Magical Historian & Charm Devisor with the Committee on Experimental Charms.
- Joined October 2014
- Member of Ravenclaw
- 30 House Points
- 1st Year
- United States
BackstoryI got asked once "when did you know you had magical talent?" I told the same story I always do: Mother worked in the Apparition Test Centre, dad's got some sort of job in the Department of Magical Accidents & Catastrophes, I don't know what specifically, I assume he just sits at a desk dealing with administrative stuff, whatever. Anyway, we had the standard chat when I was real little, don't try anything, wait til you get to school, told me about the Trace like it's meant to be my Boggart or something like THAT'S going to stop me. Like, I wanted to make sure I wasn't a squib or anything, get my hopes up like that and get a letter saying "we're pleased to inform you that you're an outcast from society and a disappointment to your parents." when I turned 11.
We've got a pretty big library at home, anytime I'd ask my parents a question they'd respond with "why not look it up?" and encouraged curiosity and all that. (Wonder how they feel about it now...anyway.) I'd been reading about wandlore, trying to guess what I'd end up with once I DID get a wand - read the whole history and found out that before wands became standard foci that magical people tried all sorts of things that worked CENTURIES ago. Figured I could probably cobble a simple something together that'd at least let me pull off some simple charms without anything too terrible happening. That's what I told myself, at least, until the first thing I tried to do was charm my hair pink, the crude "wand" I'd been using caught fire and singed one eyebrow and turned the other one hot pink.
That's how I found out the Trace doesn't really apply when you're ten, although the extremely graphic lecture from your mother about what happens to too-curious impatient witches like me who get splinched and "next time it won't just be your eyebrow that's missing."
Long story short, I was 10, and I'm the reason my dad has a job.
Being a Charm Devisor, the story of how I got my wand is pretty important to me. I've still got a copy of the assignment from my first year Charms lesson where we had to tell the story:
"I mentioned in my assignment for last lesson about my incident with a homemade wand - the pink eyebrow incident. I remember the aftermath of that pretty vividly. My ma scolded me on account of the things she'd seen at work, she's more of a never-let-you-do-anything-so-you-don't-get-hurt parent than my dad, y'know, he's more make-your-mistakes, so he stayed out of it, other than some snide remark about "if only it were 30 floors instead of 3 between us at the Ministry," and "it's like they've given a Floo connection direct from your Department to my desk." Right, anyhow.
So it was his book on wandlore I'd been reading when I did all this, and after Mama calmed down he told me he was impressed, and that I "truly was my father's daughter," or something like that. That's when I found out my dad had actually studied Wandlore when he was at Hogwarts and wanted to become a wandmaker once upon a time before he ended up at the Ministry. ("Shame," ma said under her breath. Dad said he probably deserved that.)
So he explained why my makeshift wand had backfired and assured me that it was no indication of my own abilities, that actually I'd done rather impressively at sort-of achieving my result, given the circumstances. I asked loads and loads of questions, primarily "can we go today?" every single day until my birthday. I think dad woulda let me, but Mama said absolutely not on account of how many things I've accidentally broken and lost and did-you-forget-about-your-new-look and something about how she doesn't care if such-and-such got a wand early, because are they my children? No. I made a fuss about it but didn't get very far.
Dad promised to take me to Ollivander's the day I turned 11 -- I asked if he meant literally at midnight right when I was 11 and he said shop hours don't work that way, plus you need to be properly rested. I asked what he meant by I needed to be "rested" and he told me I could either look it up or wait and find out for myself, but knew the answer to that right away. He dug out a bunch of his old books for me ("don't worry if some of it doesn't make sense yet, that's why you go to school,") and I passed a lot of time trying to guess what kind of wand I'd end up with, or hoped for. I thought maybe it'd be made of apple wood and real pretty and light and just feel magical and I'd be so charming and adored with my lovely wand, my dad said maybe Dogwood but based on my ma's reaction I think that was just meant to rile her up. ("you get up to enough trouble as it is!")
