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Headscratchers: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Wand Disarmament
Please check JK's FAQs before asking a question that may have already been answered.
  • Does anyone else agree that Deathly Hallows was purely driven by the Magical Phlebotinum Ass Pull? I mean really. My biggest problem is the whole "allegiance of wands" bit that allowed Harry to defeat Voldemort. The Trio, Dumbledore's Army, and the members of the dueling club in Book 2 have been disarming each other for years, and never before have their wands changed allegiance. Harry himself has been disarmed more times than I can remember (once caught of guard by Neville, I think) and his phoenix-feather wand served him the same way as it always did, right up until Book 7, when it got snapped in half. So since when, exactly, does Disarming anyone win you their wand? And how in hell did JKR pass off that crap at the end? Harry Disarmed Draco in Malfoy Manor, so the wand that Draco had Disarmed (but did not have on his person at that time and therefore was subject to none of the effects of the spell) changed its allegiance to Harry, despite the fact that Draco had Disarmed it nearly a year prior, had not seen it ever since, and held no allegiance to it. What?! And the whole "part of Voldemort's soul was in Harry and part of Harry's soul was in Voldemort" thing had its plot holes as well. When Voldy's Avada Kedavera rebounded on him, shouldn't it have killed the bit of Harry that was still in Voldemort and allowed him to return, just as Harry had done minutes prior? Oh, and the Epilogue was crap. Just saying.
    • Not exactly sure, but the way I see it, is that the Elder Wand is the trickiest wand. Your own personal wand won't necessarily just leave you, because it has stronger ties to you than the Elder Wand does. The EW goes with the person who has the most power; it's not about individual respect/loyalty, like a normal wand would. "The wand chooses the wizard", and if during a duel, your wand decides to stay with you, that's the wand's choice. Even when other people have gained the allegiance of someone else's wand (when Harry had Draco's original wand), it didn't work perfectly for him. It would have soon gone back to Draco. The wand doesn't always decide to leave you. The EW is just more easily swayed to a different master.
      • Furthermore, the dueling club and the DA were for practicing spells, not actual fights, and no one technically claimed any wands they took, they gave them back to the original owners.
      • "The Elder Wand is the trickiest wand." Yes, the Elder Wand was made specifically by Death to screw with the oldest brother and everyone down the line. Other wands, not being made by a vengeful supernatural entity, wouldn't switch hosts.
      • The wand is probably not supernatural (well, anymore supernatural than other magic). Dumbledore gives the much more sensible explanation that the whole Death thing is a myth, and the hallows are just legendarily powerful magical objects created by a trio of genius brothers.
    • Except that it was also established that physically taking or handing over wands was enough to also change their allegiance. So yes, the students had been disarming themselves for ages, but they never kept the wands after. For example, in the third book, Lupin disarms Harry and takes his wand. At that point, he was technically the owner of it. He then gives it back to Harry, and thus Harry is made the owner once more.
      • All explained by Word of God: Your personal wand is quite loyal to you, and even the Elder Wand won't change allegiance if your friend jinxes you on April Fools' Day: it has to be with intent.
    • And Dumbledore's Army also had the understanding that they were practicing disarming spells so this probably acted as permission from the owner to be disarmed. Just as Dumbledore wish to be killed by Snape while EW was still in his possession. If the owner of the wand gives permission to be disarmed, then it's not a real defeat.
    • What about the Ass Pull of the "Deathly Hallows" themselves too? So much of the backstory (including the bit that apparently everyone but the main protagonists knew about wands changing owners) would have been much better spread out (or hinted at (better?)) in previous books. Hermione notes at one point she'd wondered about Harry's invisibility cloak, but... Never mentioned it? And no one else mentioned it, even with the occurrence of other invisibility cloaks (other than them mentioned as being generally rare to find)? And we never had any hints about Dumbledore's past being connected to all these things? (Aside from the practically throw-away line about him returning the invisibility cloak to Harry.) It just seemed like the entire book was a damn Ass Pull with poor-to-no foreshadowing, and some rather massive changes/revelations (take your pick) about how one of the fundamentals of magic (wands) work. The sixth book was a bit better, but it got a little into Ass Pull territory with the massive infodumps on Snape and Voldemort... I mean, maybe JK Rowling planned it all out, but she should have spread it out too.
