 29, 2014 at 18:14
  • In the movies, at least, Lucius's wand seems to be the exact same cane/wand before and after his time in Azkaban, so it doesn't seem he just got a new one. Aug 29, 2014 at 18:18
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    in the books i believe we have no proof that any of them have their original wands, so unless they gave them up or wernt using their "main" wands when they were captured i would assume they were destroyed, especially since they were in prison for life. Now to me a better question is, how does Voldemort actually have his real wand in book 4, as he should have left it inside of the potters house.
    – Himarm
    Aug 29, 2014 at 18:21
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    @Himarm: How did Voldemort get his wand back?
    – sds
    Aug 29, 2014 at 18:24

5 Answers 5


Not all sentences to Azkaban are life sentences. Igor was released for selling out other Death Eaters. Hagrid was released after it was proven that he wasn't involved in the Chamber of Secrets incidents. Sturgis Podmore served six months for breaking into the Ministry of Magic. Morfin Gaunt originally served 3 years, but was later framed for murder and sentenced to life. Presumably, all of these people received their wands back upon release (except for Hagrid, who didn't officially have a wand).

It is not uncommon for prisons to keep the things a prisoner had on them when they were captured, and then to return them to them upon their release (or hold items of value for the prisoner). Even those serving life sentence may have personal property that is stored until the time of their death. It is then typically released to next of kin. Since Voldemort orchestrated the breakout of Azkaban prison and had the compliance of the Dementors, if their wands were on the premises, they would be available to them.

Bellatrix Lestrange definitely got back her original wand. As Hermione says:

"But that’s my point! This is the wand that tortured Neville's mum and dad, and who knows how many other people? This is the wand that killed Sirius! I miss my wand." - Deathly Hallows

The events of Neville's mum and dad were before she was locked away.

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    I agree with the answer, but how could she know that that really is the same wand Bellatrix used? The second half of the quote is reasonable because that was after the escape, but isn't the first half just an assumption? Aug 29, 2014 at 19:46
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    @Anduril_1251 Ollivander identifies the wand thusly: “Walnut and dragon heartstring,” he said. “Twelve-and-three-quarter inches. Unyielding. This wand belonged to Bellatrix Lestrange.” (Deathly Hallows, chapter 24) Hermione’s statement comes in Chapter 26, so she’s already heard it. That said, it’s unclear whether he’s referring to Bellatrix’s original wand, or one he was forced to make after his kidnapping (but I suspect the former).
    – alexwlchan
    Aug 30, 2014 at 0:00
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    Yeah but I think it's missing the point of the question in that we understand conceptually why a generic prisoner would get his or her wand back, but in a world where Hagrid gets his wand destroyed for being suspected of a crime, how is Bellatrix's still intact?
    – Scott
    Aug 30, 2014 at 0:41
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    Bellatrix did have a life sentence in Azkaban, so it seems somewhat shortsighted that they didn't break her wand. (Besides which, respect for personal property doesn't seem particularly important to Azkaban, given that their guards actively feed on the emotions of prisoners) Aug 30, 2014 at 1:06
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    Hagrid was expelled from Hogwarts, presumably no other school would ever admit him, and his parents were dead, so he could not be home-schooled. He could never become a qualified wizard. That's why his wand was destroyed. Also, I assume you get kinder treatment from the wizarding justice system if you're rich and pureblood, instead of a poor, half-giant orphan. Rowling made it clear that the wizarding establishment was incredibly corrupt pre-Voldemort's defeat.
    – Jay
    Aug 30, 2014 at 6:37

The answer could be rather simple:

Harry and Hagrid may not have had any wizarding next-of-kin. From Goblet of Fire

'Tha' was taken jus' after I got inter Hogwarts,' said Hagrid, croakily. 'Dad was dead chuffed – thought I migh' not be a wizard, see, 'cos me mum – well, anyway. 'Course, I never was great shakes at magic, really – but at least he never saw me expelled. Died, see, in me second year.

Hagrid's mother, of course, was the giantess Fridwulfa, and as such probably had very few rights under international magical law.

Harry's parents, of course, were dead. His guardians were Muggles, and to the best of my knowledge no other living relatives were ever mentioned.

