Wands from a Muggle Perspective
by David Haber
The wand is a very important tool in the lives of witches and wizards of the Harry Potter universe. I believe the magical wands of Harry Potter's world could actually be tiny hand-held computers. This is a look at those wands, from the perspective a muggle computer programmer, using actual examples from the Harry Potter books.
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Reader Comments: (Page 2)
Well, as I say, I think wands would have to have some built-in upgradeability simply by speaking new spells into it. Since it's a magical device, it's logical to assume this capacity wouldn't be very limited. A wand owner may not ever need to have his wand physically upgraded in its lifetime.
Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on November 30, 2006 09:47 AM
Great stuff, maybe the core could be a magical memory device, or possibly a different operating system? Maybe the wand just interprets commands from the latin language. That would be why the spell which hangs someone from the ankles had to be changed such alot, hence the crossings out in the textbook. The program could interpret them differently, so each 'spell' would not have to be learned
Posted by Random Dude from England on December 1, 2006 2:00 PM
When I read this for the first time, the comment feature wasn't here yet. Since it's easy now to comment: this was such a good laugh, and so intelligently written, thank you for that.
Posted by sylvanawood from Germany on December 7, 2006 01:16 AM
Now what fun would that be? It would be highly anti-climactic for us to get the end and say something like "Just as Voldemort was about to Avada Kedavra Harry, his wand hard drive fried and he had to reboot it. Harry took this opportunity and ed Voldemort on the spot."
This theory does not account for the magic done without a wand. Harry made his aunt blow up without trying to, made glass disappear and jumped onto a roof without touching his wand. He has also been depicted as an extraordinary wizard with extraordinary powers. Similarly, Squibs don't have any magical powers at all, with or without a wand.
Great idea, really. I got a kick out of it.
Posted by Sarah from Hogwarts on December 15, 2006 8:59 PM
Ah, you forget. These are Ollivander wands we're talking about here. He's been perfecting his craft for centuries, they don't crash!
As to wandless-magic, please see the other article, Wand Basics 101.
Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles on December 16, 2006 07:36 AM
Haha, funny. Clears up both the aspects of some magic and the aspects of some computing. (And about the "some": I hate making generalizations.)
Oh, and what about the mind of the wizard? Might it contain some structure (organic, it would need to be) that could communicate with the wand?
Posted by Ellie Cosmo from Portland, Oregon on December 16, 2006 7:02 PM
Dear god, that was funny! I'm quite interested in programming, although I'm not very good at it, so this was a very interesting (and funny) article!
Posted by Daniel Blom Paulsen from Esbjerg, Denmark on December 30, 2006 04:29 AM
Great work! Loved the syntaxes too.
Just one thing: you would also need a Wand JVM on your wand to run all those commands, and oh, what operating system would we need if we need to run the Wand JVM? Operatus Javum? and to boot it we would need a command like
except you would need an already running voice activated shell to run a command like this.
Posted by Irtiza Nazar from Islamabad, Pakistan on February 23, 2007 06:09 AM
Mhm, I did love this article! I'm an informatica-student at university and working hard at learning java. But, I'm also a Harry Potter-freak, and seeing these two combined in this wand-programming theory really is good fun!
How you'd make new spells is an entirely different thing, but we haven't actually read much about that in Rowlings books, now have we? We know that Snape designed new, working spells, but there's hardly a clue as to how he did so. Without that information, you hardly can explain it from this java programming view.
Imagine a wand crashing... Or having Harry say as he enters the maze in GoF: just a sec while I reboot my wand, I don't want it going in overload with an acromantula approching!
It would be a nice idea for some Harry Potter parody fanfic actually. Having Snape debug his spell for turning people upside-down, or having Crabbe accidentilly reprogramm his wand so lumos doesn't cause it to light up, but to turn on a sirene.:P
Keep up the good work!
Posted by Adinda from Gent, Belgium on April 12, 2007 09:22 AM
*giggles* Oh, that was hilarious. Thanks for that, seeing Harry Potter and java together has been... an eye-opening experience, shall we say.
Posted by Kalidas on April 14, 2007 04:43 AM
I think we have already seen a kind of wand crash in the series, every time that Ron wants to use his Broken Wand, the programing of the Targetting Software is off line...
Posted by Emilio from Mexico City, Mexico on April 16, 2007 3:13 PM
Exactly! It's like driving a car without a steering wheel!
Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on April 16, 2007 4:32 PM
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