Podcast Question of the Week – Episode 72

This week, we want you to find a friend with the same wand core, cast your best Priori Incantatem spell and tell us exactly what is going on!

When Harry and Voldemort’s wands connect, Harry senses a voice telling him very clearly not to break the connection. Were those words possibly spoken by the disembodied voice of Albus Dumbledore? Because of his connection to Fawkes, was Dumbledore in some way present that night in the graveyard? Or was it, instead, the voice of Fawkes? Someone else? Phoenix song also emits from the wands in this event; can both Harry and Voldemort hear it? Or is Voldemort hearing something else? Lastly, if Harry and Voldemort’s wands were different cores, heartstrings from the same dragon or hairs from the same unicorn, for instance, how would this sequence have been different? What would those cores do in a Priori Incantatem situation?

Leave us your response below & we just might read them on the next episode of Alohomora!

  • James Mahoney

    Reading the text closely, I don’t think the words were spoken by anyone, because I don’t think they were spoken at all. He said it was LIKE something was speaking in his ear, and the way I see it is that the feeling to not let go of the wand came from inside of Harry, not some external force.

    I’m guessing that because it’s the phoenix cores that are connecting the wands, Voldemort is experiencing the same thing Harry is, at least in the sense of the phoenix song and atmosphere.

    Finally, the last question sounds like it would take someone with creativity, and while I might be able to come up with something interesting, I’ll leave that to be something to ponder over later.

  • RoseLumos

    I agree that Harry hears a phoenix song because of the phoenix tail core. The sound of hope was probably just Harry associating the sound to the last time he was in a major life and death Voldemort related situation and Fawkes came to save him. I would very much doubt that Dumbledore has anything to do with it.

    As for if there was a different core, I’m not sure if there would be any sound. Phoenixes are known for three things: their resurrection properties, their tears, and their song. While unicorns and dragons have things that make them unique, their musical quality isn’t one of them.

    This leads me to a sort of off the topic question: Is the reason that Tom Riddle’s wand was “chosen” for him because the magic in the wand predicted that he would, in a sense, “rise from the ashes”? How many other witches or wizards can claim to have died, lost their body, then came back? It’s not as beautiful as a phoenix transformation but it is an interesting connection that I never thought of before.

  • texaskid

    Personally I think that the reason he hears because their wands not only share a similar core but because it is from the same phoenix and that phoenix only gave two feathers. I think the fact that it’s Dumbledore’s phoenix is non-consequential and not at all related in anyway to what happens here. I think if the core was something else (dragon or unicorn) it would turn out the same but you wouldn’t hear the song. I don’t think they would have heard anything for a unicorn (what sounds do Unicorns make?) and with a dragon maybe some sort of growl or possibly a heartbeart?

    We do see Mr. Diggory preform Prior Incantato and the wand does regurgitate like it did in the graveyard so I believe that shows us that the spell works the same.

  • Phoenix

    I don’t think Dumbledore knew a lot about what was going on at that
    time. He says in the next chapter that he realised what was really
    happening when the man he had believed to be Moody removed Harry from
    his care. Nevertheless, everyone in the school had probably noticed that
    something was wrong, since the task was over and two of the champions
    were knocked out while the other two had disappeared completely.
    Dumbledore must have known Harry was in serious trouble, and Fawkes,
    being a sensitive bird with a strong connection to his owner, might have
    picked it up from him.
    I wonder why Fawkes, who can travel extremely
    fast, couldn’t come to Harry’s help this time (except that it would
    have made a repetitive plot point). Maybe Harry didn’t state his
    allegiance to Dumbledore clearly enough? After all, that seems to be the
    condition ob which Fawkes intervenes. However, Fakes may well have been
    thinking about Harry – in as much as a Phoenix can think – and thereby
    sent him hopeful thoughts, which manifested in Harry’s mind as Phoenix

    I am very curious to hear what everyone thinks Voldemort heard, because I have no idea. (To be honest, my suspicion is: nothing.)

    • Phoenix

      Sorry for the weird formatting – no idea what happened there.

      Also, off topic: My browser (Firefox, latest version) has difficulties displaying the Alohomora pages: the logo on top is always overly large and doesn’t adapt to the size of the browser window. I never had that problem on any other website. I hope you can fix this sometime soon.

      • RoseLumos

        The formatting thing happens to me too. Did you copy and paste from a word document? Also, yes, you are the most qualified person based on your screen name to answer.

    • Phoenix

      By the way, I believe my username qualifies me extremely well to answer this question! 😉

  • DolphinPatronus

    I’d first like to say that I believe Priori Incantatem Is an EXTREMELY rare phenomenon. Let’s face it how often do we really think 2 wands with twin cores really battle?

