The North Tower #27: Wands and Where to Find Them

Hi everybody! After having finished my last article, I started writing one on Pettigrew and Neville (which will probably be published next week) but found that there was a whole new dimension to the wand problem that I wrote about last time, which I really should write about first, because it connects the first wand article and the Neville-Pettigrew one really nicely. This article isn’t about the making or properties of wands but more of an attempt to figure out just where they all are and just who is doing magic with whose wand. Ok, so here we go…

1) One wand—One wizard

The wand chooses the wizard and you never get as good results with another wizard’s wand. This we learn from Mr Ollivander already in the beginning of PS/SS. Wands are personal, and there seems to be one perfect match for each person. People might inherit wands from their parents (like Neville) but in general, each wizard has his own wand. People also seem to keep that one wand all their life. The only person we know of that has ever seemingly bought a second personal wand is Charlie Weasley (giving his old one to Ron). Wands seem to last very long, e.g. Voldemort’s, that’s almost 60 years old, or Hagrid’s (which is almost as old and still works fine in spite of being supposedly split in two). I also always assumed that Dumbledore’s wand (the one that he uses in the series) is the same wand he’s had since he was 11—the wand that worked so well for him that he did things with it that Madam Marchbanks had never seen before when sitting his NEWTS (“OWL’s”, OotP). This leads me to believe that maybe Charlie’s first wand (which was equally Ron’s first wand) wasn’t one that he himself bought at Ollivander’s at all. By the way it’s described (old, battered, the unicorn hair sticking out), one gets the impression that it’s REALLY old, and not a wand that had only been in use for only some seven years by the time Ron got it. The most likely explanation is that this wand was handed down to Charlie by some older, dead relative (a grandfather or great uncle perhaps) and that Charlie didn’t get his own wand until later in his Hogwarts’ career (the Weasleys are poor after all). It thus seems like every wizard uses only one wand during his life (unless it’s destroyed in some way), which could explain how Mr. Ollivander is able to remember exactly what kind of wand each and every one of his costumers ever bought. (The only thing I can think about that’d go against this theory is that Mr Ollivander remembers Lily coming in to by “her FIRST wand” in PS/SS. “First” could indicate that there were more wands bought after that one, which I highly doubt, as there’s supposedly a clue to the fact that Lily’s wand was good for Charms. Also, she died really young, so I can’t really see how she’d had the time to wear out several wands. I think it’s irrelevant.)

2) Crime committed—Wand destroyed

Hagrid’s wand was (supposedly) snapped in two when he was expelled from Hogwarts and Harry almost had his wand destroyed simply for breaking the Restriction of Underage Sorcery. One can therefore probably quite safely assume that a person being given a life sentence in Azkaban would have their wand confiscated and destroyed as well. Wands that should have been destroyed are therefore (among others) those of Sirius, Bellatrix, the Lestrange brothers, Dolohov, Crouch Jr, Rookwood, and the other 5 DEs that escaped in OotP. That makes for a total of 12 wandless wizards and witches.

3) Wands unaccounted for

Then there are the wands that no longer have an owner. What happened to the wands of Lily and James Potter for example? And those of Crouch Sr., Cedric, Bertha Jorkins and Moaning Myrtle? There’s a theory that Moaning Myrtle’s wand served in fact as a substitute for Hagrid’s and was snapped in two when he was expelled from Hogwarts, leaving Hagrid’s own wand to remain intact and being transfigured into the pink umbrella. The wand could also have been kept at Hogwarts for safekeeping, been destroyed, or simply been returned to the girl’s family (although that’s not too likely, seeing as Myrtle was probably muggle-born).

But apart from her wand, there’s at least five wands unaccounted for, and all of them seem to have disappeared when a certain person was or could have been present: Pettigrew.

4) The little wand thief

Pettigrew (as has been pointed out elsewhere) seems to have a weakness for stealing other people’s wands. He dove for Lupin’s in PoA (but didn’’t get it because Harry stopped him). He was (most certainly) the one who brought Voldemort’s wand back to him, meaning that he must have picked it up somewhere to begin with. Say he took it straight from the crime scene at the Potters’ house (which would have been the easiest and most logical way to get it, especially as the wand of a disappeared Voldemort really ought to have been destroyed if found by somebody else). Then he might as well have picked up James’s and Lily’s too. He was present in the graveyard when Cedric died (leaving his wand on the ground one imagines), present when Bertha Jorkins was killed and staying in the house keeping watch over Crouch Sr. (supposedly having taken his wand too). It’s fully possible, and even quite likely, that Pettigrew took ALL those wands.

