So, regarding wandlore. . . could Harry Potter have given Draco Malfoy Draco's hawthorn wand back to Draco without the allegiance of the Elder Wand switching from Harry to Draco?

We know that Draco Malfoy became master of the Elder Wand when he disarmed Dumbledore on the Astronomy Tower in Half-Blood Prince. Subsequently, Harry became master of the Elder Wand when he defeated Draco by physically taking Draco's wand from Draco while the trio was being held captive at Malfoy Manor in Deathly Hallows. Because Harry wrestled Draco's hawthorn wand from Draco, the hawthorn wand switched its allegiance from Draco to Harry, and the Elder Wand followed suit, for if one disarms another witch or wizard, one masters ALL wands that witch or wizard controls. From Deathly Hallows, pages 493 - 499, US Hardcover, the following information is given regarding wandlore and wand allegiance:

  • In general, where a wand has been won its allegiance will change.
  • Wands may be at least partially sentient: "The wand chooses the wizard." (Please see my thoughts on whether a wand is at least partially sentient here)
  • A person can still use a wand that hasn't chosen them to channel magic, although it may not yield the best possible results.
  • Subtle laws govern wand ownership, but a conquered wand will usually bend its will to its new master.
  • A conquered wand will better do a witch or wizard's bidding than another wand.
  • It is not necessary to kill the previous wand owner to take true possession of a typical wand.
  • Ollivander is unsure whether the allegiance of the Elder Wand must pass to its new master through murder.

Given this, would Harry have been able to gift the hawthorn wand back to Draco without the allegiance of the Elder Wand switching back to Draco as well? Or would the allegiance of the Elder Wand switch to Draco regardless of how Draco regained ownership of his original hawthorn wand?

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    @Slytherincess False assumption in the question: Draco's hawthorne wand did not switch allegiance to Harry. Only the Elder Wand switches allegiances so readily, because it responds to power. All other known wands have a level of loyalty to the witch/wizard they originally chose. See scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/6910/…
    – Izkata
    Commented Dec 22, 2011 at 16:08
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    As much as I love all the peeps at SE, I will always err on the side of canon. Harry disarmed Draco of the hawthorn wand at Malfoy Manor, thus mastered it. Since Draco was master of the Elder Wand as well at that time, both wands switched their allegiances (see page 742-743 in DH) to Harry. The Elder Wand cannot be mastered by a person who is incapable of facing death (see my answer in the question about wands being sentient for the source); it is not contingent upon the power of the wizard. All wands have the capability of changing allegiance to a new owner. Commented Dec 22, 2011 at 17:52
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    @Chad -- According to canon Draco Malfoy was master of the Elder Wand prior to being disarmed by Harry. "The true master of the Elder Wand was Draco Malfoy." - Harry - Deathly Hallows - Page743, and you can read it in context. Anyone possessing the Elder Wand may be disarmed. Commented Dec 22, 2011 at 20:32
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    @Slytherincess - I think that was intentional. It is a work of fiction. It is her creation and the nebulousness of the rules keeps her work from being picked apart like a star trek episode.
    – Chad
    Commented Dec 29, 2011 at 14:26
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    @Chad -- And yet here we are. . . picking her work apart like one might a Star Trek episode (which, I note for the record, is also, indeed, a work of fiction -- but, shh! Don't tell that to the Trekkies!) ;) Commented Dec 29, 2011 at 14:49

5 Answers 5


The laws of wand allegiance are not universal and depend on the type of wand:

  • 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.

We are lucky though, because Draco's wand has a unicorn hair core! So it's pretty much established that, despite it currently responding to Harry, it is still faithful to Malfoy and would "remember" him. I think we can safely speculate that Harry need only give Draco his wand back and that would be more than enough for the wand to accept Draco. And since this is a peaceful exchange, it wouldn't affect the Elder Wand's allegiance at all.

So the answer is: we don't know if Harry returned Draco's wand, but established canon very easily allows Draco to get his wand back peacefully.

