Magical Mondays: The Elder Wand Twist

After I saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I admit that I was a bit confused. I didn’t understand how the future movies were supposed to include Newt when the main focus seemed to be shifting to the conflict between Grindelwald and Dumbledore. Was there just going to constantly be a side plot with Newt losing and trying to find his creatures again? Would the niffler steal something of Grindelwald’s and find the real Percival Graves hidden inside (please let this happen)? No matter what I could think of, nothing seemed to really fit, until I realized—oh shit—Newt might be the current master of the Elder Wand!


In the last Harry Potter book, we learn not only about the Deathly Hallows, but also a little more about wandlore. Wands are quasi-sentient and choose their master; however, we later learn that their wands can take new masters. The Harry Potter wiki explains how this can be done and furthermore, the unique way in which the Elder Wand does this. It says:

Wands can take new masters. When a wand’s master is disarmed, stunned, or killed, the wand may accept the old master’s attacker as its new master, swaying its allegiance over to the wizard who won it from its preceding owner. This phenomena is mostly observed in the Elder Wand, which, according to Albus Dumbledore, only respects power. The Elder Wand will transfer its allegiance even if its defeated master is not in possession of it at the time. No other wand is known to share this trait. Most wands are attached to their masters and will not easily discontinue their allegiance with the previous master, if at all. Indeed the original bond seems unlikely to be severed; if it were, then a defeated witch or wizard would be better served to acquire a new wand rather than continue using it because it would no longer perform at its peak for them — yet they don’t. Furthermore, wands forcibly taken in circumstances of purely competitive or friendly nature or stolen without attacking the previous master will not change allegiance.

Here it clearly states that the Elder Wand is one of the only wands that will transfer allegiance even if its master isn’t in possession of it at the time. We saw this in the Harry Potter books as well—Draco disarms Dumbledore of the Elder Wand, making him its master—even though he didn’t kill Dumbledore, challenging the previous belief that the only way to get possession of the Elder Wand was to kill its master. Despite the fact that the Elder Wand was in Voldemort’s possession, when Harry wrestles Draco’s wand from his hand, disarming him, the Elder Wand transfers its allegiance to Harry.

young-grindelwald-stealing-elder-wandThe Elder Wand actually seems to be a pretty fickle wand and changes allegiances easily. Though most of the Elder Wand’s previous owners were killed, creating the myth that to obtain mastery over it one needed to kill the current owner, that seems to often not be the case. Grindelwald stole the wand after stunning wandmaker Mykew Gregorovitch, who owned it previously. Dumbledore then won it from Grindelwald after he defeated him, but again did not kill him. And as I mentioned earlier, both Draco and Harry got the wand without killing anyone.

We know that during the Fantastic Beasts movie Grindelwald already had the Elder Wand, because in the Harry Potter movies we see Gregorovitch’s memory of Grindelwald as a young man stealing the wand. So even though he was disguised as Percival Graves and using Graves’s wand, we know that he was the master of the Elder Wand at that time. That is until Newt uses the Swooping Evil to bind and disarm him. So… wouldn’t that make Newt the new master of the Elder Wand?

It would make sense and put Newt unwillingly in the center of the conflict between Dumbledore and Grindelwald, and it fits with the wandlore perfectly. We could see Newt return to Hogwarts: maybe Dumbledore invites Newt back to Hogwarts after his book becomes famous and learns about what happened while Newt was in America. He could realize the danger that Newt is in and even attempt to help him, drawing Dumbledore further into the conflict with Grindelwald that he previously was trying to avoid. I hope J.K. Rowling realizes this, because if Newt isn’t the master of the Elder Wand, then there needs to be a good explanation as to why. Maybe it’s that you can’t disarm someone with a magical creature? I don’t know, but either Newt is the new master of the Elder Wand or there is a major plot hole in the Fantastic Beasts story.


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