There are many example, especially in Deathly Hallows (both the book and the movies), where it is mentioned that using someone else's wand without mastering it will cause problems for the user. The typical consequence given is that using someone else's wand without mastering it first will make you a much less powerful wizard while using it.

Is there any example of a spell not working, or working poorly, because the wizard was using someone else's wand? I'm aware of some instances where a bad wand caused problems, but I'm not aware of any instances where these problems were a result of the wand not being mastered. For example, in Chamber of Secrets, Ron breaks his wand (which he got from his brother Charlie) early in the book, and has to fix it with Spello-tape. The various problems that this wand causes throughout the book are generally attributed to the poor repair job.

The only clear example of this principle that I know of is the Elder Wand, which follows its own, unusually brutal wand mastery rules.


3 Answers 3


I can find at least one instance of this, from Deathly Hallows. After Harry's phoenix-core wand was (accidentally) broken, he gets another one from Ron (which Ron had stolen from a Snatcher). He seems to have some trouble with it:

A large spider sat in the middle of a frosted web in the brambles. Harry took aim at it with the wand Ron had given him the previous night, which Hermione had since condescended to examine, and had decided was made of blackthorn.


The spider gave a little shiver, bouncing slightly in the web. Harry tried again. This time the spider grew slightly larger.

"Stop that," said Ron sharply, " I'm sorry I said Dumbledore was young, okay?"

Harry had forgotten Ron's hatred of spiders.

"Sorry. Reducio."

The spider did not shrink. Harry looked down at the blackthorn wand. Every minor spell he had cast with it so far that day had seemed less powerful than those he had produced with his phoenix wand. The new one felt intrusively unfamiliar, like having somebody else's hand sewn to the end of his arm.

Deathly Hallows Chapter 20: "Xenophilius Lovegood"

There are another handful of examples in Chapters 20 and 21, but they all follow the same pattern: Harry tries a pretty simple spell with the blackthorn wand, and it fails pretty miserably.

Obviously the rules for wand allegiance are complicated (and not always very well explained), but Harry at least seems to believe that "disloyalty" is the part of his problem, although he doesn't know what that means yet.

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    It ought to be Ron, since he did take the wand from an unwilling owner: it's entirely parallel to Harry taking Draco's wand and winning its allegiance. The fact that the newly-taken wand worked perfectly well for Ron (well enough to stun the guy holding his own, at least, which is a lot better than for Harry) supports this. Another significant example is Bellatrix' wand not working very well for Hermione later on because she hadn't won its allegiance. May 18, 2015 at 8:43

Two other examples, which are inferred from the text but not explicitly stated, are Ronald Weasley and Neville Longbottom.

In Ron's case, he inherited his first wand from his brother Charlie. During the first book, he struggles with spells (such as Wingardium Leviosa) that other students are able to master. After his wand is broken in the second book, his spellwork improves with the new wand bought personally from Ollivander's.

Neville Longbottom actually went through this twice. For the first five books of the series, he uses his father's wand, up until it is snapped during the fighting at the Department of Mysteries. Neville's work in all classes is best described as abysmal up to this point, though he does make progress once he starts working on combat spells as a member of the DA. After he breaks his wand, he then borrowed Hermione Granger's wand for the remainder of the fight, during which he was unable to cast spells that he had mastered previously.

'STUBEFY!' shouted Neville, wheeling around and waving Hermione's wand at the oncoming Death Eaters, 'STUBEFY, STUBEFY!'

But nothing happened.

In the sixth book, Neville's broken wand is replaced by an Ollivander wand, and his spellwork improves.

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    Whenever I read your example about Neville, I never thought it was because of the wand but because he wasn't able to pronounce the words correctly because of his injury (stubefy <> stupefy)... We know how important it is, to say the words correctly. Wingardium Leviosa also didn't work fpr Ron because he said the words wrongly (IMHO)...
    – Tode
    Oct 9, 2017 at 6:39

When Voldemort uses the Elder Wand that he stole from Dumbledore's grave it does not work as well as his own wand because the wand belonged to Draco, Even though Draco did not kill Dumbledore, Draco was bluffing about it and the Elder Wand now belonged to him. Harry soon got possession of this wand when he saved Draco's life in the Room of Requirement from the fire.

  • Your example about Voldemort holds true (at least that is what Voldemort thinks)... But the Elder Wand did NOT change its allegiance because of Harry saving Malfoys live but because of Harry disarming him in Malfoy Manner...
    – Tode
    Oct 9, 2017 at 6:41

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