In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, chapter one The Dark Lord Ascending, Voldemort believes he must use a wand other than his own in order to kill Harry, when Harry is moved from Privet Drive. He demands Lucius Malfoy's wand, and gets it.

My question is, why did Voldemort take the wand of one of his most loyal servants, rendering Lucius Malfoy useless if a battle was to occur?

If I remember correctly, he had Ollivander at his disposal, and he was the one who told him to use another wand in first place. Why not ask Ollivander to create another wand, or just use ones that he had ready to sell in his shop at Diagon Alley? He could even have taken Ollivander's own wand. If my memories are correct, a wand's importance was compared to that of a limb.

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    My take was that it was to punish Malfoy’s Sr.
    – Valorum
    Commented May 26, 2015 at 9:56
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    Or(/and) to humiliate him in front of his co-death eaters to extend on Richard's comment.
    – Don_Biglia
    Commented May 26, 2015 at 10:03
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    Why do you think Lucius was one of his most loyal servants? He came across as a total politician to me, carefuly weighing his allegiances based on the current situation. Voldemort had a use for him, and was he was in fact very important (hence why he's sitting at his table), but he wouldn't ever count on his support if the tables turned, IMO. He was one of those who defected immediately after Voldie died, after all :)
    – Luaan
    Commented May 26, 2015 at 11:55
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    Well, they're not bad points. But do take into account that he had many such parts of the soul, and loyal or not, it was pretty likely Lucius' safekeeping would actually be pretty safe. Of course, we know that Lucius failed in this - and Voldie likely knows about this. The second point can easily be seen again for convenience, and as a punishment. Lucius didn't seem too thrilled at having his manor used this way, did he? :))
    – Luaan
    Commented May 26, 2015 at 14:24
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    Don't forget Lucius was not that loyal anymore. Based on the dialog between Voldemort and Lucius in Malfoy manor, it looks as if Voldemort knows Lucius only agrees the house being used as a death eater headquarter because Lucius has no other option than to cooperate. Commented May 26, 2015 at 17:27

7 Answers 7


By this point Lucius had fallen out of grace, due to his destroying the diary, failing to get the prophecy as well as getting captured at the end of Order of the Phoenix, thus being publicly branded as a DE and criminal (whereas the Malfoy family status was one of his greatest assets to Voldemort)

A couple of reasons I can think of why he would use Malfoy's wand specifically:

  1. Malfoy is still an experienced and powerful wizard, which should probably affect his wand positively somehow.

  2. Voldemort needed to use a different wand anyway and this was a way to taunt and punish Malfoy (in case something goes wrong and the wand is destroyed, Voldemort doesn't care).

  3. Getting Ollivander to make a high quality wand in short notice was probably not very practical, given his weakened state, and the fact that he was a prisoner, without having access to all his tools.

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    I would say allowing the diary to be destroyed rather than destroying the diary; Lucius wasn't the one to destroy it, after all. Commented May 26, 2015 at 13:29
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    Plus, can he really trust a wand created by an unwilling prisoner would not fail or fall short at that crucial moment when it could mean his destruction? Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 15:56
  • @Andrew No, absolutely not
    – user13267
    Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 17:07
  • See the followup question scifi.stackexchange.com/q/112928/4918 "What did Lucius do to fall from grace?"
    – b_jonas
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 10:31
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    @Longshanks I think the last book had something abouts wands learning from their master, in the chapter where Harry talks with Ollivander after their escape, and how wands of some powerful wizards are also powerful. Thats what point 1 was trying to refer to. I think its also been discussed in few other questions here.
    – user13267
    Commented Jun 15, 2021 at 16:21

A few suggestions from me:

  1. He doesn't care about Malfoy's life or reputation.

    He doesn't really care about any of his Death Eaters, but especially not one who:

    • Failed to look for him during the wilderness years
    • Pretended to be under the Imperius Curse during the first war, denying any involvement and renouncing the Dark Arts
    • Carelessly lost one of Voldemort's horcruxes
    • Lost him the prophecy in the Department of Mysteries
    • Has a son who failed in his mission to kill Dumbledore

    If Lucius dies in battle, he won't care. (He might even be glad.)

    Taking Lucius's wand also humiliates him in front of the Death Eaters; he's reduced to the status of a Muggle. It reminds them how somebody can drop out of favour if they fail him, and encourages them to do better when they're on missions for him.

  2. He can trust that Lucius's wand will work.

    Regardless of his failings, Lucius is an accomplished Death Eater. His wand has performed a lot of Dark Magic, and powerfully so.

    Since wands have personalities, there will be some that are suited to dark magic, and some less so. Better to use a wand with a track record of dark magic than take a chance of getting a lemon.

