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Different wands with different cores

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Different wands with different cores

"Every Ollivander wand has a core of a powerful magical substance, Mr Potter. We use unicorn hairs, phoenix tail feathers, and the heartstrings of dragons. No two Ollivander wands are the same, just as no two unicorns, dragons, or phoenixes are quite the same. And of course, you will never get such good results with another wizard’s wand."
Garrick Ollivander telling Harry Potter about the wand cores used in wands sold at Ollivanders[src]

The core of a wand was a magical substance placed within the length of wood, usually extracted from a magical creature.[1][2]

These magical cores enhanced the wand's magic or gave the wand wood magical abilities. The only cores able to produce magic were from a magical species. There are many different possible materials that can be used as wand cores.

Although wand cores varied widely, certain wandmakers preferred to use certain materials; for example, Garrick Ollivander discovered and pioneered the use of phoenix feathers, dragon heartstrings, and unicorn tail hairs,[2] whereas his father used lesser substances such as Kelpie hair and Kneazle whiskers.[1]


Different wand cores had different magical properties. Unicorn hair was not very strong, but it was stable and reliable, whereas dragon heartstring was very strong and flamboyant, but more prone to accidents. Additionally, wand cores were known to reflect the nature of the source they came from; since a phoenix was one of the most detached and independent creatures in the world, a phoenix feather wand was incredibly picky when choosing a potential wielder, and unicorn hair wands were incredibly difficult to turn to the Dark Arts due to unicorns' purity.

The core type was also known to influence the temperament of the wand produced with it. For example, the wand-maker Garrick Ollivander would not use Veela hair for cores because he believed they made for "temperamental" wands.[3] Thestral tail hair was also an interesting core — the wand couldn't simply be mastered by winning them. It could only be mastered by a witch or wizard who was able to face death, which was why Voldemort struggled to master the Elder Wand.[4]

Interestingly, certain wand woods reacted with certain cores in unique ways, affecting the wand's personality and/or magical abilities. Holly and phoenix feather were a difficult combination due to their opposite natures, but when such a wand found its perfect match, nothing and nobody should stand in their way. A cherry wand with dragon heartstring was ill-advised to be paired with a wizard who lacked exceptional self-control and strength of mind. A wand of ash was wholly loyal to its one true original master and would lose power and skill if passed to someone else, especially if it had a unicorn hair core.

When more than one wand had twin cores — meaning their cores came from the same creature - they were known as brothers and held greater power when used together. When Chadwick and Webster Boot used their wands, which both had cores from the same Horned Serpent, as a team, it increased their power tenfold.[5] However, when brother wands were used in conflict against each other, the connecting spells caused a phenomenon known as Priori Incantatem, as seen when spells from the wands of Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort, which both had cores comprised of a feather from Fawkes, Albus Dumbledore's phoenix, connected.[6]

Ollivander's shop in Diagon Alley had changed the way that wands were created. Before Garrick Ollivander's practice of using only the three "Supreme Cores", it was common for witches and wizards to present a wandmaker with a magical substance to which they had a particular attachment for use as a wand core.[1]

However, when Garrick watched his father, Gervaise Ollivander, struggle with substandard wand cores such as Kneazle whiskers, Dittany stalks, or Kelpie manes, he decided to devote his time to studying the finest wand cores.[7]

It should be noted that all of the wands attributes, as well as the characteristics and experiences of the owner, might have counterbalanced or outweighed each other. Therefore, the following notes on the difference types of wand cores could only be taken as a general starting point.

Known core materials[]

