In my ‘break’ from cramming for the JLPT (I say break from, but it’s more like I have little breaks for studying; definitely shouldn’t be the case, but procrastination brings out the worst of us), I’ve been exploring Pottermore. I’m still really far in front, in the first book, but I just got my wand from Ollivander! I really like the name Ollivander, by the way; there’s a certain old charm to it somehow.
Unicorn hair generally produces the most consistent magic, and is least subject to fluctuations and blockages. Wands with unicorn cores are generally the most difficult to turn to the Dark Arts. They are the most faithful of all wands, and usually remain strongly attached to their first owner, irrespective of whether he or she was an accomplished witch or wizard.
Minor disadvantages of unicorn hair are that they do not make the most powerful wands (although the wand wood may compensate) and that they are prone to melancholy if seriously mishandled, meaning that the hair may ‘die’ and need replacing.
Wand flexibility or rigidity denotes the degree of adaptability and willingness to change possessed by the wand-and-owner pair – although, again, this factor ought not to be considered separately from the wand wood, core and length, nor of the owner’s life experience and style of magic, all of which will combine to make the wand in question unique.
Strong, durable and warm in colour, larch has long been valued as an attractive and powerful wand wood. Its reputation for instilling courage and confidence in the user has ensured that demand has always outstripped supply. This much sought-after wand is, however, hard to please in the matter of ideal owners, and trickier to handle than many imagine. I find that it always creates wands of hidden talents and unexpected effects, which likewise describes the master who deserves it. It is often the case that the witch or wizard who belongs to the larch wand may never realise the full extent of their considerable talents until paired with it, but that they will then make an exceptional match.
Let’s see what sorting will bring!
“You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart,
Their daring, nerve and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart”
– The Sorting Hat
Bravery and chivalry? Daring and nerve? I guess that kind of reflects what I’ve been talking about recently. Really thought I’d get sorted into Hufflepuff, but this is a pleasant surprise. Perhaps I’ll follow in Neville Longbottom’s footsteps (and become a heartthrob? Unlikely, but I can dream) and become the courageous fellow he was in the later books, once he believed in himself. According to this, anyway: “The Sorting Hat can detect nascent qualities in a student and place them in the House that will challenge them and put their character to the test. Case in point, Neville Longbottom was sorted into Gryffindor because the Hat sensed that he was capable of demonstrating bravery and leadership during his time at Hogwarts. However, these qualities did not fully surface until Neville learned to believe in himself.”
One of the fun things about fiction is that it lets you imagine yourself as any of the characters that you identify with at any point in time, and as that character grows, you can take qualities you admire and try them out in yourself so you grow too, though probably not as exponentially as most characters do.
“Life doesn’t require ideals. It requires standards of action.”
– Nagasawa (Norwegian Wood by Murakami Haruki)