A wand is a magical object through which a wizard or witch channels his or her magical powers. Most spells are done with the aid of a wand, even though it is possible to perform magic without one. Wands have different cores, woods, lengths and flexibilities. These factors, along with the owner's life experience and magical ability, combine to define a wand's character. As a result, no two wands are exactly alike.
|“||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.||”|
From "Magical Objects: The Top Ten":
|“||No witch or wizard is complete without their wand, and once you've got yours there's an endless list of handy spells (and jinxes) you can cast.||”|
Acquiring a Wand
Wands can be purchased at Ollivanders for a price of 7 Galleons. Ollivanders Bespoke Wand Selector matches Pottermore players with a wand. After going through a set of 7 questions, players are presented with a wand made from a wood and core chosen according to their answers.
Most witches and wizards go to buy their first wand when they are eleven, just before starting their magical education. Most English wizards and witches get their wands at Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 BC 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.
No single aspect or component of a wand should be considered independently of the others because they complement or counterbalance each other to make wands unique.
All wands contain a magical substance known as a wand core. Wandmakers use a wide variety of substances, such as veela hair or kelpie hair, but Ollivander only uses three substances that he calls 'the Supreme Wand Cores':
Other substances known to exist in the Harry Potter universe, but not used by Ollivander, are:
- Basilisk Horn
- Bone Shell
- Dittany Stalk
- Jackalope Antler
- Kelpie Mane
- Kneazle Whisker
- River Serpent Horn
- Rougarou Hair
- Snallygaster Heartstring
- Thestral Hair
- Thunderbird Feather
- Troll Whisker
- Veela Hair
- Wampus Cat Hair
- White River Monster Spine
Very few trees produce wand-quality wood, although these trees can usually be identified if they have Bowtruckles. Current known wand woods are:
- Black Walnut
- English Oak
- Red Oak
- Silver lime
*Some of these wand woods are not available on Pottermore, but are known to be used in the Harry Potter world.
While assigning the wands of certain characters, J.K. Rowling used the Celtic tree calendar: the Celts had assigned trees to different part of the year, much like the Zodiac still used in astrology.
Although there may be some variations on this calendar, the following one is the calendar J.K. Rowling used and which used to be available on her web site.
- December 24 - January 20 = Birch (Beth)
- January 21 - February 17 = Rowan (Luis)
- February 18 - March 17 = Ash (Nion)
- March 18 - April 14 = Alder (Fearn)
- April 15 - May 12 = Willow (Saille)
- May 13 - June 9 = Hawthorn (Huath)
- June 10 - July 7 = Oak (Duir)
- July 8 - August 4 = Holly (Tinne)
- August 5 - September 1 = Hazel (Coll)
- September 2 - September 29 = Vine (Muin)
- September 30 - October 27 = Ivy (Gort)
- October 28 - November 24 = Reed (Ngetal)
- November 25 - December 23 = Elder (Ruis)
It is known that the wands of Harry, Ron (his first wand), Hermione and Draco are made of the wood that is linked to their date of birth.
Wand flexibility or rigidity denotes the degree of adaptability and willingness to change possessed by the wand-and-owner pair. Possible flexibilities include:
- Very flexible
- Quite flexible
- Surprisingly swishy
- Quite bendy
- Fairly bendy
- Reasonably supple
- Slightly springy
- Slightly yielding
Most wands are between 9-15 inches long. Wandmakers often match the wand length to the height of witch or wizard who will use it, but Ollivander considers this measure inadequate. In his experience, longer than average wands tend to be drawn to those with a physical peculiarity or a bigger personality whereas abnormally short wands select people whose character lacks in something.