What objects can be used as wand substitutes? This question got me thinking. Godric Gryffindor's sword can absorb properties, and only positive properties (said in DH).

Then, couldn't it in theory absorb the focusing properties of the different wand wood? And the properties of wand materials. For example: Cut down an Elder tree, it will absorb the power associated with the elder wands, but not the property of easily changing allegiances (elder wands only respond to power). Then it could be used as a magical focus, like a wand.

And why stop there? If there are no limitations to how much the sword can absorb, then it can absorb all the properties of the different wand materials. Cut all of the wand materials and it will be the absolutely most powerful "wand".

And how about nullifying properties? For example the killing power of basilisk venom and the healing power of phoenix tears, how would that end up?

I feel like Godric Gryffindor's sword has infinite potential.

So can the sword of Gryffindor absorb an infinite amount of magical properties?

  • My recollection was that Griphook's statement was that the ability to absorb that which made it stronger was a common property for goblin made artifacts. Jul 22, 2014 at 15:47
  • @Donald.Mclean In that case, many objects could be used as a magical focus, instead of the quite fragile wands.
    – Mainstroke
    Jul 23, 2014 at 11:25
  • That is true it is stated that any object can be used to focus magical energy. The point is to have a point ;). My best Guesstimate would be that wizards have tried using goblin artefacts and they weren't as good because they aren't as well understood as wands. I think how complex wandlore is can be used to see why another magical focus isn't being used. For instance wizards do not even know how goblin artefacts are made, they also appear to be quite rare. Jul 23, 2014 at 14:00

3 Answers 3


Then, couldn't it in theory absorb the focusing properties of the different wand wood?

It seems unlikely. First of all, a wand is formed from two main components: the wand and the core. There isn't a whole lot known about the process of making wands from the books, but I suspect there's more to it than simply putting the core inside the wood. Simply cutting through some wood doesn't seem like it would do anything at all; the properties that a wand exhibits when made from a particular wood might only be present when it is in fact a wand. In other words, there may be nothing particularly special about the wood of an elder tree until it's used to create a wand.

Then there's the fact that a large part of the tension and violence between goblins and wizards stems from the latter's refusal to allow goblins to carry wands and to share the secrets of wandlore with them. If goblins could "simply" craft a sword like Godric Gryffindor's, take a few swipes through some wand wood, and get all of the benefits, that wouldn't be an issue.

For example the killing power of basilisk venom and the healing power of phoenix tears, how would that end up?

The sword - while a powerful magical artefact - is still at its core a sword; it's a weapon intended for killing. Basilisk venom improves its ability to serve its purpose, the healing power of phoenix tears doesn't (a sword that instantly heals the thing you're trying to kill wouldn't be very useful, and the sword itself doesn't have any need to be able to heal). Pure speculation, but I doubt it would imbibe the power of phoenix tears just because it wouldn't make it stronger in the strictest sense.

Other than those two specific examples, there are no stated limits to its ability to imbibe that which strengthens it. Given that it's already a fairly powerful artefact, there may be a limited number of things that it would even consider to strengthen it. That number may further decrease as it is strengthened by more substances - once it's absorbed basilisk venom it probably wouldn't have any need to absorb any other, less potent, venom since it already has the best available.

  • 1
    Good point on the goblin/wizard grudge. Makes the statement of not absorbing wood properties very plausible. Regarding superiority of the same property, I sort of suspected it would be redundant to absorb a lesser valued property it already has. Good answer! My thanks to you.
    – Mainstroke
    Jul 24, 2014 at 6:13
  • In The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp, Excalibur can both kill and heal (not at the same time). So Gryffindor's sword could absorb the healing power of phoenix tears and do the same.
    – Oriol
    Jul 25, 2014 at 16:23
  • To add and annoy on this answer. Stated earlier it is said that many goblin artifacts has the property absorption property. Say if a goblin goblet is made. Then the healing of phoenix tears and venom of basilisks is both strengthening the goblet as the uses of a goblet can be both to administer medicine, and poison. How would that turn out? :) And how would one know if you get poisoned, or healed?
    – Mainstroke
    Jan 14, 2020 at 15:24

For your question this answer is never demonstrated, but the answer is told. The answer is told in (I think it is) Deathly Hallows or the Half-Blood Prince , when Hermione is talking about how to kill Horcruxes.

From here:

Harry then used the sword to kill Salazar Slytherin's Basilisk, which was hiding inside the bowels of the Chamber. This caused the sword to be imbued with basilisk venom (since goblin-made items only imbibe what makes them stronger) and hence gained the ability to destroy Horcruxes.

Things its used for in the series.Its only does these things.



Destroying Horcruxes

This link is to the pottermore wikia.

Harry, Ron and Hermione say they were going to use it for a chopping wood in the Deathly Hallows(but they never do it,its only a lie).

In the series it never absorbs anything beside Basilisk Venom, so while it is possible for it to absorb many things, it never has.


What about cutting the wands themselves, or perhaps slashing a spell with the sword? Surely being able to cast destructive magic would improve the sword's cutting ability, the similar spell being Sectumsempra, you could cut behind the armors themselves.

And like they stated it's not just the wood which has little magical property it's the core as well; so if you cut a wizard's wand while it was casting magic instead of just a fancy stick the sword may absorb the properties of spell weaving

  • 1
    Could you add support?
    – Adamant
    Jul 11, 2016 at 6:05
  • Support in what way?
    – Tristam
    Jul 12, 2016 at 6:39
  • Quotations from the books or other canonical sources, generally. They improve the answer and tend to get more upvotes to boot.
    – Adamant
    Jul 12, 2016 at 6:42
  • I just read through what the others where saying and was trying to respond to that to add to the debate, they already quoted things from the books, like the basilisk
    – Tristam
    Jul 12, 2016 at 14:37

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