Reflection: Pottermore Wand and House Selection(s)

So almost a year ago I was lucky enough to be able to test Pottermore and play around with the website. As it was for everyone that has read the Harry Potter books, any fan of the series would be interested to find out what their wand would be and which house they would be placed in. I was no different…

So when I went through the questions that would lead towards the wand that would choose me I was kind of curious to know what the individuals pieces of the wand signified.

What I really enjoy about Pottermore is that it goes into more detail of the significance of the wood used, the three cores used in Ollivander’s wands, how is length of wand determined, and the flexibility of the wand.

For my wand I was given:
Wood: Fir
Length: 10-3/4 inches
Core: Unicorn hair
Flexibility: unbending

Based on what was explained on Pottermore:
My august grandfather, Gerbold Octavius Ollivander, always called wands of this wood ‘the survivor’s wand,’ because he had sold it to three wizards who subsequently passed through mortal peril unscathed. There is no doubt that this wood, coming as it does from the most resilient of trees, produces wands that demand staying power and strength of purpose in their true owners, and that they are poor tools in the hands of the changeable and indecisive. Fir wands are particularly suited to Transfiguration, and favour owners of focused, strong-minded and, occasionally, intimidating demeanour.

WAND CORE – Unicorn Hair
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 mishandled, meaning that the hair may ‘die’ and need replacing.

When it came to finding out which house I am a part of, naturally there was a series of questions for the Sorting Hat. I was fairly certain I would find myself in either Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff, there might have been a slight chance between Gryffindor and Slytherin but all in all to me that seemed rather far fetched, so imagine my shock when I was sorted into Gryffindor known for their Bravery and Chivalry. W-T-F?!?!?

Online… people have provided various “spoilers” from Pottermore. The Wand Selection process and the Sorting Hat process seems to be the most consistent questions/spoilers. One of my favorite of these spoiler sites is from Tumblr and aptly named: Pottermore Spoilers.

A little bit later, for the hell of it I found myself with another account (yes I’m one of those) to see if I am consistent and found something interesting: though the wand wood and length was consistent the core was not. Not only that but my house was also different… interesting.

WAND (Round two):
Wood: Fir
Length: 10-3/4 inches
Core: Phoenix Feather
Flexibility: unbending

WAND CORE – Phoenix Feather
This is the rarest core type. Phoenix feathers are capable of the greatest range of magic, though they may take longer than either unicorn or dragon cores to reveal this. They show the most initiative, sometimes acting of their own accord, a quality that many witches and wizards dislike.

Phoenix feather wands are always the pickiest when it comes to potential owners, for the creature from which they are taken is one of the most independent and detached in the world. These wands are the hardest to tame and to personalise, and their allegiance is usually hard won.

Once again I went towards the Sorting Hat chapter and wondered if I would be sorted into the same house as before. With different Sorting Hat questions and any of the same ones I answered similarly to before I found myself instead in Hufflepuff! Ok, that was more realistic, at least to me.

When I talked to a few of my friends, I found that there was a possibility that if the Sorting Hat was unsure as to which house to choose they would allow the user to choose between two houses… much like how Harry Potter focused on going to Gryffindor as opposed to Slytherin.

The following is what JK Rowling mentions about the Hufflepuff House:

The Hufflepuff common room is entered from the same corridor as the Hogwarts kitchens. Proceeding past the large still life that forms the entrance to the latter, a pile of large barrels is to be found stacked in a shadowy stone recess on the right-hand side of the corridor. The barrel two from the bottom, middle of the second row, will open if tapped in the rhythm of ‘Helga Hufflepuff’.* As a security device to repel non-Hufflepuffs, tapping on the wrong barrel, or tapping the incorrect number of times, results in one of the other lids bursting off and drenching the interloper in vinegar.

A sloping, earthy passage inside the barrel travels upwards a little way until a cosy, round, low-ceilinged room is revealed, reminiscent of a badger’s set. The room is decorated in the cheerful, bee-like colours of yellow and black, emphasised by the use of highly polished, honey-coloured wood for the tables and the round doors which lead to the boys’ and girls’ dormitories (furnished with comfortable wooden bedsteads, all covered in patchwork quilts).

A colourful profusion of plants and flowers seem to relish the atmosphere of the Hufflepuff common room: various cactii stand on wooden circular shelves (curved to fit the walls), many of them waving and dancing at passers-by, while copper-bottomed plant holders dangling amid the ceiling cause tendrils of ferns and ivies to brush your hair as you pass under them.

A portrait over the wooden mantelpiece (carved all over with decorative dancing badgers) shows Helga Hufflepuff, one of the four founders of Hogwarts School, toasting her students with a tiny, two-handled golden cup. Small, round windows just level with the ground at the foot of the castle show a pleasant view of rippling grass and dandelions, and, occasionally, passing feet. These low windows notwithstanding, the room feels perennially sunny.

* The complexity or otherwise of the entrance to the common rooms might be said to give a very rough idea of the intellectual reputation of each house: Hufflepuff has an unchanging portal and requires rhythmic tapping; Slytherin and Gryffindor have doorways that challenge the would-be entrant about equally, the former having an almost imperceptible hidden entrance and a varying password, the latter having a capricious guardian and frequently changing passwords. In keeping with its reputation as the house of the most agile minds at Hogwarts, the door to the Ravenclaw common room presents a fresh intellectual or philosophical challenge every time a person knocks on it.

Nevertheless, it ought not to be concluded from the above that Hufflepuffs are dimwits or duffers, though they have been cruelly caricatured that way on occasion. Several outstanding brains have emerged from Hufflepuff house over the centuries; these fine minds simply happened to be allied to outstanding qualities of patience, a strong work ethic and constancy, all traditional hallmarks of Hufflepuff House.

Ok, Hufflepuff definitely makes more sense for… at least I think so, but I could also see where Gryffindor could possibly fit in. Though when you really think about it everyone has a bit of each house in them, but the qualities that are at your core, the ones that are strongest are the ones that determine where you would best be placed.

Unfortuantely, life has gotten in the way since then, so I haven’t really had a chance to play around with the site since late last year. Hopefully in time I will be able to do that, because I am kind of curious to see if more has been added to the sit in the past year.