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"A wand is the object through which a witch or wizard channels his or her magic. It is made from wood and has a magical substance at its core. Wands made by Ollivander have cores of phoenix feather, unicorn hair or dragon heartstring, and are of varying woods, lengths, and flexibilities."
—Description of a wand[src]

A wand is a quasi-sentient magical instrument through which a witch or wizard channels her or his magical powers to centralise the effects for more complex results. Most spells are done with the aid of wands, but spells can be cast without the use of wands. Wandless magic is, however, very difficult and requires much concentration and incredible skill; advanced wizards and some magical creatures such as house elves are known to perform such magic.[1]

Wands are manufactured and sold by wandmakers, the most famous of these in Great Britain being Ollivander, and in Eastern Europe Gregorovitch. Each wand consists of a specific type of wood that surrounds a core of magical substance. Although the wand cores may come from the same creature, or the wood may come from the same tree, no two existing wands are exactly alike. The study of the history and the magical properties of wands is called wandlore.

Magic and wands

Magic with a wand is usually performed with an incantation, but more experienced wizards can cast nonverbal spells, which conceal the spell until cast and may thereby prevent an opponent from adequately protecting him- or herself in time. Wands are referred to as "quasi-sentient" because their being imbued with a great deal of magic makes them as animate as an inanimate object can be.[2]

Every single wand is unique and will depend for its character on the particular tree and magical creature from which it derives its materials. Moreover, each wand, from the moment it finds its ideal owner, will begin to learn from and teach its human partner. 

Wands and wandlore

"The wand chooses the wizard... it's not always clear why."
—Ollivander discussing wandlore with Harry Potter[src]

Wandlore is a specific class of magic that refers to the history and magical properties of wands. Mr Ollivander claims that it is a "complex and mysterious branch of magic."[3] The idea that a wand chooses the wizard and can switch allegiance is a part of wandlore.

Materials

Main articles: Wand wood and Wand core

Most wands are long, thin rods of wood with a magical substance embedded into their core. Among the woods used are:

