ep 211

Episode 211: Wands & Wandlore – More About Yew

Curious…curious…there’s a lot of curious things about wands, and we have a lot of questions. Join hosts Kat, Michael, and Alison as they delve into the creation of these most magical objects and their relationship with those that wield them. After all, the wand chooses the wizard…

On Episode 211 we discuss…

→ Our wands say interesting things about us
→ Ollivander’s Bespoke Wand Selector questions are fascinating
→ American wand makers vs. Ollivander wands
→ Can you order custom wands?
→ How are wands made? (Magic)
→ Magical affinities between wands and wizards
→ Are wands alive?
→ Inherited and passed down wands
→ Muggles and wands
→ Priori Incantatum: unicorn and dragon edition
→ Characters and their correlations with wands

To listen to the show, simply click the player below or direct download the episode. You can also subscribe to us on iTunes. For more information about the podcast and to find out how to be on the show, check out our Be On The Show! page.

Skype users can send us a message to username AlohomoraMN. And as always, be sure to continue the discussion below!

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RECAP: EPISODE 210

On this recap we discuss…

→ Ghosts as punishment
→ Luna’s spirituality
→ Neville, Luna, and Ginny as a trinity
→ Draco: a Judas parallel?

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  • Jared Jenkins

    Thanks for the suggestion to read. My wand wood is Yew so I am interested in the symbolism. When I got my wand I started researching it and that is something I suggest other do if you haven’t because their is a wealth of information.

  • RegulusBlackout

    It’s interesting to note that both Ron and Lily had willow wands. Ollivander talks about the unwarranted insecurity that many willow owners hide, and I wonder if this was true for Lily as well and what those insecurities were.

    Also, I love that after the Whomping Willow destroys his first wand, Ron’s next is made of willow!

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      From what we see in her discussions with Snape as children, her insecurities might lie in her own unfamiliarity with the magical world, being from a muggle family. It is interesting then to see that insecurity reflected in Harry as well. Also, perhaps in her relationship with Petunia, not knowing how successfully bridge the gap between her love for her sister and the scorn Petunia feels for her. She struggled between feelings of sympathy for Petunia not getting to be a witch too, and anger at Petunia for turning her jealousy into hatred rather than acceptance. I imagine she was rather insecure about where their relationship would end up during those early years at Hogwarts, and rightly so.

      • RegulusBlackout

        I didn’t think about the Petunia aspect, you may be right. She may be harboring the almost opposite insecurity of Ron, the anxiety of being the beloved “golden child” and the guilt of outshining her sister and losing that friendship. She would be so conflicted about being her true self around Petunia, because every story she tells about her new life and her achievements just drives the wedge further.

        • travellinginabluebox

          Totally aggree with both of you!

  • SlytheriNZ

    Michael – my wand wood is also Sycamore, and at the time I did the test, I was partway through my first year in China. I have since returned to NZ, and moved in with my partner… I hope my life never gets boring. Certainly I hope to never be seriously mishandled, because, like my unicorn hair core, I am prone to melancholy at those times.

    • SlytheriNZ

      But when I created a second account (before I remembered my old pottermore login), a few years later, I got Cedar as my wand wood – but still unicorn hair, same length, but much more flexible (my perfectionist tendencies are somewhat reduced now, you have to be adaptable to survive in China!!). Yes, this Slytherin is very loyal – tolerant and accepting, yes, but very loyal to people and causes I hold dear!

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        Interesting…my wand wood changed too but core (also unicorn) stayed the same. I wonder how that might relate to our personal growth and change over time, like who we are deep down doesn’t change much but how we outwardly appear and interact with the world around us does. I’d be interested to see, among people who ended up with multiple wands, how often the core changed by comparison to the wood.

  • travellinginabluebox

    10 minutes of ghost host jokes – love you guys 😀

  • travellinginabluebox

    I would think wands are not alive as the key parts of a want used to be attached to something living – the wood itslef to the tree and the cores to its respective magical beast. And just like a wooden desk isn’t alive I would think the wand isn’t alive either. Obviously the core is responsible for its magical powers and I would think the wood is more like the medium that stores and directs the magic.

  • travellinginabluebox

    Just like your Hogwarts House would change throughout time your wand would probably as well. Especially since you typically choose your wand when your 11 years old and I think we can all agree that we change a lot between the age of 11 up to 30 (and later on in life, just not as much). MAybe your wand would change even more so than your Hogwarts House, given there are only 4 houses but a near endless combination of wands.

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      Absolutely. I just mentioned in another comment the possibility of having different wands for different uses, but it would also make sense to obtain a new wand as one changes over the course of adolescence to adulthood. I wonder if this would particularly be true with those of high ambition, who might pursue a wand more powerfully in line with their goals and the type of person they aim to be.

  • travellinginabluebox

    It’s really interesting to think about the wands basically being a short character description of yourself. Just thinking about how much Ollivanders knows about everyone who has ever bought a wand in his shop, is kind of scary. Especially since we know he remembers EVERY wand he has ever sold. That makes Ollivander a walking database of people, their wands and their personality. This alone would make Ollivander the perfect hostage for any sort of rebellion or coup.

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      Excellent point. I think we’ve wondered what Voldemort’s intentions were with keeping Ollivander around after he was unable to explain what was going on with Voldy not being able to kill Harry even with someone else’s wand. I wonder if this was at all part of his thinking while holding Ollivander hostage, or if it was completely just for his knowledge of wandlore. Would be a bit shortsighted if not, though that wouldn’t be unlike Voldemort.

      • travellinginabluebox

        I think Voldemort was too shortsighted to see that, or if he saw it, he thought himself above needing to know those things. But I could see someone like Grindelwald use this source of knowledge for his benefits.

        • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

          Good point. I like that distinction between the two villains and their methods.

  • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

    I have two wands because I was unable to retrieve my original account after Pottermore relaunched. I consider them both valid as I think it would be the same as if I had actually lost my first wand (I am forever misplacing my possessions) and then bought a new one to replace it. My original wand was the same as Draco’s, hawthorne and unicorn hair, while my current is yew and unicorn (so I particularly enjoyed all the yew/unicorn discussion btw). I think it is interesting that I ended up with both woods that are associated with wizards on the dark side of things, but are balanced by the unicorn hair being the most difficult core to turn to the dark arts. Also, Hawthorne is said to fit wizards “with a conflicted nature or passing through a period of turmoil”. I ended up with that wand whilst in the throes of adolescence, so it makes sense, but I do think I often find myself struggling between balancing my anxiety driven temper with my more empathetic and do-gooder tendencies. Getting yew for my second wand I think accurately represents my personal growth in confidence and of embracing my own eccentricities. I also really love the idea of the yew wand sprouting a tree over my grave, as I always thought it would be lovely to be buried at the roots of a tree rather than in a box in a cemetary.

    Because, like sorting, I always find these responses fun to read through, what are everyone else’s wands? Any particularly interesting combinations?

    • travellinginabluebox

      Agreed – so here goes mine: Maple with Unicorn hair 10 3/4″, supple flexibility

      I have only the one, because like Kat I don’t believe in multiple Pottermore accounts. But now I am curious whether my wand would have changed… Back to my wand, starting with the wood: According to Ollivander “those chosen by maple wands are by nature
      travellers and explorers” which fits me quite well. As my nickname here suggest I love travelling and need to change my surroundings every now and then. The next part about maple being a very costly wood and being a mark of status in the wizarding world I am not so sure about. I am a person that treats her property with a lot of care, but I also don’t care about status or am I attracted by high-society.
      Unicorn hair fits me because I am always dubbed as “overly nice” and am also slightly attached to my few possesions.
      As for length and flexibility I am actually not sure. But definitely very happy with my wand.

    • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

      my original wand’s length was lost to the Pottermore relaunch, but it was unremarkable as far as I remember. What I remember clearly is the combination of phoenix feather, spruce and unyielding. The first wand from the books I remembered that was described as unyielding is Bellatrix’s. Spruce wands are said to be intensely loyal to their owners, and the allegiance of a Phoenix feather wand needs to be won first even by the owner. It looks like a contradiction at first, but it fits something my mother said about me as a child and teen: it was impossible to make me do something that I didn’t see as right and useful. But once I regarded something as the right thing to do, I was committed. One could call it stubborn – or unyielding.

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        Very nice! I like that interpretation of unyielding. It implies a strength in conviction as well, which could be positive or negative depending on the owner’s goals.

  • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

    I don’t think a muggle waving a wand would ever produce magic, no matter their magical lineage, unless it were simply those cases of the wand acting defensively or releasing whatever magic lingered from it’s previous user. If a muggle were able to produce magic, no matter how weak, then there wouldn’t really be a clear distinction between muggles and wizards would there? If they could produce magic at all, they wouldn’t be a muggle, just a particularly weak wizard. If this were possible, wouldn’t there likely be more flexibility in Hogwarts acceptance, like in the case of young Petunia? When she desperately wrote to Dumbledore wanting to go to Hogwarts, given that she had magic somewhere in her bloodline, if there were any possibility of her being able to perform magic it seems like Dumbledore would have had at least some obligation to actually test her out, rather than flat out rejection. As things stand in the series, I think the line between muggle and wizard is pretty solid- Muggles simply can’t produce magic, no matter what their lineage is. Also, squibs have quite strong “magical blood” yet still can’t produce magic. I don’t think there is much gray area there.

  • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

    While Harry may find Ollivander’s fascination with wands, particularly in the case of those turned to the Dark Arts creepy, I think it is so utterly Ravenclaw. I was glad for that confirmation on Pottermore. He is totally a scholar of wands. I also once read a mystery novel where a character was introduced as a knife expert to examine the murder weapon. The description of him thoroughly and almost lovingly discussing knives while maintaining a cold distance from the brutality of their different uses immediately brought to mind Ollivander. The scholar in my loves the idea of being able to achieve such a thorough understanding of a subject through objective analysis rather than being bogged down in emotional/moral bias.

    Ollivander playing God, as the hosts brought up, raises some questions for me. On top of his selections playing a role in which wand someone would end up with, he is the one that made them and chose their particular hair/core combinations, so his hand is already at play to begin with. Given that one can choose various wandmakers and can get a second wand if something happens to their first, it’s safe to assume that while the wand chooses the wizard, multiple wands may choose the same wizard. What I would like to know then, is if anyone ever insists on continuing to try wands even after Ollivander has correctly chosen one that will work for them? That way they could potentially end up with multiiple possibilities of wands, and then choose which one they want given the properties of each. I imagine the process would be considerably more tedious, but it would do more to limit how fated they are to a particular wand by Ollivander’s selection.

    • travellinginabluebox

      Also having multiple wands can be especially useful in war time or as an Auror. If someone disarms you, you would always have a back-up weapon. Just like soldiers have more than one weapon on them. Always confused me why that would not be a more common thing, or maybe we just don’t get to see it.

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        Exactly, I wondered the same thing in another comment. It seems like Aurors in particular would need multiple wands, as would anyone in particular dangerous lines of work- I could see Charlie and Bill both having backup wands.

        • travellinginabluebox

          True. I would wonder too if Expelliarmus would “summon” both wands from a person (as you brought up in your other comment). But then I think in the nature of the spell “Expelliarmus” is to disarm your oponent and that would be achieved by taking the wand he uses. To take both you would probably have to summon them. What do you think?

          This also brings me to another point. Couldn’t you protect your wand from being summoned and / or taking from you by a simple spell like Expelliarmus? This would seem awefully useful and we know that it is possible to protect places from apparation, so maybe something similar could be achieved for wands?

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            Now that I’ve thought about it a bit more, I’d agree that expelliarmus wouldn’t summon both wands. The etymology suggests that the spell is specifically aimed at taking the wand directly from its users hand and Pottermore confirms this – ” A handy spell for removing an object from an enemies grasp”. So the backup wand would be safe except in the event of an actual summoning or similar spell, as you say. I would assume there would be ways to protect it from this though, but if not then perhaps it makes more sense as to why Slytherin would have put the deactivation spell on his own wand.

          • travellinginabluebox

            Oh good point about Slytherin’s wand. So maybe wands really can’t be blocked from being summoned or forcefully be taken by your opponent. Or maybe there is a spell that blocks a simple summoning charm but nothing more forcefully?
            I wonder if all wands could essentially be deactivated in some way. Slytherin could only deactivate his because the core was a basilisk horn and he spoke Parsel. As there isn’t a (confirmed) way to talk with either Dragons, Phoenixes and Unicorns , it wouldn’t be as simple to achieve. So maybe that was only a unique feature of Slytherin’s wand. Or maybe there is a way and the wandmakers just keep that secret to themselves? Which again would make Ollivander a perfect hostage… But I suppose we will have to assume that the deactivation was a unique feature in Slytherin’s wand and not a common thing.

          • MoonwraithMoon

            I feel sure if there was a way to prevent your wand being disarmed Hermione,Dumbledore or Voldemort would know it…..

          • travellinginabluebox

            Yeah you’re probably right… too much fanfiction 😉

      • MoonwraithMoon

        I think if you had multiple wands some would be ‘jealous’ or wouldn’t work as well for you. This relates to the discussion of if wands are alive, but I’m not going to get into that.
        Only one wand fits you at a time, but you could plausibly have, say, ten wands during a lifetime. I posted an earlier comment saying how by the time you’re 50 your wand that you bought when you were 11 might not work as well for you.

        • travellinginabluebox

          Good thinking and totally sounds like something Ollivander would say. But war time would call for more drastic actions so having a couple of spare wands laying around your house could essentially be handy. I will agree with you though that the spare wands wouldn’t work as well for the witch or wizard or might refuse to work properly.

  • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

    If different wands are suited to different purposes, I’d think it would make sense for some wizards and witches to have multiple wands- say, one that would be particularly effective in their line of work, but another as a more daily use sort of wand. I’m thinking of Tonks in particular here and how she was good at combative magic but had trouble with more householdy type spells. If she had another wand more adept at that kind of spellwork, maybe she wouldn’t struggle as much with it? Also, for aurors, I would think it would be standard practice to carry more than one wand while on the job as a backup in case of being disarmed or one being damaged. *sidenote: if aside from the wand one held, one had a wand strapped into a pocket inside the cloak, would expelliarmus effectively remove the hidden wand as well?* The downside to having multiple wands of course, would be less time spent bonding with each, growing and learning with one another. Too many wands and they’d never reach their full potential in effectiveness.

    • MoonwraithMoon

      I don’t think she would be much better as household spells. It’s the wizard that has magic. The wands that a good at transfiguration, for example, would only enhance the wizard’s Transfiguration skills that have already been learned.

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        You’re probably right that she wouldn’t be tons better, but I do wonder how significant the wand’s own traits are. The wizard may have the magic, but the wands are still described as being more adept at some types of magic, so there’s bound to be some influence. I just wonder how much of that is weighted by the wizards abilities and how much to the wand- like is it a 97/ 3% split, or more like 80/20? Also I guess if someone was REALLY inept at particular types of spellwork, a wand that was suited to that type probably wouldn’t ever choose that wizard.

        • MoonwraithMoon

          Agreed. But I think the wand might not have the abilities themselves, but channel them better. Sorry, should have clarified that on my earlier comment.

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            Oh no, you definitely made that clear. I just now realized I somehow totally misread your earlier comment. Ahgg, I think I’m following too many threads at once..

          • MoonwraithMoon

            Ha!

  • Lisa

    I was surprised this wasn’t mentioned more on the show but what about the wand ownership rules? I’m still disappointed about JKR doing a 180 on that one in DH. The relationship between wizards and their wands is supposed to be special, right? The wand chooses the wizard, the wand has properties which reflect the owner’s personality or proclivities. Makes sense. But then in DH we find out that anyone can use your wand as if it were theirs if they take it from you by force. So basically the special relationship you have with your wand is over the first time someone calls “Expelliarmus”. I dunno, I just find that disappointing because then what’s the point of different types of wood and of wands being somewhat sentient and the wand choosing the wizard? Not to mention all the plot holes the new rule created as well. Harry should have lost ownership of his wand a long time ago, and so should plenty of other characters. And let’s not even go into how Harry won the ownership of the Elder Wand. Apparently by disarming someone you win all their wands not just the wand your disarming them of. Huh?

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      I think they didn’t talk about this particular aspect as much because there was pretty thorough discussion of it back in the relevant DH episode. Those are definitely legitimate questions, so I’ll give the takeaway I got from those discussions, which I actually found a good deal of confirmation for back in Pottercast’s interview with Jo years ago.

      Basically, wand ownership is just another factor in the complexity of wandlore that Ollivander speaks to. It isn’t an exact science and while there is a basic understanding of transfers of ownership, there isn’t a standard set of rules that applies equally to all wands. Jo stated that the connection wands have to their chosen owner isn’t easily lost, even when dueling. Someone may be disarmed, but that alone doesn’t necessarily mean that the wand will switch allegiances. So no, just “expelliarmus” isn’t going to do it in all cases. If a wand is won by another, it just means that the wand will work better for the person who won it, even though that wand’s particular properties are still better suited the original owner. That also doesn’t mean that the new owner will have as perfect a relationship or affinity to it as their own original wand, just that the wand now recognizes them as a proper owner. Also, in the wood and core descriptions, Ollivander states that some types are more easily won than others so things like core and wood do still matter.