      • I'm going to go ahead and call Retcon about Harry's Invisibility Cloak being the only "real" one. In Goblet of Fire, Barty Crouch has one. It is mentioned several times during The Reveal: Barty Jr. used it during the World Cup to hide in the stands, again when he attacked Krum and his father, and also when he buried his father's body. Until the seventh book, I was under the assumption that Invisibility Cloaks, while rare, were acknowledged by most to really exist in the wizarding world (as opposed to being considered a legend).
      • It's not a retcon. You're misunderstanding the relevance of the Deathly Hallow Cloak. Its ability never deteriorates over time like all other cloaks do. In fact it's mentioned that Mad Eye has at least two invisibility cloaks, probably because one's usefulness has deteriorated. Harry's cloak is just a very well made one (or, if the legend is true, Death's own Invisibility Cloak), and all the other rare ones are just not-as-well-made imitations.
      • The thing that makes it such an Ass Pull that Harry's cloak is a Deathly Hallow (rather than merely a high-quality example of an invisibility cloak) is that there are so many forms of magic that it doesn't conceal the wearer from. Moody's magical eye, for example, is presumably a very rare artifact (if for no other reason than that the demand for magical X-ray eyes is surely quite low), but it's no Hallow. So why is it fully capable of seeing Harry under his cloak, if it's so much better than other invisibility cloaks? Why can Dementors see him under a cloak that's supposed to hide him from Death itself?
      • Dementors can't see him, they do not have eyes. (As far as we know.) They sense emotion. The Invisibility Cloak doesn't disguise that. Likewise, it doesn't hide you from magical spells that do not use sight, of which Dumbledore knows at least one. No one ever said it was perfect, I'm not sure why people think that, unless they're interpreting the 'hide from Death' myth a little too seriously. What made it so amazing is that it lasts forever and is indestructible. (And also can't be Summoned, but since we have no idea how how complicated such a spell is, it might be easy.)
    • There is an essential difference between the useless, ordinary invisibility cloaks of Crouch, Moody, etc. versus Harry's super-dooper Hallow forged by Death himself: DD, Crouch, Mrs. Norris, Snape, etc. can see through the super-dooper cloak; but no-one can see through useless ordinary cloaks. Muggles like me are so morally and racially inferior that we think an invisibility cloak that people cannot see through is better.
      • Where is it mentioned that no one can see through those 'useless ordinary cloaks'. Moody/Crouch certainly won't need to be seeing himself under the cloak with his magical eyes; he's not a student, so even if Mrs. Norris detected him, she wouldn't care. DD was not around when he was under the cloak, and I never read anywhere in the book that Snape could see through Harry's cloak- except in Prisoner of Azkaban, where the cloak slipped off Harry, and his head was seen by Malfoy who reported to Snape.
      • There is a theory going around that Moody's eye was enchanted by Dumbledore using the Elder Wand (thus the balancing of the Hallows, and also explains why Dumbledore can see through the cloak) in order to allow it to see through the Invisibility Cloak. The Dementors don't see Harry through the cloak; they can sense his emotions. Also, it's sometimes brought up that the whole myth behind the Deathly Hallows is, in fact, fiction, and the true story is that the brothers were just really good at crafting items.
      • The argument saying that the invisible cloak really was created by Death; thus any instances where people can detect the person hiding underneath when Death himself can't, are inconsistent and Ass Pull, is ridiculous in itself. First of all, if there really was a personification of Death in the Potterverse, we'd be seeing him already, since there's a lot of deaths occurring throughout the books. Secondly, the tale was written in a children's book; the point of the story is to incorporate An Aesop about the futility of cheating death (and some other moral messages Ron mentioned), and it simply uses the legendary Hallows in the story as a plot point. And Dumbledore did speculate that the Hallows are not mythical objects, and are simply powerful artifacts which have greater magical properties than most others. And Dumbledore's guesses are, most of the time, accurate.
      • Is there anywhere prior to Book 7 where it is suggested that invisibility cloaks wear out? Otherwise, I think the Retcon call is fair. Yes, Mad Eye had two, but Mad Eye was a paranoid nutcase who keeps about seven dark-wizard detecting gadgets at all times, so the mere fact that he had two isn't a suggestion he was worried one might wear out.
      • ^ Yes, I believe it was mentioned in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, although I can't be sure because it's been a few years.
      • There's nowhere specifically in the canon, but prior to the seventh book and shortly after the sixth was released, JK revealed that the number one question she was never asked was "Why did Dumbledore have James's Invisibility Cloak?", which would hint that it's more than it seems as far back as book one.