Core Wandmaker known to use it Wands these cores were used in Known characteristics
Dragon heartstring Garrick Ollivander
Hermione Granger's wand Dragon heartstring wands produced the most powerful and flamboyant magic and they learned spells faster and easier, however they were more prone to accidents. They were the most likely to change loyalty, but would always bond strongly with its current owner. It was also the easiest to turn to the dark arts, though it would not turn on its own.
Viktor Krum's wand[3]
Bellatrix Lestrange's wand[8]
Gilderoy Lockhart's wand
Lucius Malfoy's wand[9]
Minerva McGonagall's wand
Garrick Ollivander 's wand
Peter Pettigrew's wand[8]
Dolores Umbridge's wand
Horace Slughorn's wand
Gormlaith Gaunt's second wand[5]
Mr Boot's wand[5]
Jacob's wand[10]
Penelope Fawley's wand[11]
An applewood wand made by Garrick Ollivander
A beechwood wand made by Garrick Ollivander
Phoenix feather Garrick Ollivander Harry Potter's wand[2] Phoenix feather wands were capable of the greatest range of magic, though they may have taken longer to reveal this. They showed the most initiative, sometimes acting of their own accord, a quality that many witches and wizards disliked. They were the most picky about potential owners, their allegiance was usually hard won and they were the most difficult to tame and personalise.
Lord Voldemort's wand[2]
Silvanus Kettleburn's wand
Celestina Warbeck's wand
Unicorn tail hair Garrick Ollivander Mary Cattermole's wand[12] Unicorn hair wands were not very powerful, but they were the least prone to accidents and the least likely to change loyalties. They were also the most difficult to turn to the dark art. They were prone to wilting if mishandled.
Cedric Diggory's wand[3]
Neville Longbottom's second wand[13]
Remus Lupin's wand
Draco Malfoy's wand[8]
Quirinus Quirrell's wand
Sybill Trelawney's wand
Charlie Weasley's wand[14]
Ron Weasley's second wand[15]
Penny Haywood's wand[16]
Astrid Cole's wand[17]
Veela hair Unknown Fleur Delacour's wand[3] Veela hair cores made for "temperamental" wands.
Thestral tail hair Antioch Peverell (supposedly) Elder Wand[18] Thestral tail hair was regarded as an unstable, if not the most difficult, substance to use in wand-making. It was potent, but a tricky core to master; only a witch or wizard who was capable of accepting death could do so.
Troll whisker Unknown Cadogan's wand[19] Unknown, inferior to the three supreme cores.
Coral Gregorovitch Snakewood and coral wand Unknown
Dittany stalk Unknown Unknown Unknown, the plant itself was a powerful restorative that could make fresh skin grow over a wound.
Thunderbird tail feather[20] Shikoba Wolfe Holly Blackbird's wand (Her family's heirloom passed down through generations.) Thunderbird feather wands were extremely powerful, though difficult to master. They were able to sense danger and were known to cast curses on their own pre-emptively when supernatural dangers were near. They were also particularly good for Transfiguration.
Wampus cat hair[20][5] Isolt Sayre
James Steward
Johannes Jonker
Unknown Unknown
White River Monster spine[20] Thiago Quintana Unknown White River Monster spine wands produced spells of force and elegance.
Rougarou hair[20] Violetta Beauvais Seraphina Picquery's wand[20] Rougarou hair wands were believed to have an affinity for the Dark Arts, like vampires to blood.
Horned Serpent horn[5] Isolt Sayre
James Steward
Chadwick Boot's wand Horned Serpent horn wands were exceptionally powerful. They were sensitive to Parseltongue and vibrated when it was being spoken. They could also warn their owners of danger by emitting a low musical tone.
Webster Boot's wand
Snallygaster heartstring[5] Isolt Sayre
James Steward
Unknown Unknown
Jackalope antler[5] Isolt Sayre
James Steward
Unknown Unknown
Kneazle whisker[21] Unknown Unknown Unknown, inferior to the three supreme cores.
Kelpie hair[21] Gervaise Ollivander Unknown Unknown, easily obtained and frequently used in the past, but noted to be a substandard and inferior substance to use as a core.
Basilisk horn[5] Salazar Slytherin Salazar Slytherin's wand (Passed down to his descendants) Unknown, presumably had a strong affinity for the Dark arts.
Curupira hair[22] Unknown Unknown Curupira hair wands were unstable. They were known to choose as their owners individuals who were talented, but also unpredictable.
African mermaid hair Unknown Eulalie Hicks's wand African mermaid hair wands possessed a certain magical property, if anyone other than the rightful owner attempted to pick it up, it would shock them.
Fairy wing Unknown Ollivander family's heirloom wand[23] Unknown


All wands sold by Garrick Ollivander cost seven galleons, regardless of core or wood.[24] Unicorn tail hair, however, was worth ten galleons a hair,[25] as confirmed by Horace Slughorn in 1996. In 1926, wands sold by Shikoba Wolfe cost five dragots.

See also[]

Behind the scenes[]

  • It is thought by some that Thestral hair makes for a unique personality; completely dispassionate about its allegiance and showing no emotion towards the wizard, tying in with the many changes of hands that the Elder Wand (the only known Thestral hair wand in existence) has been through. It is also a wand that has been the instrument of death many times over, which some also believe is connected to its Thestral hair core (possibly inspiring murder in the heart of its beholder(s), since Thestrals have a strong connection to death, as does the origin of the wand itself). However, the many changes of allegiance that the Elder Wand has had as well as its history of winning through murder may be simply a reflection on the nature of power itself, and the means people are willing to sink to in order to attain it.
  • It should be noted that, concerning the wands of the Trio (Harry, Ron, and Hermione), each wand has one of the three different cores used by Ollivander: Harry's wand has a phoenix feather, Ron's wands (both his first and second) have a unicorn hair and Hermione's wands (both hers and Bellatrix's) have a dragon heartstring.
  • Out of all the wand cores, the Dragon Heartstring is the core of more character wands, with the Unicorn Tail Hair Core in second place, with the Dragon Heartstrings residing inside ten character wands and Unicorn Hair residing inside nine character wands.


Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Wand Cores" at Wizarding World
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 5 (Diagon Alley)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 18 (The Weighing of the Wands)
  4. Thestral tail hair information
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry" at Wizarding World
  6. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 36 (The Parting of the Ways)
  7. Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Mr Ollivander" at Wizarding World
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 24 (The Wandmaker)
  9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 1 (The Dark Lord Ascending)
  10. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 1, Chapter 1 (Your Journey Begins)
  11. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
  12. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 13 (The Muggle-Born Registration Commission)
  13. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 7 (The Slug Club)
  14. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 6 (The Journey from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters)
  15. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 4 (The Leaky Cauldron)
  16. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 3, Side Quest "Penny For Your Thoughts"
  17. Astrid's profile at Harry Potter: Magic Awakened: The Mysterious Malady Season: Interview with the Writers (see this image)
  18. J. K. Rowling's official site
  19. Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Sir Cadogan" at Wizarding World
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 Pottermore - "History of Magic in North America: 1920s Wizarding America"
  21. 21.0 21.1 (see this image)
  22. https://twitter.com/jk_rowling/status/1243304120389427201
  23. Hogwarts Legacy
  24. Pottermore (Wand selection ceremony)
  25. Pottermore (Apothecary: Unicorn Tail Hair)