      Jo also stated that a wand must be “properly” won, meaning that the circumstances of the situation matter; there must be great weight and stakes attached to the particular duel. So things like dueling club or a school yard fight or DA practice, where there isn’t real intent to overpower or high stakes involved, isn’t likely to cause a wand to change ownership. She describes the wands as quasi-sentient, so presumably they are able to sense these things. In the case of the Elder Wand, Jo describes it as “the most dispassionate and ruthless..it only takes into consideration strength..it is entirely unsentimental” So unlike other wands, it only recognizes the stronger opponent as it’s worthy owner, and whatever affinity it might have had for it’s previous chosen owner is easily lost when confronted by a stronger opponent. As with Harry and Draco, Harry wins the wand not by disarming Draco with magic, but by overpowering him in an actual physical fight. Even though Draco doesn’t even have the wand on his person at the time, the Elder Wand recognizes that Harry came out on top in that confrontation, and deems Harry the more powerful of the two, and so becomes allegiant to him. This wouldn’t necessarily be the case with all other types of wands. If the stakes hadn’t been so high at the time (Harry needing to escape before Voldemort arrived, a life or death scenario) then it is plausible that this fight wouldn’t have even caused Malfoy’s own wand to change allegiances. If we understand it then, as a complex issue with many factors, rather than simply the disarming of an opponent, then I think it clears up the confusion and plot holes quite easily.

      • Lisa

        I think this is one of those cases where if the author has to give so many explanations outside the text, then the issue hasn’t been handled properly within the text. It makes sense that the wands will not be won if there’s only a duelling lesson or something like that (I’m sure none of the DA members lost their wands just because they were practicing disarming spells on each other). However, there are plenty of battle situations which should have resulted in wand losses for the people involved (Harry is overpowered by Draco in the train, Snape is overpowered by the Trio in book three, all escaped Death Eaters should have lost ownership of their wands to Aurors, etc).

        I’m sure there are some wands whose loyalty is harder to gain than others but this isn’t really what we see in the books. In DH, Ollivander tells Harry it’s safe to use Draco’s wand (not the EW) because he’s won it. Hermione fusses about using Bellatrix’s wand because she hasn’t won its allegiance. Lucius’s wand works fine for Voldemort (except to kill Harry). So the implication is that someone disarming you in a battle situation will make the wand switch loyalties at least in nine cases out of ten. This isn’t a huge problem or anything but it does take away from what was established in previous books that wands and their owners have a special relationship.

        It also makes me wonder why Voldemort didn’t become the master of the EW when he stole it from Dumbledore’s grave. It doesn’t really matter whose wand it was at the time, he still stole it and I think the wand should have recognized that. It had been transferred through theft before. I know we’re supposed to believe that Voldemort didn’t overpower Harry in any way but if the wand responds only to power then it probably would have realized it was taken against Harry’s will.

        • frumpybutsupersmart

          I would argue that Voldemort didn’t become master of the Elder Wand when he stole it because he didn’t actually do anything powerful at all – he just broke a marble slab. The wand must be won by defeating its master, not just by grabbing it from the corpse of one of its old masters. In this case, the master at the time was Harry (by a matter of hours – it was Draco earlier that day). So, Voldemort would have had to defeat Harry. I think the wand in Dumbledore’s tomb was just waiting for its master to claim it, and when Voldemort came along and picked it up, it just thought, ‘you’re not my master’ and didn’t perform its “extraordinary magic” as Voldemort expected. Harry’s will didn’t really factor in, because it just went from lying dormant to being used by someone who hadn’t won it. It’s the same as if it was just lying on the floor and a random person picked it up – that doesn’t make them the master of the wand.

          It is true that the wand has passed by theft before, but that theft was accompanied by the murder or imprisoning of its current master – the new master stole the wand after they had incapacitated or killed the old one.

          • MoonwraithMoon

            Agreed!

        • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

          I’m not sure it was entirely necessary for Jo to provide these explanations, we pretty much came up with this understanding in our own discussions and thinking through particular pieces of the text. I just happened to realize there was confirmation for all of it later. You’re right though, it IS rather unfortunate that it requires that level of mental gymnastics to arrive at those conclusions. I think she tried to lump it all together with Ollivander just going “oh well, ya know…nobody REALLY knows..it’s all wishy washy, wandy stuff” just because going through a more thorough explanation wouldn’t have done much in terms of moving the story along. Fantasy/Sci-Fi often walks a fine line between giving overly explanations for things that don’t exist in our world and not giving enough. Sometimes the thorough explanation is sacrificed for narrative. For me personally, now that I’ve given it enough thought, I don’t have any problems with it.

          In regard to Voldemort not becoming master of the Elder Wand when he stole it from the grave, I think the key might be that it actually wasn’t taken against Harry’s will, at least not in the sense that Harry tried to stop it from happening. He knew exactly what Voldemort was doing, and while he didn’t necessary like the idea, he made the conscious decision to let him do it, to not try and stop him. In that sense, it wasn’t really theft in the way we’d seen before. Voldemort wasn’t outsmarting or tricking Harry, nor overpowering him. Harry was demonstrating great strength of will and purpose in that moment, so perhaps that was what the EW recognized. Not positive on that, just a thought.

          • Lisa

            Yeah, I think the explanation you provided for Voldemort’s ownership of the EW (or lack thereof) makes sense so I’ll buy it (though I could have done without JKR’s drama with the wand giving out sparks when Voldy picked it up and seemingly finding itself a new owner). As for the other wand stuff, I would have preferred a more thorough explanation from Ollivander because it makes my head spin to think of all the instances in the books when people should have lost their wand’s loyalty but for some reason didn’t. The idea that it’s safe to use someone else’s wand if you’ve taken it by force is somewhat intuitive, especially considering that the EW is an extreme case of this, but I think there could have been more focus on the fact that the captured wand will still not work as well as your own wand and still has loyalty towards the person it used to belong to.

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            Yeah, I’m not sure what the actual purpose of the sparks thing was, other than just to serve as a red herring. Maybe it was the wand actually just sort of spitting at Voldemort in recognition that he wasn’t the proper master, and Voldy just misinterpreted it for triumph? That would be rather humorous actually, apart from the morbidity of robbing dead Dumbledore’s tomb.

            Now that you mention it, on future rereads I’d be interested to take note of all the instances of duels/wand transfers and see how well this understanding actually does hold up. I’m sure there’s got to be some where it’s a bit iffy.

          • MoonwraithMoon

            When Voldemort used Avada Kedavra wasn’t that defeating him? I just realise this, and I’m not sure that whatever wand Harry’s using at that point could or would have beat Voldemort if that were so.

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            I’m assuming you’re referencing the moment in the Forbidden Forest? I think the reason that wasn’t considered a defeat was because Voldemort used a killing curse, but Harry didn’t actually die, or at least didn’t stay dead. Voldemort walked away from the fight before it was truly over, thinking himself victorious, before Harry had even made his final stand.

          • MoonwraithMoon

            I wonder where the line is between what the Elder Wand will consider grounds to switch allegiances and what it won’t?

          • frumpybutsupersmart

            Also, because Harry willingly went to his death, I’m not sure it would count as being defeated per se; more like assisted suicide maybe? We know intent matters in magic (because Harry’s sacrifice protected the fighters of Hogwarts even though he didn’t really die) so perhaps because Harry allowed Voldemort to defeat him, the EW didn’t register it as a defeat. There’s also the fact that the wand that hit Harry with the killing curse was the EW itself – it probably didn’t want to be turned against its true master without first being won from him.

          • MoonwraithMoon

            Good point. I wonder why the EW allowed itself to hit Harry then….. unless it somehow ‘knew’ that he wouldn’t really die. Again the EW isn’t very loyal, and the way it’s put on the books it that it will move on from the murder of its old master.

          • travellinginabluebox

            You crack me up here! “Wishy washy wandy stuff” – let’s make t-shirts 😀

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            Haha! I’m down.

        • MoonwraithMoon

          Lucius willingly gave up his wand to Voldy though..

        • MoonwraithMoon

          Great discussion!

        • MoonwraithMoon

          Dumbledore was dead at the time, maybe if the EW is stolen from a dead person it won’t recogniSe that there’s been a theft.

    • MoonwraithMoon

      The Elder Wand is an exception. I don’t think that Draco Malfoy’s wand really gave itself up to Harry, but because Harry did disarm him it was easier for him to use it.

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        That’s plausible, I think Jo also stated that it was possible to take someone’s wand and use it at least somewhat adequately, but it wouldn’t necessarily have transferred allegiances.

    • frumpybutsupersmart

      I also think returning the wand would come into consideration here. Specifically, I’m thinking of the time in Prisoner of Akzaban when Lupin disarmed Harry, Ron, and Hermione in the Shrieking Shack. This was definitely a real-world scenario; the trio weren’t just practicing or mucking around, and Lupin definitely wanted to disarm whomever he found in that room. BUT, Lupin returned the trio’s wands after a short time, and they still worked fine for them; so their wands’ allegiances did not change, even though they were beaten in a high-stakes situation.

