The Wandmaker

chapter twenty-four of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry buries Dobby, digging the grave by hand as he thinks about the mission he’s been left by Dumbledore. Then, choosing to close off visions of Voldemort, he asks Griphook for help breaking into the Lestranges’ vault at Gringotts, and asks Ollivander for information about the Elder Wand. Finally he walks into the yard to finish explaining everything to Ron and Hermione, and simultaneously watches in his head as Voldemort steals the Elder Wand from Dumbledore’s grave.

A Free Elf, by Mudblood428

On Harry dug, deeper and deeper into the hard, cold earth, subsuming his grief in sweat, denying the pain in his scar. In the darkness, with nothing but the sound of his own breath and the rushing sea to keep him company, the things that had happened at the Malfoys’ returned to him, the things he had heard came back to him, and understanding blossomed in the darkness….


Harry Uncut, by Patilda

‘What did you know about me, Dumbledore? Am I meant to know, but not to seek? Did you know how hard I’d find that? Is that why you made it this difficult? So I’d have time to work that out?’

(by Patilda)


Dobby's Funeral, by gerre

Harry… forced himself not to break down as he remembered Dumbledore’s funeral, and the rows and rows of golden chairs, and the Minister of Magic in the front row, the recitation of Dumbledore’s achievements, the stateliness of the white marble tomb. He felt that Dobby deserved just as grand a funeral, and yet here the elf lay between bushes in a roughly dug hole.

(by gerre)


Luna, by mneomosyne

“Thank you so much, Dobby, for rescuing me from that cellar. It’s so unfair that you had to die, when you were so good and brave. I’ll always remember what you did for us. I hope you’re happy now.”


Restless, by reallycorking

Harry hesitated. He knew what hung on his decision. There was hardly any time left; now was the moment to decide: Horcruxes or Hallows?
“Griphook,” Harry said. “I’ll speak to Griphook first.”


The Wandmaker, by Vizen

Had the old fool imagined that marble or death would protect the wand? Had he thought that the Dark Lord would be scared to violate his tomb? The spiderlike hand swooped and pulled the wand from Dumbledore’s grasp…

(by Vizen)


The Elder Wand, by TomScribble

…and as he took it, a shower of sparks flew from its tip, sparkling over the corpse of its last owner, ready to serve a new master at last.


about the chapter


Since we’re reading Harry’s story from Harry’s perspective, it’s easy to lose track of just how incredible he looks to outsiders. We got a hint of one type when Harry started the D.A. in his fifth year, as his fellow students were blown away by all the things he’d done. But here, Ollivander gives us an even more fascinating insight into how Harry must appear to others – and Ollivander, an incredibly wise, intelligent person – is simply blown away. Because not only does Harry know about the Elder Wand, but he knows to ask about the Elder Wand, and even more importantly, he knows Voldemort has been asking about the Elder Wand. How, on earth, is this remotely possible? Ron and Hermione are used to Harry’s insights and (in a sense) privileged information. So was Dumbledore. But when it becomes apparent to someone like Ollivander that Harry knows as much as he does…. well, Ollivander must leave that conversation almost torn between amazement at this seventeen-year-old kid and, most likely, a bit of fear. How on earth can Harry have that kind of power?

Something You May Not Have Noticed

It’s interesting to read between the lines of Harry’s story and see that Voldemort’s experiences this year have been strangely parallel to Harry’s. As Harry sat for months, dwelling on the Horcruxes and then the Hallows, so too did Voldemort dwell on the Elder Wand and Grindelwald, neither of them getting anywhere. Then the same night that Harry is taken to Malfoy Manor, figures out where the next Horcrux is, and figures out what’s going on with the Hallows, Voldemort is having a similarly eventful night, finally meeting (and killing) Grindelwald, hearing that Harry escaped and punishing those at Malfoy Manor, and then obtaining the Elder Wand. Part of the parallel is due to their unique connection, of course, but I still find it fascinating that if the story were written from Voldemort’s perspective, it would have much the same rhythm and pace as the one we’re reading through Harry’s eyes.

The Power of Magic

Ollivander’s insight into wands probes at some of the deepest magic of the wizarding world, the unwritten laws that govern magic all at once at its most powerful and its most subtle. Never before have we heard that wands can change allegiances (though it makes sense, knowing how much easier it was for Harry to use the wand of a friend than one stolen from an enemy); and never before have we heard that wands learn magic along with their owners. When you think of all the magic the Elder Wand has learned over the centuries, and couple it with Voldemort’s already incredible powers, the idea of him possessing that wand is indeed, as Ollivander says, “formidable.” And it’s not hard to see why Harry has felt so naked without his own wand, either. Now, instead, he’s using a wand he’s won, Draco Malfoy’s – and while it’s certainly better than the stolen blackthorn wand, it’s hard to imagine how Draco’s wand will be of much help in destroying Voldemort.