Wood Genus; binomial name Garrick Ollivander's notes[4]
Acacia Acacia A very unusual wand wood, which I have found creates tricky wands that often refuse to produce magic for any but their owner, and also withhold their best effects from all but those most gifted. This sensitivity renders them difficult to place, and I keep only a small stock for those witches or wizards of sufficient subtlety, for acacia is not suited to what is commonly known as 'bangs-and-smells' magic. When well-matched, an acacia wand matches any for power, though it is often underrated due to the peculiarity of its temperament.
Alder Alnus Alder is an unyielding wood, yet I have discovered that its ideal owner is not stubborn or obstinate, but often helpful, considerate and most likeable. Whereas most wand woods seek similarity in the characters of those they will best serve, alder is unusual in that it seems to desire a nature that is, if not precisely opposite to its own, then certainly of a markedly different type. When an alder wand is happily placed, it becomes a magnificent, loyal helpmate. Of all wand types, alder is best suited to non-verbal spell work, whence comes its reputation for being suitable only for the most advanced witches and wizards.
Apple Malus domestica Applewood wands are not made in great numbers. They are powerful and best suited to an owner of high aims and ideals, as this wood mixes poorly with Dark magic. It is said that the possessor of an apple wand will be well-loved and long-lived, and I have often noticed that customers of great personal charm find their perfect match in an applewood wand. An unusual ability to converse with other magical beings in their native tongues is often found among apple wand owners, who include the celebrated author of Merpeople: A Comprehensive Guide to Their Language and Customs, Dylan Marwood.
Ash Fraxinus The ash wand cleaves to its one true master and ought not to be passed on or gifted from the original owner, because it will lose power and skill. This tendency is extreme if the core is of unicorn. Old superstitions regarding wands rarely bear close examination, but I find that the old rhyme regarding rowan, chestnut, ash and hazel wands (rowan gossips, chestnut drones, ash is stubborn, hazel moans) contains a small nugget of truth. Those witches and wizards best suited to ash wands are not, in my experience, lightly swayed from their beliefs or purposes. However, the brash or over-confident witch or wizard, who often insists on trying wands of this prestigious wood, will be disappointed by its effects. The ideal owner may be stubborn, and will certainly be courageous, but never crass or arrogant.
Aspen Populus Wand-quality aspen wood is white and fine-grained, and highly prized by all wand-makers for its stylish resemblance to ivory and its usually outstanding charmwork. The proper owner of the aspen wand is often an accomplished duellist, or destined to be so, for the aspen wand is one of those particularly suited to martial magic. An infamous and secretive eighteenth-century duelling club, which called itself The Silver Spears, was reputed to admit only those who owned aspen wands. In my experience, aspen wand owners are generally strong-minded and determined, more likely than most to be attracted by quests and new orders; this is a wand for revolutionaries.
Beech Fagus The true match for a beech wand will be, if young, wise beyond his or her years, and if full-grown, rich in understanding and experience. Beech wands perform very weakly for the narrow-minded and intolerant. Such wizards and witches, having obtained a beech wand without having been suitably matched (yet coveting this most desirable, richly hued and highly prized wand wood), have often presented themselves at the homes of learned wandmakers such as myself, demanding to know the reason for their handsome wand’s lack of power. When properly matched, the beech wand is capable of a subtlety and artistry rarely seen in any other wood, hence its lustrous reputation.
Blackthorn Prunus spinosa Blackthorn, which is a very unusual wand wood, has the reputation, in my view well-merited, of being best suited to a warrior. This does not necessarily mean that its owner practises the Dark Arts (although it is undeniable that those who do so will enjoy the blackthorn wand’s prodigious power); one finds blackthorn wands among the Aurors as well as among the denizens of Azkaban. It is a curious feature of the blackthorn bush, which sports wicked thorns, that it produces its sweetest berries after the hardest frosts, and the wands made from this wood appear to need to pass through danger or hardship with their owners to become truly bonded. Given this condition, the blackthorn wand will become as loyal and faithful a servant as one could wish.
Black Walnut Juglans nigra Less common than the standard walnut wand, that of black walnut seeks a master of good instincts and powerful insight. Black walnut is a very handsome wood, but not the easiest to master. It has one pronounced quirk, which is that it is abnormally attuned to inner conflict, and loses power dramatically if its possessor practises any form of self-deception. If the witch or wizard is unable or unwilling to be honest with themselves or others, the wand often fails to perform adequately and must be matched with a new owner if it is to regain its former prowess. Paired with a sincere, self-aware owner, however, it becomes one of the most loyal and impressive wands of all, with a particular flair in all kinds of charmwork.
Cedar Cedrus Whenever I meet one who carries a cedar wand, I find strength of character and unusual loyalty. My father, Gervaise Ollivander, used always to say, ‘you will never fool the cedar carrier,’ and I agree: the cedar wand finds its perfect home where there is perspicacity and perception. I would go further than my father, however, in saying that I have never yet met the owner of a cedar wand whom I would care to cross, especially if harm is done to those of whom they are fond. The witch or wizard who is well-matched with cedar carries the potential to be a frightening adversary, which often comes as a shock to those who have thoughtlessly challenged them.
Cherry Prunus This very rare wand wood creates a wand of strange power, most highly prized by the wizarding students of the school of Mahoutokoro in Japan, where those who own cherry wands have special prestige. The Western wand-purchaser should dispel from their minds any notion that the pink blossom of the living tree makes for a frivolous or merely ornamental wand, for cherry wood often makes a wand that possesses truly lethal power, whatever the core, but if teamed with dragon heartstring, the wand ought never to be teamed with a wizard without exceptional self-control and strength of mind.
Chestnut Castanea This is a most curious, multi-faceted wood, which varies greatly in its character depending on the wand core, and takes a great deal of colour from the personality that possesses it. The wand of chestnut is attracted to witches and wizards who are skilled tamers of magical beasts, those who possess great gifts in Herbology, and those who are natural fliers. However, when paired with dragon heartstring, it may find its best match among those who are overfond of luxury and material things, and less scrupulous than they should be about how they are obtained. Conversely, three successive heads of the Wizengamot have possessed chestnut and unicorn wands, for this combination shows a predilection for those concerned with all manner of justice.
Cypress Cupressaceae Cypress wands are associated with nobility. The great medieval wandmaker, Geraint Ollivander, wrote that he was always honoured to match a cypress wand, for he knew he was meeting a witch or wizard who would die a heroic death. Fortunately, in these less blood-thirsty times, the possessors of cypress wands are rarely called upon to lay down their lives, though doubtless many of them would do so if required. Wands of cypress find their soul mates among the brave, the bold and the self-sacrificing: those who are unafraid to confront the shadows in their own and others’ natures.
Dogwood Cornus Dogwood is one of my own personal favourites, and I have found that matching a dogwood wand with its ideal owner is always entertaining. Dogwood wands are quirky and mischievous; they have playful natures and insist upon partners who can provide them with scope for excitement and fun. It would be quite wrong, however, to deduce from this that dogwood wands are not capable of serious magic when called upon to do so; they have been known to perform outstanding spells under difficult conditions, and when paired with a suitably clever and ingenious witch or wizard, can produce dazzling enchantments. An interesting foible of many dogwood wands is that they refuse to perform non-verbal spells and they are often rather noisy.
Ebony Diospyros This jet-black wand wood has an impressive appearance and reputation, being highly suited to all manner of combative magic, and to Transfiguration. Ebony is happiest in the hand of those with the courage to be themselves. Frequently non-conformist, highly individual or comfortable with the status of outsider, ebony wand owners have been found both among the ranks of the Order of the Phoenix and among the Death Eaters. In my experience the ebony wand’s perfect match is one who will hold fast to his or her beliefs, no matter what the external pressure, and will not be swayed lightly from their purpose.
English Oak Quercus robur A wand for good times and bad, this is a friend as loyal as the wizard who deserves it. Wands of English oak demand partners of strength, courage and fidelity. Less well-known is the propensity for owners of English oak wands to have powerful intuition, and, often, an affinity with the magic of the natural world, with the creatures and plants that are necessary to wizardkind for both magic and pleasure. The oak tree is called King of the Forest from the winter solstice up until the summer solstice, and its wood should only be collected during that time (holly becomes King as the days begin to shorten again, and so holly should only be gathered as the year wanes. This divide is believed to be the origin of the old superstition, “when his wand’s oak and hers is holly, then to marry would be folly,” a superstition that I have found baseless). It is said that Merlin’s wand was of English oak (though his grave has never been found, so this cannot be proven).
Elder Sambucus The rarest wand wood of all, and reputed to be deeply unlucky, the elder wand is trickier to master than any other. It contains powerful magic, but scorns to remain with any owner who is not the superior of his or her company; it takes a remarkable wizard to keep the elder wand for any length of time. The old superstition, ‘wand of elder, never prosper,’ has its basis in this fear of the wand, but in fact, the superstition is baseless, and those foolish wandmakers who refuse to work with elder do so more because they doubt they will be able to sell their products than from fear of working with this wood. The truth is that only a highly unusual person will find their perfect match in elder, and on the rare occasion when such a pairing occurs, I take it as certain that the witch or wizard in question is marked out for a special destiny. An additional fact that I have unearthed during my long years of study is that the owners of elder wands almost always feel a powerful affinity with those chosen by rowan.
Elm Ulmus The unfounded belief that only pure-bloods can produce magic from elm wands was undoubtedly started by some elm wand owner seeking to prove his own blood credentials, for I have known perfect matches of elm wands who are Muggle-borns. The truth is that elm wands prefer owners with presence, magical dexterity and a certain native dignity. Of all wand woods, elm, in my experience, produces the fewest accidents, the least foolish errors, and the most elegant charms and spells; these are sophisticated wands, capable of highly advanced magic in the right hands (which, again, makes it highly desirable to those who espouse the pure-blood philosophy).
Fir Abies My august grandfather, Gerbold Octavius Ollivander, always called wands of this wood ‘the survivor’s wand,’ because he had sold it to three wizards who subsequently passed through mortal peril unscathed. There is no doubt that this wood, coming as it does from the most resilient of trees, produces wands that demand staying power and strength of purpose in their true owners, and that they are poor tools in the hands of the changeable and indecisive. Fir wands are particularly suited to Transfiguration, and favour owners of focused, strong-minded and, occasionally, intimidating demeanour.
Hawthorn Crataegus The wandmaker Gregorovitch wrote that hawthorn ‘makes a strange, contradictory wand, as full of paradoxes as the tree that gave it birth, whose leaves and blossoms heal, and yet whose cut branches smell of death.’ While I disagree with many of Gregorovitch’s conclusions, we concur about hawthorn wands, which are complex and intriguing in their natures, just like the owners who best suit them. Hawthorn wands may be particularly suited to healing magic, but they are also adept at curses, and I have generally observed that the hawthorn wand seems most at home with a conflicted nature, or with a witch or wizard passing through a period of turmoil. Hawthorn is not easy to master, however, and I would only ever consider placing a hawthorn wand in the hands of a witch or wizard of proven talent, or the consequences might be dangerous. Hawthorn wands have a notable peculiarity: their spells can, when badly handled, backfire.
