The Elder Wand, also known as the Deathstick or the Wand of Destiny, is a mythical object steeped in legend and revered as one of the most potent artifacts in the wizarding world. Part of the fabled Deathly Hallows, as chronicled in “The Tales of Beedle the Bard,” it has an enigmatic history that intertwines with some of the most consequential events and figures in magical history.
Believed to be created by Death himself according to the folktale, or by Antioch Peverell in other accounts, the Elder Wand is unique in its loyalty, as it aligns itself with the wizard who ‘defeats’ its previous owner, whether that be through murder, disarmament, or any form of besting.
The list of its owners is illustrious, with names such as Gregorovitch, Gellert Grindelwald, Albus Dumbledore, and briefly Lord Voldemort, culminating with Harry Potter, who chose not to wield its extraordinary power.
|Thestral tail hair
|Immensely powerful; amplifies the spells cast by its wielder; excels at combat spells; possesses semi-sentience and can choose its own master; responds to power and desire for domination.
|Albus Dumbledore’s tomb (as of end of the series)
|Power intended to be broken upon Harry Potter’s peaceful death.
What does the Elder Wand do?
The Elder Wand is able to perform feats of magic that other wands cannot. It has the ability to repair other wands, a feat that ordinary wands can’t accomplish, as demonstrated when Harry Potter uses it to mend his broken holly and phoenix feather wand.
The power of the Elder Wand doesn’t stem from the wand itself, but from the witch or wizard who wields it. It responds better to acts of power, as noted by Albus Dumbledore. However, the wand’s power isn’t necessarily beneficial.
As Dumbledore explains, the wand’s history is filled with bloodshed because it’s the target of constant desire and greed, as many wizards have killed for it in their pursuit of power. Thus, despite its power, the Elder Wand carries a dangerous legacy.
Why was the Elder Wand so powerful?
The Elder Wand is the most powerful wand in the world because it is made of a phoenix feather core and has been passed down through many powerful wizards. It is said that the wand chooses its owner, and whoever masters it will become the “Master of Death.”
Phoenix feather is considered to be the most powerful wand core. Phoenix feathers are said to be “thestral-compatible,” meaning that they can channel the power of thestrals, which are magical creatures that can see death. This gives the Elder Wand a connection to death, which makes it even more powerful.
The Elder Wand has also been passed down through many powerful wizards, including Antioch Peverell, Ignotus Peverell, and Gellert Grindelwald. Each of these wizards used the wand to great effect, which further increased its power.
Finally, the Elder Wand has a unique ability to choose its owner. This means that the wand will only work at its full potential for the person who it believes is its rightful owner. This gives the wand an even greater edge in battle, as it can be used to its full potential by its owner.
Elder Wand Ownership Chart & Timeline (In Order)
|Middle Ages (exact dates unknown)
|Murderer of Antioch Peverell
|Middle Ages (soon after Antioch Peverell)
|Emeric the Evil
|Middle Ages (exact dates unknown)
|Egbert the Egregious
|Middle Ages (exact dates unknown)
|Middle Ages (exact dates unknown)
|Middle Ages (exact dates unknown)
|Presumably Middle Ages to Early Modern period (exact dates unknown)
|Presumably Early Modern period (exact dates unknown)
|Arcus OR Livius
|Unknown (sometime between Loxias and Gregorovitch)
|Presumably Late 19th to early 20th century
|Early 20th century to 1945
|1945 to 1997
|1997 to 1998
|1998 to present
Please remember that J.K. Rowling has not provided exact dates for the majority of these ownership changes, and many of the details are left intentionally vague. This table should therefore be seen as a broad guide rather than a precise chronology.
Read more: All Harry Potter Wands with Images and Stats
1. Antioch Peverell (Middle Ages)
Antioch Peverell is one of the three Peverell brothers from “The Tale of the Three Brothers,” a children’s fable from the wizarding world introduced in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” According to the story, Antioch created the Elder Wand, one of the three Deathly Hallows, to make himself unbeatable in duels.
His desire for power made him a target, and he was killed in his sleep by a rival who sought to possess the Elder Wand. Antioch’s story sets the tone for the trail of blood that follows the Elder Wand. It also suggests a moral: those who seek power for its own sake often fall prey to it.
In the larger Harry Potter narrative, Antioch is revealed to be an ancestor of the Gaunt family, and by extension, Voldemort. This connection underscores the thematic parallels between Antioch and Voldemort, both of whom are consumed by their quest for power.
