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Wand core

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The core of a wand is a magical substance placed within the length of wood. They are usually bits of hair/feather extracted from some sort of Magical Being or Creature. The materials used for wand cores can vary widely, though certain wand-makers may prefer to use certain materials; for example, Garrick Ollivander discovered and pioneered the use of phoenix feathers, dragon heartstrings, and unicorn tail hairs, whereas his father used lesser substances such as Kelpie hair and Kneazle whisker.[1]

The wand always chooses the wizard or witch and not the other way around. This is a question that many who study wands called wandlore cannot understand or explain. It would seem that wands have in some sense of the word—a mind of their own. The Wand will never surrender itself to another easily either - something many in wandlore understand to some extent.

Known core materials

Core Wands These Cores are Used in:
Dragon heartstring
Phoenix feather
Unicorn tail hair
Veela hair
Thestral tail hair
Troll whisker
Dittany Stalk
Thunderbird tail feather


Wampus cat hair


White River Monster spine


Rougarou hair


Horned Serpent horn[3]
Snallygaster heartstring[3]
Jackalope antler


Basilisk horn[3]

Characteristics of wand core materials

Core Material Known Wand-maker to use it Known Characteristics
Dragon heartstring
  • Garrick Ollivander
  • Gregorovitch
Powerful, easy to learn spells though can easily be committed to another owner
Phoenix feather
  • Garrick Ollivander
Learns most varied magic, hard to be chosen
Unicorn tail hair
  • Garrick Ollivander
Consistent magic, bonds strongly to first user
Veela hair Temperamental
Kneazle whisker Not very powerful
Dittany stalk
Kelpie hair
  • Gervaise Ollivander
Easily obtainable, frequently used in the past
Thestral tail hair
  • Antioch Peverell
Not easily seen
Thunderbird tail feather[2] Powerful, but difficult to master, particularly prized by Transfigurers
Wampus cat hair[2][3]
White River Monster spine[2] Produces spells of force and elegance
Rougarou hair[2] Rumoured to have an affinity for Dark magic, although suitable for use by non-Dark wizards and witches as well
Horned Serpent horn[3] Exceptionally powerful. Sensitive to Parseltongue. Can warn its owner of danger by emitting a low musical tone.
Snallygaster heartstring[3]
Jackalope antler[3]
Basilisk horn[3]


The core type is known to influence the "personality" of the wand produced with it. For example, the wand-maker Garrick Ollivander will not use Veela hair for cores because he believes they make for "temperamental" wands. Thestral hair wands are also an interesting core, in that it cannot simply be "mastered" by winning them; Thestral tail hair is a powerful and tricky substance that can only be mastered by a witch or wizard capable of facing death (this was hence part of the reason why Voldemort had such trouble with it during the deathly Hallows).[5]

Another interesting feature of wands and their cores is that if two wands have cores from the same source — such as the wands of Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort, which both had cores comprised of a feather from Fawkes, Albus Dumbledore's phoenix[6] — they are said to be brothers. This can induce Priori Incantatem if the wands come into conflict with one another, such as casting different spells towards each other at roughly the same time.[7] If wands with twin cores are used together, they can greatly multiply each other's power; for example, when Chadwick and Webster Boot fought as a team, their wands (with cores from the same Horned Serpent) increased in power tenfold.[3]

Prior to Ollivander's practise of using only the three "Supreme Cores", it was common for witches and wizards to present a wandmaker with a magical substance to which they had a particular attachment for use as a wand core. Such substances may have included Veela hair, Kneazle whiskers, Dittany stalks, or Kelpie manes.[8]


All wands sold by Garrick Ollivander cost seven galleons, regardless of core or wood[9]. Unicorn tail hair, however, is worth ten galleons a hair[10], as confirmed by Horace Slughorn in 1996. The reason for the drop in price when the hair is used in a wand is unknown, but the hair might be cut slightly to fit into the wand, thus decreasing its value.

Behind the scenes

  • The Enchanted Feather Co. is a company that presumably sells wand cores to wandmakers.
  • It is thought by some that Thestral hair makes for a unique personality; completely dispassionate about its allegiance and showing no emotion towards the wizard, tying in with the many changes of hands that the Elder Wand (the only known Thestral hair wand in existence) has been through. It is also a wand that has been the instrument of death many times over, which some also believe is connected to its Thestral hair core (possibly inspiring murder in the heart of its beholder(s), since Thestrals have a strong connection to death, as does the origin of the wand itself). However, the many changes of allegiance that the Elder Wand has had as well as its history of winning through murder may be simply a reflection on the nature of power itself, and the means people are willing to sink to in order to attain it.
  • It should be noted that, concerning the wands of the Trio (Harry, Ron and Hermione), each wand has one of the three different cores used by Ollivander: Harry's wand has a phoenix feather, Ron's wands (both his first and second) have a unicorn hair and Hermione's wands (both hers and Bellatrix's) have a dragon heartstring.


See also

Notes and references

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