Hazel Corylus A sensitive wand, hazel often reflects its owner’s emotional state, and works best for a master who understands and can manage their own feelings. Others should be very careful handling a hazel wand if its owner has recently lost their temper, or suffered a serious disappointment, because the wand will absorb such energy and discharge it unpredictably. The positive aspect of a hazel wand more than makes up for such minor discomforts, however, for it is capable of outstanding magic in the hands of the skilful, and is so devoted to its owner that it often ‘wilts’ (which is to say, it expels all its magic and refuses to perform, often necessitating the extraction of the core and its insertion into another casing, if the wand is still required) at the end of its master’s life (if the core is unicorn hair, however, there is no hope; the wand will almost certainly have ‘died’). Hazel wands also have the unique ability to detect water underground, and will emit silvery, tear-shaped puffs of smoke if passing over concealed springs and wells.
Holly Ilex Holly is one of the rarer kinds of wand woods; traditionally considered protective, it works most happily for those who may need help overcoming a tendency to anger and impetuosity. At the same time, holly wands often choose owners who are engaged in some dangerous and often spiritual quest. Holly is one of those woods that varies most dramatically in performance depending on the wand core, and it is a notoriously difficult wood to team with phoenix feather, as the wood's volatility conflicts strangely with the phoenix's detachment. In the unusual event of such a pairing finding its ideal match, however, nothing and nobody should stand in their way.
Hornbeam Carpinus Hornbeam selects for its life mate the talented witch or wizard with a single, pure passion, which some might call obsession (though I prefer the term ‘vision’), which will almost always be realised. Hornbeam wands adapt more quickly than almost any other to their owner’s style of magic, and will become so personalised, so quickly, that other people will find them extremely difficult to use even for the most simple of spells. Hornbeam wands likewise absorb their owner’s code of honour, whatever that might be, and will refuse to perform acts — whether for good or ill — that do not tally with their master’s principles. A particularly fine-tuned and sentient wand.
Larch Larix Strong, durable and warm in colour, larch has long been valued as an attractive and powerful wand wood. Its reputation for instilling courage and confidence in the user has ensured that demand has always outstripped supply. This much sought-after wand is, however, hard to please in the matter of ideal owners, and trickier to handle than many imagine. I find that it always creates wands of hidden talents and unexpected effects, which likewise describes the master who deserves it. It is often the case that the witch or wizard who belongs to the larch wand may never realise the full extent of their considerable talents until paired with it, but that they will then make an exceptional match.
Laurel Laurus It is said that a laurel wand cannot perform a dishonourable act, although in the quest for glory (a not uncommon goal for those best suited to these wands), I have known laurel wands perform powerful and sometimes lethal magic. Laurel wands are sometimes called fickle, but this is unfair. The laurel wand seems unable to tolerate laziness in a possessor, and it is in such conditions that it is most easily and willingly won away. Otherwise, it will cleave happily to its first match forever, and indeed has the unusual and engaging attribute of issuing a spontaneous lightning strike if another witch or wizard attempts to steal it.
Maple Acer I have often found that those chosen by maple wands are by nature travellers and explorers; they are not stay-at-home wands, and prefer ambition in their witch or wizard, otherwise their magic grows heavy and lacklustre. Fresh challenges and regular changes of scene cause this wand to literally shine, burnishing itself as it grows, with its partner, in ability and status. This is a beautiful and desirable wood, and wand quality maple has been among the most costly for centuries. Possession of a maple wand has long been a mark of status, because of its reputation as the wand of high achievers.
Pear Pyrus This golden-toned wood produces wands of splendid magical powers, which give of their best in the hands of the warm-hearted, the generous and the wise. Possessors of pear wands are, in my experience, usually popular and well-respected. I do not know of a single instance where a pear wand has been discovered in the possession of a Dark witch or wizard. Pear wands are among the most resilient, and I have often observed that they may still present a remarkable appearance of newness, even after many years of hard use.
Pine Pinus The straight-grained pine wand always chooses an independent, individual master who may be perceived as a loner, intriguing and perhaps mysterious. Pine wands enjoy being used creatively, and unlike some others, will adapt unprotestingly to new methods and spells. Many wandmakers insist that pine wands are able to detect, and perform best for, owners who are destined for long lives, and I can confirm this in as much as I have never personally known the master of a pine wand to die young. The pine wand is one of those that is most sensitive to non-verbal magic.
Poplar Populus "If you seek integrity, search first among the poplars,” was a great maxim of my grandfather, Gerbold Ollivander, and my own experience of poplar wands and their owners tallies exactly with his. Here is a wand to rely upon, of consistency, strength and uniform power, always happiest when working with a witch or wizard of clear moral vision. There is a tired old joke among lesser wandmakers that no poplar wand has ever chosen a politician, but here they show their lamentable ignorance: two of the Ministry’s most accomplished Ministers for Magic, Eldritch Diggory and Evangeline Orpington, were the possessors of fine, Ollivander-made poplar wands.
Red Oak Quercus rubra You will often hear the ignorant say that red oak is an infallible sign of its owner’s hot temper. In fact, the true match for a red oak wand is possessed of unusually fast reactions, making it a perfect duelling wand. Less common than English oak, I have found that its ideal master is light of touch, quick-witted and adaptable, often the creator of distinctive, trademark spells, and a good man or woman to have beside one in a fight. Red oak wands are, in my opinion, among the most handsome.
Redwood Sequoioideae Wand-quality redwood is in short supply, yet constant demand, due to its reputation for bringing good fortune to its owner. As is usually the case with wandlore, the general populace have the truth back to front: redwood wands are not themselves lucky, but are strongly attracted to witches and wizards who already possess the admirable ability to fall on their feet, to make the right choice, to snatch advantage from catastrophe. The combination of such a witch or wizard with a redwood wand is always intriguing, and I generally expect to hear of exciting exploits when I send this special pairing out from my workshop.
Rosewood Dalbergia nigra Rosewood wands are quite rare. They are not very compatible with Dark magic as this wood represents love and purity. Rosewood wands are known to excel in love spells and healing magic.
Rowan Scrubus Rowan wood has always been much-favoured for wands, because it is reputed to be more protective than any other, and in my experience renders all manner of defensive charms especially strong and difficult to break. It is commonly stated that no Dark witch or wizard ever owned a rowan wand, and I cannot recall a single instance where one of my own rowan wands has gone on to do evil in the world. Rowan is most happily placed with the clear-headed and the pure-hearted, but this reputation for virtue ought not to fool anyone — these wands are the equal of any, often the better, and frequently out-perform others in duels.
Silver lime Tilia tomentosa This unusual and highly attractive wand wood was greatly in vogue in the nineteenth century. Demand outstripped supply, and unscrupulous wandmakers dyed substandard woods in an effort to fool purchasers into believing that they had purchased silver lime. The reasons for these wands’ desirability lay not only in their unusually handsome appearance, but also because they had a reputation for performing best for Seers and those skilled in Legilimency, mysterious arts both, which consequently gave the possessor of a silver lime wand considerable status. When demand was at its height, wandmaker Arturo Cephalopos claimed that the association between silver lime and clairvoyance was ‘a falsehood circulated by merchants like Gerbold Ollivander (my own grandfather), who have overstocked their workshops with silver lime and hope to shift their surplus.’ But Cephalopos was a slipshod wandmaker and an ignoramus, and nobody, Seer or not, was surprised when he went out of business.
Spruce Picea Unskilled wandmakers call spruce a difficult wood, but in doing so they reveal their own ineptitude. It is quite true that it requires particular deftness to work with spruce, which produces wands that are ill-matched with cautious or nervous natures, and become positively dangerous in fumbling fingers. The spruce wand requires a firm hand, because it often appears to have its own ideas about what magic it ought to be called upon to produce. However, when a spruce wand meets its match —which, in my experience, is a bold spell-caster with a good sense of humour — it becomes a superb helper, intensely loyal to their owners and capable of producing particularly flamboyant and dramatic effects.
Sycamore Acer pseudoplatanus The sycamore makes a questing wand, eager for new experience and losing brilliance if engaged in mundane activities. It is a quirk of these handsome wands that they may combust if allowed to become ‘bored,’ and many witches and wizards, settling down into middle age, are disconcerted to find their trusty wand bursting into flame in their hand as they ask it, one more time, to fetch their slippers. As may be deduced, the sycamore’s ideal owner is curious, vital and adventurous, and when paired with such an owner, it demonstrates a capacity to learn and adapt that earns it a rightful place among the world's most highly-prized wand woods.
Vine Vitis The druids considered anything with a woody stem as a tree, and vine makes wands of such a special nature that I have been happy to continue their ancient tradition. Vine wands are among the less common types, and I have been intrigued to notice that their owners are nearly always those witches or wizards who seek a greater purpose, who have a vision beyond the ordinary and who frequently astound those who think they know them best. Vine wands seem strongly attracted by personalities with hidden depths, and I have found them more sensitive than any other when it comes to instantly detecting a prospective match. Reliable sources claim that these wands can emit magical effects upon the mere entrance into their room of a suitable owner, and I have twice observed the phenomenon in my own shop.
Walnut Juglans regia Highly intelligent witches and wizards ought to be offered a walnut wand for trial first, because in nine cases out of ten, the two will find in each other their ideal mate. Walnut wands are often found in the hands of magical innovators and inventors; this is a handsome wood possessed of unusual versatility and adaptability. A note of caution, however: while some woods are difficult to dominate, and may resist the performance of spells that are foreign to their natures, the walnut wand will, once subjugated, perform any task its owner desires, provided that the user is of sufficient brilliance. This makes for a truly lethal weapon in the hands of a witch or wizard of no conscience, for the wand and the wizard may feed from each other in a particularly unhealthy manner.
Willow Salix Willow is an uncommon wand wood with healing power, and I have noted that the ideal owner for a willow wand often has some (usually unwarranted) insecurity, however well they may try and hide it. While many confident customers insist on trying a willow wand (attracted by their handsome appearance and well-founded reputation for enabling advanced, non-verbal magic) my willow wands have consistently selected those of greatest potential, rather than those who feel they have little to learn. It has always been a proverb in my family that he who has furthest to travel will go fastest with willow.
Yew Taxus Yew wands are among the rarer kinds, and their ideal matches are likewise unusual, and occasionally notorious. The wand of yew is reputed to endow its possessor with the power of life and death, which might, of course, be said of all wands; and yet yew retains a particularly dark and fearsome reputation in the spheres of duelling and all curses. However, it is untrue to say (as those unlearned in wandlore often do) that those who use yew wands are more likely to be attracted to the Dark Arts than another. The witch or wizard best suited to a yew wand might equally prove a fierce protector of others. Wands hewn from these most long-lived trees have been found in the possession of heroes quite as often as of villains. Where wizards have been buried with wands of yew, the wand generally sprouts into a tree guarding the dead owner’s grave. What is certain, in my experience, is that the yew wand never chooses either a mediocre or a timid owner.