      It’s also important to remember that even though Harry fairly won Draco’s wand, and it worked just fine for him, he always preferred his original wand over Draco’s, and it worked better for him because both the wizard and the wand were perfectly happy in that partnership. Personally, I find it interesting that Hermione’s wand worked well for Harry as well, despite him just borrowing it (it’s said in DH that Hermione’s and Draco’s wands worked equally well for him). I think that Hermione’s wand realised that it was being deliberately lent out and decided to just be chill about the whole situation.

      • Lisa

        Maybe the ownership was returned to the Trio when Lupin returned their wands and thus relinquished his own claim on their allegiance.

        Good point about Draco’s wand! And yeah, I’m sure that if the wand is given willingly by the owner it will work fine for the person using it. Draco was using Narcissa’s wand during the battle, for example (though we don’t know how that worked for him).

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        Agreed. These scenarios seem to speak a great deal to the quasi-sentience of wands, that they are able to make fine distinctions in regards to allegiance. They may not be alive-alive, but they do have instinct of sorts.

        Intent on part of the wizard seems to matter a great deal as well. As you said, Lupin did want to disarm, the situation was rather intense, but Lupin’s will wasn’t to fully dominate or permanently incapacitate the Trio. In regard to Harry’s use of Hermione’s wand, I wonder if in addition to recognizing that it was willingly lent out, it may have recognized Harry as friendly because of his friendship and connection to Hermione. If Hermione had, for instance, let someone she wasn’t close friends with like Lavender borrow it, would it have worked as well for her as for Harry?

        • MoonwraithMoon

          Good point! I agree about the friendliness might be a factor.

      • MoonwraithMoon

        Yeah. Maybe if a wand is given up willingly it still works fine, just not amazingly.

  • the head girl

    More thoughts later (haven’t finished listening yet but I love wandlore), but every time one of you said “ghost host” my brain went “I am your host … your GHOST host. Kindly step all the way in and make room for everyone. There’s no turning back now … ” Then I have to rewind thirty seconds because I’m mentally reciting the entire Haunted Mansion soundtrack and I’ve missed what people are saying.

    • MoonwraithMoon

      Hahaha!

    • MoonwraithMoon

      You cracked me up!

  • RegulusBlackout

    Not sure if this has been discussed before but I’m curious about the shared cores of Voldemort and Harry’s wands. Did Harry’s wand “choose” him because of the Voldemort horcrux inside him? If so, doesn’t that mean his wand’s attributes, or at least its core, have more to do with Voldemort than Harry? Or did the wand’s other attributes, like wood, length, flexibility, match Harry’s personality while the core matched the horcrux, a kind of metaphor for Harry himself? If so, pretty lucky.

    If the wand’s compatibility has anything to do with Voldemort, would his holly & phoenix even work the same way for Harry after the horcrux goes away?

    • MoonwraithMoon

      Possibly since the greater part of the soul was Harry’s and it was the one present in that moment this would be Harry’s wand. I think the wood and the core would be the same even if there was no Horcrux, since on the inside he would be predominantly Harry, and how he appears to the world would be Harry. Not sure about length and flexibility though….. maybe if there was no Horcrux his wand would be a little longer, because less was lacking?

      • RegulusBlackout

        I guess I’m still wondering if the Phoenix core choosing both Tom and Harry was at all horcrux-related, or if instead the core somehow could sense their linked fates.

        I want to think the wand is just as much Harry’s with or without horcrux, but I’m still curious about the precise reason for them having shared wand cores.

        • LumosShadow

          Another factor I think is important to consider is that we’re often told how similar young Harry and Tom are. At eleven, both are orphans raised in neglectful environments, then they are told they are special and taken to a place they feel they truly belong. It’s possible that the core saw this in both boys and was drawn to them because of it. After all young Dumbledore exhibits the same thing in regard to Hogwarts being a safehaven where he can escape the hardships of his family and be in a place where he feels special. I think Fawkes, and by extension wands with his feathers, are drawn to these lonely outsiders craving a place to belong.

  • RegulusBlackout

    This is kind of tangential, but your comment about how wands might not fit as they get older made me think more about Charlie. His wand was clearly getting pretty shabby (unicorn hair sticking out), probably because he was not very gentle with it in his rough & tumble magical creatures/quidditch hero lifestyle, but I wonder if by the time he replaced it and gave the old one to Ron he had felt he’d “outgrown” it somehow. All the romanticism we as fans associate with being “chosen” by a wand makes me surprised that anyone would get rid of their first wand. Perhaps it is really just a tool for some, especially for pureblood wizards, who might not have as strong an emotional connection to what for many muggle-borns is their first rite of passage to becoming a real wizard.

    • MoonwraithMoon

      Great point. Maybe his personality did change and so he got a new wand that would suit him better at the time and passed his old one down to Ron.

    • frumpybutsupersmart

      I think it may also be likely that the Weasleys couldn’t afford a new wand for Ron, whereas Charlie was financially independent at that point and could afford to get himself a good replacement while giving his own wand to his little brother.

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        Yeah, I think the Weasley’s financial situation was probably a big part of it, and of course some of that sentimentality is retained in passing it to his brother. I think of it kind of similarly to how we muggles might treat our first car. Some people have a lot of sentimentality attached to that first vehicle, particularly if they were the ones to work for it or if it was passed down from a family member, but not everyone does. Granted, we don’t have the same connections to cars as wizards do to their wands, but I think it makes sense. I think the idea that he’d outgrown is also valid, and perhaps he found a wand that was better suited to working with dragons in particular.

        • MoonwraithMoon

          Agree with you guys.

  • SpinnersEnd

    Here’s an idea: what if we think of the witch/wand relationship like a toy that needs a battery. If we picture the witch as the toy, she has all these fancy lights and whirligigs that need power. She also nodes to receive power from some source.

    If we image the wand as the battery, it’s mostly useless on its own. It has its own power, but nowhere for it to go without being paired with a toy.

    Finding the right wand is like choosing the correct batter size, like AA vs AAA. The wrong size won’t power the toy, just like a wand that is not a good fit for its witch will not perform well.

    • frumpybutsupersmart

      Nice analogy, but I’m more inclined to think of the magical person as the battery. Maybe the witch is a toy with a battery contained in it, and the wand closes the circuit? So, a bad wand won’t let the power run as well as a good wand.

      • SpinnersEnd

        I like that! Which is why you can get wands that are almost right, they’re just not particularly efficient at conducting the current around the circuit.

  • SpinnersEnd

    My wand on Pottermore is Cypress wood, which is associated with nobility and people who are “brave, bold and self-sacrificing”, three adjectives with which I would not remotely describe myself. There are several other wand woods that I think fit me better like Maple or Sycamore, that like change and adventure and newness.

    However, my core is Phoenix feather, which is known for being hard to tame and personalize, which I think fits me to a T.

    My wand length (10″) and flexibility (surprisingly swishy) fit me very nicely, as well, seeming to indicate that I like neat, practical, elegant magic while being adaptable to a great many situations (which is true to a great degree).

    So, this brings us back to a question the hosts brought up earlier: Does the wand choose based on the characteristics you present at the choosing? Or does it choose based on characteristics you are likely to present later in life? Can it tell the future (sort of like the Sorting Hat)?

    Can you influence the wand that chooses you by saying “Not elder wood. Not elder wood…”?

    Thoughts?

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      I feel like given the importance attached to “the wand chooses the wizard”, the preferences of the wizard matter less than they do when sorting (although I think too much credit is given to the idea that people can influence what house they are in, I think it is another instance of Harry being an outlier rather than the norm). That being said, I also think that if someone had a particular aversion to a type of wood, it is likely that that wood wouldn’t suit them anyway, so it is less about their personal preferences and more about what actually fits. However, if a person was thinking “not elder, not elder..” but in doing so was actually trying to deny or ignore some deep-seated, real personality traits- maybe things they viewed as flaws in themselves, but were nonetheless a part of who they are- then they might still end up with Elder.

      Also, I think given that there are only four houses, it is easier for someone to have a good idea where they might belong prior to sorting (though not always certainly) where as there are SO many different wand possibilities, that it would take some seriously intense introspection to have even a general idea of what wand you might end up with. It’s almost like the things a wand would see in a person are maybe a bit deeper, more subtle, but whether it has to do with the characteristics one has at the time or with their future likelihood, I couldn’t say. Maybe it is a complex consideration of both?

  • Lisa

    I thought it would be fun to speculate on what wand wood other characters have so I read the descriptions on Pottermore and made a list of which wood would fit a particular character best. Maybe some characters already have a wand wood, in which case I forgot about it and assigned them one anyway. So here goes, with quotations from Pottermore:

    Lupin: Ash ”Those witches and wizards best suited to ash wands are not, in my experience, lightly swayed from their beliefs or purposes. However, the brash or over-confident witch or wizard, who often insists on trying wands of this prestigious wood, will be disappointed by its effects. The ideal owner may be stubborn, and will certainly be courageous, but never crass or arrogant.”