      • I can think of two hints throughout the entire series; they're both very subtle though. Sometime in either the 5th or 6th book, someone talks about some of the objects that Fred and George sell. Someone mentions that charms gradually wear off of objects. It's easy enough to assume that this would apply to Invisibility Cloaks, even though no one mentioned Harry's getting weaker. The fact that Mad Eye Moody needs a second cloak is the other hint. Considering how much time people spent analyzing her potential foreshadowing in the series, she must have thought that this was enough.
      • I forget which book specifically, but Hermione says that most invisibility cloaks have invisibility charms, or are woven out of demiguise hair, which turns opaque as the years go by, IIRC.
      • That's in Deathly Hallows, and I think it's Xeno Lovegood who says it. Which means there's no foreshadowing for it at all throughout the series.
    • Wasn't Rowling putting Chekhovs Guns throughout the entire series? Sometimes the only difference between that and an AP is when it's introduced.
      • The main difference between Chekhov's Gun and an Ass Pull is that Chekhov's Gun makes sense when you think about it and remember the subtle introduction earlier in the story.
      • One of the first things Harry and the readers are told is that the wand chooses the wizard, waaay back in book one. We forget about it for six books, and whoop, there it is again. In other words, whether someone finds it an AP or a CG is entirely subjective.
    • Where did you get the impression that part of Harry's soul was in Voldemort from? Voldemort had some of Harry's blood in him, and some of the magic that protected Harry from Voldemort, but that wouldn't have helped him survive Avada Kedavra; the blood magic was geared towards protecting Harry, not Voldemort. Agree that things like the whole wand allegiances, Deathly Hallows, and the like could have been foreshadowed better though; those things seemed to come out of nowhere, I didn't suspect a thing about the Invisibility Cloak until Deathly Hallows.
      • Dumbledore really got his suspicions confirmed in Chamber of Secrets. He was suspicious once he heard about Harry sensing Voldemort's presence; his scar hurting when he was nearby he'd never heard about anything about that no doubt. The fact that he had proof that Voldemort used Horcruxes made the theory all but confirmed after all it wouldn't be that too far out when dealing with uncommon magic like Horcruxes.
      • Oh, I agree that Rowling foreshadowed Harry being a Horcrux (and the Horcruxes in general) long before books 6 and 7. In Chamber of Secrets, Harry actually asks if he has a piece of Voldemort in him, and Dumbledore confirms that he does. Nobody ever said that Voldemort had a piece of Harry in him, though - he had some of Harry's blood, but not his soul, the connection between them was 100% down to the piece of Voldemort's soul in Harry. It's the other stuff, like the Hallows and the wand allegiances thing, that weren't foreshadowed enough. I mean, did anyone suspect Harry's invisibility cloak was in some way unusual before Deathly Hallows, or that Dumbledore's wand was anything special? Sure, he could do some amazing stuff with it, in particular during his duel with Voldemort in OotP, but before Deathly Hallows, I thought it was all Dumbledore. They should have made some mention of the Elder Wand before book 7 - if not as the Elder Wand, then by its better-known names, like the Deathstick or Wand of Destiny. Hermione says in Deathly Hallows that Binns mentioned those wands in class, but when?
    • In response to the above 'disarming each other' thing, please note part of Harry's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Voldemort: Dumbledore and Snape specifically planned that Snape would disarm Dumbledore, so his wand would be taken with his knowledge and blessing. Harry himself also states that overpowering Malfoy and taking his wand was what transferred its, and by extension the Elder Wand's, allegiance. The DA meetings didn't do jack for allegiance because all members were perfectly fine with being disarmed by each other.
    • There's also the comment about how a captured wand will bend its will. A wand wouldn't really be bending to another wizard's will unless they started using it. So if Person A disarmed Person B and pocketed the wand or handed it back to Person B, it'd be no harm, no foul. If Person A disarmed Person B and then started using Person B's wand, that would be bending the wand to Person A's will.
    • I wondered about this too, but the disarmament thing is explained in "The Flaw in the Plan." Snape didn't become master of the Elder Wand after defeating Dumbledore because he killed Dumbledore with permission, and therefore he wasn't taking the wand against Dumbledore's will. Likewise, in the dueling club and the DA meetings, the kids were disarming each other with permission, so the wand wouldn't shift loyalties then, either. Seems like kind of an ass-pull, though, that winning a wand from someone means you win EVERY wand the person might have.
      • You don't, you just win the Elder Wand if they have it. The Elder Wand, being the ultimate sort of booby-trap, going to whoever overpowers its owner in any way. Other wands are presumably a bit more loyal.
