Did Snape's wand change allegiance when Harry, Ron, Hermione knocked him unconscious with their simultaneous Expelliarmus?

Prisoner of Azhaban chapter The servant of Lord Voldemort

“SILENCE! I WILL NOT BE SPOKEN TO LIKE THAT!” Snape shrieked, looking madder than ever. “Like father, like son, Potter! I have just saved your neck; you should be thanking me on bended knee! You would have been well served if he’d killed you! You’d have died like your father, too arrogant to believe you might be mistaken in Black — now get out of the way, or I will make you. GET OUT OF THE WAY, POTTER!”

Harry made up his mind in a split second. Before Snape could take even one step toward him, he had raised his wand.

“Expelliarmus!” he yelled — except that his wasn’t the only voice that shouted. There was a blast that made the door rattle on its hinges; Snape was lifted off his feet and slammed into the wall, then slid down it to the floor, a trickle of blood oozing from under his hair. He had been knocked out.

Harry looked around. Both Ron and Hermione had tried to disarm Snape at exactly the same moment. Snape’s wand soared in a high arc and landed on the bed next to Crookshanks.

Will Snape's wand (or any wand) change allegiance if two or more wizards disarm its master, or is there some other wandlore rule at work? Does the wand choose two or three new masters or just one master?

  • 4
    How do we know it didn't change allegiance? The Elder Wand still worked for Riddle, it just didn't submit completely to his will and thus wasn't as powerful as it could be. Snape never attempted to cast dangerous spells on any of the Potter Three after this scene, so there is no indication as to whether his wand switched allegiances or not.
    – Moo
    Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 14:19
  • 2
    I imagine an experienced wizard knows the rules and would just get a new wand, assuming they don't already keep a spare handy.
    – Joe L.
    Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 14:31
  • 18
    Does anyone else have the feeling that these "wand allegiance rules" are over analyzed, and less a set of rules than they are a set of observations? Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 14:38
  • 8
    @GorchestopherH or more a plot device in a fictional story than anything approaching the level of integrity comparable to the laws of physics?
    – Moo
    Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 14:41
  • 6
    It's my understanding that JKR is completely inconsistent throughout her books, and the 'wand allegiance rules' were mashed up to explain kind of explain the elder wands allegiance. Some things should just be explained as 'magic' and left at that.
    – SBoss
    Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 15:49

2 Answers 2


Wand loyalty depends on the wand materials. (Throwing some quotes from Rowling at bottom of post).

We don't know what Snape's wand is made of, but it may or may not have changed loyalties, though we can assume on some level based on the quotes from Rowling that it had taken at least a small allegiance to each of the 'disarmers' (Making a bit of a leap here based on the idea that Snape's personality wouldn't have lent him to being paired with a Unicorn hair core or Phoenix feather core).

Regardless if it did, Harry, Ron, and/or Hermione did not get to keep or use it (so we can't say how well it would have worked for them) and though it's absolute loyalty MAY have changed, it would still have an allegiance to Snape, therefore would still work for him.

Quote from interview with JK Rowling found HERE regarding wand loyalty:

MA: But wand lore. Can you go into-- in a more detailed fashion, the way that the wands change hands and how different the Elder Wand is because fans are confused.

JKR: I am going to put up another update on my website about this, and I have one half-written. Essentially, I see wands as being quasi-sentient, you know? I think they awaken to a kind of-- They're not exactly animate but they're close to it. As close to it as you can get in an object because they carry so much magic. So that's really the key point about a wand. Now, the reactions will vary from wand to wand. The Elder Wand is simply the most dispassionate and ruthless of wands in that it will only take into consideration strength. So one would expect a certain amount of loyalty from one's wand. So even if you were disarmed while carrying it, even if you lost a fight while carrying it, it has developed an affinity with you that it will not give up easily. If, however, a wand is won, properly won in an adult duel, then a wand may switch allegiance, and it will certainly work better even if it hasn't fully switched allegiance for the person who won it. So that of course is what happens when Harry takes Draco's wand from him, and that's what happens when-- But you know what I mean. Oh, yeah, Ron. The blackthorn wand from the snatcher. So that would be sort of rough and ready, common, or garden, a wand favoring the person who had the skill to take it. It would favor them. However, the Elder Wand knows no loyalty except to strength. So it's completely unsentimental. It will only go where the power is. So if you win, then you've won the wand. So you don't need to kill with it. But, as is pointed out in the books, not least by Dumbledore because it is a wand of such immense power, almost inevitably, it attracts wizards who are prepared to kill and who will kill. And also it attracts wizards like Voldemort who confuse being prepared to murder with strength.

Some quotes from Rowling about certain wand cores, found HERE

  • The Elder Wand (Threstal hair core) is extremely fickle and responds readily to power, with zero loyalty to its previous owner. The allegiance of this wand is won very easily using brute force, but never peacefully (For instance, Snape killing Dumbledore with Dumbledore's consent wouldn't make Snape the master of the Wand.)

  • Unicorn hair wands are very loyal; in fact they are the most faithful and don't care much about skill or power. They generally will always be attached to its original owner, regardless of current allegiance.

  • Phoenix feather wands are also very loyal because they are very picky when choosing their first owner. It can be quite difficult to win their allegiance because of this.

  • Dragon heartstrings wands are more similar to the Elder Wand; they appreciate power, so it is easier to win their allegiance from their previous owner.


The Elder Wand is unique in how fickle it is. There are countless times that we see witches and wizards in the books "defeated" by others, and they don't have any trouble using their wands later on (or in some cases, any more trouble than they already had [Neville, after Hermione's Full Body-Bind in SS]). Lockhart and Snape duel each other, and the kids in Dueling Club disarm each other all over the place.

As Ollivander says, it's more the wand that chooses the wizard than the other way around. Most wands, like most people, will make a choice and usually stick with it for the most part. It chooses that person for a reason. The Elder Wand, however, seems to be very power hungry. It's an immensely powerful wand to begin with, and it is seeking out the most powerful wizard it can attach itself to. This means that as soon as its owner is defeated, it sees their weakness and attaches itself to the victor. This is not how every wand works though; it is atypical behavior from a wand of atypical power and construction.

  • 12
    Great answer, which also explains why the entire DA doesn't have to buy new wands after a practice session. Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 14:42
  • 1
    Uh...yeah but what about when Harry suddenly claims Malfoy's wand by disarming him? Pretty sure we can chalk this up to inconsistency. The Elder wand wasn't involved there. Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 22:58
  • 1
    @Aerovistae The wands aren't things - they really are more like people. Or at the very least, say, a dog. Why do people divorce? :) Malfoy's wand was probably somewhat disconent with him for some time, and she could probably align better with Harry at that point. Perhaps when Draco was picking his wand for the first time, he wasn't quite as dark and depressed as during the events of the later books. I wouldn't be surprised if most of the serious death eaters / dark wizards needed a new wand eventually.
    – Luaan
    Commented Jan 14, 2015 at 9:15
  • 3
    "...and it is seeking out the most powerful wizard it can attach itself to." - presumably, its' creator: Death. If this wand actively seeks to attach itself to whomever is the more powerful in a duel, then eventually the only entity that will remain more powerful than its' current 'owner' would be Death - its' one, true, original owner, and the one who will and must eventually defeat the current holder of the wand. Commented Jan 14, 2015 at 13:43
  • Thus why the power is broken if the owner dies a natural death? :)
    – Adamant
    Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 2:28

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