    Kingsley: Aspen ”The proper owner of the aspen wand is often an accomplished duellist, or destined to be so, for the aspen wand is one of those particularly suited to martial magic. ”

    Luna: Beech: ” The true match for a beech wand will be, if young, wise beyond his or her years, and if full-grown, rich in understanding and experience. Beech wands perform very weakly for the narrow-minded and intolerant. ”

    Minerva: Fir ”Fir wands are particularly suited to Transfiguration, and favour owners of focused, strong-minded and, occasionally, intimidating demeanour.”

    Narcissa: Elm ”The truth is that elm wands prefer owners with presence, magical dexterity and a certain native dignity. Of all wand woods, elm produces the fewest accidents, the least foolish errors, and the most elegant charms and spells; these are sophisticated wands, capable of highly advanced magic in the right hands (which, again, makes it highly desirable to those who espouse the pure-blood philosophy).”

    Newt: English Oak ” Wands of English oak demand partners of strength, courage and fidelity. Less well-known is the propensity for owners of English oak wands to have powerful intuition, and, often, an affinity with the magic of the natural world, with the creatures and plants that are necessary to wizardkind for both magic and pleasure. ”

    Neville: Larch ”Its reputation for instilling courage and confidence in the user has ensured that demand has always outstripped supply. It is often the case that the witch or wizard who belongs to the larch wand may never realise the full extent of their considerable talents until paired with it, but that they will then make an exceptional match.”

    Sirius: Spruce ”… when a spruce wand meets its match – which, in my experience, is a bold spell-caster with a good sense of humour – it becomes a superb helper, intensely loyal to their owners and capable of producing particularly flamboyant and dramatic effects.”

    Lily: Pear ” This golden-toned wood produces wands of splendid magical powers, which give of their best in the hands of the warm-hearted, the generous and the wise. Possessors of pear wands are, in my experience, usually popular and well-respected. ”

    Dumbledore: Pine, (before the EW) ”The straight-grained pine wand always chooses an independent, individual master who may be perceived as a loner, intriguing and perhaps mysterious. Pine wands enjoy being used creatively, and will adapt unprotestingly to new methods and spells. Many wandmakers insist that pine wands are able to detect, and perform best for, owners who are destined for long lives.”

    Tonks: Red Oak ”In fact, the true match for a red oak wand is possessed of unusually fast reactions, making it a perfect duelling wand. Less common than English oak, I have found that its ideal master is light of touch, quick-witted and adaptable, often the creator of distinctive, trademark spells, and a good man or woman to have beside one in a fight.”

    Snape: Walnut: “Highly intelligent witches and wizards ought to be offered a walnut wand for trial first, because in nine cases out of ten, the two will find in each other their ideal mate. Walnut wands are often found in the hands of magical innovators and inventors;”

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      Nice! Love this, well done Lisa! I particularly love Ash for Lupin, even though his is supposedly Cypress, and English Oak for Newt. The Cypress description feels too much like it was written particularly with Lupin in mind, so I like that Ash fits nicely a little more naturally. Lupin and Newt are also the only ones whose actual wands I remember off the top of my head, so the rest could be spot on for all I know. I’m pretty sure you’re right about Minerva’s being Fir as well, but I’d have to look it up for confirmation. I doubt transfiguration would be mentioned as a quality if Jo didn’t have McGonagall in mind for it.

      I also like the connection between Lupin, Ash, and Newt. Newt’s wand is supposed to be a composite of Ash and Lime, and I think the traits that Ash represents are also character traits that Newt and Lupin share. Your choice of Pear for Lily also stands out as particularly fitting.

      • travellinginabluebox

        Just looked up McGonagall’s wand on Pottermore: Fir and dragon heartstring, nine and a half inches, stiff
        Spot on – Lisa!

        • MoonwraithMoon

          Haha it definitely had to be fir!

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      An addition for this list-

      Moody: Blackthorn: “A very unusual wandwood, has the reputation of being best suited to a warrior..one finds blackthorn wands among aurors as well as among the denizens of Azkaban. Wands made from this wood appear to need to pass through danger or hardship with their owners to become truly bonded”

      • Lisa

        Spot on!

        • MoonwraithMoon

          Agreed!

    • MoonwraithMoon

      Wow amazing! All of them fit so perfectly! I particularly remember reading the wand woods piece on Pottermore and thinking:
      If fir isn’t Minerva’s wood, I don’t deserve to be a Harry Potter fan!

    • travellinginabluebox

      Not sure if I remember correctly, but I think we know that Luna’s wand is of beech because Ollivander makes her a new one at Shell’s Cottage. It doesn’t say on Pottermore… someone know for sure?

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        Both the wiki and Lexicon list Luna’s wand as unknown as well.

        • travellinginabluebox

          Hmm ok. I was so sure, that Ollivander made Luna a new wand at Shell’s Cottage. Will have to pick up Deathly Hallows and have proper look then.

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            Yeah, I would have checked that too but my book is currently on loan *which is making me terribly anxious*

          • travellinginabluebox

            Understandable. I will have a look later as I am not at home right now. But what I gathered from internet research is, that yes Ollivander makes Luna a new wand at Shell’s Cottage but we apparently don’t learn what wood and core. Which is too bad really. (Another thing for the questions list)

    • travellinginabluebox

      Just had a go on Pottermore to figure out if we know some of these character’s wands:

      Lily Potter: Ten and a quarter inches, willow

      Minerva McGonagall: Fir and dragon heartstring, nine and a half inches, stiff

      Neville Longbottom: First wand was inherited from his father; second wand was thirteen inches, cherry, unicorn hair

      Remus Lupin: Cypress and unicorn hair, ten and a quarter inches, pliable

      James Potter: Eleven inches, mahogany

    • MoonwraithMoon

      Maybe Dumbledore would also suit pear? Just a thought

    • SnapesManyButtons

      Great work! I really hoped when they did the section on Snape on Pottermore that we’d find out what his wand is made of. She’s never said and I really want to know!

      • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

        Me, too! There are several woods that seem to fit him — perhaps Red Oak, Acacia, Pine (except for the bit about a long life), Laurel, Hazel, Ebony (Snape’s wand from the Universal park is black, for what it’s worth). But I’m quite curious about the other features as well (core, length, flexibility). Dragon heartstring seems to fit, not necessarily because it is easiest to turn to Dark Arts, but because “it will not incline that way of its own accord,” which aligns with the way Snape, at two points in his life, had to make deliberate choices about which side he was on, and because of their ability to perform powerful magic and learn quickly. I think it would be more pliant than some might expect.

  • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

    Haha, thanks. I’m particularly fascinated by wandlore. Sort of kicking myself for not having worked up the courage to audition yet, since they had such a hard time finding a guest this week. I also had almost no time to visit the comments for last week, so I guess I’m getting out some much needed Potter talk.

    • Rosmerta

      You should definitely be a guest host, your comments are always interesting, articulate and thought-prevoking!

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        Thanks! You guys are giving me just the encouragement I need, y’all are awesome. I’m gonna go for itsoon, when my work schedule is less crazy.

  • Roonil Wazlib

    Question– Why did Charlie switch wands? We know why Neville’s dad doesn’t need his wand anymore. But Charlie is still an active wizard, and aside from Dumbledore, I think he’s the only character we know of
    who no longer uses their original wand (the wand that chose him when he was 11). After graduating from Hogwarts did he decide he wanted to get a new wand that was somehow better suited to his work with dragons? Or did Charlie evolve as a person throughout his years at Hogwarts to the point where his original wand no longer worked properly for him? Everyone changes as they grow up and some more than others. Is it possible to change enough so that the wand that chose you at age 11 no longer suits you? How many wizards do we think would experience this? How many times could this happen to someone in their lifetime?

    • MoonwraithMoon

      I posted an earlier comment about how Charlie, and other wizards/witches might give up their wands if they didn’t fit as well as they did when they were 11.

  • travellinginabluebox

    Ok just thought of something – what about Fred and George’s wand? I mean would they be identical? Or would they be different but complementing each other in some way? I am really intrigued about this and would love to hear your theories!

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      Ooo, fantastic question. Would love to hear Jo answer this.

      • travellinginabluebox

        I tweeted to her, but too many important political things going on right now, so she is rather busy… Maybe she’ll answer that in the future *looks hopeful*

        • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

          Ha, nice. Yeah, she’s got her hands full with raising hell on top of the current social media shitstorm. ❤️Goddess❤️. Just add it to the list of a billion things we hope she’ll answer.