Most wands made by Garrick Ollivander contain one of the three supreme core types, but there are others.[5] Among the substances used are:

Core Notes
Unicorn hair Unicorn hair generally produces the most consistent magic, and is least subject to fluctuations and blockages. Wands with unicorn cores are generally the most difficult to turn to the Dark Arts. They are the most faithful of all wands, and usually remain strongly attached to their first owner, irrespective of whether he or she was an accomplished witch or wizard. Minor disadvantages of unicorn hair are that they do not make the most powerful wands (although the wand wood may compensate) and that they are prone to melancholy if seriously mishandled, meaning that the hair may 'die' and need replacing.
Dragon heartstring As a rule, dragon heartstrings produce wands with the most power, and which are capable of the most flamboyant spells. Dragon wands tend to learn more quickly than other types. While they can change allegiance if won from their original master, they always bond strongly with the current owner. The dragon wand tends to be easiest to turn to the Dark Arts , though it will not incline that way of its own accord. It is also the most prone of the three cores to accidents, being somewhat temperamental.
Phoenix feather This is the rarest core type. Phoenix feathers are capable of the greatest range of magic, though they may take longer than either unicorn or dragon cores to reveal this. They show the most initiative, sometimes acting of their own accord, a quality that many witches and wizards dislike. Phoenix feather wands are always the pickiest when it comes to potential owners, for the creature from which they are taken is one of the most independent and detached in the world. These wands are the hardest to tame and to personalise, and their allegiance is usually hard won.
Veela hair The wandmaker Garrick Ollivander mentioned that he did not use Veela hair because it made for "temperamental" wands.
Thestral tail hair This core type is regarded as an unstable, if not difficult substance to use in wand making.
Troll whisker Troll whiskers is considered an inferior substance to Garrick Ollivander 's three Supreme Cores.
Kelpie hair[6] Early in my career, as I watched my wandmaker father wrestling with substandard wand core materials such as kelpie hair...[7]
Thunderbird tail feather[8] The tail feather of the Thunderbird was used as a wand core by the American wandmaker Shikoba Wolfe. Wolfe's wands were powerful but difficult to master, and were good for transfiguration work.[8]
Wampus cat hair[8] The hair of the Wampus cat was used as a wand core by the American wandmaker Johannes Jonker. Jonker experimented with many other cores before settling on the hair of this creature as his preferred kind. The core was also used by Isolt Sayre and James Steward when they begun making their own wands in the 17th century.[8]
White River Monster spine[8] A spine taken from the back of a White River Monster, a magical fish native to the White River in Arkansas, was used as a wand core by the American wandmaker Thiago Quintana . Quintana's harvesting of White River Monster spines initially raised concerns of over-fishing, but because he was the only one who knew how to lure the creatures, the ecological impact was not severe. White River Monster spines were no longer used as a wand core after Quintana's death, as he took the secret of luring the creature to his grave.[9]
Rougarou hair[8] The hair of the rougarou was used as a wand core by the American wandmaker Violetta Beauvais . Beauvais kept the fact that she used this particular wand core a secret for many years, but it was eventually revealed.[10]
Kneazle whiskers This is a rarely used wand core and is most likely considered a substandard core type.
Horned Serpent horn This wand core was used by Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry founders Isolt Sayre and James Steward. The wands made from this core had exceptional power.[11]
Snallygaster heartstring The core was used by Isolt Sayre and James Steward when they began making their own wands in the 17th century.[11]
Jackalope antler The core was used by Isolt Sayre and James Steward when they began making their own wands in the 17th century.[11]
Basilisk horn Only one wand is known to have used this core. It was made by Salazar Slytherin for a wand of his own making.[11]