2. Murderer of Antioch Peverell (Middle Ages)
This unnamed character killed Antioch Peverell to obtain the Elder Wand. Their fate remains unknown, but given the history of the wand, it is likely that they met a similar end.
3. Emeric the Evil (Middle Ages)
Emeric, known infamously as “Emeric the Evil,” was a wizard of the middle ages who came into the possession of the Elder Wand after Antioch Peverell’s unnamed murderer. Not much is known about Emeric’s life or how he obtained the wand, but his epithet suggests a notorious reputation.
The Elder Wand’s power is said to have increased under Emeric’s ownership due to its use in malevolent spells and deeds. His possession of the wand is indicative of the pattern that the Elder Wand often falls into the hands of those who crave power, further emphasizing the curse that seems to accompany it.
Although details of his life remain elusive, Emeric the Evil is another piece in the bloody history of the Elder Wand.
4. Egbert The Egregious (Middle Ages)
Egbert the Egregious rose to prominence during the middle ages as the wizard who managed to wrestle the Elder Wand from the grasp of Emeric the Evil. His moniker, “Egregious”, which means outstandingly bad or shocking, hints at the possible methods he might have employed to secure the wand.
While the specifics surrounding Egbert’s takeover are lost to history, it can be inferred that his actions were significant and brutal, considering the wand’s history of changing ownership through conflict or death.
His tenure as the Elder Wand’s master demonstrates the perpetuating cycle of violence linked with the wand, as wizards of considerable power ruthlessness vie for control over it.
5. Godelot (Middle Ages)
Godelot is a historical wizard, believed to have been the master of the Elder Wand sometime after Egbert the Egregious during the Middle Ages. He is known for writing “Magick Moste Evile,” a dark and dangerous book that explores Dark Magic and even discusses Horcruxes.
Godelot regarded the Elder Wand as his “moste wicked and subtle friend,” as stated in his book. It’s assumed that he studied the wand intensively and might have even used it to delve into the Dark Arts. However, Godelot’s life ended tragically when his son, Hereward, locked him in the cellar and left him to die, effectively gaining mastery of the Elder Wand.
Godelot’s story further emphasizes the often grim and ruthless nature of the wand’s transition between owners.
6. Hereward (Middle Ages)
Hereward was a wizard of the Middle Ages who was the son of the Elder Wand’s previous master, Godelot. Not much is known about Hereward’s personal history, but his seizure of the Elder Wand certainly stands out.
It’s not made clear why Hereward chose to imprison his father in their home’s cellar, where Godelot eventually died. This grim act made Hereward the wand’s new master, as it transferred its allegiance after the death of its previous owner. His story, while tragic and dark, serves as a testament to the Elder Wand’s complex and often violent history of ownership changes.
7. Barnabas Deverill (Presumably Middle Ages to Early Modern period)
The Elder Wand changed hands in the early 18th century to Barnabas Deverill, a cunning wizard known for using the wand’s power to his advantage. Deverill was infamous for his manipulative tactics and exploits, which he was able to carry out more successfully thanks to the extraordinary power of the Elder Wand.
However, the Elder Wand’s allegiance is fickle and typically short-lived, often resulting in the demise of its owner. This was the fate of Deverill, who was defeated by another wizard named Loxias, resulting in a shift of the wand’s allegiance once more. The specifics of their conflict remain shrouded in mystery, but it was yet another example of the Elder Wand’s violent and treacherous history.
8. Loxias (Presumably Early Modern period)
Loxias, a wizard of ill-repute, was the next known possessor of the Elder Wand after defeating Barnabas Deverill in the early to mid-18th century. Known for his malicious deeds, he wielded the power of the Elder Wand with no regard for others. Interestingly, Loxias claimed to have slain the “dreadful” mythical creature, the Arcadian Nymph, an accomplishment that further elevated his notoriety.
However, his grip on the Elder Wand was not to last. He was eventually murdered, but the identity of his killer remains unknown, leading to a period of uncertainty regarding the wand’s ownership. It’s only known that at some point, the wand came into the possession of Mykew Gregorovitch, a well-known wandmaker.
9. Arcus or Livius (Unknown)
Following Loxias, the ownership of the Elder Wand becomes hazy. The wand passed into the hands of either Arcus or Livius, but the specifics surrounding this period remain shrouded in mystery.
Their exact roles, timelines, and how they came into possession of the Elder Wand are unclear. Despite these ambiguities, what is certain is that the Elder Wand continued to pass from one hand to another, carrying its legacy of power and tragedy until it ended up with the prominent wandmaker, Mykew Gregorovitch.
