Spoofing Ollivander

My daughter’s birthday is here, and I thought I’d surprise her with a custom made Ollivander’s wand a la Harry Potter.  After all, it’s my fault she’s a devoted fan of the novels.  It was good to be doing something creative again, especially something kind of crafty.  Despite the fact that I didn’t bother to set up a proper light box for the photos, here are the results:

The Box

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I really enjoyed the box, with its taped edges and replica Ollivander’s label (properly aged with tea).  On the end I included the typical Ollivander’s wand description “Purple Heart, Walnut, 12½ in., Mother’s Hair Core:”

wand_box_end

and inside, resting on tissue paper, The Wand itself:

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I love the tropical hardwood purple heart, and I am still finding uses for scraps from a piece I bought for another project years ago.  It has a deep purple color to it, and I used it for the wand shaft.  It nicely compliments the walnut handle, which is  carved in the shape of budding leaves.  Some time ago, my daughter and I discussed what should go in a wand’s core if I ever made one for her.  We agreed there was nothing quite so magical as a mother’s love.  True to my word, the wand incorporates one of her mother’s hairs into its core.  For the record, the hair was given voluntarily, if somewhat dubiously (we’ve been married a while now, so she’s used to it).

The whole affair was tied off with string and planted outside the front door after an appropriate amount of “Did you see that owl outside?!  No?  Oh, well.   You just missed it.”  My daughter found it when I sent her out to help her mother, and that thoroughly confirmed its authenticity.  I then confessed to her that I had “special ordered” it directly from Ollivander’s for her birthday.

She went to bed listening to Harry Potter audio books (as usual), and trying various spell variations in an attempt to levitate or move random objects in her room.  One unanticipated outcome was the anxiety of her five year old brother that his sister was going to “zap him” with the wand.  We had to assure him that it was only pretend.  I believe he still had some doubts about the whole affair, and I’m certain that my daughter was holding out hope that the wand might actually turn out to be more than just pretend.

I can’t say that I blame her there.

8 thoughts on “Spoofing Ollivander

  1. Nycteris

    Oh wow, that’s excellent!
    Someone made a wand for me once and I really treasure the “handcraftedness” (and, of course, most of all, the person who gave it to me). I am absolutely SURE your daughter will too! I especially like the idea of a mother’s love in the core.

    [I don’t think mine had a core, though the other one is ‘unicorn hair’ I think. There was this one year when a couple of people simultaneously decided to give me wands for some reason. I am an old adult and so they sit on a shelf, but your daughter has whole worlds to play with her wand in – how awesome a dad are you!]

  2. Alex

    Hi, I have popped over from your sisters blog and I love the beautiful gift and the love and craftsmanship that you have poured into it… I to love the Harry Potter series, purely for its escapism and I have always secretly wished I was able to conjure magic or have powers to fly, I blame reading Marvel comics when I was younger! lol

    Alex

  3. elenka

    OK…..the jig is up….HOW did you make the actual wand with a place for the hair, even??
    Carved it, no doubt?
    You won’t believe this, but I think that my 23 year old son would get a real kick out of something like this…he grew up with Harry! Any ideas on how I could improvise a wand that I don’t actually carve??
    (If you want to actually answer me, and you don’t really have to, email me instead of answering on my blog. Thanks!)

  4. The Bearded Goose

    Dude, you suck. You’re totally raising the bar for the rest of us parents. Now I feel all lumpish and lazy. Geez. Way to go. Now I’m going to have kids wondering why THEY don’t have a wand. Do you know how much it’ll cost me to make 7 wands?! I’m going to have to kill a whole damn tree now. Nice.

    🙂

  5. jay Post author

    Sorry for the delay in getting to comments. I get so many spam comment notices, that I don’t always see the good stuff. That, and correspondence is not exactly a strong suit, probably because it’s essentially all I do at work.

    Elenka, the hair did not turn out nearly as elegantly as it sounded. I drilled a hole into the base of the main wand shaft (the part that would be glued into the handle). I had envisioned a neatly folded hair slipped nicely down into the hole. What I learned was that hair doesn’t fold. In fact, it’s pretty springy and unruly. In the end, I think it would be more aptly described as a wadded up hair ball shoved down into a tiny little hole and hastily glued into place before it could pop out again.

    As for a hasty, non-carve solution for both Elenka and Goose, hardwood dowels are cheap. I’d start with those, painted or stained according to taste. You could use bigger dowels for the handles, but you’ll still have some sanding, drilling, and possibly carving to do. You could also get a roll of rawhide lacing and wrap the base of the wand for a handle instead of a separate carved piece.

    Another thought is to cruise junk stores for interesting handles from kitchen utensils or other implements. I once screwed an old brass doorknob onto half a pool stick. Painted black, it made for an elegant prop cane for a play.

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