    Now that said I think the only people Harry heard speak were the “ghosts” that came from the wand. I think the other “voice” was more related to the feeling of hope that hearing the Phoenix song brought him & was more him than anything else. Does that make sense?

    As for what Voldemort hears I think he does hear the Phoenix song. However I think it has a very different effect on him. In Fantastic Beast it says that Phoenix song is reputed “to strike fear in to the hearts of the impure.” & I feel this is backed up in this chapter albeit subtlety. On page 665 of the US edition as Harry starts to concentrate harder on the song & lets it fill his ears the beads of light stop & begin to go back. At this point Voldemort is said to look “astonished, & almost fearful…” after this he is descibed as “shocked” more than once. So I think other than the things that Voldemort’s victims are saying to each of them Harry & Voldemort are hearing the same thing. (In my head the victims talk to Voldemort like the locket did to Ron.)

    As for if the cores had been a different material I don’t think the events themselves that happened would really change outside of not hearing the Phoenix song. But I’m not sure what they would hear in it’s place.

  • Allyhomora

    When Harry and Voldemort’s wands connect, i think it is due to the connection of the wand cores, which came from Fawkes. I believe the song was coming from the phoenix feather core and seeing as it gives Harry hope, i think Voldemort would hear the song, but would be feeling despair instead of hope because he wouldn’t have the ability to understand hope. There is a battle of good vs evil going on between these wands – it is the first time they meet that we know of. Harry’s wand being the “good” and Voldemort’s wand being the “evil” the wands are acting out of character because they are brothers and it is unnatural for brothers to be opposing one another. I think that whatever the core of the wands, something similar would have occurred but perhaps not in such a powerful way, due to the magic which is specific to the ‘rebirth’ parallel to the Phoenix. For example, perhaps dragon hair would result in a much more explosive encounter due to their explosive nature.

  • michael platco

    I wanted to make a quick comment on the Priori Incantatum spell. I think that the spell itself is actually quite common in the Wizarding World. We see Barty Crouch Sr. mention and demonstrate it after the World Cup Attack and in Deathly Hallows. Harry also mentions is in Deathly Hallows when explaining to Hermione how Voldemort would know his phoenix feather wand was destroyed – performing Priori Incantatum on Hermione’s wand will show that it was used in an attempt to mend Harry’s wand and had been using it since them.

    I think that Priori Incantatum is only rare in this situation involving the twin cores. Most of the Wizarding World likely knows about the Reverse Spell Effect – but this situation is a whole different beast that has likely only happened a few times throughout history.

    Also, I think Harry hearing the Phoenix Song was a direct effect of the twin cores. It’s beautifully poetic – when two feathers of the same bird are forced to do battle, that bird’s music fills the air. To Harry it was inspirational – but to Voldemort, who I firmly believe heard the song, it was haunting and likely brought Dumbledore to his mind.

    If this effect happened with two wands containing the heartstrings from the same dragon, I like to picture an element of fire and heat being introduced to the golden web of light. Perhaps, as when Molly and Bellatrix are dueling in the final book, the ground around Harry and Voldemort would become hot and cracked while fire erupted from each wand.


    • DolphinPatronus

      The spell you are refering to at the begining of you comment is actually called The Prior Incantato Charm so it is actually entirely different from Priori Incantatem which is techinally not a spell but more of a “phenomenon” & only happens when twin cores meet in an intense battle like this one.

  • ArchdukeSeverus

    The first thing that I would like to say is that Voldemort is definitely hearing it. If Harry is hearing it because of his wand, (which I think is the only probable explanation) then so will Voldemort. I’m not sure though whether the death eaters are hearing it.
    There are two possible scenarios with it emanating from the wands. First is that the wand or the connection is some sort of speaker for the noise. In this case the death eaters will probably be able to hear it as Harry can hear them outside the orb ‘their cries strangely muffled’. The other scenario is that the noise is in Harry and Voldemort’s heads (which doesn’t make it not real) and it is there because of their links to the wands. I think that the most likely situation is that it is in Harry and Voldemort’s heads.
    There are also multiple possible causes for the noise. The first and probably most rational is that this is Fawkes making the noise and it is being broadcast to Harry and Voldemort because of the connection. This noise can’t happen when the wand is on its own, but it can during the ‘Priori incantatem’ and might be the result of the Wands divulging their pasts. This is especially apparent in Voldemort’s case as he ends up divulging the past spells. So this could be another side effect of the process ‘the divulging of the identity of the wand’. So in this case if the animal that is linked to the wand is alive and feeling like it it could possibly communicate with the casters through the wands. Another possible form of this is that it divulges sounds specific to the animal that is linked to the wand, meaning the specific animal, as in Fawkes. I assume that every phoenix sings a slightly different song, so the one that they are hearing is a trademark song of Fawkes.

