Wandlore For Beginners

written by AJ Cochran

An in-depth description of many wandwoods and cores, and what to expect from them.

Last Updated






Wandwoods A-D

Chapter 1

Acacia was used in the original creation of wands, but Garrick Ollivander discovered that wands from that wood were not easily matched with a Wizard. They withhold their full power from all but the most powerful wizards, but they were highly loyal to whoever they had chosen, often refusing to produce magic for any other. Given their stubbornness and difficulty to match, Ollivander does not keep very many in his shop. Owners of this type of wand are normally subtle, since the wand is unsuitable for "bangs-and-smells-magic," according to Ollivander.

Alder wands will often select an owner who is helpful, considerate, and very likeable, quite the opposite of the kind of wand it makes! Alder wands are very unyielding, and given what they look for in an owner compared to how they act, this makes them an unusual wood. These wands are very loyal when matched well. Best suited for non-verbal spell-work, they are excellent for protection. For a Wizard who wants to make something of himself, an alder wand with a phoenix tail feather is the way to go. The only thing is, not many alder wands are made. Most wandmakers believe that that since the wood changes color when cut (from white to red, as though it were bleeding), it is not going to be very successful.

Apple wands are favorable for a student who has skills in Herbology or Care of Magical Creatures, but they are not made in great numbers. They are easily overwhelmed, so are rarely combined with powerful cores. This kind of wand would not work well with the Dark Arts. While they are gentle and outdoorsy, they are still powerful. The 'perfect match' for a wand made of apple wood is very charming and possessing high aims and ideals. Many people say that if one owns an apple wand, they will be well-loved and long-lived. Interestingly, many apple wand owners have the ability to talk with other magical beings in their native tongues.
Ash trees supposedly strangle the plants around it, giving it an association with the Dark Arts. Ash wands excel at Dark magic, though Divination and Transfiguration are performed rather well with this kind of wand, too. These wands are highly loyal, and if given to another owner, will not perform at all, especially with a unicorn tail core. The possessors of ash wands are very stubborn and to try and change their minds on something is no easy feat. The 'ideal' owner of an ash wand is courageous and stubborn, but not arrogant, insensitive, or lacking intelligence.

Aspen wands are excellent in the art of Charms and duelling magic, but do not try to use this wand with Healing, as the aspen wand will take away from the power of it. If the wood is good enough to be used for a wand, it is white and fine-grained. Wand-makers take pride in the wood, as it resembles ivory. A wand made of aspen is perfect for revolutionaries, as (according to Ollivander) many owners of this kind of wand are strong-minded and filled with determination, and very likely to be attracted to quests and new orders. Those who own aspen wands are also generally defiant and talkative.
Beech wands are strong and neutral, though they have no particular strengths or weaknesses. The 'ideal' owner of a beech wand are wise beyond their years (if they are young), or have a lot of understanding and experience (if full-grown). A narrow-minded and intolerant owner can expect very little from a beech wand. With the ideal owner, a wand of beechwood can be very subtle and artistic that is not seen much in any other wood. But a beech wand has one small quirk: it functions less effectively underwater.
Birch wands tend to have a bad reputation, being called weak. However, they are one of the finest woods for Light magic. For an excellent, strong Patronus, a birch wand is the way to go. They are very good at getting rid of evil spirits and at healing magic. Ollivander does not make wands with this wood, but the wandmaker in Hogsmeade does.

Blackthorn wands have a reputation of being well-suited for a warrior. Wizards who practice the Dark Arts will do well with this kind of wand, though Aurors use them as well (It is noted that those incarcerated in Azkaban and Death Eaters often have blackthorn wands as well). A wand made from blackthorn apparently needs to go through danger and hardship with their owner to bond, similar to the blackthorn bush putting forth the sweetest berries after the hard frosts. If the condition is fulfilled, the wand will be as faithful as any could hope for.

Black Ironwood wands sink in water, which in itself is rather remarkable. The 'iron' in the name of this African wood indicates power and strength, but this could not be more wrong. The weight of the wand makes spellcasting difficult, particularly in lengthy wands, thus it is rarely used in wandmaking (even in Africa). These wands are nearly useless underwater.

Black Walnut wands are less common than regular walnut. They are a beautiful dark color, but are not easy to master. Do not let the color deceive, as the color is merely decorative, not an indication of excelling in the Dark Arts. Black Walnut trees are actually able to kill plants of the Nightshade family with a chemical they produced, thus wands of this wood is very good with Light magic. The 'ideal' owner of a black walnut wand have good instincts and very good insight. When paired with an owner who is sincere and self-aware, a wand of this wood is one of the most loyal and impressive, having a flair for charmwork. If the owner of this type of wand is not honest (be it with themselves or others), the wand will not perform properly and need to be paired with a new owner. One pronounced quirk (the only one, really) is that these wands are very attuned to inner conflict, and will lose power if its master tries to do self-deception in any fashion.

Blue Spruce wands are very strong, similar to spruce wands. They excel in Charms, Healing, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Care of Magical Creatures, Transfiguration, Divination, and literally every other kind of magic with only one exception: the Dark Arts. But if the owner of a blue spruce wand has a strong personality, they may be able to coax it to perform Dark Arts more than they would with a spruce wand.

Cedar wand owners are often particularly skilled with the art of Occlumency and the wands have great skill with protective skills, the 'perfect' owner of a cedar wand has insight and perception. They are highly loyal, as Ollivander said that he has yet to meet the owner of a cedar wand that he would cross (particularly if harm has been done to the cedar wand owner's loved ones). They can be quite frightening as an opponent (if well-matched with their wand), more often shocking whoever challenged them. According to Ollivander, he always finds strong character in the owner of a cedar wand. 

Cherry wands are very rare and not often used in the Western part of the world, though in Japan, they are very highly prized. Those who own cherry wands often get high amounts of respect from their peers. But in the West, it is often (incorrectly) assumed that cherry wands are merely pretty things to look at. These wands are lethal with whatever core it is paired with. With a phoenix feather core, a wizard who practices Light magic without much talent can expect excellent results. If paired with a dragon heartstring core, the owner of the wand needs to have superb self-control and mental strength. These wands excel at all types of magic except the Dark Arts and make for very happy and willing wands.

Chestnut wands are not the best when it comes to Defense Against the Dark Arts and Charms, but they are good at Transfiguration. They have few characteristics of their own, but prefer witches and wizards skilled in Herbology, taming magical beasts, and flying. Interestingly, they tend to take on the character of whatever core put in the wand and whoever owns the wand. Dragon heartstring cores combined with this wand make for wands that prefer owners that are exceedingly fond of luxury and material things, and less attentive to how they get them. However, when paired with a unicorn tail hair, the wands tend to choose someone who will be concerned with justice.

Cypress trees have been associated with Hades (the Greek god of the underworld). It was often told in medieval times that the owner of a cypress wand would die a heroic death, as the cypress is associated with valour. Many owners of cypress wands will lay down their lives if need be, and the wands choose those who are brave, self-sacrificing, and bold. The 'ideal' match for a cypress aren't afraid to confront the shadows in people's natures, be it their own or someone else's. The power of a cypress wand is subtle, though they are skilled at Transfiguration and the Dark Arts.
Dogwood wands are like children. They are peculiar, playful, like to make mischief, and demand owners who can give them excitement and good times. But to assume that dogwood wands cannot perform serious magic would be a mistake. Under dire conditions, the magic that they can perform is amazing, especially when paired with an ingenious owner. They tend to have a violent streak, since dogwood was formerly used to make dagger. The wands are resilient, as the wood is extremely hard and strong, yet they will not perform non-verbal spells and are noisy quite often.
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