Wandmaker Spotlight: Ollivander’s Then and Now!

What’s the name of the illustrious wand shop in Diagon Alley we all know and love? The one where great wizards and witches have been known to purchase their wands for centuries? The one renowned for being family-owned and creating quite arguably the highest quality wands in the world? That’s right, it’s Ollivander’s!
Established in 382 BC, Ollivander’s was founded by the very first Ollivander, whose first name has been lost to history. It is said that he came to Britain from a Mediterranean area, possibly even accompanied by early Romans. Although it may be hard to believe, Ollivander’s started out merely as a very small business, running out of a stall and selling fine wands primarily to ancient British wizards whose magical instruments were crude and subpar. As you may imagine, however, the business soon grew into an acclaimed shop!

For generations, the Ollivander family passed down their trade. However, you may be surprised to learn that it used to be run very differently! It wasn’t until Garrick Ollivander came along that wands were crafted from a carefully selected core and wood. Before his time, it was commonplace for wizards and witches to visit the shop with a core to which they were attached, whether it be something they had inherited or merely the whiskers of a favorite pet kneazle. This core would be paired with a favorite type of wood, and voila, you had a wand! But Garrick Ollivander believed that this simply wouldn’t do. He was obsessed with creating only the best wands. To him, this meant having a limited selection of three of the most tremendously powerful wand cores known to wizard (dragon heartstring, unicorn tailhair, and the feather of a phoenix). One of these cores would be expertly matched with a selection of wandwood, of which only the most exceptional types were used. The result was a wand clearly unmatched in quality. With Mister Ollivander’s new methods of wandmaking put to use, young witches and wizards seeking a first wand could walk into Ollivander’s shop with only seven galleons in hand and walk out with a wand unique to them! No two wands are exactly alike, as ensured by a numerous bundle of factors. The possibilities of unique wands are nearly infinite with traits such as wandwood, core, length, and flexibility is taken into account! Quite possibly the most interesting thing about these beautiful wands is that they choose the wizard they will be bonded to, not the other way around. This was unheard of before Garrick Ollivander’s time and caused a bit of an uproar. It quickly died down, however, as people learned that his ways of wandmaking were finer and far superior to anything done before! His ways of gathering wandwood and carefully marrying it to a certain core were closely guarded secrets, sought after by many a jealous rival wandmaker. However, we know little more than this: the wand chooses the wizard.

These days, Mister Ollivander allows young witches and wizards slightly more choice in the matter. Having aged considerably since his prime, he doesn’t quite have the time or energy to gather materials by himself to make all of his fabulous wands. This being said, Ollivander enlists the soon-to-be Hogwarts student in need of a wand to head into the backyard of his shop to gather their own wood and core. He still sticks firmly to his selection of the highest quality wandmaking supplies, of course!

Wood can be gathered from a magical tree in the very back of Mister Ollivander’s backyard, and cores have a special place in the mine to the right of his back door. If you talk to him using the secret code words ‘1’ and ‘yes’, he will allow you to go into his backyard and begin gathering supplies for your very first wand! First, you’ll have to bring him three pieces of wood, from which he will select the best. Then you’ll have to bring him a wand core from his mine! At that point, Mister Ollivander will put your wand together. You’ll have to give it a wave, and if it doesn’t work, he’ll quickly make you another wand to try out. Once your wand has chosen you, you’re good to go!

Every student who is new to 1.12 DA will need to get a brand new wand; it seems our old ones have stopped performing magic. So what are you waiting for? If you haven’t already, stop by Ollivander’s today and get your very own fine wand!

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