"The wand chooses the wizard, Mr. Potter. It's not always clear why."
—Ollivander to Harry Potter[src]

Mr. Ollivander is the proprietor of Ollivander's Wand Shop in Diagon Alley. Ollivander is widely considered the best wand maker in the British Wizarding world, and many wizards and witches buy their wands from him.

In 1996, he was captured and tortured by Lord Voldemort. Ollivander was rescued in 1998 by Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, and Dobby.


Career as a wandmaker

It is unknown how old he is, but in conversation with Harry Potter, he discusses selling a wand to Lord Voldemort, who would have received his wand around 1937. His shop sign said his family has been making wands since 382 B.C. Ollivander is a well-known and respected wandmaker and is said to provide nearly all first-year students attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry with their first wands, a minority preferring to buy elsewhere.

File:Ollivander presents wand.jpg

It is known that other recognised wand makers exist in other countries. Ollivander was asked to inspect the wands of the champions in the Triwizard Tournament before the competition started, to make sure they are all working properly. He was also familiar enough with Gregorovitch's work to recognise Viktor Krum's wand as a Gregorovitch wand.

Harry Potter's wand

Ollivander supplied Harry Potter with a wand, and as he did so, he told Harry a few facts about wands. He explained that a wand has a core, in Harry's case a Phoenix feather. He told Harry that the body of the wand is made from a choice of different woods with different magical properties. Ollivander said he made a similar wand using another feather from the same phoenix, but using a different wood. Harry's wand is holly, which symbolises protection, rather than Voldemort's yew, which suggests poison. He also explains that the wand chooses the wizard, rather than the other way around. Thus, he considered it remarkable that the wand suited to Harry is the 'brother' to the one Voldemort uses.

Second Wizarding War


Fenrir Greyback and other Death Eaters take Ollivander from outside of his shop.

Kidnapped by Death Eaters

"Oh no - not Ollivander's, everybody got their first wands from here."
—Hermione Granger upon discovering Ollivander's shop abandoned.[src]

In 1996 Ollivander was kidnapped by Voldemort's Death Eaters, leaving behind an empty, locked up shop and no signs of a struggle. It is believed that the last wand he sold was to Neville Longbottom. It was later revealed that Ollivander was captured by Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters and was held prisoner at Malfoy Manor. He was tortured by Lord Voldemort for information regarding the twin cores of Harry Potter's wand and his own. Ollivander told him that he merely needed to use a wand other than his own to face Harry Potter.

After using Lucius Malfoy's wand and seeing its destruction when faced with Harry Potter and his Phoenix wand, Voldemort rounded on Ollivander for an explanation of why Harry's wand acted as it had. Although he had no answer to give since no wandmaker had ever witnessed such an event, Ollivander was tortured again by Lord Voldemort and questioned about the most powerful wand in existence, the Elder Wand.

Mr. Ollivander inside the Shell Cottage

Ollivander at Shell Cottage after being rescued from Malfoy Manor.

Harry: "What do you know about, the Deathly Hallows?"
Ollivander: "It is rumoured there are three. To posess them all is to make ones self immortal. Few truly believe that certain objects do exist. If it's true, you really don't stand a chance."
— Harry and Ollivander discussing the Deathly Hallows.[src]

Harry Potter and his friends were later captured and taken to Malfoy Manor, where they were reunited with Ollivander, Dean Thomas and Luna Lovegood. Ollivander was subsequently rescued by Harry and his friends and was taken with them when they made their escape from Malfoy Manor with the aid of Dobby, the house-elf. He seemed to bond with Luna during their captivity together as he says that she was "an inexpressible comfort (to him) in that terrible place" and admits that he'll miss her with her admitting the same thing. He later creates and sends a new wand to Luna.

Study of the Elder Wand


Ollivander as a prisoner.

As with other wandmakers, Ollivander makes it his business to study the mystifying Elder Wand in depth, such as its history and distinctive characteristics. Unlike Hermione Granger, he believed that the Elder Wand was not a myth or tale, and showed great enthusiasm with the powerful object despite the fact that it was dangerous and has had a bloody history. When held captive by Lord Voldemort, he was forced to relate all information he had known about the powerful wand. He also revealed that the last person rumoured to own the wand was Gregorovitch, a foreign wandmaker, though he did not believe the rumour and thought that Gregorovitch spread it to boost his business. The same information was also related to Harry Potter after he and his friends rescued him from the Malfoy Manor.

Personality and traits

"An old man was standing before them, his wide, pale eyes shining like moons through the gloom of the shop."
—Harry Potter meets Ollivander[src]

Ollivander is an intelligent man, with an excellent memory when it comes to his work; he remembers the details of every wand he ever sold. He seems to become happier, the more difficult the challenge to find exactly the right wand for a difficult customer. He uses a magical tape measure to help assess customers for their wand.