General wand properties

"Wands are only as powerful as the wizards who use them..."
—Hermione Granger explaining to Harry Potter wand properties[src]

In almost all documented cases, the wand chooses the wizard who matches its character because the wizard may have difficulty or be unable to perform magic if his or her wand's characters conflict, or the magic may be sub-par to magic performed with a matching wand.[3] Although Ollivander says that wizardkind can channel their powers through almost anything, optimum results can only be achieved with those they have a natural affinity for. When trying out different wands, a wand that is not suited to its wielder will usually not do anything at all. However, a warm feeling is an indication of having chosen the right wand, and the wand sometimes emits a few sparks or does some similar, small sign of magic.[12]

Wands are quasi-sentient: although they cannot think or communicate like a human, they can perform certain actions through their own will. This ability may be how they choose their wizard or witch and also explains Harry's wand's autonomously acting against Voldemort.[3]

Wand Lengths and Flexibility

"Many wandmakers simply match the wand length to the size of the witch or wizard who will use it, but this is a crude measure, and fails to take into account many other, important considerations. In my experience, longer wands might suit taller wizards, but they tend to be drawn to bigger personalities, and those of a more spacious and dramatic style of magic. Neater wands favour more elegant and refined spell-casting. However, no single aspect of wand composition should be considered in isolation of all the others, and the type of wood, the core and the flexibility may either counterbalance or enhance the attributes of the wand’s length."
Garrick Ollivander regarding wand length and flexibility[src]
Wands WB F4 DeathEatersWands V1 Illust 100615 Port

Three Death Eaters wands of different magical properties

Many wandmakers simply match the wand length to the size of the witch or wizard who will use it, but this is a crude measure, and fails to take into account many other, important considerations. Longer wands might suit taller wizards, but they tend to be drawn to bigger personalities, and those of a more spacious and dramatic style of magic. Neater wands favour more elegant and refined spell-casting. However, no single aspect of wand composition should be considered in isolation of all the others, and the type of wood, the core and the flexibility may either counterbalance or enhance the attributes of the wand’s length.[13]

