How Did Grindelwald Lose the Duel with Dumbledore With the 'Undefeatable' Elder Wand?

How Did Grindelwald Lose the Duel with Dumbledore With the 'Undefeatable' Elder Wand?
Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

The Elder Wand is deemed “undefeatable” and is supposed to turn its wielder into the most powerful wizard. How did Grindelwald lose his duel with Dumbledore, then?

While the Wizarding World is filled with mysteries and discoveries, we quite often come across fans wondering about the Deathly Hallows. It’s completely understandable considering how powerful these artifacts are; however, many Potterheads completely misinterpret the extent of their magical potential.

The question “How could Grindelwald lose his duel with Dumbledore if he had the Elder Wand?” often comes from movie fans.

The big-screen version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows included an absolutely phenomenal visualization of the Deathly Hallows’ history…but not quite well enough, apparently.

The Tale of the Three Brothers is exactly what its name implies: a tale. It’s not a factual recording of how the Deathly Hallows came to be but rather Beedle the Bard’s interpretation that he used to lecture kids on the nature of arrogance, death, and humility. Of course, the actual artifacts were not created by Death herself.

The Invisibility Cloak doesn’t hide you from Death; it’s simply charmed to never run out of that sweet invisibility juice and ignore summoning charms. Nothing else.

The Resurrection Stone doesn’t return the dead to life; it merely calls upon the specters of the people you’re thinking about and allows you to talk to them. That’s it.

The Elder Wand, too, is deprived of the most legendary qualities The Tale of the Three Brothers suggests it has. It does not give its wielder extra magical powers and certainly doesn’t make him undefeatable. Instead, it just amplifies the power of combat spells thanks to its Thestral tail hair core — and it’s extremely disloyal.

So the reason why Grindelwald lost the duel despite having an “undefeatable wand” is that he didn’t have an undefeatable wand in the first place. A unique and powerful wand, sure, but not the one that could turn him invincible. The Elder Wand might have added an extra challenge to their duel for Dumbledore, but the more skilled wizard won in the end.

But if you still want to stick by your Elder Wand supremacy, here’s a different explanation. The undefeatable wand didn’t work for Gellert Grindelwald the way it should have because he didn’t overpower its previous owner — instead, he just stole it. Even if the Elder Wand was undefeatable, Grindelwald couldn’t have won that duel.