- "The Elder Wand," he said, and he drew a straight vertical line on the parchment. "The Resurrection Stone," he said, and he added a circle on top of the line. "The Cloak of Invisibility," he finished, enclosing both line and circle in a triangle, to make the symbol that so intrigued Hermione. "Together," he said, "the Deathly Hallows."
- —Xenophilius Lovegood[src]
The Deathly Hallows are three highly powerful magical objects supposedly created by Death and given to each of three brothers in the Peverell family. They consisted of the Elder Wand, an immensely powerful wand that was considered undefeatable; the Resurrection Stone, a stone which could summon the spirits of the dead, and the Cloak of Invisibility, which, as its name suggests, renders the user completely invisible. According to the story, both Antioch Peverell (owner of the Wand) and Cadmus Peverell (owner of the Stone) came to bad ends. However, Ignotus Peverell's wisdom in requesting the Cloak was rewarded.
According to legend, he who possesses these three artifacts would become the Master of Death. Dumbledore told Harry that he and another wizard, Gellert Grindelwald took this to mean that the uniter of the Deathly Hallows would be invincible. The story of the Deathly Hallows was originally told by Beedle the Bard and subsequently passed from family to family as a wizard fairytale. Few wizards ever realized that the Deathly Hallows were genuine items.
No one is known to have owned all three Hallows at one time. Harry Potter had possessed all three. Albus Dumbledore had possessed all three, but not all at once. The Cloak was handed down to Harry Potter from his father through Albus Dumbledore, and the Stone was left to him in Dumbledore's will, hidden inside a Golden Snitch. Harry Potter gained the allegiance, but not physical possession, of the Elder Wand upon overpowering Draco Malfoy at Malfoy Manor. Although Draco had mastery of the Elder wand for a time, having gained its allegiance upon disarming Dumbledore before his death, he never knew of it. Potter never made use of more than two Hallows at once; by the time he took physical possession of the Elder Wand, he had already dropped the Stone in the Forbidden Forest, never to be seen again.
Origin of the HallowsEdit
The Tales of Beedle the BardEdit
Hundreds of years ago, the three Peverell brothers were travelling at twilight, and reached a river too dangerous to traverse. The three brothers, being very powerful wizards, simply created a bridge across the river. They were then stopped by Death himself, who was displeased that they had gotten across the river, thus cheating him out of new victims. Death then congratulated them on being clever enough to evade him, and offered each of
them a powerful magical item. The first brother, Antioch Peverell, wished to become invincible in duels; Death broke a branch off a nearby tree and created for him the Elder Wand, a wand more powerful than any other in existence. The second brother, Cadmus Peverell, wished to resurrect his lost love; Death then took a stone from the riverbed and created for him the Resurrection Stone, a stone capable of bringing the dead back to the living world. The third brother, Ignotus Peverell, realized the danger of the situation and requested a means by which Death could not find him; Death grudgingly gave him the cloak off his back, the Cloak of Invisibility, an invisibility cloak that never lost its power through curses or age.
The three legendary objects, (the cloak, the wand and the stone) together make up the Deathly Hallows.
However, Albus Dumbledore felt that it was more likely that the Hallows were actually created by the extremely talented and powerful brothers, and that the story of their origins as objects fashioned by Death sprang up around them as result of the powers they possessed.
Movement of the HallowsEdit
In time, the brothers went their separate ways. Antioch Peverell travelled to a wizarding village where he boasted of the Elder Wand in his possession. His throat was sliced in his sleep by a wizard hoping to take the Elder Wand for himself.
Cadmus travelled back home and used the Resurrection Stone to bring back the woman he loved, but was dismayed to find that it was only a pale imitation of her: the dead did not truly belong in the living world. In the end, Cadmus committed suicide by hanging himself so he could truly join her.
Ignotus used the cloak to remain hidden from Death for a long time. When he was an old man, he passed the cloak onto his son, greeted Death as an old friend, and went with him to the next world.
DescendanceEditThe cloak continued to be passed down through the descendants of the Peverells (although the name became extinct in the male line). The wand passed from wizard to wizard, nearly always by the murder of its previous owner. The wand, during its passing from wizard to wizard, has been called "The Death Stick" and the "Wand of Destiny". On an interesting note, no witch is ever stated to have held possession of the wand. The stone was also passed down through the Peverells' descendants. It eventually ended up in the possession of the Gaunt family, and was later stolen by Tom Marvolo Riddle, neither Tom nor Marvolo Gaunt were aware of the powers of the stone, nor that it was a Hallow. Marvolo was solely concerned with the "noble origins" of the stone, made into a ring, and thought that the Hallows symbol on it was the family coat of arms. Lord Voldemort could not have been aware of the stone's true origin either, as he transformed the stone into a Horcrux.
Quests for HallowsEdit
- "I was fit only to possess the meanest of them, the least extraordinary. I was fit to own the Elder Wand, and not to boast of it, and not to kill with it. I was permitted to tame and to use it, because I took it, not for gain, but to save others from it."
