Let’s engage in a simple thought experiment, shall we?
Go back to that day you first got your wand.
Some of you I’m sure won’t even need to close your eyes to remember, it’s that concrete of a memory.
The anticipation, the smell of the shop, the light and the air, the crinkle of paper and shuffling of boxes. Then there was the testing; going over and over through wands that don’t quite match, each like an ill fitting pair of shoes. All but one of them going back into boxes to wait out, in darkness, a solitary time till they got to meet their owner. Maybe like me you felt for those wands, a moment of sadness or hope that is soon forgotten, because suddenly it’s there in your hand…
…and you know.
Perhaps more than the letter, or that first accident when some hiccup of emotion made something go haywire, the wand is what really sets you on that path towards defining who you are as a witch or wizard. You get it in a way that is ineffable except to other people who have experienced the same. However, that moment, like the wand…is yours.
Really, truly yours.
I tried to explain to my mother once what it was like, since she’s muggle and didn’t quite understand it as a concept. I explained how being paired to your wand is a bit like meeting an old friend for the first time. The only analogue she could think of was in having children; and even then it fell short as I explained that the wand is an extension of oneself, a lifelong partner and as such was the reason it was custom to be buried with one’s wand.
This in and of itself is probably the primary distinguishing factor between ourselves and muggles. More than the obvious, “Well, we can do magic and they cannot” clap trap, (which is too simple a reasoning in my mind) is the underlying subtlety of what we can do with those wands. With us, wands are able to create things great and terrible and wonderful and fearsome, depending of course on how you use them. That is the real difference there folks. It’s as much possibility as it is responsibility.
Oh. And you get to explore all of this starting at the age of eleven. Whee.
There is, after all, nothing else that quite defines a witch or wizard quite like their wand. Literally. From the core to the wood to the almost sentient way in which they choose us, never mind the craftsmanship and artistry that goes into making each and every one of them. It should make you wonder at how someone could treat such a venerated object with anything but the highest respect.
Nevertheless it happens, and has happened.
I’m sure many of you are quite aware of events at a very recent charms class, wherein the professor asked a student for his wand, in order to “prevent him from cheating.” Now, regardless of reasons, said student instead followed the spirit of the request in giving his wand to another student. I’m not here to quibble over particularities; ie, the mindset of the professor in perhaps assuming some sort of culpability on the part of the student, nor on the students mindset in giving his wand to a trusted friend. What I am here to talk about his what happened after.
Actions were taken, words said, none of them important to this narrative as the point remains: The wand ended up in the hands of the Charms professor, wherein he threw his arm back and tossed it out into the lake. If you were there you are not wrong in feeling angry or upset, nor are you wrong in feeling frustrated or disgusted with the events that transpired. If anything, your first feeling is usually the correct one.
The question is, what do we do with those feelings?
For some, it seems the obvious answer to act then and ask questions later. Still others would say that knee-jerk reactions without thought of consequence only leads to more trouble.
In either case, both parties knew they were seeing something wrong. So the question remains in knowing how to react, and that’s the rub. I can’t tell you dear reader how to go about such things, It’s not my place, I wouldn’t even try.
However, what I can say to you is this:
Life is a series of situations where you will be given choices. To act in a way that is true to yourself is usually the best course of action.
You as a student are as worthy of dignity, respect and courtesy as the next person and there is no title, age, heritage or gender that would change this.
Regardless of how you react to an unfairness, to not react at all makes you complicit in that unfair action.
Adults are not always correct, and are in fact human. There is no greater lesson to this end than in our own history in which a great war was started by adults and was ended largely by the actions of children.
I would take a moment to invite any of you who pass me in the hall or sit with me in the Great Hall to tell me about your wand. It can be as little or as much as you like. Anything you want. I figure there should be someone who should listen to such things. To save time I’ll tell you about mine. It’s ebony; apparently suited to non-conformists, independents and people who don’t mind being a bit of an outsider, that paired with its dragon heartstring core has always been of great help in my best class which is transfiguration. It’s also quite large, apparently tipping the end of the scale in length as it’s a whopping 14.5 inches, and since it was 1/3 of my height at the time I can assure you that it was a great ruddy pain to carry about. Where other girls could wear theirs cutely in their hair, I kept mine strapped to my back like it was a claymore. I don’t mind so much anymore, and for some reason now my wand reminds me of a great dane that thinks it’s a lapdog, quite the gentle giant, but ever so protective.
Regardless of sentiments, I look back on that wand of mine and remind myself again that to own one is as much possibility as it is responsibility.
Just a thought.