Most wands will be in the range of between nine and fourteen inches. While extremely short wands (eight inches and under) and very long wands (over fifteen inches) exist, these are exceptionally rare. In the latter case, a physical peculiarity demanded the excessive wand length. However, abnormally short wands usually select those in whose character something is lacking, rather than because they are physically undersized (many small witches and wizards are chosen by longer wands).[13]

Wand flexibility or rigidity denotes the degree of adaptability and willingness to change possessed by the wand-and-owner pair — although, again, this factor ought not to be considered separately from the wand wood, core and length, nor of the owner’s life experience and style of magic, all of which will combine to make the wand in question unique.[13]

New masters

"Harry looked down at the hawthorn wand that had once belonged to Draco Malfoy. He had been surprised, but pleased, to discover that it worked for him at least as well as Hermione's had done."
Harry Potter won the allegiance of Draco Malfoy's wand[src]
Tumblr mqmdbxW40G1qag66no6 250

Harry Potter disarms Draco Malfoy and wins his wand

Wands can take new masters. When a wand's master is disarmed, stunned, or killed, the wand may accept the old master's attacker as its new master, swaying its allegiance over to the wizard who won it from its preceding owner. This phenomena is mostly observed in the Elder Wand, which, according to Albus Dumbledore, only respects power. The Elder Wand will transfer its allegiance even if its defeated master is not in possession of it at the time. No other wand is known to share this trait.[3] Most wands are attached to their masters and will not easily discontinue their allegiance with the previous master, if at all. Indeed the original bond seems unlikely to be severed; if it were, then a defeated witch or wizard would be better served to acquire a new wand rather than continue using it because it would no longer perform at its peak for them — yet they don't. Furthermore, wands forcibly taken in circumstances of purely competitive or friendly nature or stolen without attacking the previous master will not change allegiance.[14]

Spell reversal

Priori Incantatem Pottermore

A famous instance of the Reverse Spell effect occurred during Harry Potter's and Lord Voldemort's duel in Little Hangleton

A wand keeps a record of all the spells used, which can be checked upon via the Priori Incantatem spell. This is a prime reason why criminals who wish to act discreetly would not use their own wands to perform illegal spells, fearing the record would betray them; instead, they could borrow someone else's wand to act with impunity, letting the other owner take the fall.[15][1] The record seems to be rather intricate, as Peter Pettigrew took Voldemort's wand in fear it might reveal his treason, suggesting the wand has such records (such as branding the Dark Mark onto Pettigrew himself).[16]

Damage and underwater use

Spells and physical damage can break wands, greatly reducing their magical abilities. Even when repaired, the wand's magic will not improve and the wand may break again while performing magic; wands held together by something like Spellotape can backfire. The Elder Wand is able to completely repair broken wands, although this ability may be lost if the current master dies undefeated because most of the wand's power would disappear with him.[3]

In addition wands seem to possess the capability to, at least partially, function underwater as was demonstrated when Harry Potter attempted to use a Revulsion Jinx to free himself from the grip of several Grindylows. However Harry noted that instead of "sending sparks at the Grindylows" it "pelted them with what seemed to be a jet of boiling water". This implies that spells function differently in an underwater environment.

Acquiring a wand

Harry gets his wand

Harry Potter acquiring his wand at Ollivanders

Most witches and wizards buy their first wand when they are eleven — just before starting their magical education. Most English wizards and witches buy their wands at Ollivanders Wand Shop in Diagon Alley, where they may try out multiple wands until they find the one that suits them, or rather, the wand finds the wizard that suits it. Some witches and wizards, especially those from poorer backgrounds, are left to use wands that did not choose them but chose a member of their family: Ron Weasley, for example, uses his brother Charlie's old wand when he begins his first year at Hogwarts.

Rights of usage

"The right to carry a wand has long been contested between wizards and goblins."
—Griphook a goblin over the right to carry a wand[src]
Such non-human beings as goblins and house-elves are prohibited from owning or using wands. For goblins in particular, this prohibition has been a point of contention with the wizarding community and caused some outbreaks of violence. No known formal prohibition exists against Muggles possessing a wand; they would be unable to use them anyway since muggles don't possess magic, but a Muggle's possession of a wand could be considered a breach of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy.

Any underage wizards or witches who are expelled from school are forbidden from practising magic any further, and their wands have been confiscated and destroyed. Rubeus Hagrid's wand suffered such a fate, though it was somewhat repaired and kept inside his umbrella, and he is allowed to use that much. Newton Scamander was expelled a few decades earlier, but the fate of his wand at the time is unknown. Gellert Grindelwald was expelled from Durmstrang, but he managed to maintain his wand (or procure another one) suggesting the wand confiscation only applies to Hogwarts students. Of course, any criminals arrested and imprisoned lose their wands as well: Barty Crouch Jr claimed that he was not allowed a wand since Azkaban; though their wands seem not destroyed but simply stored away because Bellatrix Lestrange managed to retrieve her old wand after escaping prison.

Years ago, due to Rappaport's Law, no underaged North American witch or wizard was allowed a wand until they arrived at Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Moreover, wands had to be left at Ilvermorny during vacations and only upon attaining seventeen years of age was the witch or wizard legally allowed to carry a wand outside school. However, this law has since been repealed (in 1965).

During the last year of the Second Wizarding War, the British Ministry of Magic was overthrown by the Death Eaters, and new laws were put into effect. Muggle-born witches and wizards were regarded as having "stolen" their magic from "real" witches and wizards, and their wands (which were also considered stolen) were confiscated. Those who were not imprisoned were usually left destitute.

Makers

Main article: Wandmaker
GarrickOllivander

Garrick Ollivander, a famous wandmaker

The wand was originally a European invention, and although many makers of wands exist, but Ollivander is the best known and most experienced in Britain. The wandmaking establishment has been making wands since 382 BC and is in Diagon Alley, London. Mr Ollivander went missing in the summer of 1996[1] until discovered by Harry, Ron and Hermione and rescued by the house-elf Dobby in 1998: he had been kidnapped by Death Eaters on Voldemort's orders. Ollivander thereafter tells Harry about the Elder Wand and how a wand passes ownership.