He has a professorial enthusiasm for wandlore and so is immensely learned in it. A less savory aspect of his personality is that his fascination with wandlore sometimes eclipses his sense of right and wrong: he is so fascinated with what a powerful wizard can do when matched with the right wand that he becomes detached from the good or evil nature of their actions. A prime example of this would be Tom Marvolo Riddle, a.k.a. Lord Voldemort. Even after the First Wizarding War, Ollivander remembered him as having done "great things" with his wand - "Terrible, yes, but great." An even more extreme example was during the Second Wizarding War, when Ollivander, having just been rescued from a year of imprisonment and torture at Voldemort's hands, was briefly enthralled by the thought of what Voldemort might do when matched with the Elder Wand.

However, Ollivander still values his own life and well-being, and he divulged information to Voldemort whenever threatened with death and tortured by the Cruciatus Curse. The wand maker feared the Dark Lord's wrath, and begged for mercy when informed that his (Ollivander's) advice about using another wand is incorrect.

Magical abilities and skills

  • Wandmaker: In Great Britain, the Ollivander family members were considered the best wandmakers in the country.
  • Nonverbal magic: Ollivander may have had the ability to perform nonverbal spells, as no incantation was mentioned when he conjured smoke rings in 1994.
  • Apparition: He could Apparate, but failed in 1998 at Malfoy Manor due to enchantments placed on the cellar.
  • Transfiguration: He is skilled with conjuration, a difficult branch of transfiguration, conjuring flowers,birds, smoke rings, and wine in 1994.


Ollivander's relationship with Harry Potter grew after the Skirmish at Malfoy Manor when Harry rescued him from imprisonment and during their subsequent stay at the Shell Cottage. Ollivander also developed a close relationship with Luna Lovegood, for she was a comfort to him during their imprisonment in Malfoy Manor. Ollivander later repayed her kindness by creating a new wand for her.

Known wand sales

Owner Wood Length Core Notes
Cedric Diggory's wand Ash 12¼" Unicorn hair This wand was "pleasantly springy"; hair from particularly fine male unicorn (seventeen hands high), which nearly gored Mr. Ollivander with its horn after he plucked its tail hair.
Lily Evans' wand Willow 10¼" Unknown This wand was "swishy" and "nice for Charm work".
Hermione Granger Vine 10¾" Dragon heartstring This wand was confiscated when the trio was captured by Snatchers in 1998.
Rubeus Hagrid's wand Oak 16" Unknown This wand is "rather bendy"; snapped in half when Hagrid was expelled from Hogwarts during his third year - the pieces are almost certainly hidden in Hagrid's pink umbrella.
Bellatrix Lestrange's wand Walnut 12¾" Dragon heartstring This wand is described as "unyielding"; passed into the possession of Hermione Granger after the Battle of Malfoy Manor in 1998.
Neville Longbottom's wand #2 Cherry 13" Unicorn hair May have been one of the last wands Mr. Ollivander sold before he disappeared in 1996.
Draco Malfoy's wand Hawthorn 10" Unicorn hair "Reasonably springy"; this wand passed into the possession of Harry Potter after the Battle of Malfoy Manor in 1998 until Harry came into possession of the Elder Wand and mended his first wand.
Harry Potter's wand #1 Holly 11" Phoenix feather Nice and supple; "Brother" to Voldemort's wand - the core tail feathers are both from Fawkes; broken in December 1997 while fleeing from Godric's Hollow; repaired with the Elder Wand in May 1998.
James Potter's wand Mahogany 11" Unknown This wand was "pliable" and "excellent for transfiguration".
Peter Pettigrew's wand Chestnut 9¼" Dragon heartstring This wand was "brittle"; owned by Pettigrew only since Ollivander had been kidnapped of 1996; passed into the possession of Ron Weasley after the skirmish in Malfoy Manor in 1998.
Tom Marvolo Riddle a.k.a. Voldemort's wand Yew 13½" Phoenix feather This wand is "brother" to Harry Potter's wand - the core tail feathers are both from Fawkes.
Charlie Weasley/Ron Weasley wand #1 Ash 12" Unicorn hair Ron's brother Charlie's old wand; severely damaged in September 1992 after a run-in with the Whomping Willow.
Ron Weasley wand #2 Willow 14" Unicorn hair Purchased with his father's winnings from a Daily Prophet draw.

Behind the scenes


See also

Notes and references

  1. According to the first book, his family manufactured wands from 382 b.c., indicating that the Ollivander family is a wizarding family.
  2. Tribeca Film Festival 2009 - John Hurt talks Harry Potter, Confirms His Return
  3. He is seen being kidnapped by Fenrir Greyback and his Death Eaters in Diagon Alley. His face is obscured by a sack.
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