      • Alternately, hilariously, Harry was utterly wrong, and the Elder Wand thought Draco Malfoy was still its master... and thought that he, the person wielding Draco's wand, was Draco.
      • Except that if the Elder Wand's owner was anyone but Harry, V's spell will have no reason to rebound (even V isn't the wand's master, neither is the target) and Harry would die because V is still stronger and more experienced in magic than Harry.
      • I think I like that theory the best.
    • And back to Binns... since when has Harry paid any attention in that class? Since never, that's when.
  • Why doesn't every pureblood have a lot of spare wands inherited from their ancestors? Why didn't Lucius use his father's or mother's wand for example when his own was destroyed? Ron used Charlie's wand (in fact, why did Charlie need a new one?), and Draco used Narcissa's wand, so relatives' wands should work acceptable. Or is it tradition to bury a wizard with his wand? If it is, isn't it kinda stupid?
    • I wouldn't say it's stupid exactly. Lots of people choose to be buried with a treasured possession. I always figured that a wand was an extension of the wizard - it seems to be implied in the books that a wizard keeps his/her wand throughout their life, unless it's broken or stolen, etc. So it stands to reason that they would want to keep it with them even after they've died. How many times have you seen a wizard without their wand - by choice - in the books? And in reference to Charlie getting a new wand, maybe the wand he passed down to Ron was of poor quality. Considering the Weasley's financial situation, maybe it wasn't an Ollivander wand and when Charlie got his own job, he was able to buy an Ollivander wand and pass his old one down to Ron to save Molly and Arthur the trouble of buying a new one.
  • Voldemort was under the impression that the Elder Wand would belong to whoever killed its previous owner. And because Snape killed Dumbledore, the wand belonged to Snape. So, Voldemort has HIS SNAKE kill Snape. Wouldn't this mean that the Elder Wand would belong to Nagini instead of Voldemort? Can a snake even own a wand? Surely, Voldemort would have thought this through.
    • Nagini was his Horcrux and was even closer to him that Fawkes was to Dumbledore. And she was an animal. So ordering her to kill Snape counted as Voldemort killing him. He couldn't have used the Elder Wand to kill its owner after all (or so he thought).
  • So, let me see if I understand Harry's plan for the Elder Wand. He plans to never be defeated so that by the time he dies a natural death, the want losses it's power because ownership is never transferred? Harry Potter, who is likely to still have enemies in Death Eaters still loyal to Voldemort's cause, wanting revenge, is planning on getting into no fight in which he will not be defeated FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE. And by 'defeat', it can be something as simple as a disarming spell, which can happen easy to even the best of wizards, as Draco disarmed Dumbledore. And the person in question doesn't even have to be wielding the Elder Wand. And, to top it off, he is enacting his plan while pursuing a career in which he hunts down Dark Wizards. If there is ever a Harry Potter 8, I don't think this plan is gonna hold up.
    • Well, even if it doesn't hold up, and he is defeated, it's not very likely that many others will know about the Elder Wand, or where it is. So even if he is defeated, and then the person who defeated him is then defeated by someone else, and it continues on like that, the Elder Wand is very unlikely to be used properly again if it ever is recovered.
      • You mean aside from everyone else at the battle?
    • Methinks that Harry's plan is not to remain undefeated for the rest of his life, but, rather, to break the Elder Wand's power by making sure that no one actually knows who the hell is the actual owner of the Elder Wand. Sure, many at the school probably heard about the Elder Wand, but are you sure everyone is now going to know about it? There's a good chance that, after Harry gets into the Auror corps, that he could try to ensure that someone else gains the allegiance of the Elder Wand, and since they wouldn't know about it, then the ownership starts getting passed around by accident until no one really knows who is supposed to be the owner.
    • I believe this issue is why in the movie, Harry simply snaps the wand and throws it off a bridge.
  • The way I saw it, it wasn't just disarming that made wands switch allegiances, but wrestling control from the original owner. In the case of the Elder Wand, well, its a fickle thing and changes around a lot easier.
    • What if ownership doesn't end at death? What if by giving the wand back to Dumbledore, even after his death, that ownership was returned. Since the wand was always taken by force, no one who gained ownership of it was ever generous enough to willingly give up ownership that way and thus the cycle was never ended before now. It would fall in with some of the other themes of the books and further Harry's distance from Voldemort who tried to get the wand even following his death while Harry, who had the wand thrust upon him by circumstance, gave it back to Death (even if the Death part of the legend is symbolic) and so ended the chain permanently.

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