Given that wand lore is a complex and not fully understood subject,

"I think so," replied Ollivander, his protruberant eyes upon Harry's face. "You ask deep questions, Mr. Potter. Wandlore is a complex and mysterious branch of magic." Deathly Hallows - Page 494 - US Hardcover

and that cores appear to be the mainstay of the wand, even potentially dying from neglect as evidenced by the Pottermore writeup on wand cores:

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.

Is there any canon indication that while the wood can influence the way a wand develops, that it is the core itself that gives the wand the (however limited) sentience/awareness?

  • 1
    Does a brain give you consciousness? No, your whole physical system does. Your sensory and nervous systems provide it a channel to gather and process information, your circulatory, respiratory, and digestive systems sustain and power it, your immune and skeletal systems protect it, etc. Does a brain have consciousness? No, a human does. A wand's awareness comes from it being a wand.
    – BlackThorn
    May 4, 2018 at 21:57
  • @BlackThorn Very existential, but not canon :). Also, they still haven't proven where conscoiusness reside in the body, and as a rebuttal, phantom pain in amputees.
    – JohnP
    May 4, 2018 at 22:02
  • 2
    Not existential, just observing that it is pointless to try to physically isolate where something as metaphysical as consciousness or awareness is happening in a human or wand. A body is a system of interconnected and dependent pieces though a human body is resilient enough to make do without having every single piece functioning (like amputees, blindness, etc.). As long as we are personifying a wand, the system makes the wand just like the system makes the human.
    – BlackThorn
    May 4, 2018 at 22:17

1 Answer 1


It is a combination of the core, wood, length & flexibility, and user.

But if anything, the wood might have the most awareness...


Not that hard to parse through the writing on Wand Cores as there are only 3. Each description (as you already noted with unicorn hair) describes the core's "personality". There is a good summary at the beginning taken from Mr. Ollivander's notes:

Readers should bear in mind that each wand is the composite of its wood, its core and the experience and nature of its owner; that tendencies of each may counterbalance or outweigh the other; so this can only be a very general overview of an immensely complex subject.

Wand Cores by J.K. Rowling on Pottermore


It gets a bit more involved when talking about the woods as there are 38! However, each wood is given a "personality" as well. Again instead of listing them all, here is a summary from Mr. Ollivander's notes.

Also in the introduction it states, "As will be seen, Mr Ollivander believes that wand wood has almost human powers of perception and preferences."

Every single wand is unique and will depend for its character on the particular tree and magical creature from which it derives its materials.

Moreover, each wand, from the moment it finds its ideal owner, will begin to learn from and teach its human partner. Therefore, the following must be seen as general notes on each of the wood types I like to work with best, and ought not to be taken to describe any individual wand.

Wand Woods by J.K. Rowling on Pottermore

Length & Flexibility

This is really the tertiary aspect of the wand, but it still offer a bit of insight into the character of wielder...

However, no single aspect of wand composition should be considered in isolation of all the others, and the type of wood, the core and the flexibility may either counterbalance or enhance the attributes of the wand’s length.


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.

Wand Length & Flexibility by J.K. Rowling on Pottermore

  • I'm not sure how this answers the question. Those quotes seem to describe what makes each wand unique, but not what gives them "awareness".
    – ibid
    May 4, 2018 at 21:36
  • @ibid maybe I should put more emphasis on the wood quote? "Mr Ollivander believes that wand wood has almost human powers of perception and preferences."
    – Skooba
    May 7, 2018 at 13:03

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