Full Circle

As Harry digs Dobby’s grave, he finally grasps what he has to do: leave the Elder Wand and pursue the Horcruxes. Which, of course, is exactly what Ron and Hermione have been trying to tell him for months. Naturally, however, once he tells them he’s made this decision – and thereby let Voldemort retrieve the Elder Wand – Ron immediately begins to question it, instead feeling certain that the Hallows were, in fact, important enough to set the Horcruxes aside. The complete reversal on both of their parts, more than anything, really just shows the ambiguity of their situation: there is no black or white, right or wrong decision to be made. Instead all they can do is put the pieces together as best they can and go with Harry’s gut feelings. Lucky for Harry that (according to Lupin at least) his gut feelings are “nearly always right….”

The Boy Who Lived

When Harry walks into Shell Cottage for the first time after burying Dobby, he’s a remarkably changed person. He’s finally figured out what Dumbledore was up to; he finally understands what Voldemort is doing; he’s finally learned to shut Voldemort out of his mind; and above all, Dobby’s death has finally focused him squarely on the things that matter most. And the change must be remarkable… as he calmly but directly gives orders, one can only imagine the reaction this would provoke in, say, Bill, Fleur, or Dean, who last saw him months ago. Even Ron and Hermione are so taken aback they stay in the shadows until he directly requests that they accompany him. And by the time they leave Griphook, and Harry explains that he’s certain a Horcrux is hidden at Gringotts, Ron is in awe, remarking that Harry “really understood” Voldemort (this not long after Ron stormed out over, essentially, Harry’s lack of understanding). Harry’s always had the tools to destroy Voldemort, as long as he had his friends and a bit of luck on his side. But the Harry we see now is different. And Voldemort had better watch out, Elder Wand or no.

Something to Remember

So whatever Hermione may say, it now seems that the Deathly Hallows are real – and that at least two of the three are accounted for. The score? Harry 1, Voldemort 1, with at least the possibility that Harry has the third as well, inaccessible inside a Snitch. So the question that bears asking is, what role will the Hallows play now? If the three have to be united in order to make one “master of Death,” then what’s the point? Either Harry or Voldemort is going to end up killing the other anyway, right? Unless there’s something we’re not thinking of….

The Final Word

“For me, Dobby’s death woke Harry up to what he was doing, someone that was very vulnerable, really entirely guiltless in anything concerned with this world. He wasn’t even a wizard [and still] was murdered. It’s another senseless murder, in the same way that Cedric Diggory’s death was senseless, purely because they were there. There’s something I think particularly chilling in entirely innocent victims of violence. So it woke Harry up. It focused him…. I always knew that Dobby was going to die and how he was going to die.” –J.K. Rowling, October 2007

27 Responses to “The Wandmaker”

  1. I can see why Harry does not know if he likes Ollivander because of his creepy sense of wandlore. I WOULD think after being tortured and held hostage for over a year he would be trying to help Harry with any possible knowledge of wandlore that might help HARRY DEFEAT Voldemort.

  2. Who are the two other wizards on Vizen’s picture? Voldemort went alone to retrieve the Elder Wand from Dumbledore’s tomb…

  3. Jose Lopes, the wizard on the left is Snape, walking back to the castle, and on the right side is Harry, clutching his scar and presumably watching the scene unfold. I saw it as an artistic interpretation of the larger scene, rather than a realistic depiction of a specific moment, if that makes sense. But you’re right that it does seem a little odd at first. :)

  4. I just adore TomScribble’s work. I’m a stickler for the books and her work is just sublime.

  5. I started crying here with Luna’s eulogy for Dobby and had to race to the end of this book to see what happened. It is amazing that Harry understands SO much from this point on and Josie, you’re right–we’re also so used to Harry that it is sometimes hard to see him from someone else’s POV. Really amazing chapter.

  6. There’s a lot i would say about this chapter. But if i could maybe just put it into some words it would be that Harry had a great moment of understanding over Dumbledore. Its amazing he decides which path to choose, and like mentioned, shows wisdom in his choices. Digging Dobby’s grave was very moving.

  7. This chapter felt so right and so sad.
    The final pieces are set into place for the events that follow.
    As Harry clears his head, we (the reader) do as well.
    Here follows ten chapters, the longest action packed day Harry will ever live.

  8. Josie: Thanks for posting another chapter. Also, thanks for so much insight on this post! (It’s been a while since you’ve had so much to say. :) ) Love the thoughts about how outsiders perceive Harry.

    And, as always, lovely artwork, especially by gerre and TomScribble.

  9. Laura, I don’t think I realised until you pointed it out that Harry’s longest day begins at the moment he makes the right decision to continue pursuing the Horcruxes (otherwise Voldemort cannot die) and ignore the temptations of the Hallows (despite the danger that they will keep Voldemort alive). From the moment Harry sees this clearly, his Long Day begins, and victory is about 30 hours away.

