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The Elder Wand

- Chapter 32

-- Severus Snape

DH32: The Elder Wand

Percy Weasley and Harry carry Fred’s body to safety, then Percy rushes off to avenge his brother’s murder. Harry looks into Lord Voldemort’s mind, so he can find out his location. Instead of fighting, Voldemort remains with Nagini in the Shrieking Shack, awaiting Harry and brooding on the Elder Wand. He reaches a conclusion about the latter and sends for Severus Snape while the trio make their way to him under the Invisibility Cloak. They arrive in time to hear Voldemort tell Snape that he cannot truly possess the Elder Wand while its previous master lives. Voldemort believes that because Snape killed Albus Dumbledore, Snape is the true owner of the wand. Voldemort orders Nagini to kill Snape and he leaves feeling no remorse. Harry rushes to Snape’s side as he lies dying. Snape gives Harry some of his memories as a final message and dies looking into Harry’s eyes.

Calendar and Dates

Sometime in the early hours of the morning after the visit to Gringotts.

Interesting facts and notes

more giant spiders were climbing the side of the building

For me this is an appalling image. It's also going to be very serious for the defenders atop the tallest towers - the spiders are probably just out of range due to the angle at which the defenders would have to hit them, and they can get to the roof. In any case we know from the third task that acromantulas, like giants, are among those inconvenient enemies who either have to be hit in a vulnerable spot (such as the eyes or the roof of the mouth) or with multiple, powerful spells in order to be hurt.

'Crookshanks?' wheezed Hermione, bent double, clutching her chest. 'Are you a wizard, or what?'

Ron asked her a similar question in the chambers of the Stone at the end of their first year (PS16).

You sound like Lucius.

And so he does - he's operating according to a separate agenda, and is snatching at an acceptable-sounding excuse to pursue it. Snape can see for himself that now is the time that Dumbledore had said would come, the time to give Harry the last secret (DH33). Even better, if he were to bring Harry into Voldemort's presence now, together they might have an easier time of it than either one alone, I suspect. But it's not going to work out that way.

Snape's face was like a death mask.

A death mask is a plaster cast taken of the face of a dead person, so this means that Snape's face is both very pale and immobile. 'Death mask' isn't a strictly British term - for instance, I understand that they used to be used in Paris to record the faces of unidentified drowning victims retrieved from the Seine.


At first glance, it appears that Voldemort still isn't taking true ownership of the Elder Wand - Nagini is about to kill Snape, not he himself. But since Nagini is one of his Horcruxes, in a sense Voldemort is doing this himself.

Voldemort swept from the room without a backwards glance

Just as he did when Kreacher drank the potion in the Horcrux cave - and just as on that occasion, his arrogance in leaving behind a victim who is not quite dead will cost him dearly.

Exceptional character moments

The little scene where Ron, Harry, and Hermione, interrupt each other in turn to say, in essence, "You two stay here, I'll go."

Minerva McGonagall, leading a charge of galloping desks.

Professor Trelawney, who has finally found something useful to do with crystal balls.

Rubeus Hagrid, whose first reaction to an invasion of acromantulas is to yell, "Don't hurt 'em, don't hurt 'em!"

We finally see the Patronuses of Luna, Ernie, Ron, and Seamus. (We had previously been told what Ron's was (JKR), but I think this is the first time we've actually seen it.)

Memorable lines

Draco was on the upper landing, pleading with another masked Death Eater. Harry stunned the Death Eater as they passed: Malfoy looked around, beaming, for his saviour, and Ron punched him from under the Cloak. Malfoy fell backwards on top of the Death Eater, his mouth bleeding, utterly bemused.
"And that's the second time we've saved your life tonight, you two-faced bastard!" Ron yelled.

"That's right," said Luna encouragingly, as if they were back in the Room of Requirement and this was simply spell practice for the DA. "That's right, Harry ... come on, think of something happy..."
"Something happy?," he said, his voice cracked.
"We're all still here," she whispered, "we're still fighting. Come on, now..."

"Crookshanks?" wheezed Hermione, bent double, clutching her chest. "Are you a wizard, or what?"

"I must master the wand, Severus. Master the wand, and I master Potter at last."

"The green eyes found the black, but after a second something in the depths of the dark pair seemed to vanish, leaving them fixed, blank and empty. The hand holding Harry thudded to the floor, and Snape moved no more."

Words and phrases

DH 32 — The Elder Wand
Abbreviation DH32: The Elder Wand
Canonicity Primary Canon


Related images:

  Snape attacked by Nagini.   Snape and Voldemort.  Harry with dying Snape.  

Pensieve (Comments)

Tags: anger attacks dangerous dark death eyes family fear fire green grief horror love master memories murder murder victims pain professors protection red revenge shock wandlore wands

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