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Harry Potter fans around the world are familiar with the Elder Wand. It is one of the most powerful wands in existence and has a long and bloody history. It is also one of the most mysterious wands created.
Here, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about this famous wand! We will cover its origins, its design, and what it is made of. Plus, we will explore how it fits into myths and legends. So, if you’re curious about the Elder Wand, keep reading!
What is the Elder Wand?
So, what exactly is the Elder Wand? Well, it is said to be the most powerful wand in existence (in the Harry Potter universe, of course). The wand is also said to have a number of unique properties, including the ability to perform magic that other wands cannot.
As readers, we only learn about The Elder Wand in the final book – the Deathly Hallows – but it actually plays a very important part in a lot of wizarding history.
How we Learn about The Elder Wand
So, the Elder Wand is first introduced to us Muggles with a trip to see Xenophilius Lovegood, Luna’s father and a very curious man by nature. He was one of the few people who knew what the Deathly Hallows symbol scribbled in the corner of the book Dumbledore left Hermione meant. He was also one of the few people who knew what the Tale of the Three Brothers was actually about.
Following that, Harry saw visions of Voldemort hunting down Gregorovitch, Ollivander, and finally, Grindlewalk in his prison tower to ask them about the mysterious wand. And Harry’s suspicion (that Voldemort was pursuing the most powerful wand in history) was confirmed when they rescued Ollivander from Malfoy Manor. Voldemort was seeking a more powerful wand that could defeat Harry in battle so that he could finally kill him. However, it also seems that the wand is much more traceable than the other Deathly Hallows as this was the only one that Ollivander had heard of. Either that or his knowledge of wandlore had thought him of the instrument, but the wand’s bloody history certainly makes it much more traceable than, say, a cloak of invisibility, for instance…
Of course, even though Olivander was able to provide some information about the wand, it seems that not all of its secrets are common knowledge, even among wand experts. And, in the end, Voldemort was so misinformed about the true nature of the wand he was seeking that his ploy didn’t exactly go according to plan. But, more on that later!
The Unusual Design of the Elder Wand
Of course, it’s not called ‘The Elder Wand’ for no reason and, you’re exactly right to think that it’s made of elder wood. In fact, the wand is made of a very specific type of elder wood that can only be found in certain parts of the world. The wood is known for being both strong and flexible, which makes it ideal for wand-making, but it’s also one of the rarest materials ever found in a wand.
However, another curious aspect about this wand is that elder is not a type of wood commonly used for wand making. When a witch or wizard is paired with a wand of elder wood, that person is usually marked out for a special destiny or has some kind of special prophecy surrounding them.
In the case of the Elder Wand, it’s 15 inches long, and its core contains the hair of a Thestral. This is most uncommon as the usual wand cores are dragon heartstring, phoenix tail feather, and unicorn hair. Thestral hair is very unusual in wand making and even Ollivander stated that he would not use it in any of his wands.
Furthermore, Thestrals have a connotation with death because they can only be seen by someone who has witnessed death. This means that the person who wields the Elder Wand is likely to have seen death, or at least be comfortable with it. Plus, this further links to the wand’s bloody journey throughout history – everywhere it goes death seems to follow – but more on that later!
The Tale of the Three Brothers: The Elder Wand Origin
So, let’s trace the Elder Wand back to its humble beginnings. The wand first came into existence during the medieval era in a legendary ‘story’ known as ‘The Tale of the Three Brothers’. The story goes that three brothers, who were all wizards, came across Death on their travels. Death was angry with the brothers because they had been able to avoid him for so long and offered them each a gift to make up for it.
The first brother asked for an unbeatable wand and Death gave him the Elder Wand. The second brother asked for a way to bring back the dead and Death gave him the Resurrection Stone. The third brother, not wanting anything from Death, asked only to be able to hide from him when it was his time to die. Death granted this request and gave him the Invisibility Cloak.
The story goes that the first brother, with his new Elder Wand, became unbeatable and no wizard could defeat him. However, as he grew older he became arrogant and cocky with his power. One day, a younger wizard challenged him to a duel and, despite having the Elder Wand, the first brother was defeated and killed. The second brother, meanwhile, used the Resurrection Stone to bring back his dead girlfriend. However, she was merely a ghost and could not stay with him in the living world. This drove the second brother mad and he eventually killed himself.
As for the third brother, he used the Invisibility Cloak to avoid Death for as long as he could. However, when his time came he was forced to take off the cloak and face Death. The story goes that the third brother passed the cloak to his son and ‘greeted Death like an old friend’.
This tale became known throughout the wizarding world, but many believed it only to be a children’s tale like ‘The Three Little Pigs’ or ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. Those that did believe in the truth behind the tale also knew of the Deathly Hallows, the only instruments available that could ‘cheat’ death.
Since the Elder Wand is one of these instruments, it is no wonder that the wand became shrouded in myths and legends, with many believing it to be unbeatable.