          • travellinginabluebox

            Someone really should go through all the episodes and draft this list so that we are prepared – in the event she appears as a guest host 😉

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            I’m considering doing a Potter re-read after I get through the next 3 books of the series I’m reading currently. Maybe I’ll throw in an Alohomora re-listen and take some notes 😉 That’s not like, super nerdy or anything…

          • travellinginabluebox

            Haha, yeah not nerdy at all. But would be great and very much appreciated (at least by me). Maybe we could split up episodes and draft a list together in a Google Doc? And if the Alohomora team is interested we could even put that list up here on the site in a new section called “Questions for Jo”. There we could keep track of questions she has answered and things we still need to know. I am getting carried away here, I know…

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            No, I actually think that is a fantastic idea. I feel like listeners have talked about it before, maybe on the forums? If so it doesn’t seem like anything has ever come of it. It would be nice to have, even if she never does come on the show. (Personally, I think that if she made an appearance for Pottercast, she could definitely do the same for Alohomora eventually)

          • travellinginabluebox

            So let’s do this! :-)

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            Yeeeeessss! I need to get some work stuff off my plate, but we
            can hammer out the details and get busy in the near future. Ooo, exciting!

          • travellinginabluebox

            Sounds good to me. We should also exchange other form of contact details so that we don’t drive the poeple crazy with our comments here. I’ll set up the doc and we can continue to work this all out via email (05aureo@gmail.com) Looking forward to do this and also getting to know you even better :-)

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            Awesome, I’ll shoot you an email so you have mine too.

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      I like the idea that they would have different but complimentary wands. Fred and George do immediately seem perfectly identical yet they are still different people. I’m sure their wands would reflect that, but as they would often be put to the same use, with the same goals, they wouldn’t likely be conflicting in their traits. Whether they had the same cores and different woods or vice versa, hmm, hard to say. I like picking different woods for each, the ones you came up with are great, but it would also be kind of fitting if they were same outwardly but had different inners.

      For cores I would think either Dragon or Phoenix.

      • MoonwraithMoon

        Maybe the woods would be the same (dogwood fits them both, I honestly wish I’d got that wood on Pottermore) but they would have different cores, to reflect their different personalities. I’m thinking unicorn for George and dragon for Fred?

        • travellinginabluebox

          So what is your wand? (Sorry if you posted it here earlier and I overlooked it)

          • MoonwraithMoon

            Alder, ten inches, slightly springy, unicorn hair. I think any of the cores could have fit me, and the description of alder is VERY general. I think that dogwood could have suited me, and also I liked it because it has the word ‘dog’ in it and when I was born my man planted a dogwood tree to mark it which is still there to this very day.

          • MoonwraithMoon

            Not my man, my nan!

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            Haha!

          • travellinginabluebox

            Wow – I can see why you would have liked dogwood to be your wand wood. That is a very cool story – thanks for sharing.
            Also Alder is pretty cool too: “Of all wand types, alder is best suited to non-verbal spell work, whence
            comes its reputation for being suitable only for the most advanced
            witches and wizards.” So you must be a quite talented withc/wizard.

      • travellinginabluebox

        Yes, that is what I thought and a common thing for twins that they are regarded as the same person.
        So let’s highlight their differences: Fred seems to be the slightly bolder and more impulsive one of them – it was him that asked Angelina out in front of the trio just to prove a point. Whereas George is slightly more thoughtful and caring.
        (Here is an article on them and their differences I found online, which is quite good: https://www.quora.com/Which-are-the-psychological-differences-between-Fred-and-George-Weasley)

        So after reading that article and thinking more about their differences I suggest the following wands:

        Fred: Dogwood with dragon heartstring

        George: Redwood with unicorn hair

    • DoraNympha

      I think they are definitely different! Judging by the descriptions, I’ve always thought Fred either has an Ebony or a Red Oak wand and George probably a Dogwood one. Not sure about the cores, but I think they can definitely use each other’s wands if they want.

      I love going through the list sometimes just to guess which character has what! For example, I would bet a bag of Galleons that Wood has Ollivander’s, Hornbeam, because look at this:
      “hornbeam selects for its life mate the talented witch or wizard with a single, pure passion, which some might call obsession (though I prefer the term ‘vision’)”. Yeah, that about sounds like him!

      Anyone have any ideas about wands of characters that we don’t know yet?

      • travellinginabluebox

        Good call about Oliver Wood’s wand. Definitely very fitting.

  • frumpybutsupersmart

    I loved the conversation the hosts were having about the wands being alive, and the idea that there’s some kind of energy flowing through them because Harry’s felt warm when he first picked it up. You suggested electricity or living energy but perhaps it was magical energy? If magic is a form of energy, it stands to reason that that is what Harry felt when he first tried his wand. It’s as if Harry is a magical battery full of potential, and the wand sensed that he was its best fit and released its own magical current of sorts to let him know.

  • frumpybutsupersmart

    I doubt anything would happen if a muggle happened upon a wand that had never been used and picked it up. If you think of a used wand like a can of fizzy drink that has been shaken up and left alone, there’s a lot of pressure contained inside it which explodes when it’s opened. But if the can hasn’t been shaken at all, nothing much happens when it gets opened. There’s textual evidence for this as well – Harry tries dozens of previously-unused wands at Ollivanders, and not a thing happens when he waves them (despite what the movie would have you believe :P). Harry is a wizard, so if the wands were going to do anything, it would have been when there was proper magical potential behind it as well as the waving motion.

    As for the monkey in Fantastic Beasts, I don’t think it was a defence mechanism on the part of Newt’s wand – I think it was just the random spark of magic that can come out when a muggle waves a wand. JKR has said that this happens on occasion, so it’s not a stretch to think that that’s what happened here. I doubt Newt has put defensive spells on his wand to prevent other from using it; but I do think that this idea might be popular with magical folk who are in danger often, such as Aurors.

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      Agreed, though while you could be entirely right that the monkey waving Newt’s wand was probably just a random spark of magic, I kind of like the idea of it being more of a defense mechanism. Not in the sense that it was a spell put on the wand by Newt, but more an act of the wand itself- in it’s quasi-sentience recognizing a non-magical being has picked it up.

      • MoonwraithMoon

        Yes, if Newt’s wand was Phoenix feather it would probably be a defence thing.

  • VeggiePuff

    Regarding Hagrid and his umbrella- we know that the elder wand can repair other wands. What if Dumbledore repaired Hagrid’s wand but then bid him hide it so they wouldn’t be discovered? Perhaps that is why Hagrid is so good with his umbrella!

    • MoonwraithMoon

      Love this theory!

    • travellinginabluebox

      Cool theory, but doesn’t Hagrid tell us in Philosopher’s Stone that his wand pieces are in the umbrella? I thought we knew that…

      • VeggiePuff

        He tells Ollivander that he still has the pieces and doesn’t use them. If he’s fibbing about one thing, why not the other?

        • travellinginabluebox

          Fair enough 😉

  • Silverdoe25

    I would have liked to have heard some discussion on this point, too. If a wizard spends time nurturing a relationship with the wand that chose him, why is Charlie suddenly buying a new one? They aren’t cheap, and the Weasleys are a pretty frugal family. I was wondering if perhaps Charlie’s first wand was a hand-me-down (from one of Molly’s brothers???) Then it would make sense for him to purchase a new one, as the original wouldn’t have been a great fit for him.

    • frumpybutsupersmart

      That makes so much sense! The Weasleys may not have been able to afford a wand for Charlie, so he got a hand-me-down; then when he started working and living on his own, he could get a new one.

  • Silverdoe25

    Would it be possible to tell us a bit more about being a guest host? Do you record on a specific day at a specific time, or does it vary? How long, in real time, does a typical recording session go on for? I’d like to submit another audition, but if recording is on a weeknight until midnight or later, that doesn’t agree with the time I have to get up for work in the morning.

    • Michael Harle

      Generally, we try to record on Sundays, usually with a start time of 6:30pm-7:00pm. Recordings commonly last between 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

      We try to be flexible with dates and times, but we also do our best to be considerate of our Editors, to ensure that we’re not getting our audio to them at the last minute. We also want to make sure we give enough time for comments to come through on the site, so that we have listener input for Recaps. :{ )

      • Silverdoe25

        That’s great! Thanks!

      • travellinginabluebox

        Thanks, Michael. One question: Which time zone?

        • Rosmerta

          D’oh! I just asked before scrolling down!

        • Michael Harle

          Hah! Good question. I was being selfish and focusing on my own time zone (Central). But when you hear from us via E-mail, we’ll usually be referencing Eastern. :{ )

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        Also, how long of an audio recording does it need to be for the audition? The page says short, buuut I don’t know if that means 30 secs or more like 10 mins. I’m having a Hermione moment “I wrote 500 rolls of parchment, gee I hope thats not too long..”

        Sorry if we’re barraging you with questions but this seems like a good time and place after the ghost host episode.

        • travellinginabluebox

          Also an episode with you and Michael about Lupin… that ought to be good 😉

        • Michael Harle

          Keep in mind that we have a LOT of auditions to go through to ensure we pick a strong guest for each topic, so something along the lines of 1-2 minutes is ideal to get a sense of how you’ll do.

          That said, you’ll have the space on the show (once you get on) to share your Hermione-style 500 roles of parchment. That’s why we want listeners like you to join us! :{D

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            Got it, thanks Michael!