    Most of that day is 1 May, the mid-point between the Equinox and the Summer Solstice, the time when the light (= power of good) is strongest.

    It’s also interesting how, from this point, the symbolism takes one definite direction. The series has been full of vivid imagery from all kinds of traditions: Greek mythology, gnosticism, Germanic paganism, Christianity, the Arthurian cycle, alchemy, even Grimms’ fairy tales. Some of it is just for fun and some has a serious point. But it’s from this point that the Christian imagery takes over and becomes the dominant theme of the story. Harry has had his Gethsemane moment and is now ready to save the world.

    Maybe some people noticed it earlier, as I was too fascinated by the plot and characters to pay attention to the finer details. However, it really wasn’t until this final sequence that it I noticed that the Christian motifs were not just one set of decorations among many, but were actually the central direction of the whole story. That theme only becomes stronger as Harry’s long day progresses.

  10. Yes, so much in this chapter. My favorite bits are Luna’s eulogy and Harry digging the grave himself, and finally being able to shut out L.V. when he wants to.

  11. Brilliant again. I just discovered these about a week ago, and I have been going through each one since. I love this entire idea and I love reading your insights, because they make me think even more than I have after reading this book a dozen or so times. :) I am so glad to have caught up with everyone else, and now I will be waiting patiently for the next chapter!

  12. I was always under the impression that, even though the ball starts rolling here, Harry’s longest day won’t take place for another few weeks.

    In fact, I just pulled out my book and it says (after agreeing to give the Sword of Gryffindor to Griphook in exchange for help, which is the very next chapter) that “days stretched into weeks” (p. 509). We also know that in this time, Ollivander starts to heal, Griphook *does* heal, and Lupin has a baby. Don’t kick him out of Shell Cottage just yet! ;)

  13. I’d also like to say that Harry’s long day doesn’t start here- it starts when they set off for Gringotts which is several weeks off, as nearly as I could tell. For one thing, in the time that everyone is at Shell Cottage, (spoiler- but let’s be real? Is there anyone who doesn’t know this already?)- Olivander recovers sufficiently to make a new wand for Luna.
    I love how Harry sees so much so clearly from here on.
    @Grace has Victory- I’ve always gotten a bit of a kick out of religious people who really got on a high-horse about these books- ignorance is such an interesting view of the world. I will say, though, that I’d never gone so far as you in making the parallels. To be fair, I know very little about any of the traditions you mention except Christianity. I’ve never seen anything in HP to offend Christian doctrine.
    And yes, as ever, excellent art work!!

  14. Ann, I don’t think the Jack Brock lobby had actually read Harry Potter. But the title of the first book was probably offensive to people like that. “Philosopher’s Stone” is a blatant alchemical image; I didn’t recognise the other alchemy motifs until I read John Granger, but I couldn’t miss “philosopher’s stone”.

    As for other images… Fluffy is Cerberus. The centaurs are from Greek mythoogy, and they believe in astrology. The unicorns and dragons are Arthurian, and there’s something Merlin-like about Dumbledore. (The sword in the lake in DH, of course, is the most obvious Arthurian symbol.) The giants and werewolves are Germanic, the Chocolate Frog cards also being very Grimm-themed, and there’s definitely something gnostic about the theme of secret knowledge that will grant (illicit) eternal life.

    But in the end, the central theme is how Harry defeats Voldemort. The way he does it goes straight back to one obvious tradition.

  15. Was the alchemical association with “philospher’s stone” the reason for the change to “sorcerer’s stone” in the USA?

    People criticise JKR for plundering various mythogical and religious themes as if it’s a bad thing. But what’s wrong with an eclectic attitude to allegory? However it’s dressed up, it almost always boils down to the perpetual war between good and evil – in the Harry Potter canon this is exemplified by a struggle between the love of Power, and the power of Love.

  16. Timbo, I know that the American title was changed to ‘Sorcerer’s’ because Arthur Levine (the American publisher) thought the word ‘Philosopher’s’ would turn American kids off, and also because he feared it wouldn’t be an appropriate description from the perspective of an American kid. As far as I know he’s never mentioned the alchemical association as being a factor in that decision, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t one.

    On a related note, I’ve had about a dozen people in the past two weeks land on this site via StumbleUpon and post a comment remarking on how ignorant and stupid the creator of this website must be not to realize the title of the first book is ‘Sorcerer’s’, rather than ‘Philosopher’s.’ I’ve deleted all but one of the comments (which was by far the politest) but it’s reminded me how much I love those of you who comment more frequently, and make this site a lot of fun to maintain. A tip of the hat to you all.

