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Halrloprillalar

You can call me Hal.

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Foolish wand waving.
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prillalar

This week's hp100 challenge is about wands. Whilst trying to think up an idea (still don't have a good one), I got thinking about wands and some discussions I've had about them in the past.

What exactly does a wand do? It seems to both amplify and direct magical force. We've seen people do magic without wands -- Harry freeing the snake, blowing up Aunt Marge, etc. Dumbledore seems to do a fair amount of wandless magic. When Ron's wand is broken and taped back together, it seems to direct the magical energy in unpredictable ways. (Interestingly, Hagrid's broken wand, concealed inside his umbrella, seems to work just fine.)

They say that the wand chooses the wizard, but I sometimes wonder if that's just Ollivander's sales gimmick. We've seen a few instances of people doing magic with a wand that's not their own: Ron's first wand is a hand-me-down from Charlie (and why would Charlie get a new wand?), Barty Jr uses Harry's wand to conjure the Dark Mark in GoF, in CoS Lockhart uses Ron's wand to cast Obliviate and expects it to work without mishap. Neville improves drastically in his DADA spellcasting even though he's using his father's wand. When Ron gets his new wand (fourteen inches, willow, containing one unicorn tail-hair) I don't see that his magical ability improves at all as a result.

Here's my theory: wizards could do as or nearly as powerful magic without wands, but it would take more training to channel and direct the magic. Because they are taught to work with wands, they are nearly helpless without them. It's a method of control of wizards, devised long long ago.

But then again -- from GoF: So that's clause three of the Code of Wand Use broken, for a start. No non-human creature is permitted to carry or use a wand. House elves seem to be able to do quite powerful magic without wands -- would the amplification powers of wands make the elves far too powerful? As well, in the same scene, they note that the Dark Mark can only be conjured with a wand.

I suppose, though, if wizards have been using wands for thousands of years, all new spell development uses wands.

Some other random points:

* I only just noticed that when Harry waves his wand in Ollivander's, it shoot out sparks in red and gold -- Gryffindor colours. That's kind of disturbing, actually. Co-incidence? Prophecy?

* How did Voldemort get his wand back?

* Harry's wand is eleven inches long (Ron's is fourteen -- fourteen!) yet he seems to carry it in the back pocket of his jeans. Wouldn't it jab him in the back all the time? In PoA, he tucks it inside his t-shirt for a Quidditch game. Again, it seems rather tricky to pull off.

* Everybody's wand is unique and people seem to be able to easily recognize their own and other's wands. In PoA, [Lupin] separated Harry's, Ron's and Hermione's wands and threw each back to its owner. Yet, Fred and George can make fake wands that fool people. That could be some sort of all-purpose illusion, though.

* Does Sirius have a wand in GoF or OotP? (I'm out of time before work to check.) ETA: of course Sirius has a wand in OotP. D'oh. But I wonder if it's his original wand or if they got him a new one.

Hmm, all that and still no drabble idea.


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Harry's wand is eleven inches long (Ron's is fourteen -- fourteen!) yet he seems to carry it in the back pocket of his jeans. Wouldn't it jab him in the back all the time? In PoA, he tucks it inside his t-shirt for a Quidditch game. Again, it seems rather tricky to pull off.

Clearly they've been having some conversations with Immortals. I mean, at least it's not a katana, right?

Hee! But don't they have special things to hold katanas onto you with? There don't seem to be any special wand-sheathes or the like.

(Deleted comment)
::sticks ruler down shirt::

Harry could pull it off. He's skinny, and he doesn't have breasts.

*laugh* But how would it *stay* there? You'd need pretty substantial cleavage to keep the wand from slipping.

(Ron's is fourteen -- fourteen!)

Well, she did say Ron got taller faster. He's probably...er...in proportion. Wink wink.

Crap. Now I have to read some Ron smutfic. Damn you, Hal.

No good can come of wand posts, I tell you. No good!

Sirius does not have one in GoF. He does in OotP. This is a fascinating post, will come back when I have more time and expand on it...

and why would Charlie get a new wand?

IMO, no good reason other than so Ron can have yet another hand-me-down. I suppose a more generous answer would be that as young wizards go through their teens, sometimes they change enough to need a different type of wand.

