Wand Woods and Their Ogham Symbolism

For those of you who don’t know what ogham is, it’s an ancient Irish alphabet. Each letter of this alphabet corresponds to a different type of tree, each of which has its own set of symbolism attached to it. I thought it would be interesting to take that symbolism and see how it matches up to the various wand woods of Harry Potter, as well as the owners of those wands. Of course, not every type of wand wood has a place in the ogham alphabet, but I was able to find some examples that matched up.


1. Harry Potter – Holly

So because holly was often used to construct weapons, it’s considered the tree of warriors and protectors, and holly boughs were believed to ward off evil spirits. Given Harry’s status as the Chosen One, this seems like a good wood for him. It’s also associated with death and rebirth. After learning this, I’m glad that Harry was able to repair his wand since I doubt any other would have matched him so well.


2. Lord Voldemort – Yew

Yew’s strongest association is with death, something that would please Lord Voldemort, I have no doubt. The reason for this symbolism is because, in addition to the wood being used to craft bows, the yew tree has absolutely no medicinal value and is mostly poisonous. However, one thing that Voldemort would not have been happy about is that yew also symbolizes the acceptance of change, including death, something he was never able to do.


3. Hermione Granger – Vine

I’m going to be honest here. When I first looked into Hermione’s wand wood, I laughed really hard. The reason for that is because vine is most commonly associated with divination, especially prophecy. All I could think of was how annoyed she would be to learn that. However, vine is also associated with truth since it’s associated with wine and in vino veritas, or “in wine lies the truth.” Hermione can be brutally honest at times, so that fit, at least.


4. Ron Weasley – Willow

According to ogham symbolism, Ron’s wand wood doesn’t actually seem to fit him all that well. Willow’s main association is with healing since the bark could be used medicinally. It’s also associated with water because the trees usually grow at the water’s edge, as well as flexibility and change since the wood tends to be bendy. None of these things seemed very Ron to me. However, it is also sometimes associated with unlucky love, and that does fit slightly given the Lavender Brown debacle.


5. Cedric Diggory – Ash

One bit of symbolism for ash trees is the idea of sacrifice, which actually originates in the Nordic tradition since Yggdrasil, or the world tree in Norse mythology that Odin was hung upon, is ash. However, the main symbolism ash holds is the idea that everything is connected and that each action will have its consequences. For a boy whose death marked the beginning of war and according to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, was so integral to that war’s outcome, ash seems more than fitting.


6. Draco Malfoy – Hawthorn

Ironically, since this wood burns at high temperatures, hawthorn is associated with purity/purification, rather fitting for such a proud pure-blood. However, it’s also considered unlucky to bring inside the house on account of it carrying the scent of death. That aspect of it reminded me of Malfoy’s Death Eater association and the bad luck it brought his family and home.


7. Albus Dumbledore – Elder

Elder trees have the ability to regrow broken branches easily. As such, it’s not surprising that they are heavily associated with death and rebirth, which makes this wood the perfect fit for the Deathstick. Druids would use elder to send out both blessings and curses, and the wood was also considered the abode of witches and unlucky to sleep under. Given the power of the wand and that the first owner of the wand was killed in his sleep, this fits well too. The wand was certainly unlucky for most of its owners.

Mikaela Renshaw

I picked up a Harry Potter book for the first time when I was six years old and promptly fell in love. However, it didn’t take long for my love of literature to go beyond just Harry Potter and I am now working towards my PhD in English. Outside literature, I love Irish-dancing, D and D, going to the beach, attending Comic-Con, and playing with my dog.