The tinkling of bells and the soft whoosh of air as the door opened and closed announced the presence of a young wizard in Ollivanders: Maker of Fine Wands since 382 B.C. The eleven year old boy, who had already seen the wonders of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, could only gape.
There were rows and rows of shelves extending to the back of the store, each filled with hundreds of small boxes. The sunlight shining in from the window provided the only light, and yet, it seemed like there was another source of light, which made the sun appear dim, weak, and muted in comparison. Ollivanders had a quiet sense of power and mystique… and it looked quite empty.
“Hello” said a voice softly behind the wizard—or was the voice coming from in front of him? A man appeared suddenly and quietly from amid the shelves, and spoke again.
“My name is Orrick Ollivander.”
The young wizard turned his attention to Mr. Ollivander, still gaping in wonderment. Mr. Ollivander had curly white hair, falling to his shoulders. There was a quiet gleam of wisdom in his bright silver eyes, outshown only by the quiet gleam of madness that also appeared in his eyes. He had quite a presence—the young wizard was somewhat frightened, for he had come alone.
“You must be looking for a wand. Or rather, you have come to take that which is yours, for no one looks for a wand- the wand looks for the wizard, of course” continued Ollivander silkily.
The wizard nodded mutely, understanding none of Mr. Ollivander’s words. All he knew was that his parents, who were busy working and couldn’t help him get his wand, had given him several Galleons—five whole galleons!—to spend on a wand. He had heard from his older brother a little about Mr. Ollivander, and he was just as frightening as his brother had said.
Mr. Ollivander, unaware of his customer’s private thoughts, and not bothered by his lack of conversation, continued on.
“What’s your wand arm, child?”
“Uh, I can use both hands, sir” replied the young wizard. Although not an easy task, he had made up his mind not to be frightened by Mr. Ollivander—he was going to Hogwarts and would be all by himself… surely it wouldn’t do to start acting like a child again!
“You’re ambidextrous?” Ollivander asked incredulously. “Oh, that will make things quite interesting. I haven’t had one of those in a long time. In fact, I think the last ambidextrous wizard came through these doors almost one hundred years ago. Yes, holly, ten inches, more for stirring potions than charms and transfiguration…” continued Mr. Ollivander, trailing off at the end. He returned his attention to his current customer, and peered closely at him. “Almond brown hair, those twinkling blue eyes… you look just like your father and older brother. Are you looking forward to Hogwarts, Mr. Dumbledore?”
“Albus, sir. My name is Albus,” the eleven-year old Albus Dumbledore said politely, excitement replacing the nervousness he had felt earlier. Mr. Ollivander was a little creepy, but he was going to get a wand, and that was all that mattered. Soon, he would be able to perform real magic!
“Ah, Aberforth’s brother! He had an oak wand, eleven and a half inches long. Quite firm. How is he doing now?”
“Uh, he’s at Hogwarts in his fourth—”
“Right then, Mr. Dumbledore. Try this wand. Cedar and unicorn hair; eight and three quarters inches,” said Ollivander, interrupting Dumbledore’s comments about his brother and handing him a wand.
Albus Dumbledore took the wand and waved it around. Aside from Mr. Ollivander’s wooden grandfather clock falling over, nothing happened.
“No, that won’t work,” Mr. Ollivander said, gazing sadly at the remnants of his clock, as if it was often knocked over, and even more often repaired.
“How about this wand? Mahogany and phoenix feather, ten inches, somewhat supple,” Ollivander said as he handed Albus another wand, only to snatch it away before Albus even had a chance to raise it.
Mr. Ollivander handed Albus wand after wand, only to grab each one back immediately after Albus touched it. Shortly, almost every box from the many rows had been taken down. Yet, Ollivander became happier and happier. Albus wondered why this was so—wouldn’t Ollivander be more pleased to sell a wand as fast as he could? Apparently not, as Mr. Ollivander said…
“Hah hah! A tricky ambidextrous customer! I’ll find your match, not to worry.”
