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Wand Basics 101

by David Haber

As long as there have been Witches and Wizards, there have been magical wands. No part of Harry Potter's magical heritage goes back further. The ancient Celtic Druids who lived in what is now called Scotland employed wands all the way back to 500 BC. As a matter of fact, "Druid" actually means "man with the wisdom of the wood".

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Reader Comments: (Page 2)

I am fascinated by the wands, when Harry duels with Voldermort and the "Echoes of people ed by LV" as DD says come out of the tip they are actually aware of their surroundings and can communicate, does this mean that those people could return to offer assistance again and where are James and Lily Potters wands? Did their wands have brothers? Does Ollivander have them or DD?

Posted by Clair from North West England on December 14, 2006 07:44 AM

In response to the bit about the wand being a focus, I think this may be more accurate. In another fantasy series about magic, the "wizards" use crystals to "focus" theis magic it is a bit different though. In the series "The Magickers", the "magickers" focus their magical powers through the crystals but they are not "born" magickers. Their parent are completly normal people but they can do things that are seemingly impossible. I think this is a very interesting approach.

Posted by mrcrister from Lakeport, CA on December 21, 2006 3:56 PM

When it comes to the wood of a wizard's wand, it's possible that a wand of the wizard's wood-type would allow him to focus energy easier. However, compatibility could be easily outdone by the magical properties of the ingrents. Perhaps Voldemort's wand was better for him rather than one of his wood-type because it had a phoenix feather. It's also possible that Yew wood itself has some magical properties that outweigh compatibility. The power of such a wand was better fitting to Voldemort because he wanted such power, not necessarily a wand that would be compatible with him.

Posted by Phillip from Marina, California on December 26, 2006 11:50 PM

J.K. has stated that in the books, only Harry, Ron and Hermione have the wood types in their wands that corresponds with their birth dates. And I have personally had the same theory of wands, that they are magic channellers rather than magic items themelves, before I read this article. And how delighted I was to find out I wasn't the only one.

Posted by Daniel Blom Paulsen from Esbjerg, Denmark on December 30, 2006 04:13 AM

I think Olivander was kidnapped by LV to make another wand to avoid the "priori incantatum", but this still work against LV. In HBP Dumbledore's wand is not recovered arter his , but I think Harry end up with it. In the 1st book, Olivander states he remembers every wand he has ever made. I think he make a "new" wand for LV that is the same as the one Dumbledore had, and the inability to fight Harry come into play again. This may give someone else the chance to step in & help Harry finish off LV, perhaps even Snape.

Posted by Dave Porter from New Mexico on December 31, 2006 8:13 PM

I always find it interesting to reflect on the anagram that can be made from "Ollivander." If we rearrange the letters, we get "An evil lord." Of course, that doesn't mean that the Ollivander we know is evil, but he could have had an evil ancestor with some significance to the story.

I also think that one of the unknown Horcruxes is Ravenclaw's wand and that Ollivander may have had it in his window. His family is old enough to have made the wand for Rowena Ravenclaw--perhaps it was returned to his family when she d. In any case, he would be someone capable of authenticating the wand's history, which may explain why he's missing.

Posted by Janis from Fayetteville, NC, USA on January 6, 2007 11:00 AM

i suspect olivander has been kidnapped by voldermort as he wants an explanation of the "echo" as voldermort doesnt know that he and harry have "brother" wands.

we are aware that one of them have to use a different wand in order for them to fight each other or they just create another "echo".

in harry potter books we are told that a wizard never get results as good with someone else's wand, so whoever doesnt use their own wand have a disadvantage, i think that this be the main factor between harry and voldermort's final showdown

Posted by beki from liverpool, england on January 12, 2007 6:57 PM

JK Rowling looked at the Celtic tree calendar as a way of assigning wand woods to the characterS. However, she put her own ideas into the selection of the wands as well. Go to her website, to look at this. It is in the extras section and is pretty interesting, if you really want to know what went into selecting the wood. Enjoy!

Posted by Alicia from california on January 15, 2007 11:47 AM

Responding on the comment posted from Koby of NJ: In book 6 slughorn tells harry how he said that he used to tell Lilly Potter that she should have been in his house(slytherin), and how Lilly Potter would get annoyed. This implies Lilly Potter is not in Slytherin. she just happens to have green eyes.

Posted by Samantha Hom from Brooklyn,NY on January 19, 2007 2:30 PM

I like the idea of Ollivander being kidnapped for information. It makes perfect sense, but there is another possibility. My suspicion is that Ollivander has gone into hiding. The ice-cream parlour owner, Florean Fortescue seems to have been attacked, but Ollivander's shop is simply closed with no sign of a struggle. Does that mean he went ingly? Given that Ollivander wrote to tell Dumbledore straight after Harry bought the wand, it seems more likely to me that he'd be in hiding, than that he's gone over to Voldemort. If Voldemort wanted information about WHY his wand didn't work properly against Harry, then Ollivander would be the obvious source. He probably wouldn't have known whose phoenix gave the feather, certainly he wouldn't have known what was in Harry's wand. Harry has never told anyone. So unless Ollivander confirmed it, then Voldemort isn't going to find out for sure. He might not understand what happened at all. After all, Sirius was no fool and he had to ask Dumbledore what would happen when a wand met its brother. Dumbledore did say that it was a very rare effect. What happened might even have been heightened by the other connections between Harry and Voldemort.
Am I correct in recalling Voldemort's wand as being made of yew? Yew is a wood often associated with dark magic, which suggests a real conflict in Voldemort's wand anyway with the phoenix feather as its core.

Posted by Elizabeth from Australia on January 19, 2007 5:37 PM

good thought but how would a wand be able to preform a spell when not in the hands of a wizard/witch?

Posted by Bill from rochester,NY on January 22, 2007 06:46 AM

Voldemort's wand was 13.5 inches and
made of yew...
Also known as English Yew and European Yew. Another important tree to the Winter Solstice and the deities of and rebirth. It is a beautifully smooth, gold-coloured wood with a wavy grain. The Irish used it to make dagger handles, bows and wine barrels. The wood or leaves were laid on graves as a reminder to the departed spirit that was only a pause in life before rebirth. All parts of the tree are poisonous except the fleshy covering of the berry, and its medicinal uses include a recently discovered treatment for cancer. The yew may be the oldest-lived tree in the world. Ancient yews can be found in churchyards all over Britain, where they often pre-date even the oldest churches. There are some convincing arguments for it being the original 'World-tree' of Scandinavian mythology. The Yew may be used to enhance magical and psychic abilities, and to induce visions.

Posted by mary from buffalo, ny on January 23, 2007 08:23 AM

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