The Harry Potter Compendium

"The following description of the powers and properties of the three main wand cores used by Mr. Garrick Ollivander are taken from his own notes."
—Introduction to Ollivander's notes on wands.[src]

Garrick Ollivander (b. 25 September,[1] in or prior to 1921[2]) was the proprietor of Ollivanders Wand Shop in Diagon Alley during most of the 20th century. Ollivander was widely considered the best wandmaker in the world, and many wizards and witches buy their wands from him.

In 1996, Ollivander was captured and tortured by Lord Voldemort. Ollivander was rescued in 1998 by Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, and Dobby.


Early life[]

Garrick Ollivander was born to Gervaise Ollivander,[3] a wizard, and his wife, a Muggle-born witch,[1] on the 25th of September,[1] in or before the year 1921.[2] He came from a long line of wandmakers who began making wands in England in 382 B.C..[4]

He attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in his youth, where he was Sorted into Ravenclaw.[1]

Career as a wandmaker[]

"The wand chooses the wizard, Mr. Potter. It's not always clear why. But I think it is clear, that you will do great things."
—Ollivander to Harry Potter.[src]

Ollivander grew up in the family business, and showed precocious talent in wandmaking. Soon, he developed an ambition to improve upon the cores and wand woods he made and developed a determination to pursue the ideal wand.[1]

Before Garrick Ollivander's proprietorship of Ollivanders Wand Shop, wizards used a wide variety of wand cores; the customer would often present their wandmaker with a magical substance to which they were attached, and he would turn it into their wand core.[1] Mr. Ollivander, however, maintained that doing so altered with the wand's temperament,[5] and revolutionized the way wands were crafted by having cores of immensely powerful magical substances expertly enclosed in specially selected and complementary wandwoods, the result to be matched to an owner with whom the wand itself felt the most affinity.[1]

While there was initially substantial resistance to this new way wands were made, it soon became clear that wands made by Ollivander were far superior to any others. His methods of locating wand woods and core substances, marrying them together, and matching them to ideal owners were all jealously guarded secrets that were coveted by rival wandmakers.[1]

Sometime into his career, in around 1938, Ollivander sold Tom Riddle his wand.

Harry Potter's wand[]

"Curious indeed how these things happen. The wand chooses the wizard, remember.... I think we must expect great things from you, Mr. Potter.... After all, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named did great things — terrible, yes, but great."
—Ollivander to Harry about his wand.[src]

Ollivander supplied Harry Potter with a wand, and as he did so, he told Harry a few facts about wands. He explained that a wand has a core, in Harry's case a Phoenix feather. He told Harry that the body of the wand is made from a choice of different woods with different magical properties. Ollivander said he made a similar wand using another feather from the same phoenix, but using a different wood. Harry's wand is holly, which symbolizes protection, rather than Voldemort's yew, which suggests poison. He also explained that the wand chooses the wizard, rather than the other way around.

1994-1995 Triwizard Tournament[]

As a very recognized wandmaker, Ollivander was asked to inspect the wands of the champions in the 1994-1995 Triwizard Tournament before the competition started, to make sure they were all working properly.

Second Wizarding War[]

Attempted robbery of his shop[]

Daily Prophet headline.[src]

In 1996, Alexandra Walker attempted to rob Ollivander's shop. She could not, however, and she was arrested. This event made Daily Prophet headlines.

Kidnapped by Death Eaters[]

"Oh no - not Ollivanders, everybody got their first wands from here."
—Hermione Granger upon discovering Ollivander's shop abandoned.[src]

In 1996 Ollivander was kidnapped by Voldemort's Death Eaters, leaving behind an empty, locked up shop and no signs of a struggle. It is believed that the last wand he sold was to Neville Longbottom. It was later revealed that Ollivander was captured by Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters and was held prisoner at Malfoy Manor, where he was forced to make a new wand for Peter Pettigrew. He was tortured by Lord Voldemort for information regarding the twin cores of Harry Potter's wand and his own. Ollivander told him that he merely needed to use a wand other than his own to face Harry Potter.

After using Lucius Malfoy's wand and seeing its destruction when faced with Harry Potter and his Phoenix wand, Voldemort rounded on Ollivander for an explanation of why Harry's wand acted as it had. Although he had no answer to give since no wandmaker had ever witnessed such an event, Ollivander was tortured again by Lord Voldemort and questioned about the most powerful wand in existence, the Elder Wand.

Skirmish at Malfoy Manor and Escape[]

Harry Potter and his friends were later captured and taken to Malfoy Manor, where they were reunited with Mr. Ollivander, Dean Thomas and Luna Lovegood. Ollivander was subsequently rescued by Harry and his friends and was taken with them when they made their escape from Malfoy Manor with the aid of Dobby, the house-elf. He seemed to bond with Luna during their captivity together, as he said that she was "an inexpressible comfort [to him] in that terrible place".

