The Elder Wand, the Cloak of Invisibility, and the Resurrection Stone: arguably the three most powerful items in the wizarding world of Harry Potter. Plenty of wizards have sought them, including Albus Dumbledore. Avid collectors have tried to complete them, and believed that the one who possessed all three items would become the Master of Death. Some would define this as immortality, while others saw it as proof of invincibility.
The Peverell Brothers never called them the Deathly Hallows per say, and Beedle the Bard never named the items in “The Tale of the Three Brothers.” (Fun fact: “The Tale of the Three Brothers” isn’t based on any myth or legend, but is loosely inspired by The Pardoner’s Tale by Chaucer.) Instead, collectors coined the term and chose to believe that the items served a higher purpose. Though many believe the legend at the items were created by Death, Dumbledore thought the Peverell brothers were powerful wizards who created the Deathly Hallows, and these items were proof of their talents.
The Deathly Hallows played big roles outside of the eponymous seventh book. Many fans of the series know the items by heart, but there are a few interesting facts about the three most sought items in the wizarding world that you would have never guessed.
Here are the 15 Things You Never Knew About The Deathly Hallows.
15. The Elder Wand Had 15 masters
The Elder Wand’s bloody history is recognizable, and its users certainly made an impression. Emeric the Evil, Gelert Grindelwald, Godelot, Hereward; all have used it for ambition. On record, fifteen wizards have wielded the wand.
Out of these fifteen individuals, only Dumbledore and Harry Potter haven’t used it for selfish reasons. Harry returned the wand to Dumbledore, and, despite owning the most dangerous wand, Dumbledore chose to use it to defend innocents and tame its powers. Not once did he executed an Unforgivable Curse in either the books or movies.
There are also other possible wand masters who weren’t mentioned in the original Harry Potter series. In Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Delphini disarmed Harry Potter’s wand, but Hermoine managed to best Delphini. It is likely that Hermoine is the new Elder Wand master. Additionally, in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Porpentina Goldstein and Newt Scamander disarmed Grindelwald, which would make either one of them the wand’s next master.
14. The Resurrection Stone’s Fate
Harry eventually gave the Cloak of Invisibility to his eldest son, James Sirius Potter, and brought the Elder Wand back to Dumbledore’s tomb, but what happened to the Resurrection Stone? Well, apparently it’s somewhere buried deep within the Forbidden Forest.
Harry used it briefly to bring back his closest friends and family members before facing Voldemort and dropping the stone on the ground. After the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry never went back for the stone and preferred not to find it, despite it being the Deathly Hallows he most longed for.
Many fans asked about the Resurrection Stone and its whereabouts, to which J.K. Rowling replied that it was somewhere in the woods. She would imagine a centaur’s hoof pressed into the ground, burying it into the soft earth, while the herd aided Harry’s allies in the Hogwarts battle. One can only hope that no one ever accidentally stumbles upon it.
13. The Elder Wand’s Core is a Thestral Tail Hair
A wand’s materials define its character. In the case of the Elder Wand, its Thestral tail core and elder wood create a unique composition. Elder wood is one of the rarest and most stubborn woods of the wizarding world, rarely used by wandmakers. Thus, only a small number of witches and wizards have used it for their wands.
J.K. Rowling provided details about the wand’s core on her official website. Thestral tail hair core is unknown in the wand lore and is “a tricky substance” to master. A tail hair of a Thestral is invisible to most wizards and witches, since the creature is visible only to those who have seen someone die in front of them. Hence, the wand is most compatible to users who have conquered, or accepted, death.
12. Gregorvitch Tried to Replicate the Elder Wand
Mykew Gregorvitch, wandmaker, and Ollivander’s rival, happened to stumble upon the wand and realized that he found the Elder Wand. Like its former masters, Gregorvitch sought to harness its magic– however, unlike with the other masters, he sought its power in the name of wand making.
Gregorvitch tried to replicate its powers in the name of research, intending to possibly mass produce Elder Wands, but this turned into a complete failure. In the end, he spread rumors about how he had obtained the “Deathstick,” and was conducting experiments to replicate it.
Gregorvitch believed the rumors would draw customers to his shop, but this also backfired when Gellert Grindelwald stole the wand. Voldemort would later track him down after Ollivander spoke about Gregorvitch possessing the Elder Wand. Gregorvitch may have never used the wand to kill, but it fed into his ambition and folly.
