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Garrick Ollivander Character Analysis: Wizarding Wandmaker

Garrick Ollivander Character Analysis: Wizarding Wandmaker

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Garrick Ollivander was a British wizard and the most renowned British wandmaker of the 20the century. He provided many of the wands that young wizards acquired before attending Hogwarts, helping to match the wizard with their wand. His knowledge of wand lore was so great that he was kidnapped by Lord Voldemort to explain why his wand could not kill Harry Potter.

About Garrick Ollivander

Born25 September pre-1909
Blood StatusHalf-Blood
Wand12 ¾ inch Hornbeam and Dragon Heartstring
Zodiac SignLibra

Garrick Ollivander Early Life

Garrick Ollivander was born to the wizard Gervaise Ollivander and his muggle-born witch wife on 25 September, sometime before 1909.

For generations Ollivanders had been associated with wand making, possibly dating back to Roman times. Their surname means “he who owns the olive wand”. Garrick no doubt learned the craft from his father and continued his family’s study of wand lore.

Garrick also attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he was in Ravenclaw.

Ollivander the Wand Pioneer

Before Ollivander, wizards would often create wands by imbuing them with a magical material that they were attached to. But the results were often unpredictable. Ollivander pioneered enclosing powerful magical cores within woods that the core had an affinity with. This created more reliable and powerful wands.

While there was initial resistance to this approach to wand making, when it became clear that Ollivander’s wands were far superior to more traditional wands, the tide turned, and he became the most popular wandmaker in Britain.

He jealously guarded the secrets of how exactly he identified and obtained his cores and woods.

Ollivander, like many wandmakers, also studied the myth of the Elder Wand to try and understand what made it more powerful than other wands.

Ollivander’s Wand Shop

Eventually, Ollivander established himself as a wandmaker with a store in Diagon Alley where he not only created excellent wands but used his knowledge to match wizards with the right wand.

He sold Tim Riddle his wand in the summer of 1938 and then sold Harry Potter his wand in the summer of 1991. He was surprised when Harry showed an affinity for a wand that was made with a Phoenix feather core. This particular phoenix only gave one other feather, and it was in the wand that he had sold to Tom Riddle.

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.

Garrick Ollivander, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

While Ollivander’s response seems to show a deep respect for the dark arts, when he sold Harry the wand, he also wrote to Albus Dumbledore to inform him of the strange coincidence.

Dumbledore invited Ollivander to Hogwarts in November 1994 to preside over the wand weighing ceremony for the Triwizard Tournament. While he confirmed that all the wands were acceptable, he expressed doubts about the styling of Gregorovitch’s wands and the use of Veela hair in Fleur Delacour’s wand.

Ollivander Kidnapped

In July 1996, Ollivander was kidnapped by Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters. While many assumed that the Dark Lord wanted a monopoly on the best wands, Lord Voldemort really wanted to learn why his wand had reacted strangely when he had tried to kill Harry Potter. Ollivander said that it must have been the dual cores and suggested that Voldemort try another wand.

Neville Longbottom’s new wand was one of the last he made before being taken. The Death Eaters held Ollivander in the basement of Malfoy Manor, where he was also forced to make a new wand for Peter Pettigrew.

Lord Voldemort followed Ollivander’s advice and took Lucius Malfoy’s wand when he faced Harry again at the Battle of the Seven Potters. But the wand was destroyed when he tried to use it against Harry. Voldemort returned to Ollivander in a rage looking for an explanation. The wandmaker insisted that he did not know, but also revealed the existence of the powerful Elder Wand. Ollivander suggested that it might be in the hands of the European wandmaker Gregorovitch, and Voldemort set off to find it.

Ollivander was one of the captives in the basement at Malfoy Manor when Harry, Ron, and Hermione were brought there. He had been there for several months and found the company of fellow captive Luna Lovegood an inexpressible comfort in that terrible place.

Ollivander was saved with the other captives and taken to Shell Cottage, the home of newlyweds Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour.

Ollivander’s Information

While there, it was clear that he had been treated terribly since his kidnapping.

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 eyes seemed vast in their sunken sockets. The hands that lay upon the blanket could have belonged to a skeleton.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

While there, Harry also questioned Ollivander about the connection between his wand and Lord Voldemort’s, and about the Elder Wand. Ollivander was the only person to believe Harry when he claimed that his wand acted independently when he was duelling with Voldemort in the Battle of the Seven Potters, revealing that wand lore is more complicated than many wizards imagine.

Ollivander also explained the idea of wand loyalty to Harry, which helped Harry to realize that Lord Voldemort would need to do more than just find the Elder Wand to become its master.

After Shell Cottage, Ollivander was sent to the house of Ron’s Aunt Muriel to finish his recovery. After the end of the war, he returned to his business in Diagon Alley.

Garrick Ollivander Personality Type & Traits

Garrick Ollivander comes across as intelligent, curious, and creative, all characteristics needed to be a great wandmaker. While he was no dark wizard himself, he seems to have been awed rather than repulsed by the dark arts. Nevertheless, he clearly chose a side during the wizarding war, and only shared information with Lord Voldemort under duress.

Garrick Ollivander Zodiac Sign & Birthday

Garrick Ollivander was born on 25 September, though it is unclear what year. It must have been before 1909, as he was already selling wands in Diagon Alley by 1938. His zodiacal sign is Libra, one of the intelligent air signs perfect for a Ravenclaw. Libras also tend to be sensitive to other people and good at reading them. This would have helped Ollivander match witches and wizards with their ideal wands.