So FINALLY, finally finally the day came and I woke up bright and early and got dressed ("why can't you be like this every morning?" Mama asked) and me and my dad made a whole day of it, we got ice cream at Florean's and went to the secondhand bookshop until Ollivander's was open. I think he could tell it was my birthday, and I remember he greeted my dad not by name but "Ah! Poplar, phoenix... eleven and three-quarters, rather supple if I recall correctly." (which my dad told me he always does. Mr. Ollivander remembers every wand he's ever sold, and I barely remember what I ate for breakfast.) Aaaaand that's when I found out what he'd meant by "well-rested", on account of how it took forever.
Dad said it was only 15 minutes, but I swear on everything it had to have been at least an hour. Ten inch maple, eleven and a half sycamore, there was a walnut/dragon heartstring one that seemed like it liked me for a bit, and there was this really really pretty hazel one that I liked, and I was hoping and hoping and once I got hold of it Mr. Ollivander took it back after just a second or two because the top started smoking and it looked like it was about to burst into flames. ("Somehow, I get the feeling that this is not an unfamiliar occurrence," Mr. Ollivander said with a bit of a smile and I just looked at my dad kind of embarrassed, and he was stifling a laugh because apparently he'd wanted to see what would happen if I got near a hazel wand.)
Finally, Mr. Ollivander gave me one to try and when he opened up the box I thought there was no way, because it wasn't shiny or elegant looking like the others, like the wand I'd been dreaming of, it looked kind of like... well, it looked homemade, like it wasn't a real wand, and I didn't really think it was worth trying (but last time I played wandmaker I lost an eyebrow, so who am I to say anything to Mr. Ollivander himself).
So I took it in my hand, same as I'd taken the last twelve or so, sort of going through the motions at this point because this isn't my wand -- and immediately I felt like there was lightning coursing through my veins and... well, this might sound weird, but it felt like the wand was saying "you're not shiny, maybe I don't want you either," and I think I stood there for a whole minute, expecting Mr. Ollivander to take it back like the others, but he was just watching with a sort of patient, curious look. I kept holding it, but nothing was happening, no fires, no glowing, nothing -- but, at the same time, I felt like we were playing chicken or seeing who could hold their breath underwater longer, the wand and me I mean, and I still felt like there was just this surge of something in my bloodstream -- but then, all of a sudden, it felt like one or both of us begrudgingly came up for air, and I felt the energy surge up out of my fingertips and through the wand and I'm not sure what motion I did, but it felt like I'd done it a thousand times before. And that's when it happened.
There was a shower of pink sparks, which I thought was really nifty, like a firework display, real magic, you know -- but then they sort of... hung around in the air, drifting up like fireflies and giving the whole shop a sort of magenta flow for a few seconds before dissipating. ("I do believe you've found each other," Mr. Ollivander said)
I asked why it took so long and why it seemed like it didn't like me. He explained that phoenix core wands are always the pickiest, and that this phoenix wand in particular was also "hard" -- a wand that would be stubborn and not easily demonstrate loyalty, so it was only natural of it to try to lock into a sort of battle with me. I said Mama's gonna love finding out I've got a wand that doesn't want to listen to me, mostly to my dad, but Mr. Ollivander said that while this wand and I would have to earn each other's trust, I mustn't forget that it is an elm wand. (I couldn't remember anything about elm wood from the books I'd been reading, and I was sort of disappointed in myself, but Mr. Ollivander didn't seem to expect me to know and continued anyway.)
"You'll notice that elm wood wands are characterized by their interlocking grain, which makes them very resistant to splitting. Elm wood has been used throughout history when a dependable, steadfast material was needed. In my experience, elm wood wands produce the fewest accidents, the least foolish errors, and--" he looked up and chuckled, as one last lingering pink spark drifted down and dispersed. "The most elegant charms and spells. The allegiance of this wand will be hard-won, but once it has been, there may be great things in store for you." (I must have made a face or something, because he finished by telling me that "a wand, much like you or I, does not have to necessarily like a person in order to recognize their achievements and their potential.")
It's not the prettiest wand, and it's not always the most cooperative wand, but it's mine -- for better or for worse. At the very least there haven't been any fires yet, so that's a small victory."
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