11. Link Between the Resurrection Stone and the Veil
There are plenty of popular fan theories out there about the Deathly Hallows. One such theory is that the stone is a piece of the Veil, which is located in the Department of Mysteries. There is no solid proof in text or from Rowling’s interviews, but the number of items associated with the dead is limited. In the description of the tale, Cadmus Paverell brought back his fiance from the dead, but there was a “thin veil” that separated them.
Many fans believe that Cadmus may have created the Veil as a portal to the realm of the dead. However, the archway is a one-way trip, so Cadmus must have created the stone to bring people back. While the theory stops there, we can take it one step further and suggest the person Cadmus may have wanted to bring back was his brother, Antioch, who died and lost the Elder Wand. This would explain why the stone is the only item that contains the Peverell coat of arms.
10. The Wand’s Unique Design
Wands designs in the Potterverse are unique, and the most powerful wand definitely sets itself apart from other wands. The length of the Elder Wand is 15 inches, longer than the average wand, which ranges between 9 and 14 inches. It is carved with designs that look a lot like elderberries, in reference to the Elderberry tree. The wand also has a few special characters inscribed on the white bone handle.
Some fans deduced that the characters are Anglo-Saxon runes inscribed and say, “Cheat only once.” The words allude to Antioch Peverell and his brothers who cheated Death. It could also be a used as a cautionary tale for users that acquired the wand. On the other hand, the books never really went into length to describe the wand.
9. The Resurrection Stone is the only Deathly Hallows Item with the Symbol
Out of the three items, the Resurrection Stone is the only Deathly Hallows items that contains the symbol of the Peverell family. Cadmus Peverell created the item and carved the coat of arms on the stone out of respect for his brothers’ other two objects. The crest included the stone, the wand, and the cloak.
It is likely that Cadmus wasn’t the vain brother he was depicted as being in the “Tale of the Three Brothers”; rather, he dedicated his life to the Deathly Hallows. His descendants inherited the stone, which passed onto the Gaunt family. Marvelo would eventually use it to boast about his fancy lineage, unaware of its power.
The prop designers nearly didn’t include the symbol on the ring in the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince movie. When final book was released, they were able to etch the symbol in time for the film.
8. There are Multiple “Elder Wands”
Although the Elder Wand is the only wand made from elder wood featured in the books, Ollivander mentions elder wand wood users on the Pottermore official site. Elder wood wands are rarely used due to the unyielding nature of elder, and are considered unlucky. Given its bad reputation, wandmakers avoid making wands out of elder wood. However, the rare few who possess a wand made of elder often have an affinity with Rowan, or mountain ash, users.
The wood comes from the genus Sambucus, aka Elderberries, situated in warmer parts of Europe and North America. To this day, many superstitious individuals believe that the wood has special properties which can ward off evil spirits. The elderberry tree also appears in folklore. In ancient Ireland, the elder tree was seen as sacred, and breaking even a small twig from its branches was forbidden.
Elder has had mixed meanings across history, either depicting good or bad omens. It was more often viewed as the latter, and many thought that even bringing a piece of the wood inside a home would summon evil.
7. Only Two Wizards Defeated An Elder Wand Master In A Duel
Only a few masters contested for the Elder Wand. The two major duels recorded in history were between Egbert the Egregious and Emmeric the Evil, and Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald.
Egbert fought against Emmeric, who terrorized the south of England during the Middle Ages. Egbert destroyed him, since dark magic was legal at the time, and he then became the new owner. However, it is likely that Egbert was later murdered, since Medieval duelers never lived very long.
Eventually, the wand would fall into Grindelwald’s hands and, like the previous masters before, he used it to spearhead his political project. To protect his students and friends, Dumbledore came out of his comfortable life at Hogwarts to kill his childhood friend once and for all. Spectators claimed it as the greatest wizarding duel in modern history. With upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2 coming out next year (in which Jude Law portrays a young Dumbledore), it seems unlikely that filmmakers won’t include this epic showdown.
6. The Cloak of Invisibility is more than a utility
The Cloak of Invisibility, made from Death’s robe, is the first Deathly Hallows item featured in books and movies. Unlike other invisibility cloaks, Ignotus Paverell’s cloak remained in perfect working order for more than seven centuries. Aside from it being the best item to sneak past Mr. and Mrs. Filch, it is immune to spells.
When the Death Eaters tried to summon the cloak to weed out Harry, they were met by failure. Thief’s Downfall, a Gringotts Wizarding Bank security measure against concealments, also couldn’t detect Ignotus’ cloak. Only spells targeted at the user can go through. A prime example of this was when Draco Malfoy cast a petrification spell on Harry, who was under the cloak.