The Many Names of the Elder Wand
The Elder Wand is also a wand that goes by many names. It’s not just simply been known as ‘The Elder Wand’ over the years but has also been referred to as ‘The Deathstick’, ‘The Wand of Destiny’, ‘The Eldrun Wand’, and many other names.
All of these names hint at the power that the wand wields and the dark history that it has. For instance, ‘The Wand of Destiny’ has a certain allure to it that would tempt even the most humble of wizards. In contrast, ‘The Deathstick’ has a certain ominous quality to it that would make even the bravest of wizards think twice before using it.
It is a wand that has been used by some of the most powerful and evil wizards in history, which is likely why it has been given so many dark names.
The History of the Elder Wand (it’s Not a Pleasant One!)
And many of these dark names are synonymous with the wand’s dark past.
As we now know, the Elder Wand did not remain undefeated for long. The wand changed hands many times throughout history, often through murder. This is one of the reasons that led to the wand becoming known as ‘The Death Stick’, and with good reason.
The first recorded owner of the wand was Antioch Peverell, one of the three brothers from the story. But even in this fairy-tale, the first brother’s throat was slit as another stole the wand for his own.
Following this, Emeric the Evil was said to have slain Egbert the Egregious in order to acquire the want. Around a century later, Godelot died after being locked in the cellar by his own son Hereward.
In more modern times, Dumbledore and Grindelwald became obsessed with the Elder Wand (and the Deathly Hallows in general), believing the wand was one of the instruments needed in their pursuit of the greater good. Of course, they later fell out as Dumbledore didn’t agree with Grindelwald’s full intentions. They fought, and the wand changes its alliance from Grindelwald to Dumbledore, who it remained with for most of the Harry Potter series only changing allegiances again after Dumbledore’s death. Although the battle between Dumbledore and Grindlewald was one of the few times where the Elder Wand changes hands without a murder or death of some kind, it did end with a serious falling out and Grindelwald spent the rest of his life in prison.
However, in comparison to this non-bloody confrontation, in The Half-Blood Prince, the wand finally left Dumbledore – however, this did result in his death. Following this, throughout the Deathly Hallows books, in his attempt to capture the Elder Wand, Lord Voldemort murdered Gellert Grindelwald, Severus Snape, and Gregorovitch.
The Wand Changes Hands
So, as such, the Elder Wand then passed through many different hands over the centuries.
Some of the most notable owners include:
- Antioch Peverell: The first recorded owner of the wand, who according to legend, won it from Death himself. He also was the first brother in the story.
- Loxias: A Celtic god who was said to have used the wand to create rivers and lakes.
- Gregorovitch: A famous wandmaker who used to own the Elder Wand.
- Gellert Grindelwald: A Dark Wizard who stole the wand from Gregorovitch while in pursuit of the Deathly Hallows.
- Albus Dumbledore: One of the most powerful wizards in history and the headmaster of Hogwarts. He won the wand from Grindelwald in 1945.
- Lord Voldemort: The evilest wizard in history who stole the wand from Dumbledore’s grave in 1998.
- Draco Malfoy: The actual owner of the wand during the Battle of Hogwarts in 1998. He disarmed Dumbledore with it, making him the true owner.
- Harry Potter: The Boy Who Lived and the eventual winner of the wand in the Battle of Hogwarts.
The Power of the Elder Wand
So, what is it about the Elder Wand that makes it so powerful?
Well, for starters, it is made from Thestral tail hair, which gives it a level of power that is unrivaled by any other wand. It is able to perform magic that no other wand can – for instance, it was able to repair Harry’s wand, which Ollivander said was not possible with an ordinary wand. It is also said that, having a Thestral core meant that the wizard wielding this wand would need to be capable of accepting death in order for the wand to properly work.
The wand is also said to be indestructible, which makes it even more powerful. Although this theory is actually tested when Voldemort tries to use it and it cracks…but that was only because it didn’t recognize Voldemort as its true master.
So, the true power of the Elder Wand lies in its ability to make its owner unbeatable. This wand will win any combat hands down, so long as the wizard using it is its true master. The wand chooses its own master and will only yield to someone who defeats its previous owner in combat. This means that the person who owns the Elder Wand is, quite literally, the most powerful wizard in the world.
Why the Elder Wand is so Dangerous
While the Elder Wand may be incredibly powerful, it is also incredibly dangerous. The wand has a long history of being used for evil deeds and has been responsible for some of the darkest moments in wizarding history.
The wand is also said to be cursed, which means that anyone who tries to use it for evil ends will ultimately meet their downfall.
The Elder Wand is a powerful and dangerous weapon, and it should be used with caution. However, it’s not quite as dangerous as many wizards are led to believe…
What are the Rules of the Elder Wand?
The misconception that the future owner of the Elder Wand must kill the current holder is perhaps the most well-known rule surrounding it. But, this just simply isn’t true.