Ollivander walked to the back of the room, and shortly disappeared. He returned soon after, holding a box carefully as if it contained delicate china. He pulled the top off, and handed Albus a wand, saying “eleven inches, spruce. Give it a try.”
Dumbledore took the wand, and felt the room suddenly dip in temperature. Three of the wooden shelves fell over with a resounding CRASH, and the store window shattered. Albus winced. Mr. Ollivander grabbed the wand back before anything else could happen. Raising his eyebrow at Albus, he remarked “Apparently, snake scales are not for you , Mr. Dumbledore.”
Albus Dumbledore shivered. He hated snakes. He knew they could hurt other people, and, although snakes would not come near him—indeed, they seemed to be afraid of him— he tried to dispense of them.
Mr. Ollivander continued, mostly to himself. “Perhaps—yes, I will try and see if that particular wand will work. One thousand years it has been sitting there, waiting. One thousand long years, from thick to thin, from Hogwarts to Witch Trials, it has been resting, waiting for the right wizard to come along. Maybe, just maybe, it will be right for Mr. Dumbledore here.”
Ollivander disappeared into the back of the shop yet again. By this time, Albus was quite worried; he hadn’t found a wand yet. He knew he couldn’t perform magic without one, and—
Before he could continue that line of thought, Orrick Ollivander appeared from the back of the shop, bearing another box. The box looked far older than all he had previously seen, even the one with the snake scales wand. Covered with dust, the box looked positively…ancient.
Ollivander started speaking. “All the wands you just tested, except for the last one with snakes’ scales, are basic Ollivander wands. The cores of those wands include phoenix feathers, unicorn hairs, and dragon heartstring. None of those seemed to work for you.” He held out the box towards Albus, and nodded his head, indicating to Albus that he should take it.
Albus reached for the box, only to have it fly to his hands before his fingers even got close. Mr. Ollivander nodded his head, as if that confirmed his suspicions.
Albus opened the box, and pulled out the wand.
The instant it touched his hand, he knew. Dimly, some part of his mind registered Mr. Ollivander saying “ten inches, and a composite of holly and yew. Somewhat pliable, yet also extremely firm,” but most of his attention was focused on the wand. His wand.
Albus’ hand somehow felt both warm and cold. One minute, it seemed like he was holding a scalding cup of tea, another moment, a block of ice. The feeling was quite disconcerting, to say the least, yet Albus was focused more on the effects his wand was causing than the feelings he was experiencing. Sparks of all colors shot out of the wand, and flew throughout the store. The grandfather clock that Albus had overturned earlier righted itself, as did the shelves he had knocked over. The shattered pieces of the glass window he had destroyed flew together, and melted seamlessly. The window looked as if it had never been shattered in the first place, and indeed, it was cleaner than it had been before being shattered.
The sparks stopped shooting from the wand, and everything calmed down, although Albus’ hand and arm still felt different from other parts of his body. More…alive.
Throughout this entire episode, Mr. Ollivander had continued speaking, unfazed. It appeared that damage to his store, and subsequent repair, happened all the time. Although, judging by a single lifted eyebrow, maybe not on this scale.
“I daresay, it is fine time that wand was sold. I do not know what possessed my great-great grandfather many times over to make it, but it has been sitting there in the back room for centuries. How he managed to make it both pliable and firm is quite a mystery, but it’s really the core that is far more interesting.”
Mr. Ollivander interrupted his monologue, saying “You are going to Hogwarts, right? Not Beauxbatons or Durmstrang?”
Albus nodded, most of his attention still focused on his wand.
“Good!” Mr. Ollivander continued. “That wand would not…behave… within the confines of other schools.”
Ollivander’s face, for the first time since Dumbledore had met him, took on a look of uncertainty. Dumbledore did not know what Mr. Ollivander was thinking, but if he had been able to do so, he would have seen that Orrick Ollivander, veteran wand-maker and a man not unfamiliar with danger, was scared in thinking of the damage this wand would cause if present in other schools.
