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According to Pottermore on wand cores and wand woods:

This is the rarest core type. Phoenix feathers are capable of the greatest range of magic, though they may take longer than either unicorn or dragon cores to reveal this. They show the most initiative, sometimes acting of their own accord, a quality that many witches and wizards dislike.

Phoenix feather wands are always the pickiest when it comes to potential owners, for the creature from which they are taken is one of the most independent and detached in the world. These wands are the hardest to tame and to personalise, and their allegiance is usually hard won.


Holly is one of the rarer kinds of wand woods; traditionally considered protective, it works most happily for those who may need help overcoming a tendency to anger and impetuosity. At the same time, holly wands often choose owners who are engaged in some dangerous and often spiritual quest. Holly is one of those woods that varies most dramatically in performance depending on the wand core, and it is a notoriously difficult wood to team with phoenix feather, as the wood's volatility conflicts strangely with the phoenix's detachment. In the unusual event of such a pairing finding its ideal match, however, nothing and nobody should stand in their way.

Harry, obviously, had a holly wand with a phoenix feather core, while most of his classmates had wands with neither. In the earlier books, was he shown to struggle with his wand to a greater degree than his classmates, as these writings suggest he might have? As I recall, he did have difficulty in a number of classes in Philosopher's Stone, but then so did everyone else (except Hermione).

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    " In the unusual event of such a pairing finding its ideal match, however, nothing and nobody should stand in their way." -> Maybe this applies to Harry? Nov 18, 2017 at 9:19
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    I'd want to re-read the early books to be sure but I don't remember any specific mention of him having more difficulty with his wand. He came to school with no preparation and Hogwarts was a esteemed. There's a lot he didn't know and that was made apparent more than once but wand troubles weren't brought up. I think it makes a case for Harry being in the direction of extraordinary more than anything else. He overcame most of the difficulty he faced.
    – userLTK
    Nov 18, 2017 at 14:04
  • Certainly no more than Ron did with his in their second year. Nov 18, 2017 at 15:01
  • I can only think about GoF where Harry struggles to learn all the new spells and charms for the different tasks, including the Summoning Charm, which is on his year's curriculum, so it's not like he was learning something way above his level. However, in PoA, Harry is also seen mastering the Patronus Charm, a charm that is supposedly very difficult and above his level, to Lupin's surprise, also with the same wand. I think the "ideal match" sentence definitely applies to Harry.
    – Pwassonne
    Nov 19, 2017 at 20:52

3 Answers 3

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It’s almost undoubtedly not the reason for any of his failures.

Harry does have trouble in class, but he’s attached to his wand, and in fact had worse results when he was forced to use other wands, preferring his instead.

“Sorry – reducio.’

The spider did not shrink. Harry looked down at the blackthorn wand. Every minor spell he had cast with it so far that day had seemed less powerful than those he had produced with his phoenix wand. The new one felt intrusively unfamiliar, like having somebody else’s hand sewn to the end of his arm.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 20 (Xenophilius Lovegood)

He’d also used Hermione’s and Draco’s wands, and although they worked better than the blackthorn wand, he still preferred his above all others. After the battle was over, he fixed his wand, preferring fixing it to either getting a new wand or using the Elder Wand.

“He laid the broken wand upon the Headmaster’s desk, touched it with the very tip of the Elder Wand and said, ‘Reparo.’ As his wand resealed, red sparks flew out of its end. Harry knew that he had succeeded. He picked up the holly and phoenix wand, and felt a sudden warmth in his fingers, as though wand and hand were rejoicing at their reunion.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 36 (The Flaw in the Plan)

With that clear bond between him and his wand, that certainly wasn’t his problem.

Harry and his wand are likely covered in this part.

Harry is in fact shown to have a good connection with his wand, so it’s likely this is the part of the Pottermore piece referring to him and his wand.

Holly is one of those woods that varies most dramatically in performance depending on the wand core, and it is a notoriously difficult wood to team with phoenix feather, as the wood's volatility conflicts strangely with the phoenix's detachment. In the unusual event of such a pairing finding its ideal match, however, nothing and nobody should stand in their way.
Wand Woods - Pottermore

As a large part of the series, including his match to his wand (especially considering its connection with the Dark Lord’s and the things it does as a result) is about how special Harry is, this would be logical.

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No

As the books are centered on Harry, we obviously see more of his struggles in the course of his studies, than of the others. This does not mean that he struggles more. And I do not remember any description of Harry's failures at school mentioning the wand as a source of the failure.

If he had substantially more wand troubles than the others, or these struggles were too hard for Harry, one of the following things would occur:

  • That particular wand would not choose Harry in the first place (remember, the wand chooses the wizard)
  • One of the teachers would notice that and advise him what to do. That is what the teachers at Hogwarts are for, anyway.

If you mean exactly wand troubles, the most 'troublesome' wand user in the early books was Ron, because of an earlier incident when his wand broke (as mentioned in the comments).

If you mean that Harry had more troubles with his studies in general, then I suggest that Neville Longbottom appears such a pathetic student who has to struggle a lot to get at least satisfactory grades (again, we limit to the early books). Harry is good with some subjects, worse with others, like most students are.

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As you said, his wand wood and cores would have affected this, as he did not complete a single spell successfully in Philosopher's Stone. While this may have contributed to some of his struggles, he certainly didn't have the worst time with his wand. Ron's wand had some functionality issues, even before it broke. (Although he was not chosen by his wand, it was a hand-me-down, but it still belonged to him, and he still struggled with it) If you take a look at any character in the series, especially Seamus Finnigan, they all had difficulty with their wand in some way, apart from Hermione, who did extensive studying so the "understood" her wand, and Harry, from Chamber of Secrets on, didn't have that much trouble at all. So no, Harry did not struggle any more or less than his classmates, but as I cannot find a canonical quote for this, these examples do the case justice anyway.

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