Quintessential Magic: An Introduction To Charms (2nd Ed.)

A useful text for First Year Charms students, Quintessential Magic delves into the basic methods of casting a spell. From incantation to willpower, Wand-Lighting Charm to Severing Charm, this text covers all the basics.

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Wand Basics

Chapter 5

Wand Lore is a strange and fascinating subject that could fill many volumes if fully explored. This text focuses on the basic properties of wands that all students should be familiar with.

The wand is an extension of the witch or wizard. It is our most essential tool, and to be without it is to be severely limited. The most important moment in any witch or wizard's career may be when they obtain their own first wand. It is oft the saying that "The Wand chooses the Wizard". This is because different wands are inclined toward different temperaments and personalities. A Dark Wizard would find that a wand with Unicorn Tail Hair is extremely difficult to use, for example, and someone with evil in their heart is unlikely to find that such a wand agrees with them.

Just as a wand's power may wane over the years, it is not uncommon for the user to change as they grow, and they may find themselves making a trip back to the wand shop for a more suitable wand. 

Wand Details

The following sections describe the specific details that almost all wands conform to. All wands are typically classified by four parameters: 

Length and Flexibility

Wands are usually found within the range of nine and fourteen inches (twenty-three centimeters to thirty-six centimeters). Wands shorter than this usually only select a user in whose character something is lacking, while wands longer than this usually select a user with a physical peculiarity that demanded the excessive length (such as a very tall or Half-Giant wizard).

A wand's flexibility or rigidity speaks to the the degree of adaptability and willingness to change possessed by the wand-and-owner pair. Flexible wands can be described various ways, such as pliant, spongy, springy, supple, whippy, willowy or yielding. Rigid wands can be described as firm, inflexible, resistant, stiff, unbending, unpliable, or unyielding.


The following description of the powers and properties of various wand woods are taken from notes made, over a long career, by Mr Garrick Ollivander, widely considered the best wandmaker in the world. As will be seen, Mr Ollivander believes that wand wood has almost human powers of perception and preferences.

It is a common misconception that wands contain more than one wood. The wood chosen for a wand is an expression of the wizard or witch, and using multiple wood types would naturally create tension that would lead to a wand with greatly diminished power.

Mr Ollivander introduces his notes on wand woods thus:

"Every single wand is unique and will depend for its character on the particular tree and magical creature from which it derives its materials. Moreover, each wand, from the moment it finds its ideal owner, will begin to learn from and teach its human partner. Therefore, the following must be seen as general notes on each of the wood types I like to work with best, and ought not to be taken to describe any individual wand."

"Only a minority of trees can produce wand quality wood (just as a minority of humans can produce magic). It takes years of experience to tell which ones have the gift, although the job is made easier if Bowtruckles are found nesting in the leaves, as they never inhabit mundane trees. The following notes on various wand woods should be regarded very much as a starting point, for this is the study of a lifetime, and I continue to learn with every wand I make and match." *


A wand's core material is always made from some part of another magical being. While different materials produce different types of wands, any Ollivander wand in recent memory has been made from only three: unicorn tail hair, dragon heartstrings, and phoenix feathers. Other material (such as kelpie mane, veela hair, troll whiskers, dittany stalk, or kneazle whisker) either possesses insufficient power or have a considerable drawback. Veela hair, for example, produces wands that are temperamental. Wands with these cores are usually only found when a witch or wizard has had to inherit it from a family member, though some wand makers may still use them on occasion.

Just as with the wood component, there is almost never more than one core in a wand. The core is, in some ways, a representation of the creature who gave it. A wand with multiple cores would have multiple objectives or potentially work to cross purposes. This not only renders the wand weaker but, in cases where the wand's cores are in direct conflict, can cause the wand to violently explode. 

The following description of the powers and properties of the three main wand cores used by Mr Garrick Ollivander are taken from his own notes.

"Early in my career, as I watched my wandmaker father wrestling with substandard wand core materials such as kelpie hair, I conceived the ambition to discover the finest cores and to work only with those when my time came to take over the family business. This I have done. After much experimentation and research, I concluded that only three substances produce wands of the quality to which I am happy to give the illustrious name of Ollivander: unicorn hair, dragon heartstring and phoenix feather. Each of these costly and rare materials has its own distinct properties. The following represents a short summary of my researches into each of the three Supreme Cores. Readers should bear in mind that each wand is the composite of its wood, its core and the experience and nature of its owner; that tendencies of each may counterbalance or outweigh the other; so this can only be a very general overview of an immensely complex subject." *

* http://pottermore.com

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