  • travellinginabluebox

    Just think of it as chatting with friends on the phone and you will be fine. Also given all your valuable comments here, I am sure you would be a very cool guest host with loads of goop points, to move the conversation forward, in any episode!

  • the head girl

    Just like @travellinginabluebox:disqus said, it doesn’t feel like public speaking; it feels like hanging out with your friends and chatting. You’ll be great!

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      ☺️Aww, thanks for the encouragement guys! Y’all are the best! That’s why Alohomora is my favorite source for Potter discussion; everyone is just so nice (on top of having really amazing insights and enthusiasm).

  • SnapesManyButtons

    How about… “Mugglenet.com’s Global Discussion of the Harry Potter series.”

    • travellinginabluebox

      Love it! I would proably add “global in-depth discussion of the Harry Potter book series” Might be less catchier that way though.

      • SnapesManyButtons

        I also thought of Global Analysis, since that more implies the depth we go to. Exploration is good too, it can mean exploring the text and has the second meaning of adventure.

    • RavenClare

      Or “Global Exploration”? It makes it sound like we’re all off on an international adventure (which we are!).

  • the head girl

    I won’t lie, I am still not super comfortable with the wand that Pottermore assigned me, but I only have the one as well. It’s 10 3/4″, elm, phoenix feather core, and unyielding flexibility. That is the same wand wood as Lucius Malfoy, the same flexibility as Bellatrix Lestrange, and the same core as Voldemort. The description of elm from Pottermore is great – “The truth is that elm wands prefer owners with presence, magical dexterity and a certain native dignity. Of all wand woods, elm, in my experience, produces the fewest accidents, the least foolish errors, and the most elegant charms and spells; these are sophisticated wands, capable of highly advanced magic in the right hands …” but those factors, combined with the fact that Pottermore then plopped me in Slytherin, made me wonder about myself.

    What did make me feel a little better about my wand was when I bought it at the Hungarian Wand Shop at Leaky Portland. I told the guy my wand was elm, and he told me “Elm is valued by those who like the finer things in life, who appreciate elegance and refinement.” It made me realize, okay, I’m not prejudiced – just a snob. I’ll take it!

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      With a little positive spin, that’s pretty awesome actually. Those characters may all be terrible people, but those traits represented in the wand are still strengths they possess- and apparently you do to! Only you can use your powers for good, so to speak. Plus, I can’t remember what context it was or her exact words, but Jo once said that while we associate Slytherins with “bad”, and so many are in the books, we don’t have to expect that of every Slytherin, and really the “good” ones should see themselves as filling an important role in making the house a better version of itself.

      • the head girl

        I am going to look for that quote because that sounds like something I need in my life. I won’t lie, too – if Lucius Malfoy offered me a spot to live in Malfoy Manor, I would be moved in before he finished the sentence. We definitely do have that in common! 😀

    • Lisa

      What ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy said and also the fact that there really aren’t that many options for either cores or flexibility degrees. Many characters will have the same core or flexibility. You can think of it as having the same core as Harry’s wand if you want.

      Speaking of wand purchases I would like to recommend http://www.alivans.com/ to everyone. They make amazing wands, from real wood not like those ugly movie replicas. Also fast delivery and reasonably priced (at least when I ordered which was a few years ago). I have an ebony wand with crystals on it and also a walnut wand with a leather handle. They’re both gorgeous, I love them! Alivans can also make custom wands from Pottermore or just your character’s favorite wand if you know what it is (though the cores might be hard to get, haha). I was a bit embarrassed when picking up the package from the post office because it had “Real Wand” written on it and also “Cast Alohomora to open” or something like that and the lady looked at me a bit funny but oh well. Hopefully she thought it was for my twelve year old sibling.

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        Haha! If Alivans wands always come packaged that way then now I’m more inclined to buy from them.

        I came across an article about a wand shop in britain( I think) where the wandmaker wouldn’t sell to Potter fans- because his wands are REAL magic and we are just pretending at magic and don’t appreciate its full power, apparently. So weird. I didn’t realize there was that much of a market for wands outside the Potter fandom, seems like it would be a bad move to alienate that particular group if you’re trying to sell wands…

        • Lisa

          Good for you, embrace that geekiness! Seriously, they make awesome wands so go for it.

          I heard about that too. Who’s more serious about magic than HP fans? Who’s spent more time discussing magical mechanics and plot devices than us, huh? Besides, how would he even know if a customer is a HP fan? Maybe I’ll go dressed as a Twilight fan and he’ll never suspect a thing. And then after I buy the wand I go “Expelliarmus, sucker!” and win ownership of all his wands (cause that’s how it works, apparently). That’s real magic for you.

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            Haha, great plan. Apparently he can recognize Potterheads by our “aura”. LOL. He sounds like a meaner version of Trelawney.

        • SnapesManyButtons

          JK Rowling retweeted an article with a headline reading, “Harry Potter fans banned from wand shop for not being real wizards.” and responded with, “Oh yeah? Well, I don’t think they’re real wands.” She did anger some people, but she was just sticking up for her fans, I like that about her.

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            I didn’t see that, brilliant!

      • the head girl

        Thank you for the Alivan’s rec! I’ve heard of them before but I’ve never looked into the wand selection. I’m in love with the crystal wands; how beautiful!

  • Rosmerta

    So sad to hear about the death of John Hurt, who to many, will be remembered at Ollivander
    There’s a wonderful obituary in The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jan/28/john-hurt-obituary
    Although the do call is portrait as kindly wand-maker but his performance was so much more than that!

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      What tragically appropriate timing. This is so sad. I thought he did a great job as Ollivander too, he pulled off the slightly creepy thing really well.

    • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

      It is sad. And yes, he really captured Ollivander’s obsessiveness and ambiguity. I thought he was perfect.

  • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

    I’ve always thought of wandmaking as an artisan craft built on a deep foundation of theoretical knowledge; Rowling’s Pottermore writing on Mr. Ollivander refers to the profession as “wandcraft.” Also in that description, she writes that cores must be “expertly enclosed in specially selected and complementary wand woods,” and that Ollivander’s “methods of locating wand woods and core substances marrying them together and matching them to ideal owners are all jealously guarded secrets …” So although there is powerful magic involved, you also need a methodology for the careful selection and pairing of materials, and expertise to properly encase core within wood, plus you must manipulate the wood to achieve various degrees of suppleness. While Mr. Ollivander is the ultimate scholar of wandlore, his personality also seems like one who takes pride in the craftsmanship and artistry of his wands as well. So I do think he handcrafts each wand — even if he uses his own wand to do so — rather than relying on machine production or just casting spells at the materials in a rote manner like we see wizards cook and clean with magic. (Though I agree with what Kat said about how the wood is imbued with the magical properties of the core, plus we know from Ollivander that only certain trees “have the gift” of producing wand-quality wood.)

    To me, Mr. Ollivander is like William Morris or someone from the English Arts and Crafts movement in his obsession with both craft and the principles and theory underlying it. He advertises his wands as “fine” and — although Michael joked that he’s “all about sales” — I think he considers himself more of an artist/expert than a businessman (although he’s not revealing those trade secrets!). He’d surely continue to study and make wands even if he weren’t the biggest seller in Britain.

  • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

    The Ollivander family have been “Makers of Fine Wands Since 382 B.C.” So we know that the history of wandcraft dates back further than the medieval era to ancient times. Rowling tells us, in her discussion of Mr. Ollivander on Pottermore, that his ancestors hailed from the Mediterranean and likely came to Britain during the Roman invasion. They were already making wands in their homeland and found a new market in “ancient British wizards whose wands were crude of construction and unreliable in performance.”

    So this means that Ollivander’s was well established by the time of the Hogwarts Founders, and they likely got their wands from him (except for Syltherin it seems, based on the Ilvermorny story). I’d be so curious to know the composition of the other Founders’ wands and what happened to them after they died … Presumably, they were buried with them, but on the other hand, we know that Slytherin’s was passed down the generations …

  • Michael Harle

    Answered above. Don’t worry! I haven’t at all forgotten you all in the UK (how could I with Rosie on the show?); just slipped my mind. :{ )

  • RavenClare

    Out of interest, was anyone else given an elder wand by Pottermore?

    (Elder wood, 10″ in length, unicorn hair core, unyielding flexibility…)

  • SnapesManyButtons

    I think one analogy for how certain wands are better for certain people is the way different breeds of dogs are better with different people and circumstances. Even if you love all dogs, each breed has different temperaments and needs, so not every dog would be a perfect fit for every person. You might make it work if you inherited a dog, but it still might not be the best dog for you or your circumstances. Or perhaps you two would just never “click” and it would be a challenge. Some dogs are good guard dogs, some are just lap dogs, some are easygoing and some more frantic, etc. Similarly, an Auror would need a more “guard dog” wand while someone who did mostly Charms might need an easygoing wand. A wand like the Elder Wand easily transfers it’s loyalty to whoever could win it, while another wand might resist transfer to another. Of course wands aren’t sentient in the way dogs are, but they can have an affinity for different types of magic and Wizard’s temperaments.

