|"Well, I think we should put it back in order for them, don't you?"|
The core of a wand is a magical substance placed within inside the length of wood. They are usually bits 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, wheras his father used lesser substances such as Kelpie hair and Kneazle whisker.
Known Core Materials
|Core Material||Known Wands Using that Core|
|Unicorn tail hair|
|Thestral tail hair||
Characteristics of Wand Core Materials
|Core Material||Known Wand-maker to use it||Known Characteristics|
||Powerful, easy to learn spells|
||Learns most varied magic, hard to be chosen|
|Unicorn tail hair||
||Consistent magic, bonds strongly to first user|
||Not very powerful|
||Easily obtainable, frequently used in the past|
|Thestral tail hair||
||Not easily seen|
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 to note 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).
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 — 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.
Prior to Ollivander's practice 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.
It is worth noting that Harry's phoenix feather wand cost 7 galleons. Horace Slughorn, however stated that unicorn tail hair was worth 10 galleons a hair. It is possible that wands made with unicorn hairs are more expensive than those made with phoenix feathers. Of course, it is equally possible that in the five years between the time Harry's wand was purchased and the night Slughorn made the comment that the market for wand material had fluctuated greatly (Most likely due to the capture of Ollivander by the Death Eaters, in no small part). It's also possible that wands are subsidized by the Ministry of Magic for students, and that the actual cost of Harry's wand was greater than the 7 galleons he paid. It is also possible that Ollivander collects wand cores himself, as he was nearly gored by the unicorn that gave the core of Cedric Diggory's wand. Furthermore, it may be possible that more than one wand core can be made from a single unicorn tail hair cut into shorter pieces, as horse tail hairs are often many times longer than most wands.
Another possibility is that Professor Slughorn simply exaggerated the value of the unicorn hair in a moment of drunken exhuberance. His statement ("To ten galleons a hair!") could have referred to the price he hoped to receive, rather than an actual market value.
Behind the scenes
- The Enchanted Feather Company 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.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Mentioned only)