Harry Potter has always held a special place in my family’s library. When I turned six years old, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire had just come out and my parents and older sister (already dedicated fans of the series) began reading the books to me as bedtime stories. Once we got to the most recent release, I became frightened and put off reading more until I got a bit older, but eventually I became as rabid a fan as anyone I knew. Harry Potter books became a valuable commodity in the Zlotnick household, and they were our go-to way to pass the time on family road trips.
One of the aspects of the Harry Potter universe that always fascinated me the most were the wands. These instruments of magical power were equal parts reflection of their owner, providing insight into the wielder’s innermost character, and magnifiers of the wielder’s weaknesses and strengths. For example, my wand (according to Pottermore, the “digital home of the Harry Potter Fandom”) is made of chestnut wood, which predicts that I will have great skill with taming magical beasts, Herbology, and flight. Chestnut wand properties can vary greatly depending on the core, however; a dragon heartstring core may make it a wand for those who like obtaining luxury items and don’t mind if said items technically belong to someone else; to contrast, three consecutive heads of the Wizengamot had chestnut wands with unicorn hair cores.
This is good news, however, as my chestnut wand just so happens to have a unicorn hair core. This means that even if I turn to the Dark Arts, my wand will struggle against it. It also makes my wand exceptionally faithful and it will stay strongly attached to me, whether or not I accomplish much. It won’t be the most powerful wand, however, and if it’s mishandled the hair might “die” and need replacing.
Length and flexibility also play a role in wand qualities. Most wands range from 9 to 14 inches in length – mine is 14 inches long! – and typically matches the wielder in terms of size (with larger people getting longer wands). However, wands shorter than 9 inches typically select a wielder whose character is lacking in some way. Flexibility, to contrast, is primarily a reflection of the wielder’s personality. The more rigid a wand, the less open to change and adaptation the wielder is. My wand is, of course, “unyielding”, which tells me I’m a bit too stubborn for my own good.
By: Sam Zlotnick