Stay at Shell Cottage[]

"The wandmaker was lying on the twin bed farthest from the window. He had been held in the cellar for more than a year, and tortured, Harry knew, on at least one occasion. He was emaciated, the bones of his face sticking out sharply against the yellowish skin. His great silver eye seemed vast in their sunken sockets. The hands that lay upon the blanket could have belonged to a skeleton"
—Description of Ollivander at Shell Cottage, showing his mistreatment in Malfoy Manor.[src]

Ollivander was taken to Shell Cottage, where he recovered from months of imprisonment and torture, and then departed to Muriel's house, where he remained in hiding for the rest of the war. He later created and sent a new wand to Luna Lovegood.

Study of the Elder Wand[]

Harry Potter: "You told You-Know-Who that Gregorovitch had the wand?"
Ollivander: "It was a rumor. A rumor, years and years ago, long before you were born I believe Gregorovitch himself started it. You can see how good it would be for business; that he was studying and duplicating the qualities of the Elder Wand!"
Harry Potter: "Yes, I can see that. Mr. Ollivander, one last thing, and then we'll let you get some rest. What do you know about the Deathly Hallows?"
Ollivander: "The – the what?"
Harry Potter: "The Deathly Hallows."
Ollivander: "I'm afraid I don't know what you’re talking about. Is this still something to do with wands?"
Harry Potter and Ollivander discuss the Elder Wand and the Deathly Hallows.[src]

As with other wandmakers, Ollivander makes it his business to study the mystifying Elder Wand in depth, such as its history and distinctive characteristics. Unlike Hermione Granger, he believed that the Elder Wand was not a myth or tale, and showed great enthusiasm with the powerful object despite the fact that it was dangerous and has had a bloody history. When held captive by Lord Voldemort, he was forced to relate all information he had known about the powerful wand. He also revealed that the last person rumored to own the wand was Gregorovitch, a foreign wandmaker, though he did not believe the rumored and thought that Gregorovitch spread it to boost his business. The same information was also related to Harry Potter after he and his friends rescued him from the Malfoy Manor.

Personality and traits[]

"An old man was standing before them, his wide, pale eyes shining like moons through the gloom of the shop."
—Harry Potter meets Ollivander.[src]

Ollivander is an intelligent man, with an excellent memory when it comes to his work; he remembers the details of every wand he ever sold. He seems to become happier the more difficult the challenge to find exactly the right wand for a difficult customer is. He uses a magical tape measure to help assess customers for their wand.

"Curious indeed how these things happen. The wand chooses the wizard, remember.... I think we must expect great things from you, Mr. Potter.... After all, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named did great things — terrible, yes, but great."
—Ollivander expressing his interest in what powerful wizards can do with wands.[src]

Ollivander has a professorial enthusiasm for wandlore and is immensely learned in it. A less savory aspect of his personality is that his fascination with wandlore sometimes eclipses his sense of right and wrong; he is so fascinated with what a powerful wizard can do when matched with the right wand that he becomes detached from the good or evil nature of their actions. A prime example of this would be Tom Marvolo Riddle, also known as Lord Voldemort. Even after the First Wizarding War, Ollivander remembered him as having done "great things" with his wand - "Terrible, yes, but great". An even more extreme example was during the Second Wizarding War, when Ollivander, having just been rescued from a year of imprisonment and torture at Voldemort's hands, was briefly enthralled by the thought of what Voldemort might do when matched with the Elder Wand.

However, Ollivander still values his own life and well-being, and divulged information to Voldemort whenever threatened with death and tortured by the Cruciatus Curse. The wandmaker feared the Dark Lord's wrath and begged for mercy when informed that his (Ollivander's) advice about using another wand was incorrect.

Magical abilities and skills[]

  • Wandmaker: Garrick Ollivander, just as other Ollivander family members, was considered as the best British wandmaker.
  • Non-verbal magic: Ollivander may have had the ability to perform non-verbal spells, as no incantation was mentioned when he conjured smoke rings in 1994.
  • Apparition: He could Apparate, but failed in 1998 at Malfoy Manor due to enchantments placed on the cellar.
  • Transfiguration: He is skilled with conjuration, a difficult branch of transfiguration, conjuring flowers, birds, smoke rings, and wine in 1994.
  • Duelling: It is quite reasonable to say that Ollivander was a skilled duellist in his time due to his ability in wandlore and ability to identify spells easily. His knowledge of Wandlore would also have assisted him as he is familiar with the weaknesses and strengthes of different wands.
  • Wand versatility: In 1994, Ollivander used Cedric's, Fleur's, Viktor's and Harry's wands, each with successful effect.


Harry Potter[]

"I think it is clear that we can expect great things from you, Mr. Potter."
—Ollivander to Harry during their first meeting.[src]

Ollivander heard Harry when he defeated Lord Voldemort in 1981. He saw Harry in 1991 and made his wand. Its phoenix feather and Tom Riddle's wand was from the same phoenix, Fawkes, and Ollivander was surprised when he saw this.

