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It is clear that a wand that has been broken will not work properly and is very hard to mend. The only examples of mended wands are Harry's phoenix wand, which he mended using the Elder wand, and (though it is not explicitly said) Hagrid's wand, which apparently was mended by the Elder wand as well.

However, a wand is nothing more than a tool to channel the magical energy of a wizard. They can be made with different kinds of wood, with various magical cores, and (most important to my point) many shapes and lengths. Coming to think about it, and depending on the way the wand is broken, a single piece of a broken wand seems to be simply a shorter wand of the same wood and core. This is of course a logical and non-canon-supported conclusion. Maybe the wood needs to undergo some kind of process before you install it around the core, and this is damaged when the wand is broken? Maybe there is a missing process in the manufacturing of a wand?

Why wouldn't a broken wand act as a shorter wand?

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    Because it's broken, duh.
    – IloneSP
    Feb 2, 2022 at 19:53
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    @Roberto - I came here to make an identical comment.
    – Valorum
    Feb 2, 2022 at 20:10
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    @havakok What if a wand is like a battery? A broken battery doesnt work. It must have a positive and a negative pole.
    – Ginasius
    Feb 2, 2022 at 22:13
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    @Pete - But still didn't work properly
    – Valorum
    Feb 2, 2022 at 23:09
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    The real question is, why does an unbroken wand work? Feb 3, 2022 at 0:28

1 Answer 1

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While we don't know the specific mechanism by which a snapped wand ceases working, we do know what happens if a wand is inexpertly patched. It has a tendency to leak magic, to fail to work correctly (with unpleasant-smelling consequences), to backfire and, in extremis, to explode.

Ron was having far worse problems. He had patched up his wand with some borrowed Spellotape, but it seemed to be damaged beyond repair. It kept crackling and sparking at odd moments, and every time Ron tried to transfigure his beetle it engulfed him in thick grey smoke which smelled of rotten eggs. Unable to see what he was doing, Ron accidentally squashed his beetle with his elbow and had to ask for a new one. Professor McGonagall wasn’t pleased.

and

He raised Ron’s Spellotaped wand high over his head and yelled, ‘Obliviate!’ The wand exploded with the force of a small bomb. Harry flung his arms over his head and ran, slipping over the coils of snake skin, out of the way of great chunks of tunnel ceiling which were thundering to the floor. Next moment, he was standing alone, gazing at a solid wall of broken rock.

I think we can reasonably assume that a wand takes magic from the user, channels it down the core and out of the tip of the wand. If the wand and core are damaged, the magic won't come out of the end properly or will come out prematurely along the body of the wand, interacting with the body of the wand or the user in some fashion.

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    +1 for 'Pew Pew'
    – Righter
    Feb 3, 2022 at 2:24
  • Why do you say a broken wand 'leaks magic'? While I can agree with the other descriptions of a snapped wand, nowhere can I find it 'leaks' anything. Personally, I do not think we can reasonably assume that a wand takes the magic from the user, channels it down the core and out of the tip of the wand. Why is this a reasonable assumption? and if it is, my point stand that if you saw a wand or break it relatively straight, it would work as a shorter wand.
    – havakok
    Feb 3, 2022 at 5:59
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    @Righter Thanks, I actually wasn't able to read what was the red text on the tip of the wand.
    – Clockwork
    Feb 3, 2022 at 12:06
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    @havakok Think of it a bit like a gardening water hose. If you cut it, it's not going to work so well anymore. And if you try jury rigging it with whatever you can get your hands on, it's going to leak. While we can't tell for sure that the magic comes from the user, we know that people can cast spells without a wand. I suppose the wand serves as some kind of catalyst to better cast spells. And when it's broken... well, it's unlikely to serve its purpose so well anymore.
    – Clockwork
    Feb 3, 2022 at 12:07

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