It is possible that standard ministry policy is to give a wand to the closest wizard relative when someone is expelled or imprisoned. It is also possible that procedure is to snap a wand only when someone is expelled, rather than imprisoned. Rather like how, in the real world, an earned degree might be revoked for research misconduct, but probably not for murder or indeed war crimes (Saif al-Islam). Regardless, if the wand is not snapped it may well go to next-of-kin (if they are wizards, of course).

If Harry and Hagrid either lacked magical next-of-kin, or whatever kin they did have were simply too far-flung or distant, their wands might have become government property. And if the government decided that it had no use for them, they might have been destroyed.

Indeed, Bellatrix's wand probably went to Narcissa Malfoy, her richest and most "respectable" sister. One has no doubt that the Malfoys would have been willing to reunite Bellatrix with her wand.

Sirius probably did not have his own wand. He used a knife to try to kill Pettigrew, to start with.

For another, he used Snape's wand to transform Pettigrew.

Black had already retrieved Snape's wand from the bed. He approached Lupin and the struggling rat, and his wet eyes suddenly seemed to be burning in his face.

It seems almost certain that on the occasion he needed a wand thereafter (for example the battle at the Department of Mysteries), he borrowed one from an Order member--perhaps even a spare that they had inherited from a deceased relative.

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    That's an interesting theory. If confirmed, it would be a subtle way of discriminating wizards by blood purity: if you are pure-blood or half-blood with living parents, you can commit any crime and your wand won't be snapped, but if you are a half-breed or Muggle-born with no magical brother nor sister, your wand will be destroyed.
    – A. Darwin
    Apr 7, 2016 at 9:30

The difference between a prison holding belongings for a prisoner when they are released and having the prisoner escape is that the escapee does so in secret and cannot gain their possessions back. For the escapees in the fifth book, we can assume their belongings were turned back over to them because the dementors had aligned with Voledmort- so while it was reported by the paper/ministry to be an escape, it was not the same kind of escape as say, Sirius or Croutch Jr. For Sirius, a true escapee of Azkaban, however this question is still a mystery.

My theory is that for Sirius, Dumbledore helped him get back and repair his wand, as the Elder Wand was the only thing powerful enough to repair a wand. Wands are buried with their masters, so it's doubtful that Sirius would have a family members, and he probably wouldn't want to even if he had the option.

  • I don't think Sirius used his old wand. And it is clear that Dumbledore did not help Sirius escape, since he didn't know he was innocent until the very end of Prisoner of Azkaban.
    – Ángel
    Mar 27, 2016 at 18:39

In book 5, the first letter Harry receives after the Dementor attack clearly states that because of "the severity of this breach of the Decree for the Reasonable Regulation of Underage Sorcery has resulted in your expulsion from Hogwarts...and wand to be destroyed". So how can it be justified that Bellatrix who was convicted and sentenced for torture, did not have her wand destroyed, especially considering her wand was used in committing the crime. My guess is that your status, both blood and financial, play a role in what happens to your wand.

As for Voldemort's wand, presumably, Wormtail returns it to him when he finds him in Albania. Since Wormtail was the Potters' secret keeper, he would have been able fetch the wand after Voldemort tried to kill Harry.

But in Snape's memory, Snape is the first to arrive to the Potter house to see Lily's body and baby Harry is still in the crib, crying, which means Hagrid hadn't gotten there yet, since he fetched Harry under Dumbledore's orders, and didn't spot the wand. With all the rubble and chaos, maybe he wasn't worried about a wand, but doesn't that seem like the kind of detail Dumbledore would not have overlooked.

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    Welcome to Stack Exchange! Your answer seems to be opinion based, the various points you have mentioned doesn't have a strong canon support to back them. Kindly try to improve the answer with canonical references.
    – axelonet
    Apr 7, 2016 at 3:43

It's likely that Dumbledore facilitated getting Sirius a new wand. Probably from Ollivander. Made precisely to the old wand's measurements or something.

What I want to know is... why does Ron use Charlie's old wand in the first two books. What's Charlie using?

  • 3
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    – Molag Bal
    Jun 14, 2016 at 21:37

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