5. “Wand of Elder, Never Prosper”
Due to the wood’s unruly nature, witches and wizards rarely use elder for wandmaking. It also takes a certain person to tame its power. Hence, the saying, “wand of elder, never prosper.” This saying likely stems from the Elder Wand’s bloody history; its users have never lived very long and are often cursed. It also caused plenty of witch and wizards to eschew from elder wood and, instead, use other materials.
Wandmakers take this as literal truth and refuse to work with it since it would drive their sales to the ground. However, Garrick Ollivander disagrees, and believes novice makers are merely afraid of it. He is convinced that the saying comes from superstition, but there’s a grain of truth to the sayings revolving around other wand woods, “Ash is stubborn, rowan gossips, chestnut drones, and hazel moans.” For example, ash is known by wand-wielders to be quite stubborn.
4. Dumbledore Used the Wand to Create Gubraithian Fire
The Elder Wand is capable of higher magic, and has the ability to repair wands and conjure powerful magic. In one case, Dumbledore used the wand to enchant a Gubraithian fire as a peace offering to the giants. The Gubraithian fire is an eternal flame that can never die out, thus this kind of magic is extremely powerful, and only a few witch and wizards can achieve such a spell.
The fire played a role the Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix, as it was used to forge an alliance between the wizards and giants, before the giants eventually sided with Lord Voldemort again. The giants had allied with Voldemort in the First Wizarding War, which caused the death of many of their people. The giants loathed wizards, and to ease that relationship, Dumbledore sent half-giants Hagrid and Beauxbatons Academy of Magic’s Headmistress, Olympe Maxime, to deliver the gift. The Gurg, or chief, giant named Karkus loved flame and accepted the gift.
Initially, things went according to plan, but in Game of Thrones fashion, rival giant Golgomath beheaded Karkus and proclaimed himself the new Gurg. Hagrid and Olympe learned that the Death Eaters engineered the coup and had already persuaded Golgomath to join them.
3. The Wand First Scene in Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire
In the films, Dumbledore was wandless until Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire. After which point, prop designers made sure the wand was distinguishable, but were unaware that the wand was part of the Deathly Hallows, and thus had greater meaning. The designers used English wood and small bone for the rune inscriptions. Ironically, the designs had an outcrop of nodules that resembled elderberries.
Dumbledore found many uses for the Elder Wand in the books and movies. For example, he used it to extract his memories into a Pensieve bowl, which was done partly to declutter his mind and partly to retrace his memories for important information. The wand was also used as a microphone on multiple occasions in the film, a cool feature seen in The Goblet of Fire. The Elder Wand is still titled as Dumbledore’s wand on the official merchandise shop.
2. No One Has Ever Held All Three Items At Once
Dumbledore and Harry were the only Masters of Death, but even then, they never held all three Deathly Hallows at the same time. At most, Dumbledore had two of the three items with him; either the Elder Wand and cloak, or Elder Wand and Stone. During the first Wizarding War, borrowed the Cloak of Invisibility from James Potter for research purposes. By the time Dumbledore acquired the Resurrection Stone, the cloak was already in Harry’s possession.
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry had the cloak and stone during his time in hiding, as well as when he was facing Voldermort, who was wielding the Elder Wand. The title “Master of Death” does not make someone immortal. The true master accepts death as inevitable and understands that there are things far worse than death. Harry managed to become the true Master of Death– one who accepted dying and didn’t run away from it.
1. Harry Potter is the Master of Death and the Elder Wand’s True Master
Harry, Dumbledore, and Ignotus Peverell are the only known wizards who rightfully claim the title Master of Death. However, there’s about the title that meets the eye. According to a theory brought up by SuperCarlin Bros., Harry was not only is the Master of Death, but might have also been the true master of the Elder Wand, since he was the only one who conquered death.
In “The Tale of the Three Brothers”, when asked what kind of gift he so desired, Antioch Peverell stated that he wanted an unbeatable wand “worthy of a wizard who had conquered Death.” Indeed, Harry disarmed Draco and became the Elder Wand’s new master.
However, out of all of the previous masters, Harry is the only one who came back from the dead, which solidified his position as its true master. Voldemort used the killing curse, which not only killed the Horcrux and triggered a protection charm that shielded the students at Hogwarts from Voldemort’s spells, but also allowed the Elder Wand to recognize its true master.
Do you know other interesting facts about the Deathly Hallows in Harry Potter? Let us know in the comments below!