Gregorovitch Deathly Hallows promotional image

Mykew Gregorovitch.

More British wandmakers exist, for example, Jimmy Kiddell, but their wands were stated to be not as good as Ollivander's.

Another notable wand maker was Mykew Gregorovitch, who had made the wand of Viktor Krum and once wielded the Elder Wand. In 1997 he was tracked down and questioned by Voldemort in Voldemort's quest to find the Elder Wand. Once Voldemort finished questioning Gregorovitch, he murdered him.[3]

Historical wandmakers in North America include Violetta Beauvais, Johannes Jonker, Thiago Quintana, and Shikoba Wolfe, each of whom specialised in a single type of wand core.

According to legend, Death created the Elder Wand, the most powerful wand in existence, from the branch of an elder tree. Albus Dumbledore, however, believed that Antioch Peverell was more the likely creator.

Known wands

Owner Wood Length Core Flexibility Notes

Albus Dumbledore

The elder wand
Elder 15" Thestral tail hair Unknown The Elder Wand, one of the Deathly Hallows. Also known as the Deathstick and the Wand of Destiny.

Bellatrix Lestrange

Bellatrix lestrange wand
Walnut 12¾" Dragon heartstring Unyielding This wand is described as "unyielding;" passed into the possession of Hermione Granger after the Skirmish at Malfoy Manor in 1998.

Sir Cadogan

Troll-whiskerWand
Blackthorn (according to legend) 9" (according to legend) Troll whisker (according to legend) Combustible (according to legend) This wand was broken during Sir Cadogan's encounter with the Wyvern of Wye. However, Cadogan still tried to combat the beast even with a broken wand, which led to his victory when the wand pierced the Wyvern's tongue and ignited its stomach fumes.

Cedric Diggory

Cedricdiggorywandnn8202
Ash 12¼" Unicorn hair Unknown This wand was "pleasantly springy"; hair from particularly fine male unicorn (seventeen hands high), which nearly gored Mr Ollivander with its horn after he plucked its tail hair.
Celestina Warbeck Larch 10½" Phoenix feather Flexible Celestina Warbeck's wand is mentioned in the lyrics of the title track of her best-selling album, You Stole My Cauldron but You Can't Have my Heart.[17]

Dolores Umbridge

Dolores umbridge wand
Birch 8" Dragon heartstring Unknown This wand is described as "unusually short;" broken by a centaur's hoof in June 1996 in the Forbidden Forest.

Draco Malfoy

DracoMalfoyWandNN8409
Hawthorn 10" Unicorn hair Reasonably springy This wand passed into the possession of Harry Potter after the Skirmish at Malfoy Manor in 1998 until Harry came into possession of the Elder Wand and mended his first wand.

Fleur Delacour

FleurDelacourWandNN8246
Rosewood 9½" Veela hair inflexible In this wand the core is a hair from Fleur's grandmother, who was a Veela.

Garrick Ollivander

Hornbeam 12¾" Dragon heartstring Slightly bendy

Gilderoy Lockhart

Gilderoy Lockhart
Cherry 9" The wand was described as expensive.

Harry Potter's wand (wand #1)

HarryPotterWandNN8415
Holly 11" Phoenix feather Nice and supple

"Brother" to Voldemort's wand — the core tail feathers are both from Fawkes; broken in December 1997 while fleeing from Godric's Hollow; repaired with the Elder Wand in May 1998.

Harry wand is unusual. The pairing of holly and phoenix feather is rare and in the event of such a pairing finding its ideal match, nothing and nobody should stand in their way.[18]

Harry Potter (wand #2)

Blackthornwand
Blackthorn 10" Unknown This wand was taken from a Snatcher by Ron Weasley in 1997, and used by Harry until 1998, when he took Draco Malfoy's wand.

Hermione Granger

HermioneGrangerWandNN8411
Vine 10¾" Dragon heartstring Unknown This wand was confiscated when the trio was captured by Snatchers in 1998.

Horace Slughorn

ProfHoraceSlughornWandNN8294
Cedar 10¼" Fairly flexible

James Potter

JamesPotterWand NN8206

James Potter's wand

Mahogany 11" Unknown Pliable This wand was "excellent for transfiguration."
Lily Evans Willow 10¼" Swishy This wand was "nice for Charm work."

Lucius Malfoy

Lucius Malfoy first wand
Elm 18" Dragon heartstring Unyielding This wand was kept in a snake-headed walking stick that Lucius carried; "borrowed" by Lord Voldemort and destroyed by Harry Potter's wand during the Battle of the Seven Potters in 1997.
Mary Cattermole Cherry 8¾" Unicorn hair Unknown This wand was confiscated by the Muggle-Born Registration Commission in 1997.
Merlin Believed to have been English oak Unknown

Minerva McGonagall

ProfMinervaMcGonagallwandNN8290
Fir 9½" Dragon heartstring Stiff This wand was most likely purchased from Ollivanders in 1947 when she was eleven almost twelve.

Neville Longbottom

Neville's wand
Cherry 13" Unicorn hair Unknown This wand may have been one of the last wands Mr Ollivander sold before he disappeared in 1996.

Peter Pettigrew

Peter pettigrew wand
Chestnut 9¼" Dragon heartstring Brittle This wand was owned by Pettigrew only since Ollivander had been kidnapped of 1996; passed into the possession of Ron Weasley after the Skirmish at Malfoy Manor in 1998.
Quirinus Quirrell Alder 9"

Unicorn hair

Bendy

Remus Lupin

Remus wand
Cypress 10¼" Pliable Cypress wands are said to be well-matched to wizards who are self-sacrificing and willing to die a heroic death. Lupin spent the majority of his life alone to save others from having to deal with the consequences of his affliction, and died defending Hogwarts castle in the Battle of Hogwarts.

Ron Weasley (wand #1)

Ron weasley first wand
Ash 12" Unknown Ron's brother Charlie's old wand; severely damaged in September 1992 after a run-in with the Whomping Willow.