    As for how wands “pick the Wizard,” I have yet another analogy for that. I see it as like resonant frequency, which is when an object has a very specific frequency that will cause it to vibrate at a much higher rate than any other frequency. (That’s how an opera singer can break a crystal glass, she has to hit the specific frequency that will vibrate the glass significantly more than any other.) I picture the wands as being able to sense a Wizard’s magic in a similar way to how the glass senses the vibrations from the opera singer. Most Wizard’s magic feels the same to the wand, but there is a particular Wizard’s magic that will cause the wand to respond much more than any other magic.

    Of course all analogies break down at some point, so these are just generalizations, but it’s how I make sense of it in my mind.

  • StoneHallows

    My wand is Oak, and when I was researching what that meant, this is what I found (www.whats-your-sign.com/celtic-meaning-oak-tree.html):

    “The oak is considered a cosmic storehouse of wisdom embodied within its towering strength. Ancient Celts observed the oak’s massive growth and impressive expanse. They took this as a clear sign that the oak was to be honored for its endurance, and noble presence… There are accounts that trace the name “druid” to duir, the Celtic term for the oak. More interestingly, the actual translation of duir is “door” and lore indicates the spiritually advanced Celts would access the ethereal planes of higher thought (psychic vision or soul-thought) by “opening the oak door.” ”

    According to the Wiki, Hagrid and Merlin both had oak wands, which is fascinating to think about. In regards to Merlin, it makes a lot of sense right off the bat; it’s clear how he would be considered a source of knowledge, a steady and firm presence in his time, a pillar for those around him.

    Hagrid is a little more interesting to think about in this light. We typically see him as a bumbling oaf – a far cry from the “storehouse of wisdom” that Merlin was. When it comes to beasts and things that he was “allowed” to learn about after his wand was snapped, he is certainly vastly knowledgeable. We know he isn’t dumb. But if we look at the rest of the description (“towering strength,” “massive growth and impressive expanse” (quite literally), “endurance, and noble presence”) this is Hagrid to his core. He is a strong, steady friend, never swaying from his loyalty and duties. He will go anywhere and do anything for those that he loves.

    Given all that, I don’t mind having the same wand as them!

    • RegulusBlackout

      Nice analysis! The opening of doors bit is fitting, too, given Hagrid is Keeper of the Keys. More symbolically, he acts as our sort of gatekeeper to the wizarding world in the first book, taking Harry to that new magical plane. Makes me think of him tapping at the brick wall behind the leaky cauldron with his oak wand in that umbrella! Sounds like an awesome wand wood!

      • StoneHallows

        I didn’t think of that, but it’s completely spot on. I love that connection!

  • Rosie Davies

    Hello, I have a question about wands and the Fantastic Beasts film- in the film when ‘Grindelwald’ duels Tina in the streets by the cars, their wands lock when their spells collide. I thought this was something that was unique to Harry and Voldemort? Thanks :)

    • frumpybutsupersmart

      I don’t think it meant anything significant plot-wise. I’m more inclined to believe it was just a visual throwback to the original Potter films, one that the casual viewer would understand and appreciate. There’s nothing specific mentioned in the screenplay, which makes me think it was a decision made by the director rather than by JKR.

      • Rosie Davies

        Thanks, I was probably reading too much into it!

  • Mariah

    What I was wondering while listening: why did Charlie get a new wand? Why would you get a different one unless yours is broken… Maybe it wasn’t a wand that he got at Olivanders for himself, but a hand me down that was just laying in a drawer anyway. Like Neville’s was. Maybe it was the wand of one of Molly’s brothers, or from a grandparent. Maybe there was finally some money to buy a wand from the store, and it was Charlie who got to buy one. But still… what did Percy and the twins have, hand me downs as well? Why Charlie, why at that moment?

  • WhoDoYouKnowWho’sLostAButtock?

    I was thinking about the discussion of the Elder Wand sparking when Voldemort takes it up, and had a couple of thoughts–

    1. Rowling has said that over time wands learn from their owners, which is why the Elder Wand became even more powerful over time. It has gained vast knowledge and experience from being wielded by so many. And if the Elder Wand is the ultimate symbol of the quest for power, the sparks emitted when Voldemort picks it up serve a dual purpose of reminding us of that symbol, and that Voldemort has taken possession of a vast power. But it also could be as simple as the wand being aware in some way that it was being buried away forever. A wand like that has been used so much by so many — being found and brought back out of the ground, in the hands of a powerful wizard — those sparks could be a sort of response, a revival for it, or even just a recognition of the inherent power of the person who was now holding it.

    2. However, people tend to forget that that scene in the book where Voldemort takes up the Elder Wand is through his own eyes and his own perspective. Voldemort is an unreliable narrator, if anyone is. Everything he sees is filtered through his own arrogance. So he opens the grave, picks up the wand, and it sparks to life — Voldemort’s own pride adds that phrase, “Ready to serve a new master at last.” Because that’s what he assumes!

    What else could it mean, after all? He was convinced that he had taken full ownership of the thing he had been chasing for so long. His feelings in taking the Elder Wand are tied up in his feelings of triumph over Dumbledore’s death.

    But that doesn’t necessarily mean that that interpretation holds.

    I don’t mean to say that I think the Elder Wand was resisting Voldemort’s evil in any way, because I don’t believe the Elder Wand has morality. It is a symbol of power and it is drawn to the powerful just as the powerful are drawn to it. I believe it was happy (if such a word can be used for a wand) to be brought back into service.

    As for my wand, a friend and I have our own HP blog/podcast (sort of) that is much more irreverent and swear word laden, but we just did a discussion on our wands — I guess great minds have good timing?goo.gl/rfs50r

    • StoneHallows

      I like to think that the Elder Wand learned more from Dumbledore than simply just more magic. Yes, it is just a vessel of power, so it’s not morally conscious of what it is doing, but I think it would have learned the difference between good and evil power from Dumbledore. Up to that point, I’d be willing to bet that most if not all of its previous masters were somewhere along the evil end of the spectrum. Then it served Dumbledore and learned that there was something other than what it had always been used for. Then, I think it would recognize the difference between Dumbledore and Voldemort when Voldemort is bringing it back to the evil end of power. Both Dumbledore and Voldemort were extraordinarily powerful, but on completely opposite ends of the spectrum. While Albus was fiercely good from the experiences of his past, willing to fight and sacrifice for others in effort to make up for what he believes to be his greatest failing, Tom is arguably the essence of evil without a drop of love for anything except strictly himself and what others can do for him. Perhaps the sparks were a reaction due to the polar switch of power association between its old and new holders. It’s not rejoicing or regretting, simply reorienting itself to match the new master in order to better serve as might be required. The extreme, instantaneous shift could be responsible for the light show. Then, as you said, Voldemort just assumed that it was because of him and his worthiness.

  • WhatAboutPanju?

    I find it amusing that Ginny has a yew wand. Yew looks like a lovely little pine tree/shrub hybrid, but is also poisonous and used to make the highly potent chemotherapy drug Taxol. I like to think that Rowling was leaving a hint that Ginny may be more powerful than she looks, you know, just in case the bat-bogey hex wasn’t quite enough evidence…

    • Lisa

      I think Ginny/Tom Riddle shippers probably had a field day when they found out her wand was the same wood as his 😀 Just like those people who thought Ginny was evil or something. I do wonder what JKR was thinking giving her the same wand wood as Voldemort. Whenever Harry looks at his wife’s wand he’ll think of Voldemort and of the wand which killed his family.

  • GentNormal

    In the recap episode they asked about why Voldemort’s wand’s twin chose Harry. I always wondered even more why a wand containing a piece of Fawkes would choose Voldemort. I think thinking about this can help us understand why they ended up with twin wands without relying too much on the horcrux stuff.

    As someone said in the answer, the similarity of wands may be due to similarities between Harry and Voldemort themselves (apart from the horcrux). I believe in this case, what the two wand saw was that both, like the phoenix, had the potential to overcome death.

    When teamed with a sinister wood like yew as in Voldemort’s wand, the phoenix’s core ‘idea’ of achieving this power over death becomes warped, so that it fits in with Voldemort’s obsession with staying alive at all costs and in any state more than it does with the phoenix’s cycle of purification and rebirth.

    In Harry’s case, on the other hand, the phoenix core meets a wood that is associated with protecting others and with spirituality, which are the fundamental elements of Harry’s journey towards overcoming death in the true sense in which the third brother did, i.e. truly accept it and be ready to embrace it when the time has come. Like Voldemort, Harry has a deep relationship with death. He too has suffered its effects, but HIS wand recognises a kindred spirit when it sees that Harry has the selflessness and purity of heart needed to achieve THIS kind of mastery over death.