Ollivander’s face relaxed, though, after hearing Mr. Dumbledore’s positive answer. He continued “What you hold in your hands, Mr. Dumbledore, is what is known as the Founders Wand. Crafted shortly after Hogwarts was founded, its core is unique, and this wand is the only one of its kind.”
“Or rather, Mr. Dumbledore, its cores are unique. You see, this wand has four separate elements to its core, most unusually in any wand. Each core substance corresponds in some way to one of the Hogwarts Founders, for each founder contributed something to this wand.
Snake scales from Salazar Slytherin, the Parseltongue. Rowena Ravenclaw gave eagle talon clippings. Badger hair from Helga Hufflepuff. And from Godric Gryffindor, a feather from his phoenix.
“Although only the objects Slytherin and Gryffindor gave us are powerful magical objects on their own, together, they form something far more powerful than any individual object. Your wand is built like Hogwarts itself- just as the united houses are far more powerful than any one house, the four cores of your wand together are far more powerful than any one core. Over time, the cores of the wand unified and became one core. It can be said that the four separate cores no longer exist—they are now one. That is also why you don't react to the snake scales in this wand as you did to the other: the effects of the snake scales are muted when compared to the other three objects.”
Albus held up his hand, staring at the wand in amazement. His eyebrows rose at Mr. Ollivander’s description of the wand. He could hardly believe that he held, in his hands, a wand nearly one thousand years old.
“You hold in your hands the Founders Wand, Albus Dumbledore,” Ollivander said calmly.
“Yes, sir. I understand sir” said Albus, forcing his attention away from his wand and towards Mr. Ollivander. “The Founders Wand.”
“Oh, but I don’t think you do, Mr. Dumbledore. Understand, that is. This wand is special even beyond its core- or cores. You see, this wand is in tune with Hogwarts itself. The bearer of this wand, or rather, this wand’s wizard, is able to do, within the bounds of Hogwarts, something that no wizard in history has managed to do.”
Ollivander looked pointedly at Albus, as if daring him to ask the question that was on his mind. Before Albus Dumbledore had a chance to open his mouth to voice his question, Mr. Ollivander took the matter out of his hands, and continued.
“Wandless magic, Mr. Dumbledore,” Ollivander said, staring closely at Albus. “You will be able to perform wandless magic.”
Albus simply gapedat Mr. Ollivander. He repeated “Wandless magic? Sir, no one can do that. My brother said—”
“Listen closely, Mr. Dumbledore ,” Orrick Ollivander said. “What your brother said is immaterial. What is important right now is you and this wand. I said you would be able to perform wandless magic within the boundaries of Hogwarts. You draw upon the magic of the castle, channeling it through your wand—which you won’t need with you when you are performing magic, as long as both you and the wand are within the confines of the castle. Instead of drawing upon the magic of dragon heartstrings, phoenix feathers, or unicorn hairs, you, bound with the castle itself, draw your magic from it.
Albus nodded in understanding, still digesting Ollivander’s words. Bound with the castle itself? How could Albus be connected to a castle?
Mr. Ollivander continued. “Outside of Hogwarts, you will require your wand for any magic, like all other wizards do.”
“Right, Mr. Ollivander” said Albus. “Thanks for your help,” he continued as he pulled out his money bag. “I’ve got my wand so I’m ready to go now.”
“Mr. Dumbledore! You’re not ready yet. There is one more thing you must take.The phoenix feather Godric Gryffindor gave came from his own phoenix. Phoenixes, as you know, are very long-lived creatures, dying only under certain circumstances. When Sir Gryffindor died, he specified that his phoenix should belong to the owner of the wand you now hold in your hands. The owner of the Founders Wand. The phoenix now belongs to you.”
Albus started in amazement. Forgetting himself in his excitement, he exclaimed “A phoenix? But those are really rare! I’ve never seen a phoenix before. Wow!”