    Other possibilities for the song is that it is the wands communicating. I can’t imagine what the wands would want to say but maybe if Fawkes was there he would be able to interpret. Some justification for this is that as the wands are involved in this process they become more alive and aware than usual, as they are being stretched to their extents. Also the fact that the wand has met his brother could be a possible cause for this communication as the wands would be becoming more whole and alive. Also they could just be talking to each other because they are related.
    Another possible explanation is that it is the core singing because of all the stress it is being put under. What I mean by this is that it is similar to the case of a motor. As it works harder and harder it hums louder and louder. Or when a glacier creaks because of the massive quantities of ice it is moving. We see the wands vibrate harder and harder, especially when the balls get close, and as Voldemort and Harry first connect the phoenix song isn’t there, but the wands eventually warm up and the cores start singing. In this I am assuming it must be the cores, not the wood, as the cores are the part of the wand that are related to phoenixes.
    I think that if you tie together the link to Fawke’s and the singing cores then it might be possible to get a kind of rough picture of what is going on.
    The voice that Harry hears is a bit odd. There are yet again multiple possible answers to this. One is that it was Dumbledore communicating directly. I do not believe that this is so as there is no possible way that this can happen.
    Another is it is the same voice in the back of Harry’s head as during the imperius curse. This is unlikely but some evidence for it is that the spell takes a lot of mental will power and Harry little voice in his head was loosened a bit during the imperius curse. But I still think that this option is unlikely.
    Another possible thing is that it is his wand communicating with him. I mentioned before that this process seems to be awakening the wands a bit. At this point it could be only just awakened enough to communicate in English (or maybe parsel-tongue) with Harry and eventually as it becomes more awakened starts communicating in phoenix song. In both these instances it is giving harry encouragement, the english one being an instruction and the phoenix one the ultimate encouragement music. This would raise questions about what is happening with Voldemort’s wand and whether he is hearing things like ‘don’t let go’ or the phoenix music. This theory I think is mainly unlikely because if the wands were acting in this way then Voldemort would not hear the phoenix music (and I’m pretty sure he does) as the phoenix music, I assume, is not that encouraging to Voldemort.
    Another possible option is that it is Dumbledore communicating through Fawke’s. In this scenario Dumbledore would maybe use legilimency to access Harry through Fawke’s. I think this is not likely because Dumbledore is vaguely surprised by the occurence of ‘Priori incantatem’.
    The message could be directly from Fawke’s as the cores are linked to Harry and Voldemort and might allow communication for Fawke’s. In this case it would be interesting to see what Fawkes could have said to Voldemort. The reasons I think that this is unlikely though are that Fawke’s, I assume, doesn’t speak english and that If Fawkes knew of this happening then he would have told Dumbledore. If he had done this then I think that Dumbledore would have been able to guess that ‘Priori incantatem’ had occured and wouldn’t have reacted as he did to Harry telling him about it.
    What I think is the most likely explanation is that the voice Harry heard is either that of his mother or the joint voices of Voldemort’s victims. I’m inclined to think that it was his mother because that seems more fitting. The spirits have the potential of turning up because Voldemort’s wand is involved, so the veil between the worlds of living and dead are probably quite thin and easier to communicate through. This is what I think is the most probable explanation.
    If Harry and Voldemort’s cores were different (though that is probably not naratively likely to have been unless Dumbledore kept a pet unicorn or dragon instead of a phoenix) then I reckon there would be a difference in the sounds coming from the wands and the colour of the stream.
    The wand songs would be something related to the core, probably unicorn noise or dragon roars.
    The beam in the case of the unicorn would probably be a silver, because this is the colour associated with the unicorn.
    The beam for Dragon’s I think would be the colour of lead. This might seem like an odd choice because dragons don’t have any clear link to lead. The reason I think that it might be lead in colour is alchemical. In 7 stage processes in alchemy, specifically the one linked to the Harry Potter series (refer to ‘Cracking the Planetry code: Harry Potter, Alchemy and the seven book series as a whole’ by Erin Sweeney) starts of the first process with lead, then moves on to Silver (unicorn) and the final stage is Gold (phoenix). In this case the Dragon beam could also be mercury coloured as this is a very important stage (in Harry Potter it is the middle/GOF/Albedo/transitional stage). The more I think about this the more likely I believe it to be Mercury, but if I was to keep things simple I would say it is like lead because this is also the starting metal in most alchemical transmutation.
    This link between alchemy and wands could also indicate stuff about the character using the wand. Just a thought.

  • PixieDragon137

    It is said that wand cores made of unicorn hair do not make the most powerful wands, so if both Harry’s and Voldemort’s wands had contained it, I’m inclined to believe that Voldemort’s spell would’ve been the weaker one as wands containing unicorn hair are more difficult to turn to the Dark Arts.