- —Albus Dumbledore on the Deathly Hallows and the Elder Wand,[src]
In his youth, Albus Dumbledore, along with soon-to-become Dark Wizard Gellert Grindelwald, entertained dreams of finding and appropriating the Hallows for himself. This quest for power also manifested itself in his vision of a future where wizards would rule over and control Muggles "for the greater good". A family argument later caused him to revise and reconsider his beliefs after the death of his sister. Up until his death, he never trusted himself with power, refusing the post of Minister for Magic three times - yet his yearning to find the Hallows never left him.
After his sister Ariana died, Dumbledore sought out the Resurrection Stone in the hopes that finding it would somehow revive his dead sister and parents. Thus when he chanced upon it sometime in 1996, when it had already been turned into a Horcrux by Voldemort, the temptation proved too much to handle and he put on the ring, invoking a terrible curse Voldemort had placed which caused his right hand to wither and die. Only when the horcrux was destroyed by Godric Gryffindor's Sword did the stone revert back to its normal state, with its original powers intact. Dumbledore also came into possession of the Cloak of Invisibility when he borrowed it from its owner, James Potter, a descendant of Ignotus Peverell. It was he who passed the Cloak on to James' son, Harry, to whom it proved to be a useful tool in defeating Voldemort and his allies. He also gave to Harry the Resurrection Stone, by means of the Snitch Harry had caught in his first ever Quidditch match.
During a holiday spent with his aunt at Godric's Hollow, Gellert Grindelwald met Albus Dumbledore, and with him he sparked his desire for the Hallows. In his later life, Grindelwald gained possession of the Elder Wand by stealing it off the foreign wandmaker known as Gregorovitch. Upon duelling Dumbledore sometime in the 1940s, Grindelwald lost, along with the possession of the wand. Decades later, in 1998, Lord Voldemort attempted to acquire the wand by visiting Grindelwald at his cell in Nurmengard. However, Grindelwald denied ever possessing the wand, and was murdered by Voldemort.
Upon hearing the Tale of the Three Brothers, Harry Potter wished to unite the Hallows to become the Master of Death and ultimately defeat Lord Voldemort. He ultimately dismissed this idea however, as he knew that the late Albus Dumbledore wished for him to destroy the Horcruxes in order to beat the Dark Lord. Harry did possess each of the Hallows eventually, for a brief moment of time.
- "It's never occurred to me before, but I've heard stuff about charms wearing off cloaks when they get old, or them being ripped apart by spells so they've got holes in. Harry's was owned by his dad, so it's not exactly new, is it, but it's just... perfect!"
- —Ron Weasley on the Cloak of Invisibility[src]
Without realising it, Harry Potter possessed one of the Hallows from the age of 11, the Cloak of Invisibility. The latter was rightfully his, and should have been passed down to him from his father, James Potter, had he not been murdered. Harry is a living descendant of the third brother, Ignotus Peverell.
Upon his death, Albus Dumbledore left the Resurrection Stone to Harry in his will. It was disguised inside a Snitch, the first one Harry had ever caught in a Quidditch match. On the Snitch was engraved the words I open at the close. Harry figured out later that in order to open it, he had to be close to death. To open the snitch, he said "I'm about to die," and touched it to his mouth because he had caught it with his mouth. This was before confronting Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters in the Forbidden Forest during the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry used it to "bring back" and talk to his mother, his father, Remus Lupin, and his godfather, Sirius Black. Harry dropped the stone later in the forest, and never told anyone (besides Dumbledore's portrait) so that nobody would seek it. In a recent interview, Rowling said she would like to believe that a centaur's hoof pushed it into the ground, burying it forever.
Without realising until later, Harry became the master of the Elder Wand when he defeated Draco Malfoy during the Battle of Malfoy Manor in 1998. The wand recognised him as its master when Harry duelled Lord Voldemort during the Battle of Hogwarts, even though Harry had never even touched it before. Harry did not want the wand, he only used it to repair his thence broken Holly and Phoenix feather wand.
Once this deed was accomplished, Harry replaced the wand in the tomb of Albus Dumbledore. His mindset was that if he could die of natural causes without passing the wand to an heir, the wand's power, and, therefore, its history of bloodshed, would be gone forever.
Creation of the Elder WandEdit
- Main article: Elder Wand
Of the Elder Wand, only its recent history is available. Celebrated Bulgarian wandmaker Gregorovitch had obtained and kept the wand for some time to study and eventually copy its magical powers in his own wands. Sometime in the middle of the 20th century, a young Grindelwald stole and took the wand for his own. The wand switched hands yet again when, in one of the most famous duels of the wizarding world, Dumbledore fought and defeated Grindelwald. Dumbledore used the wand wisely, never for his own gain but for the betterment of the wizarding and Muggle communities, and so managed to avoid incurring the misfortune the Elder Wand was supposed to bring.