(the wand core info comes from Pottermore)

  • How would you say that the hawthorn wand could be loyal to Harry and Draco at the same time? I agree that the hawthorn wand would likely remember Draco if Draco could get his hands on it again. Yes, re: unicorn hair -- it's the least likely to turn to the Dark Arts and is loyal to it's first owner. I like your answer, especially the Pottermore info re: wand cores and allegiances. +1 :) Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 0:05
  • PS - If you're inclined to, maybe take a look at this question and see if you want to give it a go. There's a +100 reputation points bounty on the question. :) Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 0:11

The Elder Wand did not switch allegiance because Harry had taken Draco's hawthorn wand, it switched because Harry had beaten its owner. There is a subtle but important difference.

Therefore, I think Harry could have voluntarily given Draco his wand back without it having any impact on the Elder wand. However, as you make clear, wandlore is not a precise science.

  • Yeah, I get what you're saying. I'll edit my question to be more clear, because by "taken" I meant defeated/beaten. Harry disarmed Draco by physically taking his wand, hence beat him and mastered his hawthorn wand (and, unknowingly, the Elder Wand). Commented Dec 22, 2011 at 15:03

Consider that Dumbledore's plan was for Snape to kill him so that he would never have been defeated. If killing someone can be considered not "defeating" them as long as it was desired by the current master of the Elder Wand, I'd say that willingly giving someone their wand back would certainly not count as being defeated, so it would be perfectly safe for Harry to give Draco his wand back. And that's probably what happened, though it's not stated in the book.


I think that in the text, Olivander says to Harry at Shell Cottage (when he is identifying the wands the group have taken from Malfoy Manor) that, 'This USED to be the wand of Draco Malfoy' meaning that Draco's wand has indeed switched allegiance to Harry.


No. You all have it wrong! Draco Malfoy disarmed Dumbledore using Expelliarmus shortly before Snape Killed Dumbledore. Unknowingly, Draco became the master of the Elder Wand.

A year later, Harry physically disarms Draco. When he does that, Draco's hawthorn wand changes allegiance to Harry, and the Elder Wand follows suit. Yes, Draco's hawthorn wand DID in fact switch allegiance to Harry, contrary to what some people may say.

Yes, Harry can give Draco his old hawthorn wand back, but it won't work for him the same way it did before because the wand technically belongs to Harry now. If Draco were to win it back from Harry (ie defeat him somehow) then the hawthorn wand would belong to Draco once again, and the Elder Wand would switch its allegiance back to him.

Simply put, Harry simply giving the hawthorn wand back to Draco will not affect the allegiance of any wands, because there was no defeat involved. Even if he gets it back, the hawthorn wand will no longer work for Draco like it used to before Harry won it. It will be unpredictable and erratic.

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    -1 - There is no reference in canon that says this is what happened as definitively as you state. While the logic for this may be sound there is still the assumption that the hawthorn wand did switch allegiance. There is also the possibility that the hawthorn wand would have acted normally for Draco had it been given back. We will never know.
    – Chad
    Commented Dec 28, 2011 at 14:01
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    @Chad: I agree that "it won't work for him [Draco] the same way it did before because the wand technically belongs to Harry now" is speculation. However, canon says that Draco's hawthorn wand works much better for Harry than that blackthorn wand he got from Ron. This, together with Ollivander saying "In general, however, where a wand has been won, its allegiance will change", strongly indicates that the hawthorn wand did switch allegiance. (Also Hermione explains how Bellatrix' wand doesn't work that well for her - it didn't switch allegiance.) Commented Feb 27, 2012 at 7:52
  • @Chad: More details from Ollivander: "the conquered wand will usually bend its will to its new master." "Yes, if you won it, it is more likely to do your bidding, and do it well, than another wand." Commented Feb 27, 2012 at 7:55
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    -1 Mr Ollivander states that "Wands develop an affinity to their owners that they will not give up easily; even when won, they will often retain some loyalty to the original owner..." harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Wandlore
    – Möoz
    Commented Mar 27, 2014 at 21:38

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