10. Mykew Gregorovitch (Presumably Late 19th to early 20th century)
Mykew Gregorovitch, a renowned wandmaker of Eastern Europe, came to possess the Elder Wand at some point in the early 20th century. How exactly the wand came into his possession is not detailed in the Harry Potter series, but it significantly elevated his reputation in the wizarding world.
Gregorovitch attempted to understand and replicate the Elder Wand’s extraordinary power, even going so far as to use it to craft his other wands. Unfortunately, his possession of the Elder Wand was not a secret.
This brought him to the attention of a young Gellert Grindelwald, who was in search of the Deathly Hallows. Grindelwald stole the Elder Wand from Gregorovitch, making him the wand’s next master.
11. Gellert Grindelwald (Early 20th century to 1945)
Gellert Grindelwald, one of the most dangerous Dark wizards of all time, came into possession of the Elder Wand in the mid-1920s after stealing it from the wandmaker Mykew Gregorovitch. Grindelwald, who was already a skilled wizard, became even more formidable with the Elder Wand in his hand.
His goal was to lead a revolution that would end the International Statute of Secrecy and create a new order where wizards ruled over Muggles “for the greater good.” However, his reign of terror came to an end in 1945 when he was defeated by Albus Dumbledore in a legendary duel. The defeat marked the end of Grindelwald’s ownership of the Elder Wand, making Dumbledore its new master.
12. Albus Dumbledore (1945 to 1997)
After his legendary duel with Gellert Grindelwald in 1945, Albus Dumbledore became the master of the Elder Wand. As one of the greatest wizards of all time, Dumbledore’s already impressive power was enhanced by the wand. He used it for various feats of powerful magic and kept it until his death in 1997.
However, Dumbledore’s intention was to die undefeated, with the wand’s power dying with him since he planned his own death with Snape. Unfortunately, Draco Malfoy disarmed him before his death, making Draco the unexpected new master of the Elder Wand.
Why didn’t Dumbledore break the Elder Wand?
Dumbledore likely didn’t break the Elder Wand because he believed he could design a scenario where its power would be neutralized upon his death. His plan was for Severus Snape to kill him at a prearranged time, which would mean that Dumbledore would die unbeaten and the Elder Wand’s power would die with him. This is because the wand’s allegiance would not be won over in such a scenario, as Dumbledore intended to die willingly, not defeated in a duel.
13. Draco Malfoy (1997 to 1998)
Draco Malfoy’s ownership of the Elder Wand was unintentional and brief. In “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” during the battle in the Astronomy Tower, Draco disarmed Dumbledore, which unknowingly transferred the wand’s allegiance to him. Draco, however, was unaware of this shift in the wand’s loyalty, and he never actually possessed the physical Elder Wand.
In “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” during the skirmish at Malfoy Manor, Harry disarmed Draco of his original wand, which also indirectly led to Harry gaining the Elder Wand’s allegiance, even though the Elder Wand was physically in Voldemort’s possession at the time.
Draco’s ownership of the Elder Wand was significant, not for what Draco did with it, but for how it set the stage for Harry to become the master of the Elder Wand.
14. Harry Potter (1998 to present)
Harry Potter became the master of the Elder Wand when he disarmed Draco Malfoy at Malfoy Manor, even though Draco never physically possessed the Elder Wand. Harry used the power of the Elder Wand during the final battle at Hogwarts to defeat Voldemort, who was the physical possessor but not the true master of the Elder Wand.
In the Harry Potter book series, the Elder Wand’s fate is somewhat different compared to its depiction in the film adaptation of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”
In the book, Harry uses the Elder Wand to repair his original wand, which had been broken during his travels. He then returns the Elder Wand to Albus Dumbledore’s tomb, intending that its power would die with him since he planned to die undefeated and thus break the wand’s bloody history. This decision underlines Harry’s humility and his understanding of the dangers of the wand’s power.
In contrast, in the movie, Harry snaps the Elder Wand in two and throws it away without repairing his original wand. The movie takes a more dramatic and visual approach to symbolize the end of the Elder Wand’s power. It’s a more definitive end, demonstrating to the audience that Harry does not want to keep the power that the Elder Wand holds and he makes sure no one else can use it again.
This difference between the book and movie has been a point of discussion among Harry Potter fans. Some prefer the thoughtfulness of the book’s version, which is consistent with Harry’s character, while others appreciate the visual symbolism and decisiveness of the movie’s version.