In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Ollivander and Harry have this conversation:

‘Ah yes,’ said the man. ‘Yes, yes. I thought I’d be seeing you soon. Harry Potter.’ It wasn’t a question. ‘You have your mother’s eyes. It seems only yesterday she was in here herself, buying her first wand. Ten and a quarter inches long, swishy, made of willow. Nice wand for charm work.’ Mr Ollivander moved closer to Harry. Harry wished he would blink. Those silvery eyes were a bit creepy. ‘Your father, on the other hand, favoured a mahogany wand. Eleven inches. Pliable. A little more power and excellent for transfiguration. Well, I say your father favoured it – it’s really the wand that chooses the wizard, of course.’

Later in the same chapter, Ollivander says this:

‘I’m sorry to say I sold the wand that did it,’ he said softly. ‘Thirteen and a half inches. Yew. Powerful wand, very powerful, and in the wrong hands … Well, if I’d known what that wand was going out into the world to do …’

This contradicts the claim that "wands are only as powerful as the wizards who use them. Some wizards just like to boast that theirs are bigger and better than other people's." Hermione says this. The Elder Wand is obviously exempted from this statement. Where does it say that all wands are equal in power, save for the Elder Wand? Why does Hermione claim that all wands are equal, save for the Elder Wand?

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    Can you elaborate a little? And where did you get this idea that 'all wands are equal in power, save for the Elder Wand'? Nov 2, 2021 at 7:43
  • I finally found it. Hermione says this in Deathly Hallows: "Wands are only as powerful as the wizards who use them. Some wizards just like to boast that theirs are bigger and better than other people's."
    – Kyle V
    Nov 2, 2021 at 8:05
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    Hermione is not as learned in wandlore as she thinks she is - because not everything is written in books available for the general public. And wandlore is an obscure branch of magic, not something that is taught in school. And Hermione herself learns later that there are differences - her own magic is weaker with Bellatrix' wand - contradicting herself. Essentially, Hermione is not as knowledgable about everything as she might like (or pretends) to be.
    – BMWurm
    Nov 2, 2021 at 8:24
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    All wands are equal, but the Elder Wand is more equal!
    – lfurini
    Nov 2, 2021 at 12:12
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    I would not say that the elder wand is exempt from this statement.
    – ava
    Nov 2, 2021 at 12:54

2 Answers 2


The claim that "wands are only as powerful as the wizards who use them. Some wizards just like to boast that theirs are bigger and better than other people's” is a general colloquialism not intended as universal law of wizarding. Her first sentence lacks any qualifier, including for example, an implied “(all) wands…”

However, it is a universal law of wizarding that all wands are equal — at least in sense that the wand is only as powerful as the wizard — except the Elder Wand. The Elder Wand is more powerful than the wizard.

Also, Ollivander is a salesman, and is using tried and true sales practices in that scene to sell his products; this is immediately clear in his mixed message about Harry’s father’s wand — did Harry’s father favor it, or did the wand pick him? Or both? It doesn’t matter to Ollivander or being factually correct because Ollivander is telling the tale to help make a sale. Ollivander’s later statement doesn’t contradict the concept of being as powerful as the wizard: the wand fell into the wrong, powerful hands and so was powerful because the wrong-handed wizard was powerful. The general description on wands is maintained.

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    Ollivander doesn't have to worry about the sale, as Harry was about to buy a wand anyway, same as every other student, because a wand is required.
    – RalfFriedl
    Nov 2, 2021 at 13:25
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    @RalfFriedl but are all wands equally priced?
    – HorusKol
    Nov 2, 2021 at 20:59
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    “Never mind these wands here are the most expensive m’boy. Your father — your dead father, God rest his kind soul, had an affinity for it. Do ya want to try it out. He would be so proud of ye’, Harry.” Nov 2, 2021 at 21:44
  • @HorusKol We don't know about the price for other wands. But "the wand chooses the wizard" already means he can sell any wand without additional sales pitch.
    – RalfFriedl
    Nov 4, 2021 at 10:51

I believe that this is not the correct interpretation of Hermione’s statement. She was not saying that there is no difference in wand power except for the Elder Wand. On the contrary, she was specifically referring to the Elder Wand. The context of this statement is when Harry, Ron, and Hermione were discussing what Xenophilius Lovegood had just told them about the Deathly Hallows, one of which is the Elder Wand. Hermione rejected the concept of the Deathly Hallows, saying that there could be no Elder Wand, and wands are just as powerful as the wizards wielding them. Of course, it later turns out that Hermione is incorrect about this, at least to the extent that the Elder Wand is shown to exist later in the story (though one could perhaps argue that the advantage of the Elder Wand is mostly psychological).

Given the above, it would be unsurprising if there were also differences between regular wands, and that Hermione was unaware of that. As Ollivander notes, wandlore is a pretty obscure branch of magic and there is a lot that is unknown.

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