Harry's wand is eleven inches long (Ron's is fourteen -- fourteen!) yet he seems to carry it in the back pocket of his jeans. Wouldn't it jab him in the back all the time? In PoA, he tucks it inside his t-shirt for a Quidditch game. Again, it seems rather tricky to pull off.

Yeah, those robes need wand pockets, as I have probably said before. I have no idea what wizards should do with their wands while wearing Muggle clothing, but I agree that the main problem with Harry using his back pocket isn't that he'll burn his butt off (or whatever Moody said.)

And wouldn't Harry's t-shirt have to be *really* tight to keep his wand from moving around or slipping out the bottom of his shirt?

And wouldn't Harry's t-shirt have to be *really* tight to keep his wand from moving around or slipping out the bottom of his shirt?

Maybe he uses a sticking charm? Or the end rests in the waist of his jeans? Which strikes me as far more worrisome than having it stuck in the *back* pocket... *g*

no good reason other than so Ron can have yet another hand-me-down. I suppose a more generous answer would be that as young wizards go through their teens, sometimes they change enough to need a different type of wand.

I may be conflating fic with canon, but doesn't it say somewhere about Harry getting his "first" wand?

I think it makes total sense that one's personality/needs at 11 are not the same as at 21, or 37 or 63. So it's possible that many wizards outgrow their wands and need to buy new ones. Otherwise, how is Ollivander staying in business?

Let's say each new Hogwarts class is between 70 and 120 kids. Even if you factor in foreign business wanting English-made wands, and people who don't go to Hogwarts (are there many wizards/witches in the UK who don't?), that doesn't strike me as enough business to keep a shop open all year round, for 2300 years.

Hagrid's wand doesn't actually work perfectly . . . Or he would have turned Dudley all the way into a pig.

Hmm, but is that the wand or Hagrid's imcomplete magical education?

Part of it is that Ron only gets leftovers and handmedowns, I'm sure.

But that wand was in *bad* shape when Ron got it. Maybe Charlie's line of work is hard on wands for some reason. The wand itself was still usable, but not ideal anymore for dragon work - and now Charlie can afford to buy his own wand.

And I think Ollivander said something about, "I remember when your parents got their first wands." So, maybe it's not unknown to change wands later in life.

Maybe dragon workers have to get specially-treated non-flammable wands. :)

No non-human creature is permitted to carry or use a wand.

How are werewolves classified again? I'll have to check FB when I get home.

I think Remus would have had to investigate wandless magic, just because the atmostphere in OotP is such that it seems like at any point, he's going to be hauled off and locked up and not just for one night am month.

* How did Voldemort get his wand back?

I'm guessing Peter took it and hid it for him before going underground. Which means Peter was at some point at Godric's Hollow that night. Huh. There's fic in that.

Because it seems to me that if they're going to break Harry's wand for underage use of magic, then they'd be snapping Voldie's posthaste, so it couldn't have been stolen from Evidence Control, the way Muggle evidence could be from Muggle police. (this is also why I think Sirius's wand in OotP is new - his old one was most likely snapped when he was arrested. Alternately, it's an old Black family wand.)

Wouldn't that mean that Ollivander knows Tom Riddle is Voldemort then?

I've wondered about this. Because if it was fairly common knowledge that Riddle was Voldy, then why would Hagrid still have the original chamber of secrets blot on his record and why would he have had to go back to Azkaban when the chamber was opened again?

Plot hole?

This is amazing commentary. And it touches on many points that I have personally wondered about as I've read JK's books. I, too, have come to the conclusion that the wand must be a channeling device, a means to an end, but not the only means. It's probably just easier for these young, aspiring wizards who are only learning how their own bodies work to learn basic spell casting with concrete tools vs. having to channel their magic through meditation, focus. Like you said, I would like to think that, with time, they will learn more efficient, self-defensive ways of casting the same spells.

Like you said, I would like to think that, with time, they will learn more efficient, self-defensive ways of casting the same spells.

I totally think they could learn wandless magic if people actually taught it to them. But I expect that very few people are proficient enough to teach.

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