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"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]

Different wands with different cores

Different wands with different cores

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

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]


The core type was 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]

When more than one wand had twin cores - meaning they shared the same material from the same creature - they were known as brothers and held greater power when used together. When Chadwick and Webster Boot used them as a team, their wands with cores from the same Horned Serpent increased in power tenfold.[5] However, when they were used in conflict with another, the connecting spells created Priori Incantatem, as seen when 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]

Known core materials

Core Wands these cores are used in
Dragon heartstring
Phoenix feather
Unicorn tail hair
Veela hair
Thestral tail hair
Troll whisker
Dittany Stalk
Thunderbird tail feather[18]
Wampus cat hair[18][5]
White River Monster spine[18]
Rougarou hair[18]
Horned Serpent horn[5]
Snallygaster heartstring[5]
Jackalope antler[5]
Kneazle whisker[19]
Kelpie hair[19]
Basilisk horn[5]
Curupira hair[20]

Characteristics of wand core materials

Core material Known wand-maker to use it Known characteristics
Dragon heartstring Powerful and easy to learn spells, though could easily be committed to another owner
Phoenix feather
  • Garrick Ollivander
Learned most varied magic, hard to be chosen
Unicorn tail hair
  • Garrick Ollivander
Consistent magic, bonded strongly to first user
Veela hair Temperamental
Kneazle whisker Not very powerful
Dittany stalk Unknown
Kelpie hair
  • Gervaise Ollivander
Easily obtainable, frequently used in the past
Thestral tail hair
  • Antioch Peverell
Not easily seen
Coral Unknown
Thunderbird tail feather[18] Powerful, but difficult to master, particularly prized by Transfigurers. Could sense danger and cast curses on their own.
Wampus cat hair[18][5] Unknown
White River Monster spine[18] Produced spells of force and elegance
Rougarou hair[18] Rumoured to have had an affinity for dark magic, although suitable for use by non-dark wizards and witches as well
Horned Serpent horn[5] Exceptionally powerful and sensitive to Parseltongue. Could warn its owner of danger by emitting a low musical tone.
Snallygaster heartstring[5] Unknown
Jackalope antler[5] Unknown
Basilisk horn[5] Unknown, presumably had an affinity for the Dark Arts.
Curupira hair Unstable, had an affinity for powerful yet unpredictable wizards


All wands sold by Garrick Ollivander cost seven galleons, regardless of core or wood.[21] Unicorn tail hair, however, was worth ten galleons a hair,[22] 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 (archive)
  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. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 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. 10.0 10.1 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
  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. J. K. Rowling's official site
  17. Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Sir Cadogan" at Wizarding World
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 18.6 18.7 18.8 Pottermore - "History of Magic in North America: 1920s Wizarding America"
  19. 19.0 19.1 (see this image)
  20. https://twitter.com/jk_rowling/status/1243304120389427201
  21. Pottermore (Wand selection ceremony)
  22. Pottermore (Apothecary: Unicorn Tail Hair)