We know that wands choose their owners as we saw Harry buy his wand at Ollivander's in HP1.

We also know that wands can be made for their owners as we saw in HP7: Ollivander makes a wand for Voldemort as-well as Wormtail having a new one created for him.

But if the wand chooses the owner, how can you guarantee that the new wand will choose you, if you ask someone to create it for you?

As a clarification, this is not the same as Would the Elder Wand choose every new owner who wins? since that question is asking specifically about the Elder Wand, which is known to behave differently to other wands. Also, that's asking about the whole "winning over" scenario, whereas this question asks about a wand being built for the intended owner.

  • I think the wandlore that governs the wand choosing the wizard, or not, was thoroughly covered in Would the Elder Wand choose every new owner who wins?. The subtleties that govern a wand choosing or rejecting a wizard are not always known. I feel this is a duplicate question. Speaking for myself, I mentioned in the other question that generally a wizard can bend a wand to his/her will and even if he/she can't he/she can still channel magic through the wand. I'm sorry, but I did a VTC. Commented Mar 19, 2014 at 5:40
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    I think there's enough difference here to warrant another question. Setting aside the Elder Wand, the creation of a wand for a specific individual is another matter. I vote to leave open. I imagine someone, if not you @Slytherincess, can find something on this individualized question. Commented Mar 19, 2014 at 7:47
  • There’s Wand Lengths and Flexibility on Pottermore which suggests there’s some correlation between the individual’s personality and their wand (among other stuff), so perhaps there’s some way to tailor wands to suit their new owners?
    – alexwlchan
    Commented Mar 19, 2014 at 10:21
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    @MeatTrademark - The thing is, there really is no difference when a wand is created for a specific wizard. Wandlore is specific: the wand chooses the wizard. As with a regular wand, the custom wand may or may not choose the owner it was custom made for. If it does not, also as with a regular wand, the wizard can still use the custom wand to channel magic. This is based on wandlore that we know at this time. Should JKR release more info on wandlore then my answer might be different. But I can't fall into conjecture or the twisting of canon to suit a pet theory, kwim? :) Commented Mar 19, 2014 at 16:23
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    The more logical explanation is that the ghostwriter of HP7 didn't read the original books, so he was unaware that wands choose the wizard.
    – Damon
    Commented Mar 19, 2014 at 19:44

2 Answers 2


Wandmakers can guess, to an extent

While the wand may choose the witch or wizard, this is not purely random. It would seem that there are characteristics that the wandmaker may select in order to make a wand more likely to choose a given wielder. For example, rigidity:

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 Lengths & Flexibility, Pottermore

And size:

However, abnormally short wands usually select those in whose character something is lacking, rather than because they are physically undersized (many small witches and wizards are chosen by longer wands).

Wand Lengths & Flexibility, Pottermore

Further, some wands are more “choosy” than others. Phoenix feather wands are picky:

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.

Wand Cores, Pottermore

On the other hand, dragon heartstring wands tend to bond easily:

While they can change allegiance if won from their original master, they always bond strongly with the current owner.

Wand Cores, Pottermore

This suggests that they can bond strongly with their current owner. Put another way, such wands can likely “choose” more than one wizard or witch. Of course, we know that there must be some degree of flexibility: given that every tree and magical creature from which a wand is made is unique, Ollivander could not possibly find the exact right one if there were only one match, nor could witches or wizards ever have good replacement wands made.

Indeed, we see this in the very first book:

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. "Tricky customer, eh? Not to worry, we’ll find the perfect match here somewhere – I wonder, now - - yes, why not – unusual combination – holly and phoenix feather, eleven inches, nice and supple."

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

The implication here seems to be that most customers take far less time to match to a wand than Harry, and thus that there could well be multiple matches (though some less ideal than others, obviously, since Ollivander speaks of a "perfect match").

In addition, Ollivander obviously has some basis for the wands he initially hands Harry. Presumably he knows the characteristics that he initially thinks will make for a wand that is likely to "choose" Harry.

Even without a custom-made wand, it would seem, Ollivander usually can find a wand that will choose a customer without too much trouble. Imagine how much easier it would be if he could construct a wand from the exact right materials, knowing the wielder’s personality and magical style. Certainly, he still might not succeed, since every wand is unique, but he’d probably have a very good chance of success.

All this amounts to saying that a wandmaker may not know for sure whether a custom-made wand will choose a wizard or witch, they still can have a very good idea. Besides, in some cases they may have the luxury of making multiple wands if the first one fails to develop a proper bond. This may well have been the case when Ollivander was forced to be in Voldemort’s employ, for example.

There is also much more to using a wand than mere initial compatibility:

“Oh yes, if you are any wizard at all you will be able to channel your magic through almost any instrument. The best results, however, must always come where there is the strongest affinity between wizard and wand. These connections are complex. These connections are complex. An initial attraction, and then a mutual quest for experience, the wand learning from the wizard, the wizard from the wand.”

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Rowling confirms this. With time, one develops an affinity with one’s wand (presumably regardless of how one initially acquired it):

JKR: So one would expect a certain amount of loyalty from one’s wand. So even if you were disarmed while carrying it, even if you lost a fight while carrying it, it has developed an affinity with you that it will not give up easily

As such, even if a wandmaker could not produce a wand with an affinity for a given wielder, with time they could still develop enough of a connection to the wand to use it without difficulty.

  • An excellent answer, thank you. You have my +31
    – Möoz
    Commented May 23, 2017 at 7:11

The first thing to remember is that the wand does not have to choose the wizard for the wizard to properly use it. Someone could give Olivander a list of specifications, he can make the wand, and they can use it.

That being said, there do seem to be some correlations between wands and their chosen wizards.

Length of the wand seem to correspond somewhat with height (e.g. Umbridge with her exceptionally short wand, Hagrid with his exceptionally long wand).

Flexibility seems to be very closely related to the chosen wizard's personality in the cases we know of (see http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Wand#Known_wands for a list).

Wood and core material may also come into play, but I could find no apparent correlation based on the small listing at the above link.

All that being said, we know very little about the subtle laws of wandlore, and even less about the process of acquiring a custom wand.

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    "Someone could give Olivander a list of specifications, he can make the wand, and they can use it." In that case, I want a wand made from a basilisk feather.
    – RichS
    Commented May 17, 2017 at 0:04
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    @RichS basilisks dont have feathers. :p they might have heartstrings though. Like a dragon
    – user68699
    Commented May 17, 2017 at 11:57
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    @user68699 A male basilisk has a single red feather on the top of its head. A female has none. harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Basilisk
    – RichS
    Commented May 17, 2017 at 15:11
  • #ShotsFired #HotDamn Commented May 22, 2017 at 18:39
  • @RichS Shouldn't this comment be on the other answer?
    – Weckar E.
    Commented May 23, 2017 at 6:51

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