Harry Should Not Have Tossed the Elder Wand

College admissions essays are notorious for their tediousness, but every so often, there is a slight glimmer of hope that makes this agonizing application process just a little bit better. This year, it was the essay requirement for the Towson University Honors College in Towson, Maryland, which asked applicants “Do you think Harry Potter should have thrown away the Elder Wand?”

 

 

Growing up, I had always believed that whatever J.K. Rowling wrote was law, but this question made me pause. In both the book and the movie, Harry resolutely disposes of the Elder Wand, either by laying it back in Dumbledore’s tomb or snapping it in half and throwing it off a bridge. In both cases, Harry claimed that no one should have that kind of power. In addition, he believed that if he were to die a natural death, the power of the Elder Wand would die with him.

 

 

Ultimately, I believe that Harry did the right thing in disposing of the wand because in doing so, he essentially destroyed its power. Now, it has not been fully proven whether or not the Elder Wand really holds this immense power; however, it does have a bloody past, which holds its own malicious power. Harking back to the Peverell brothers’ time, people have long believed that one must kill the previous owner in order to be the wand’s master. Harry and Draco Malfoy disprove this when Draco disarms Albus Dumbledore and gains ownership before Harry ultimately disarms Draco at Malfoy Manor. In fact, Ollivander further suggests that any wand can change its allegiance when merely won over with a spell such as the Disarming Charm. Even so, this notion of murder for the wand will surely continue, only causing havoc and pain for any future owner.

If there is an immense amount of power contained in the wand, then it stands to reason that no one should be able to wield that much power. In anyone’s heart of hearts, there could be a twinge of malicious intent. Even Harry falls victim to the lure of the Elder Wand after learning about it from Xenophilius Lovegood. Dumbledore speculates that “those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it” (DH 718); thus, if someone really had good intentions, why would they want to hunt for the Elder Wand?

In my opinion, if certain people are so well suited to power, as Dumbledore suggests, then wouldn’t they possess an innate ability – a natural power, if you will – that would render an extra powerful wand unnecessary? Personally, I believe that this falls under Ollivander’s motto that the wand chooses the wizard. By this logic, the wizard is the one to hold the power, and the wand serves only as a conduit for the power, which is why certain powerful wizards can perform wandless magic. Alas, I am now getting into complex wandlore, so I digress.

 

 

Morally speaking, this is all good and well for the long term, but what about the short term? What about the ancient castle that has just been ravished by war and is full of wounded people? If there were ever a time and place to use this special magic, it would be right then. Sure, Madame Pomfrey is talented, but I really doubt she would complain if she got a little assistance – just maybe don’t let Gilderoy Lockhart help.

I understand that it is slightly hypocritical to claim that “no one should wield this much power” and then backtrack and say, “Well, maybe in this one instance.” However, the fact of the matter is that there is likely no better person to temporarily control the wand than Harry, Master of Death. We all know that he would have used the power for good, kept a close watch on any poachers, and then destroyed it. I guess what I am trying to say is that Harry should not have thrown away the wand… at least, not right away.