Article By: Andrea Fawcett
It can easily be said that Garrick Ollivander is the greatest wandmaker in all of Britain. His contributions to the research of wand woods, cores and lore are incontrovertible. As a young man in the late 1920s and early 1930s, he was not happy with the common practice of the day. A spellcaster would bring some piece of wood and core material they felt drawn to to a wandmaker and have them combine it into some sort of wand. Such materials included dittany stalk, kelpie hair, and even the hair of the pet cat, placed into a piece of wood that could be anything from a family tree to a stick off the ground.
Ollivander then began to search and research woods and cores available within Great Britain and Europe, coming up with nearly 28 readily available woods and what he called ‘the Supreme Cores” of Unicorn Hair, Phoenix Feather, and Dragon Heartstring. Even though considered rare and expensive, Ollivander was able to secure steady supplies of these materials. At first many balked and fought against the ideas Ollivander presented. One of the primary opponents to this approach was that of Mykew Gregorovitch, often disagreeing on many points of Ollivander’s theories, with only a few areas where they agreed.
We are a quarter way into the 21st century and products move with greater availability and speed than ever before. So.. what if Ollivander is wrong… and there are other materials out there that deserve to be called “a Supreme Core”? This is the question we will be exploring today.
Thunderbirds are basically the American cousins of the Phoenix, and both are associated with healing abilities, lightning and fire respectively. Thunderbird feathers range in color from white to silver to navy blue. Thunderbird feathers are powerful but difficult to master, and unlike phoenix feathers they are especially well suited to transfiguration work. They also have the ability to sense danger and even fire off curses in advance when detecting supernatural dangers are near. The availability of thunderbird feathers is actually a bit easier to obtain in North America and it may be noted that thunderbird feather do not have to be donated from the animal like the phoenix feather, and can simply collected from fallen feathers or taken forcibly.
Veela Hair –
According to Garrick Ollivander, veela hair was too temperamental for his work, making almost no Veela hair wands in Britain, however other wand makers in Europe have used this core successfully. It has been confirmed that a Veela hair must be given willingly to be able to be used, and must come from a pureblood Veela.
Wampus Cat Hair
Extensively studied by the Cherokee, the wampus cat is fast, strong, and nearly invincible. It is believed to have to power of hypnosis and Legilimency. Due to the skills of the Wampus cat it is believed this core has benefits to mental magic, Legilimency, and defensive spells. First used by American wandmaker, Johannes Jonker, he took a similar approach to seeking out cores for his wands. The only known source of Wampus Cat hair is through the Cherokee tribes, who have specialised means to catch and collect the hairs.
Horned Serpent Horn
This is another core considered to be exceptionally powerful, and both the serpent and the wand core emit a musical tone when it senses danger. The wand will also vibrate when Parseltounge is spoken nearby. It is said that the core is also sensitive to forms of both invisibility and flight. Once relatively available in Western Europe,they were hunted to extinction due to overeager potioneers, though they can can be still found in the Far East, and North America. When matched with prickly Ash wood it is considered to be a wand of “exceptional power” by wandmaker Isolt Sayer.
Editor’s note: The following core is pure speculation and cannot be proven. I’m not sure Basilisks even have horns?
Considered a Subspecies of Horned serpents, the basilisk horn has appeared in mythology since Roman times. There is only one rumoured user of a basilisk horn wand core, Salazar Slytherin. Along with the abilities associated with Horned Serpents cores above, Basilisk horn cores have the ability to be put to sleep being spoken to in Parseltounge by their owner, as well as being associated with Pure-blood philosophy. It should be noted that by the complete scarcity of Basilisks that this core is extremely rare.
In conclusion, these are some of the cores that have been used for several centuries by various notable wandmakers. And I believe their inclusion into Ollivanders wand making techniques, can only add to the strength and diversity of the wands available in Britain today.