We see in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry tries out several wands before the holly and phoenix feather wand chooses him.

Harry tried. And tried. He had no idea what Mr. Ollivander was waiting for. The pile of tried wands was mounting higher and higher on the spindly chair, but the more wands Mr. Ollivander pulled from the shelves, the happier he seemed to become.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 5

What would Ollivander do if none of the wands chose the witch or wizard who's come to buy one? Would he just give them the second best wand suited for them? Or would he custom make a wand for them?

  • 1
    Sigh and send them to another, less demanding wand ship down the road, probably. Feb 9, 2018 at 17:06
  • 3
    Ollivander has thousands of wands. One of them's gonna work.
    – Valorum
    Feb 9, 2018 at 17:09
  • 5
    Having thousands of wands has worked for them since 382BC. But what happens when one kid comes along who's incompatible with all thousands of them? At what point does Ollivander throw his hands up and just give them one at random and send them on their way?
    – sudhanva
    Feb 9, 2018 at 17:14
  • 12
    It doesn't sound like he'd give up. It sounds like he'd lose his mind in excitement.
    – Ellesedil
    Feb 9, 2018 at 17:29
  • 4
    Like @Ellesedil, I think Ollivander'd get so excited, he'd literally try every single wand, and then make a wand to suit. Feb 9, 2018 at 18:47

4 Answers 4


Ollivander would probably use the data from the wands that quasi worked and just built the kid a custom wand, probably free of charge, and take an immense amount of satisfaction from building the best wand for the kid.

That´s assuming the wand chose the kid, of course.


One doesn't need to have THE wand to successfully perform magic

First of all we see in the books that it's not that a wand is either perfect match for a wizard or complete disaster. There is full range of intermediate stages when a wizard can use a wand with some success. For instance, in Deathly Hallows Harry was fine with Hermione's wand (though it didn't choose him), but was struggling with a snatcher's wand that didn't suit him at all. After getting wands from Draco and Bella, he chooses Draco's (though he doesn't know that) because it "feels friendlier" in his hand - like, it's not perfect, but better then the other one. Ron uses Charlie's wand and noone is bothered that it didn't choose him (same case with Neville).

So it can be just Ollivander's perfectionism and professional pride that he tries to find the perfect-perfect match for each new buyer. In fact, lots of wands in his shop would do just fine for a customer in case there will not be THE wand for them. He will just need to advice on the best choice.

Ollivander's is not the only wand shop

As we learn in Deathly Hallows after Ollivander was abducted, children are able to buy wands from other wandmakers. So probably if there is no match for them at Ollivanders, customers can try their luck in other shops.

Custom wands are possible

We know two cases when Ollivander did custom wands - Pettigrew and Luna (Deathly Hallows again). So if Ollivander wants to keep the customer or his professional pride is affected, he can do a custom wand. We do not know if he practices it though, but it still can be an option.


According to the Harry Potter Wiki article about Wandless magic, wands are a European invention, and some cultures don't even use them. So even if a wizard child isn't chosen by any wands at all (even custom-made ones), he would still be able to practice magic.

Under an enlightened Headmaster such as Dumbledore, the wizard would certainly be permitted to attend Hogwarts. After continuing to learn and grow his powers, such a wizard would eventually be strong enough to "win" a wand by defeating another wizard.

(Obviously, a wizard child without a wand would be immediately draw attention from other children, and at their young age he would probably be an outcast, treated as "inferior" by most of his classmates.)

  • meh. he would have a difficult time keeping up with the curriculum. while wandless magic is possible, it certainly more difficult and less powerful/easy to control. He would have to work hundreds of harder to keep up. The evidence for this is that great wizards use wands. Feb 11, 2018 at 4:28
  • The wandles wizard would probably evolve into an Obscurous, able to transform into a power form instead of casting magic spells, though he would probably become more powerful than wand-bearing students, as it is my opinion that while a wand facilitates magic, it restricts its use and confines its uses to a language that the wand can enterprise. Man that feels long. Feb 12, 2018 at 16:29
  • 1
    That sounds sooo unlikely, really. Ron spent the whole year studying with his brother's broken wand. I mean, it's not only that it didn't choose him, it was also malfunctioning. Still he didn't go for non-wand magic. Obviously it is possible to use a wand that didn't choose you - better than nothing anyway.
    – Shana Tar
    Oct 28, 2018 at 16:02
  • HP Wikia isn't exactly a reliable source, I think you might do better with a canon option or at least a canon-based example... Wandless magic in 11-year-olds doesn't seem very plausible.
    – ava
    Mar 12, 2021 at 17:58
  • You are correct in the theory of wandless magic, but that is very rare and requires an exceptional amount of power, however, I will give +1 for recognizing that at such a young age, he or she would probably be an outcast.
    – ava
    Mar 12, 2021 at 18:01

A child without a wand is like a child without a pencil. They can always borrow one, even if the borrowed pencil wouldn't be as good as their own if they had one. Now replace the word pencil with the word wand. There are multiple solutions for this, although they are purely canon-based speculation because there are no recorded cases of this. However, all of the possible solutions do have evidence/examples, and in some cases, quotes to back up their likeliness and reliability.

Theory 1: He would probably just make a custom wand based on which ones produced a better result, even if it is not a perfect one. For example, if a person did not have a perfect result with Applewood, but it had a better result than some other wand wood, then Ollivander would custom-make an Applewood wand but just change the core up a little bit. I do have a quote to support this, from the Sorcerer's stone, from when Harry had to try many wands until he found his match.

"But the more wands he tried, the more excited Ollivander seemed to get..."

This supports that Ollivander would have been happy to provide a blossoming witch/wizard in the making with all the tools that they would need because he really seems to love what he does.

Theory 2: They could choose a wand that felt, "friendlier in his hand," (DH1 quote) that worked decently for that witch/wizard, similar to the way Hermione and Draco's wands both worked reasonably well for Harry.

Theory 3: They could try their luck with another wandmaker if no Ollivander wand seems to work. Ollivander only uses the "3 supreme cores," suitable for wands, so it is possible that they would need an untraditional core as well.

See this link for the "3 supreme cores".

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