    On the other hand, wand core’s containing dragon heartstring are said to be the most powerful and more inclined towards the Dark Arts. So I imagine with no Phoenix song to give Harry hope, it would depend entirely upon the intent of the spell and the power behind the caster as to which side the beads of light from the spell would move.

    (I think perhaps this may be one of the reasons why it was easy for Crouch jr. to make Krum use the Cruciatis curse on Cedric, because Krum’s wand core is dragon heartstring. And maybe its is also the reason why Hermoine, whose wand also contains dragon heartstring, has a hard time with the Patronus charm, as we see later on.)

  • FeatherSickle7662

    I think perhaps Fawkes was not actually speaking but rather making a telepathic connection with Harry to help him to not break the connection (much like the connection with LV). I think LV is hearing the same thing Harry is hearing when the song emits from the wand, they both have the same core after all. The song will not affect LV in the same way of course cause he is rotten to the core and doesn’t know happiness or love (love stemming from the fact I think at this point Dumbledore really does care for Harry, therefore the song is more meaningful to Harry). I think perhaps if say the cores were to be Unicorn Hair, we would hear some sort of call that a Unicorn makes or even see a ‘apparition’ so to speak of a Unicorn running around them. If it where Dragon heart string, I would imagine a great roar or fire emitting from both wands. I think that much like the phoenix feather, the heartstrings and hair would react the same way in regards to Priori Incatatem. They are all very magical creatures, all of these things are strong, powerful and parts of each of these creatures.

  • The Pensieve

    I think that the reason Harry hears the phoenix song is because the wand cores are phoenix feather.

    I don’t think anyone (Dumbledore or Fawkes) is talking or present with Harry. I think what Harry experiences is due to the magical nature of a phoenix song. This is the impression I get from the writing and instances of phoenix song – I also looked up Phoenix in my copy of Fantastic Beasts – “Phoenix song is magical: it is reputed to increase the courage of the pure of heart and to strike fear into the hearts of the impure.” I think Harry connects this with Fawkes and Dumbledore because in CoS when he heard this song it was because of his loyalty to Dumbledore and Fawkes came to the rescue.

    The explanation from Fantastic Beasts is also the reason I think Voldermort is also hearing a phoenix song but the effect is completely the opposite. This is something even Harry notices – that Voldermort is looking scared and sounding unsure when ordering his death eaters.

    I also think priori incantatem would be extremely rare because of reasons;
    1. Ollivander mentions that it is rare that the same phoenix gives a second feather.
    2. I dont think any dragon could give two hearstrings unless there are dragons with two hearts..and in that case i am not sure how similar those two heartsrings would be
    3. I think it is very likely to have hairs from the same unicorn in different wands.
    However we also have to keep in mind that the wand chooses the wizard and certain cores are attracted to certain qualities, so there is less chance that two wizards with sibling wands would force the wands to duel each other. When dumbledore explains to Sirius what happened, in further chapters of GoF, he especially adds “if the two wizards force the wands to duel”. so this makes me think it is a very rare phenomenon.

    • DolphinPatronus

      My thoughts exactly! 🙂

      • The Pensieve

        I am sorry i didn’t read all comments before replying…you are totally right, we had similar thoughts 🙂

        • DolphinPatronus

          Oh no need to apologize! I was just agreeing. Lol

          Clearly great minds think alike! 😉

  • LunasLovechild

    I think that Priori Incantatem is probably pretty rare. I also think that the voice he hears is Dumbledores but I do not think that he was communicating with Harry. I think perhaps, that Dumbledore is the closest thing he has had to a parental figure that he respects and so he hears his voice when it is really needed. Who doesn’t hear our parents voices in our heads telling us what to do? As for the Phoenix song I do think that Voldemort could hear it but having no capacity for love did not recognize what it was. I do not think anyone outside the circle could hear it, however.I think if the cores were not phoenix feathers i think the situation would be similar because i think that it is more in the similarities of the wands then the fact that their wands have phoenix cores.

    • DolphinPatronus

      The only thing about the wands that is similar IS the Phoenix core. Voldemort’s wand was 13 1/2 inches & made of yew. Harry’s was 11 inches & holly.

      • LunasLovechild

        i know i get that. what im saying is that if they had two cores that were the same but not phoenix feathers, dragon heart strings or unicorn hairs for example, it would have something similar happen. similar, not necessarily exactly the same.

        • DolphinPatronus

          Oh ok. I misunderstood what you were saying. I read it differently than you meant it. I understand now. I also agree tho I can’t say what I think they’d hear for the different core options. I assume unicorns make sounds similar to a horse & dragons just roar & spit fire. Neither of these things sound very inspiring. LOL