Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Harry Potter-based personality analysis

You know you miss my Harry Potter-themed blog posts.

Yesterday, while walking around a deserted tennis court after a rainstorm, I was listening to MuggleNet's Alohomora podcast (which I totally recommend, by the way). In addition to the discussions on the sentient-like life of portraits and Muggle vs. Wizard punishments, there was a fascinating discussion on wands. So fascinating, in fact, that I'm seriously considering wandlore as my Wizard profession. Or maybe I'll just shadow Ollivander for a couple decades and then write a book about it.

Anyway, the moderators all talked about their Pottermore wands and how the wands complement their personalities. Pottermore is much better at guessing personality types than horoscopes and name dictionaries and other stuff like that (it's magic, duh), and since I'm a Harry Potter wizard wannabe, I consider pretty much everything Pottermore says about me solid fact.

So I finished my walk and dashed back inside to research my own wand and perform a personality analysis on myself. I was positively quivering with excitement.

Wands have four components: length, wood, core, and flexibility. I'll go over each of these in greater detail, stealing liberally from Pottermore as I go.

Length: 14 1/2 in

Here's what Mr. Garrick Ollivander has to say about wand lengths:
Many wandmakers simply match the wand length to the size of the witch or wizard who will use it, but this is a crude measure, and fails to take into account many other, important considerations. In my experience, longer wands might suit taller wizards, but they tend to be drawn to bigger personalities, and those of a more spacious and dramatic style of magic. Neater wands favour more elegant and refined spell-casting. However, no single aspect of wand composition should be considered in isolation of all the others, and the type of wood, the core and the flexibility may either counterbalance or enhance the attributes of the wand's length.
Most wands will be in the range of between nine and fourteen inches. While I have sold extremely short wands (eight inches and under) and very long wands (over fifteen inches), these are exceptionally rare. In the latter case, a physical peculiarity demanded the excessive wand length. However, abnormally short wands usually select those in whose character something is lacking--
Ha! Umbridge lacks character. I am shocked.
--rather than because they are physically undersized (many small witches and wizards are chosen by longer wands).
I can't help but feel a little smug that my wand is slightly longer than average, as if it means I'm slightly more awesome than average. It's interesting that wand length has a lot to do with "big personalities." I wouldn't classify myself in the big personality group, but I like to think I'm mysterious enough to keep people wondering who I really am. I also talk with my hands a lot (and I'm not talking about sign language here), so I'm pretty sure I would need more space to perform complex wand movements.

Wood: Cypress
Cypress wands are associated with nobility. The great medieval wandmaker, Geraint Ollivander, wrote that he was always honoured to match a cypress wand, for her knew he was meeting a witch or wizard who would die a heroic death. Fortunately, in these less blood-thirsty times, the possessors of cypress wands are rarely called upon to lay down their lives, though doubtless many of them would do so if required. Wands of cypress find their soul mates among the brave, the bold and the self-sacrificing: those who are unafraid to confront the shadows in their own and others' natures.
I am drawn to honest people who know who they are and are okay with it rather than those who try to be like everyone else. I find boldness more attractive than sensitivity. Cypress is a very appropriate wood for me.

And I'm going to die a heroic death! How cool is that?

Core: Unicorn
Unicorn hair generally produces the most consistent magic, and is least subject to fluctuations and blockages. Wands with unicorn cores are generally the most difficult to turn to the Dark Arts. They are the most faithful of all wands, and usually remain strongly attached to their first owner, irrespective of whether he or she was an accomplished witch or wizard.
Minor disadvantages of unicorn hair are that they do not make the most powerful wands (although the wand wood may compensate) and that they are prone to melancholy if seriously manhandled, meaning that the hair may 'die' and need replacing.
I cheered a bit when I read that unicorn cores are the most difficult to turn to the Dark Side. I am pure, people! (And very humble.) I love that unicorn cores make the most faithful wands. I am not one to switch allegiances easily, and I was told by an employer once that my loyalty to the company was second to none. I have no worries that my wand would die of melancholyness because I tend to get very attached to my things. I'm glad that my wand feels the same way.

Flexibility: Hard
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 the owner's life experience and style of magic, all of which will combine to make the wand in question unique.
As long as everything is exactly the way I want it, I'm perfectly flexible. And change can, I don't know, go jump off a cliff or something.

Final Thoughts

All these elements combined create a wand that is an extension of me. It takes into account my stubbornness, my moral compass, and my scorn for fake people. It's a fairly powerful wand (but not as powerful as, say, Harry's wand) and particularly conducive for doing good things (like fighting evil) over and over again. I'm sure my wand wouldn't work right for anyone else, unless it was someone I'd be willing to lay down my life for. I doubt I would ever move on to a second wand like some adult wizards do because this wand suits me so well--and if something suits me well, nothing else could ever be good enough, no matter how many tricks it's hiding up its sleeve.

Pretty fun, eh? I'm really hoping Pottermore will tell me what my Patronus is so I can do another analysis. Maybe some day I'll get to take a career match questionnaire, too.

I'd love to hear others' thoughts on why their House and wand suits them. (That is, assuming I have some friends who are as nerdy as I am).


  1. I am totally as nerdy as you...
    Length: 11 1/2 in
    Wood: Cedar
    Core: Dragon
    Flexibility: Slightly Springy
    I think mine suits me pretty well actually. I don't know how I feel about being in Hufflepuff though...

  2. Yay! I knew I could count on you, at least.

    It's interesting that your wood is cedar--which basically means you're not one to cross--but you're also a Hufflepuff. Hufflepuffs get a bit of a bad rap, I think, because they're portrayed as, I don't know, too nice. But in the 7th book, the Hufflepuffs are the first (next to the Gryffindors) to stand behind Harry. I remember being a little surprised by that, but it makes sense now. Anyone who crosses a Hufflepuff is in for a rude awakening. . . .

  3. That's true, Hufflepuffs are more likely to be loyal to "the good." That makes me feel better about being in that house. I always felt like Hufflepuffs were a bunch of ninnies though.

    On the other hand, dragon heartstring core turns more easily to the dark arts. Interesting.

  4. Oh, also- one time at a midnight book release, we were sorted and I was in Hufflepuff then too. Head girl, in fact. I guess I just need to accept that I'm a Hufflepuff, whatever that is :)

  5. I've got 14 1/2 inches, Alder, Unicorn core, and hard. I've never thought Gryffindor was a good fit.

  6. Gryffindor doesn't really fit me either. If I weren't a Ravenclaw, I'm pretty sure I would be a Slytherin.

  7. I know I'm a bit late, but this post made me want to join Pottermore. I just got my wand 10 3/4 inches, Laurel, Phoenix feather, and slightly yielding. I thought it was very interesting, though apparently Laurel wood doesn't like lazy people so I might be in trouble...

  8. That is a really interesting combination. I think you would make a very powerful wizard.

  9. Thanks Angie. I was also just sorted into Ravenclaw House. I think that's fits me alright, but if I wasn't in Ravenclaw I think I would be in Hufflepuff with Erika.