The wand does sometimes yield to someone who defeats its current owner in combat. This could be a duel, a physical fight, or even just a simple ‘Expelliarmus‘.
The wand does not switch masters due to death.
But, this changing of allegiances has led many wizards to believe that the Elder Wand is cursed, but this isn’t true either. The curse surrounding the wand is actually self-inflicted.
For instance, when Lord Voldemort falsely assumed that murdering Severus Snape was the key to the wand’s control, he was actually planting the seeds for his own destruction.
For, like with any wand, ‘the wand chooses the wizard’. This is also the case for the Elder wand, since, as well as changing hands through murder or disarming one’s opponent, the wand has also simply changed allegiances because it wanted to. The Elder Wand will ‘go where power goes’, so, in the same way, that its owners chase glory, it seems, so does the wand itself.
Any wand can switch loyalty at any time, although most contain some level of devotion for their original owners. In terms of power, the Elder Wand is ‘dispassionate and ruthless,’ having no genuine connection with the user.
It can also switch owners through the emotional state of wizards at the time. For example, when Draco disarmed Dumbledore, the wand recognized his ‘superior’ strength of character at that moment and chose him as its new owner.
A similar thing must’ve happened when Dumbledore defeated Grindelwald because neither wizard died for the want to switch ownership. However, we may never know exactly what happened during that battle.
My Thoughts on the Elder Wand
It’s clear that this wand is certainly a much more powerful wand than the average wand you could get at Ollivanders. Performing incredibly powerful magic – the ability to fix Harry’s wand for instance after it was damaged beyond even magical repair – was just one of these acts. It was also part of some incredible battles when it was in Dumbledore’s hands – fighting off the Inferi in the Half-Blood Prince and dueling Voldemort in combat in the Order of the Phoenix, for example. But Dumbledore was an incredible wizard. Even without the Elder Wand, he was able to perform some incredible magic, so, despite the wand being undeniably powerful, I believe the extent of its power also lies in the witch or wizard wielding it.
I also believe that, in a way, the wand is equally a gift and a curse. Being incredibly powerful is, in some ways, a good thing, but, as shown by the wand’s history, perceived ‘invincibility’ can easily go to someone’s head. And even the most powerful wand in the world can’t stop someone from slitting your throat while you sleep – which is exactly how the first brother in the story met his end.
In comparison, Dumbledore simply owned the wand quietly. He didn’t boast about it, he didn’t brag, and it was only after he had passed away that people learned what his wand actually was. In my opinion, this is what makes someone worthy of the Elder Wand. To be powerful, but humble and enjoy the benefits of the wand without bagging and making others jealous.
The Elder Wand Q and A
Answer: The Elder Wand is said to be the most powerful wand in existence and as such, it has many uses. It can be used for good or for evil, depending on the owner’s intentions.
Answer: Harry decided not to keep the Elder Wand because he didn’t want to be its master. He knew that the wand was too powerful and that its history was fraught with envy and bloodshed and didn’t want to be a part of that. Plus, he simply preferred his own wand. So, he used the Elder Wand to repair it and returned the Elder Wand to Dumbledore’s grave.
Answer: The Elder Wand is said to be indestructible but, like everything, it has its limits. The wand was used in a massive battle between Voldemort and Harry Potter and was damaged as a result. It broke because it was restricting the energy from the spells being cast. Although Voldemort was powerful, he wasn’t the wand’s true owner, so the wand wasn’t able to perform the spells to its true strength. The turmoil caused it to crack.
Answer: No, the Elder Wand never belonged to Snape. He was the wand’s temporary master, but he didn’t kill Dumbledore to get it. The wand chose Malfoy as its master because he was the one who disarmed Dumbledore. When Harry disarmed Malfoy, the wand recognized Harry as its true master and switched allegiances.
Answer: Voldemort wanted the Elder Wand because he wanted to be the most powerful wizard in existence. He also wanted to defeat Harry and had had issues with his own wand in the past because of their twin cores. He hoped that The Elder Wand would allow him to defeat Harry once and for all.
Answer: Voldemort knew Dumbledore had the Elder Wand because, during the Second Wizarding War, he broke into Nurmengard Castle to speak with Gellert Grindelwald. It was there that he learned that Grindelwald used to be the true master of the Elder Wand until Albus Dumbledore had taken it from him decades ago. As such, he broke into Dumbledore’s tomb and took the wand for himself.
So, there you have it! Everything you need to know about the Elder Wand! The Elder Wand is one of the most fascinating things in the Harry Potter universe. It is a wand with a long and dark history, and it is said to be the most powerful wand in existence.
This powerful and dangerous wand has been responsible for some of the darkest moments in wizarding history, but it is also one of the most coveted objects in the wizarding world. Use caution if you ever find yourself in possession of this wand, as its power can be both a blessing and a curse.