  17. StumbleUpon is great for Harry Potter fans like me, who are a bit obsessive, (I am so happy to have found this) but people really need to do their homework before posting ignorant comments like that. I think most dedicated HP fans know, and have known for quite some time about the differences in the titles. People really amaze me sometimes.

  18. It’s a mark of good literature, as far as I’m concerned, to be able to bring in existing elements, imagery from mythology, religion, whatever and make it work in a story. This isn’t the only piece of work where that happens, surely. In fact, if you really look closely at many cultures on the earth today, they are a hodgepodge of all these things themselves. We cross our fingers, knock on wood, say our prayers, wish on stars and love the moon…
    JKR’s books mirror life in many ways.
    @Grace has Victory- in fact, I’m pretty sure that most of the people I’ve ever heard go on and on about how evil the books are have never read one. Guess that’s true for a lot of what people love to hate.

  19. Ann, I was just trying to be polite, because I’ve heard a lot of urban legends about the anti-Harry people, and I’d rather not post about them here until I’ve checked my facts, which I don’t have time to do at the moment. I don’t think this is an appropriate site to advertise fanfiction, but I’ll give you the hint that if you google for me and a (short) story called “Redemption,” you’ll get a rather less polite summary of what I think of people like that.

    BTW, one of the urban legends is that some Muslim leaders have banned Harry Potter because it’s too obviously Christian! I’ve no time to hunt for the link to this story, but if it’s true, at least those people read the books before they formed at judgment.

    Timbo, you are right: many fantasies draw on a variety of traditions. JKR just chose the ones she liked or that fitted her story. She didn’t worry too much about how the different traditions are “really” related to each other, because she’s the author of the story, so for her purposes, they are related in whatever way she says they are.

    Josie, that’s just unbelievable! People who claim to be fans still don’t know that the American edition of PS had a different title? I rest my case about people who sometimes pass judgment without knowing any facts…

  20. GhV, they’re often quite rude about it, too. My favorite was someone who wrote that they were pointing it out because they “just hate ignorance.”

    And for fun, I’ve deleted two more of those comments since I wrote this yesterday – both posted immediately underneath a comment of my own where I explain the title differences. :-P

  21. In case you’re interested in adding fan art–one of the most deeply moving pieces is Palantiriel’s “Torture,” showing a devastated Ron placing a horribly mangled Hermione on the bed in the upper room at Shell Cottage. It certainly captures the horror I felt at what happened to her, and Ron’s love for her.

  22. David Carlton, I can’t find the piece you’re talking about online – the dA account seems to be closed. Do you know if there’s anywhere to see it?

  23. Josie, i found the picture Mr. Carlton is talikng about… its here:

  24. Nice. I particularly liked the touch of having Bill & Fleur’s wedding picture hanging above the bed. It’s their house; it makes sense.

  25. The magical community was always impressed at how much Dumbledore seemed to know of what was going on and here is Harry showing similar talents and beliefs. Is this the point where Harry is no longer showing himself to be Dumbledore’s man / supporter, but his equal?

  26. Since Voldemort’s search for the Elder Wand ends in this chapter, I thought I’d make one comment about it.

    While the Elder Wand and its allegiances are key to Harry’s defeat of Voldemort, Voldemort’s hunt for it might have helped bring about his defeat (or at least, made the cost of victory less high than it was – it was certainly high enough in the book with fifty dead in the final battle). After conquering Wizarding Britain, Voldemort heads off for the Continent to search for the Wand, rather than staying to consolidate his conquest and prepare for – say, wars on Wizarding France or Wizarding America. The Death Eaters have to run things without him during his absence, and although they can certainly cause a lot of havoc, they’d simply continue the policies that he began, rather than starting new ones (having a leader like Voldemort would discourage innovation among the followers, even from someone like Lucius or Bellatrix; it would be seen as usurping his authority). The death toll might have been even heavier if Voldemort hadn’t been out of Britain during most of his reign.

  27. I see that Grace has Victory and some others have been discussing the different symbolisms in the books. I know far to little about all of these to be able to spot them all – I can see the obvious ones, like Fluffy/Cerberus, for example, but certainly not all of them. I have encountered readers who think JKR has too much of this, borrows too much and not explaining properly, but I always liked it. It makes it fun for the reader everytime we recognize something new, I think. It’s part of what makes these books so incredible and neverending, this feeling that there is always more to explore and understand.
    Some of the symbolism I think is very deliberatly put there, but always so that it fits the story. Other I just think is a bit of upgrading and combining the different myths and legends about magic and wizardry – like having them play a sport on broomsticks or having owls deliver the letters. I think it’s great fun a lot of times.

    About the chapter though. I really like this one, it’s a turning point in many ways. Harry seems so mature and capable, and we see how far he has really come. His actions here invoke awe in me as well as Ollivander. He has really grown into his role, hasn’t he? It’s a serious chapter, but beautiful and important as well.

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