5) The “new” wands in OotP

Then, in OotP, in the scene where the DEs are fighting against Harry, his friends and the Order at the MoM, there are all of a sudden a lot of people there using wands that seem to have popped up from nowhere. On the side of the Order, there’s Sirius. Just whose wand is he using when fighting Bellatrix? On the side of the DEs there are several people who can’t be using their own wands (because they should have been destroyed). How many exactly? Let’s see… there are 12 DEs present, and they are:

With their own wands
(never been to Azkaban)

  • Lucius Malfoy
  • Crabbe Sr.
  • Avery
  • Theodor Nott Sr.
  • McNair

With mysterious wands
(fugitives from Azkaban)

  • Bellatrix Lestrange
  • Rudolphus Lestrange
  • Rastaban Lestrange
  • Mulciber
  • Rookwood
  • Dolohov

And then there is Jugson, who we’ve never met before to my recollection so I don’t know in what group to place him. (names from OotP, “Beyond the Veil”, p. 695)

That’s six (or seven) people whose wands seemingly popped out of nowhere. Or did they? (as the Quibbler would have it… :-)) Say that Pettigrew took all those five wands mentioned above. We haven’t seen him anywhere in OotP, so he might be out on a “rat-mission,” lending his wand to one of the DEs in need. That would make exactly six wands. Unless the sixth is Moaning Myrtle’s that Pettigrew found somewhere at Hogwarts during his time there.

Other possibilities are of course that the “new” wands are wands that were taken from people killed during VoldWar I or that they’ve been bought somewhere since then (though probably not at Ollivander’s as he’s really close to Dumbledore and would probably notify him if an alleged DE like Lucius Malfoy would come into his shop and by half a dozen wands for no apparent reason). A third possibility is that the MoM really is so stupid as to not have destroyed the wands but put them somewhere for safekeeping, from where a DE then stole them. But I really don’t think they’re THAT stupid. I mean, that’d be ridiculous, not to mention a lot less intriguing than if the DEs who escaped Azkaban are now fighting with some of Voldemort’s victims’ wands. (Just imagine Harry’s reaction if he finds out that Bellatrix killed Sirius with Lily’s old wand. Oh-oh, the irony of it all!)

6) So, what might this mean then?

I don’t really know, to be frank. It shouldn’t really mean that the DEs who are fighting with other peoples’ wands are at a huge disadvantage as it’s clear that you can do perfectly good magic with any wand if you’re a good wizard. Your own wand will allow you those perfect results and add an extra touch to your magic perhaps, but it’s not crucial to have your own, perfect match to do magic in general.

It could be that there is some unknown “brother wand” to a wand of one in the Order or one of Harry’s friends hidden amongst the stolen wands (say Cedric’s and Ron’s?) and that this might give us a new Priori Incantatem-situation. I rather doubt it, though, as I can’t really see what that would achieve for the storytelling.

I think the main thing is that the DE’s “new” wands provide a rather heavy clue about the night the Potters died. Together with the fact that Voldemort in book 4 clearly has been given back his old wand, it becomes strong evidence that Pettigrew was in fact a witness of Voldemort’s murder and defeat. That he was there, with Voldemort, at Godric’s Hollow and actually saw his master lose all his powers. And that this could be a reason to just why Voldemort wanted this particular servant to be part of his resurrection potion—in the same way as he wanted Harry in there, his particular enemy. From what Voldemort says in “The Riddle House” (GoF), the potion would work with any enemy (and one supposes that it would work with any servant as well) but that there is something about using Harry that will make the potion BETTER in some way. It would be logical to assume that the resurrection potion would be best if the same people who contributed to the person’s “death” are used to “revive” him, and if Pettigrew was indeed at the Potters’ house that night, this would make perfect sense.

Next week: Peter Pettigrew and Neville Longbottom—a comparison