Ollivander's relationship with Harry Potter grew after the Skirmish at Malfoy Manor when Harry rescued him from imprisonment and during their subsequent stay at the Shell Cottage. Harry would go on to obtain vital information about the Elder Wand from Ollivander, which would later prove instrumental for bringing about the final death of Lord Voldemort.

Luna Lovegood[]

Luna: "I'm going to miss you, Mr. Ollivander."
Ollivander: "And I you, my dear. You were an inexpressible comfort to me in that terrible place."
— Luna says goodbye to Mr. Ollivander as he departs from Shell Cottage.[src]

Ollivander also developed a close relationship with Luna Lovegood, for she was a comfort to him during their imprisonment in Malfoy Manor. Ollivander later repaid her kindness by creating a new wand for her.

Lord Voldemort[]

"He tortured me, you must understand that! The Cruciatus Curse, I - I had no choice but to tell him what I knew, what I guessed - "
—Ollivander tells Harry how Voldemort tortured him to procure information about the Elder Wand.[src]

Ollivander was afraid of Lord Voldemort, and referred to him as "You-Know-Who" like almost all other wizards. He was later kidnapped by Death Eaters. Voldemort tortured him to learn about his wand's relationship with Harry's wand.

Known wand sales[]

Owner Wood Length Core Notes
Mary Cattermole's wand Cherry 8¾" Unicorn hair Dolores Umbridge accused Mary of stealing this wand, though she claimed she bought it at Ollivanders Wand Shop in Diagon Alley when she was eleven years old.
Cedric Diggory's wand Ash 12¼" Unicorn hair This wand was "pleasantly springy"; hair from particularly fine male unicorn (seventeen hands high), which nearly gored Mr. Ollivander with its horn after he plucked its tail hair.
Lily Evans' wand Willow 10¼" Unknown This wand was "swishy" and "nice for Charm work".
Hermione Granger Vine 10¾" Dragon heartstring This wand was confiscated when the trio was captured by Snatchers in 1998.
Rubeus Hagrid's wand Oak 16" Unknown This wand is "rather bendy"; snapped in half when Hagrid was expelled from Hogwarts during his third year - the pieces are almost certainly hidden in Hagrid's pink umbrella.
Bellatrix Lestrange's wand Walnut 12¾" Dragon heartstring This wand is described as "unyielding"; passed into the possession of Hermione Granger after the Battle of Malfoy Manor in 1998.
Neville Longbottom's wand #2 Cherry 13" Unicorn hair May have been one of the last wands Mr. Ollivander sold before he disappeared in 1996.
Draco Malfoy's wand Hawthorn 10" Unicorn hair "Reasonably springy"; this wand passed into the possession of Harry Potter after the Battle of Malfoy Manor in 1998 until Harry came into possession of the Elder Wand and mended his first wand.
Harry Potter's wand #1 Holly 11" Phoenix feather Nice and supple; Costs 7 Galleons; The only known wand to cause Priori Incantatem (caused with Voldemort's Phoenix-Feather-wand); Can hurt but can not kill its Brother; "Brother" to Tom Marvolo Riddle's wand; - the core tail feathers are both from Fawkes; broken in December 1997 while fleeing from Godric's Hollow; repaired with the Elder Wand in May 1998.
James Potter's wand Mahogany 11" Unknown This wand was "pliable" and "excellent for transfiguration".
Peter Pettigrew's wand Chestnut 9¼" Dragon heartstring This wand was "brittle"; owned by Pettigrew only since Ollivander had been kidnapped of 1996; passed into the possession of Ron Weasley after the skirmish in Malfoy Manor in 1998.
Tom Marvolo Riddle a.k.a. Voldemort's wand Yew 13½" Phoenix feather This wand is "brother" to Harry Potter's wand - the core tail feathers are both from Fawkes.
Charlie Weasley/Ron Weasley wand #1 Ash 12" Unicorn hair Ron's brother Charlie's old wand; severely damaged in September 1992 after a run-in with the Whomping Willow.

Ron Weasley wand #2

Willow 14" Unicorn hair Purchased with his father's winnings from a Daily Prophet draw.

Behind the scenes[]


Garrick comes from a Germanic name meaning "spear power".[citation needed]Here it may be connected to David Garrick, the 18th century actor who gave his name to the Garrick Theatre in London (and the Garrick Club).


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See also[]

Notes and references[]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Pottermore
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Ollivander sold Tom Riddle his wand in 1938, meaning he was already of age by then.
  3. Pottermore wand wood information (transcription available here)
  4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - Chapter 5 (Diagon Alley)
  5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Chapter 18 (The Weighing of the Wands)
  6. He is seen being kidnapped by Fenrir Greyback and his Death Eaters in Diagon Alley. His face is obscured by a sack.