Ron Weasley (wand #2)

RonWeasleyWandNN8413
Willow 14" Purchased with his father's winnings from a Daily Prophet draw. Taken from him by Snatchers and replaced with Peter Pettigrew's wand.

Ron Weasley (wand #3)

Peter pettigrew wand
Chestnut 9¼" Dragon heartstring Brittle This was Peter Pettigrew's wand. During the Skirmish at Malfoy Manor, Ron took this wand from Pettigrew and used from then on, as his own wand was taken by Snatchers.
Rubeus Hagrid Oak 16" Unknown Rather bendy This wand was snapped in half when Hagrid was expelled from Hogwarts during his third year — the pieces are certainly hidden in Hagrid's pink umbrella.
Silvanus Kettleburn Chestnut 11½" Phoenix feather Whippy

Tom Marvolo Riddle (Lord Voldemort)

LordVoldemortWandNN8403
Yew 13½" Unknown This wand is "brother" to Harry Potter's wand — the core tail feathers are both from Fawkes.

Viktor Krum

ViktorKrumWand
Hornbeam 10¼" Dragon heartstring Quite rigid This wand is thicker than usual, and made by Gregorovitch.

Ginny Weasley

Ginny's wand
Yew Unknown A yew wand is suited for a person who is a fierce protector of others.[19] Protectiveness is an espect of Ginny's personality. She has frequently defended Harry Potter against others.[20][21][22]

Sybill Trelawney

ProfSybilTrelawneyWandNN8254
Hazel 9½" Unicorn hair Very flexiable This wand bears a resemblance to Sirius Black's wand , though there are slight differences. They both have a square-like handle and have magical runes depicted on the wand, but Trelawney's wand has a darker colour and has a swirly shape from the handle to the tip.
Dylan Marwood Applewood Unknown
The Silver Spears Aspen The Silver Spears was a notorious and secretive duelling club in the 18th century that allegedly only allowed wizards and witches who possessed wands made from aspen wood to join.[23]
Eldritch Diggory Poplar Unknown Fine The existence of this wand and its owner was cited as evidence against a myth that poplar wands never chose politicians.[24]
Evangeline Orpington
Fred Weasley
Fred weasley wand
Dogwood (possibly) 14" Unknown
Wands produced by Garrick Ollivander Beechwood 9" Dragon heartstring Nice and flexible These wands were tried out by Harry Potter in 1991.
Maple 7" Phoenix feather Quite whippy
Ebony 8½" Unicorn hair Springy

Behind the scenes

Wand 1

Wands drawn on the covers of the American version of the books by Mary GrandPré are shown as extremely long and thin.

  • Wands used in the Harry Potter films are shown to have clear handles for wizards to hold onto them such as the bone handle of Voldemort's yew wand. The books however do not describe such handles. In fact all the pictures by Mary GrandPré in the American editions depict all wands as thin rods. However this is only supported by Harry's feeling that his wand is a "strip of wood" compared to a dragon, and Harry's wand being described as pencil like, when he steps on it in Bathilda's house.[25] This is contradicted in the same chapter in Deathly Hallows, during Voldemort's flashback of the night he murdered Lily and James. ..."he fingered the handle of his wand." Thus it could simply be how Harry felt about his wand at the moment, comparing it with a pencil in terms of proportion and efficiency.
  • Also, in the films, the wands are shown a couple of inches longer than they are shown in the books. The films seem to include more gestures when using a wand, not just waving it and pointing it. The different styles were shown properly in the film version of the Battle of the Department of Mysteries.
  • It is theorised that the wand's length is proportional to the wizard's height: the longer the wand, the taller the wizard, and the shorter the wand, the shorter the wizard. Although this pattern is generally supported (eg, Dolores Umbridge's short wand, Rubeus Hagrid's long wand) this may not always be the case. For example, Draco Malfoy, despite being tall, had a relatively short wand. However, J.K. Rowling stated that wands are generally shorter when witches or wizards are lacking in personality, rather than size.
  • J. K. Rowling used a Celtic calendar to assign certain types of woods to Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, and Harry Potter based on their birthdates.[26]
Pottermore wands

A variety of wands from Pottermore

  • In the first and second films, wands look quite plain. The appearance of wands drastically change in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, in which the wands are given distinctive shapes and carvings, reflecting the owner's personality.
  • Devon Murray, who plays Seamus Finnigan in the Harry Potter films, has the record for breaking the most prop wands. He broke eighty of them.[27] Dan Radcliffe himself broke and damaged almost as many due to his habit of drumming with them.
  • J.K. Rowling has said that Muggles cannot use a magic wand, yet residual power stored in a wand may discharge at odd moments, having potentially disastrous effects for a non-wizard.[28] One example of this happening was when, in 1790, Muggle Bartholomew Barebone stole Dorcus Twelvetrees' wand and showed it to many reporters. The wand was said to have behaved like a mule.
  • Wands are often buried or burned when the owner dies.[29]
  • The right to carry a wand at all times was established by the International Confederation of Wizards in 1692, when Muggle persecution was at its height and the wizards were planning their retreat into hiding.[30]
  • Although Harry's wand is known to be made of holly (an almost white wood), his prop wand is significantly darker, suggesting a different wood. However, other wands appear to be varnished or coloured, so this isn't necessarily a break in continuity. Wood is a matte material so most if not all wands in the movies have some kind of colour treatment.
  • It is interesting to note that Viktor Krum's wand and Hermione Granger's first wand have the same length and the same core.
  • In the LEGO Harry Potter releases, wands were created using a repurpose of the lightsaber piece used for LEGO Star Wars. The wands are thick, long and almost bigger than a character.
  • There was at least one known business that specialised in tuning wands to improve their performance. Repair services were also available.
  • Wands have been used a total of 763 times in the books, according to Pottermore.[31]
  • Wands were invented in Europe, and they are less commonly used in Africa. Students of Uagadou learn to perform many of their spells wandlessly.

Appearances

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