  3. Getting Ollivander to produce a wand is risky.

    Even if Ollivander is a star wandmaker, there are several reasons why I don't think Voldemort would want another wand from him:

    • Ollivander is weakened, and probably doesn't have the tools or materials for wandmaking in his dungeon. That dismisses the idea on practical grounds.
    • He's a disarmed prisoner. Even in his weakened state, giving him the equipment for wandmaking is risky. You don't know what he could do with that equipment; it could easily endanger their operation.
    • You can't trust him to make a reliable wand. We know that he doesn't like Voldemort, so he could give Voldemort a faulty wand. If it fails at the wrong moment, that could be fatal. Better not to trust somebody who dislikes you with making your weapons.

      (And since the shop has been empty, any wands there could have been tampered with. They should be treated with similar suspicion.)

  • 12
    #3 is best illustrated by the beginning of the Iron Man movie. Giving a prisoner tools for making weapons for the captors will most probably result in the prisoner making weapons against the captors. Or in Ollivander's case weapons that will blow up when used.
    – zovits
    Commented May 26, 2015 at 12:35
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    @zovits I didn't mention it, but that was exactly the case I had in mind.
    – alexwlchan
    Commented May 26, 2015 at 12:44
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    @zolvits think about the movie, with Ollivander producing a wand armor with his tools and destoring the building and the death eaters. Sorry for the off topic reply :D
    – Julian
    Commented May 26, 2015 at 13:47

It was another way of punishing him. Lucius' failure in OotP was already being punished before, when Voldemort forced Draco into a suicide mission.

Prior to Voldemort's return, the Malfoys were the "elite" of the death eaters. They were rich, had influence and everone else was waaay below them.

After Voldemort's return and after the failure in OotP, they lost more and more of their privileges (Voldemort chose their home as base of operation, etc.). They started doubting their master.

All the evil plans in the world meant nothing to them if they couldn't enjoy their superiority together as a family and without any intruders bothering them. At the end of the last book, the Malfoys didn't even join the battle of Hogwarts, but just tried to find their son and flee afterwards.

I guess Voldemort sensed their wavering loyalty and kept punishing them and keeping them from doing anything to stop him. Worst case, they could have betrayed him. Taking Lucius' wand reduced Lucius' power even further, preventing him from causing trouble.


The Malfoys enjoyed a lot of the benefits of being death eaters in Voldemort's previous existence, but they, with a lot of other death eaters, didn't use their considerable influence, wealth, and other resources to bring him back to power.

Voldemort was obviously, openly, bitter about how quickly his followers left him.

He needed them to continue with his plans in the immediate future, but this, along with their many failures (some of which were obvious set ups for failure, such as Draco's mission) was merely Voldemort continuing to punish them for leaving him dead for so long. So long, in fact, that his opponent grew to be capable of hurting Voldemort.

Voldemort took Lucius Malfoy's wand to demonstrate power over the Malfoys, and to make sure everyone knew that even the powerful Malfoys were afraid of Voldemort's power, while showing everyone that Voldemort himself did not appreciate the Malfoys, and that they had fallen severely out of grace in his sight.


Beside the other good answers/arguments, which were presented here, I would say, there may be three other reasons, why Voldemort did take the wand of Lucius

  • for Voldemort only the best was good enough and nobility mattered: if he could choose he would always have taken the worthiest/best objects (see for the Horcruxes: they are not any object, but the objects belonging to the founders of Hogwarts). I can't imagine that he would have taken the wand of any simple servant with no noble lineage, because he couldn't identify with those people.
  • Lucius Malfoy was not useful to Voldemort anymore, so Lucius would not need his wand anymore
  • I think one also has to consider the complicated wand magic: for a wand to work properly it is important to consider how the wand was conquered. Lucius Malfoy had to give his wand to Voldemort since he feared for his family and maybe Lucius wand is conquered by force, fear/love for his family- so he and his wand had been completely in Voldemort's grip.

Voldemort took the wand in a display of contempt for Lucius (he was so useless that it did not matter if he had a wand or not) and to remind everyone how weak and worthless they were to him.

I think the primary reason this is in the books is to help highlight the extremely limited knowledge of wand lore. It appears that most wizards think of wands like we think of power tools, they all can get the job done, just some are better (more powerful) then others. This pairs well with Ron’s wand issues, the issues mentioned by those in the DA club, and Ollivander’s confession to limited knowledge despite being one of the foremost experts on wands in the world.


Voldemort had taken the wand from Dumbledore's grave.

It was not obeying him even when its master is dead.

He thought Snape might be the one the wand obeys and kills him.

Even then, the wand does not obey him since it was Malfoy who disarmed Dumbledore and Snape just had a mutual agreement to kill the Principal and was just sticking to the plan.

  • 2
    This doesn't seem to answer the question though. The OP is asking why Voldemort took Lucius Malfoy's wand in the first chapter of DH.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 11:40

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