In 1996, Dumbledore was overpowered by Draco Malfoy, and subsequently killed by Severus Snape. Since Draco had disarmed Dumbledore, the power of the wand passed to him. When Harry later disarmed Draco, even though Draco had a different wand in his hand at the time, the magic in it caused it to recognise Harry as its new master. Severus kept the wand in safekeeping, and it was laid to rest with the Headmaster's body.
When Voldemort stole the wand from the tomb, it did not work its legendary wonders for him as it was supposed to. Thinking that Snape was the new master of the wand, having killed Dumbledore, Voldemort executed him in order to let the ownership pass to himself. Yet again he made a fatal oversight: he had no way of knowing that, as that boy had been the one to overpower Dumbledore, Draco Malfoy was the next master of the wand, and that, having defeated Draco in turn some months later, Harry Potter was its current owner. Having failed to consider these factors, Voldemort attempted to kill Potter using the wand but failed - the wand would never harm or kill its owner. In the climactic duel that concluded the Battle of Hogwarts, the Elder Wand recognised its rightful master and, instead of killing him, backfired upon Voldemort.
The Elder WandEdit
- Harry: "I’m putting the Elder Wand back where it came from. It can stay there. If I die a natural death like Ignotus, its power will be broken, won’t it? The previous master will never have been defeated. That’ll be the end of it."
- Ron: "Are you sure?"
- Hermione: "I think Harry’s right."
- — Harry on his decision to give up the Elder Wand[src]
As Harry Potter had no intention of using the Elder Wand for his own purposes (having achieved his goal of defeating Voldemort), he only used it to restore his own broken wand. He then returned the Elder Wand to the grave of Albus Dumbledore, supposing that, if he died of natural causes, its power would finally be broken, and its bloody history along with it.
The Resurrection StoneEdit
- Harry: "The thing that was in the Snitch. I dropped it in the Forest. I don't know exactly where, but I'm not going to go looking for it again. Do you agree?"
- Albus Dumbledore's portrait: "My dear boy, I do. A wise and courageous decision, but no less than I would have expected of you. Does anyone else know where it fell?"
- Harry: "No one."
- — Harry's decision to not go looking for the Resurrection Stone[src]
The Resurrection Stone was lost somewhere in the Forbidden Forest near Aragog's lair, where Harry intended it to remain. J. K. Rowling later revealed that a centaur pressed it into the ground by stomping on it as the herd charged to help in the fight against Voldemort.
The Cloak of InvisibilityEdit
As for the Cloak of Invisibility, Harry remarked to Dumbledore's portrait that he would be keeping it for himself and his family [HP7]; it is most likely still with him to this day and probably passed it down to one of his children.
- The Tale of the Three Brothers
- The Tales of Beedle the Bard
- Peverell brothers
- Antioch Peverell
- Cadmus Peverell
- Ignotus Peverell
- Elder Wand
- Resurrection Stone
- Cloak of Invisibility
- Master of Death
- Albus Dumbledore
- Gellert Grindelwald
- Harry Potter
Behind the scenesEdit
- In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, there is a scene in Dumbledore's office where there is a close up of Dumbledore standing next to a cabinet. Inside the cabinet is what appears to be a 3D model of the Deathly Hallows symbol (a pyramid with a line down the middle, and a ball, a 3D version of the sign). It is unknown if this is a coincidence, as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows would not be published until two years later, although J.K. Rowling may have already conceptualised the design for the symbol at this point.
- When asked in an interview if the Hallows were based on any real-world myth or fairy tale, J. K. Rowling responded with, "Perhaps the Pardoner's Tale, by Chaucer."
- Although he never handled all three Hallows at the same time, Harry Potter was regarded by Albus Dumbledore as the true Master of Death. Harry Potter possessed the Cloak of Invisibility since Christmas in 1991, and in May of 1998 he managed to free the Resurrection Stone from the Golden Snitch just before meeting Voldemort. When he disarmed Draco Malfoy at Malfoy Manor, mastery of the Elder Wand passed to him, although by the time he took physical possession of the wand, he had already dropped the Stone in the Forbidden Forest.
- During the 1996–1997 school year, all three Hallows were brought into close proximity several times, starting with Harry and Dumbledore's visit to Horace Slughorn, and then again during their private lessons. Dumbledore had possession of the Wand and the Stone, and had told Harry to keep his Cloak with him at all times.
- During his life, Tom Riddle possessed two of the Deathly Hallows. He was never aware of this fact.
- In the Deathly Hallows book, Harry uses the Elder Wand to repair his wand, then places it in Dumbledores cript.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (movie), Harry is not seen using the Elder Wand to repair his wand, and breaks the Elder Wand in half shortly before throwing it over the edge of a bridge.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (First identified as Deathly Hallows)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game) (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- The Tales of Beedle the Bard
- Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
Notes and referencesEdit