Ollivander continued as if he had not heard Albus. “Unfortunately, that phoenix has passed through the veil. It died—as all phoenixes do—giving birth. And so, I will give you its child.”
“Oliver,” said Mr. Ollivander calmly.
What was wrong with Mr. Ollivander?, Albus wondered. He had been in the store for the last thirty minutes, and apparently, Ollivander had forgotten his name. Aloud, he said politely, “Sir? I’m Albus .”
“Oliver,” Mr. Ollivander said again. “My grandson.” He gestured to a young boy at his side who hadn’t been there a moment ago. Oh, Albus thought. He was talking about his grandson. He laughed to himself, relieved that Mr. Ollivander hadn’t gone crazy.
“Hello,” said Oliver Ollivander shyly. “Hello,” replied Albus Dumbledore.
“Oliver, would you be so kind as to go get the phoenix that resides in the back? Thank you.” Orrick Ollivander said to his grandson, all the while his gaze fixed on Albus. Oliver disappeared, returning soon after with something cupped in his hands.
“Godric’s phoenix gave birth and died only a month ago. Consequently, your phoenix is quite young and small. You will find books about the care of phoenixes in the Magical Menagerie, down the street.”
“Thank you,” Albus said, both to Orrick for the explanation, and to Oliver for opening his hands and passing the phoenix to Albus.
“What is his name, sir?” asked Albus.
“Oh, we never gave him a name. Doing so would have made him ours, which he most certainly is not” replied Orrick Ollivander matter-of-factly.
“So, what should I name him?” Albus said, somewhat uncertainly.
“That is up to you, Albus Dumbledore.” Orrick Ollivander said calmly. “However, his father’s name was Fawkes.”
“Fawkes,” Albus repeated softly to himself. “Fawkes,” he said again. “I like it. Fawkes it will be.” At that, the phoenix—Fawkes—raised his head, which had previously been tucked under his wing—and chirped at Albus. Albus smiled back. “My own phoenix!” he thought excitedly. “Oh, he’s wonderful!”
“I believe that concludes our business, Mr. Dumbledore.” Holding out his hand, he continued, “Thatwill be three galleons.”
Albus dutifully pulled out his money bag and paid Orrick Ollivander. “Thank you sir.”
“Oh, thank you Mr. Dumbledore! You have provided a great wizard for a great wand.”
Orrick Ollivander continued in an undertone. “For the wand chooses the wizard, of course. And the Founders Wand chose you. I think we must expect wondrous things from you, Mr. Albus Dumbledore. Fantastic and wondrous things.”
Albus shivered, suddenly wishing to leave the store. “Well, I’ll be going now, sir!” Albus said as he pushed open the door and fled for the safety of Florean Fortescues Ice Cream Parlor.
“Yes, Mr. Dumbledore” Ollivander said, staring at the still-swinging doors, his silver eyes unusually bright. “Great things.”
First off, thanks for reading! This is my first story- I would appreciate reviews very much if you have the time to write them. You can't know how much they mean unless you're an author. And extra special thanks goes to my beta Yolanda! This story would have been awful without her. Now, to my real notes: what's above is just the "Author's Shpiel."
Harry’s wand is holly, and Voldemort’s is yew. Thus, a combination of the two make up Dumbledore’s wand. Just a little joke :-).
The name (but not the character—so no age or description match) Oliver Ollivander comes from Alchemilla’s wonderful story, The Test of Time.
There was very little canon evidence to base anything in my story on, which made it harder for me to base this story on anything, but will make it easier for me to write future stories in the Dumbledore universe, if I’m planning to. You never know :-).
Oliver Ollivander is supposedly “the Ollivander” that Harry encounters when he goes wand-shopping.
Any emails go to this address: nightcrawler1089 AT gmail DOT com
(Please send to this address instead of the one listed on my author profile if you want me to reply quickly. It's in that format to prevent spam- hopefully you can translate. Just append @gmail.com to my username.)