J. K. Rowling has done it again Ã¢ÂÂ she's addressed the wizarding world she so expertly created and has dropped another gem of knowledge regarding one of its beloved characters. And we couldn't be happier about it.
This time round, Mr. Garrick Ollivander is in the authoress's spotlight Ã¢ÂÂ he's the kind, silver-haired proprietor of the famous Ollivanders wand shop in Diagon Alley and the wandmaker who gave our Harry his first ever wand:
Although Rowling hadn't previously delved too deeply into the history of the Ollivanders, we finally got the opportunity to learn more about the most talented family of wandmakers in the wizarding world.
Taking to Pottermore, Rowling revealed the following about Ollivander's ancient family history and how he came to be in the business of providing every budding wizard at Hogwarts their very first wand:
The family of Ollivander has long been associated with the mysterious profession of wandcraft. It is said that the name means 'he who owns the olive wand', which suggests that the original Ollivander arrived in Britain from a Mediterranean country (olive trees not being native to the UK). Mr Ollivander himself believes that his earliest forebears in this country arrived with the Romans, and set up stall (subsequently shop) to sell to ancient British wizards whose wands were crude of construction and unreliable in performance.
Over the centuries, the Ollivander family grew in esteem within the wizarding community and subsequently Garrick inherited his ancestors' talents. Rowling continues:
Mr Ollivander is arguably the finest maker of wands in the world, and many foreigners travel to London to purchase one of his wands in preference to those on offer in their native lands. Mr Ollivander grew up in the family business, in which he showed precocious talent. He had the ambition of improving upon the cores and wand woods hitherto used and from his earliest days conceived a single-minded, even fanatical, determination in his pursuit of the ideal wand.
The author also elaborated on the art of wandmaking and the sourcing of their materials, revealing that just as in the case of Fleur Delacour's Veela-hair core, wandmakers often adapted inherited substances trickling down through familial generations. Mr. Ollivander however, attempted to tweak this process for the better. Rowling states:
Prior to Mr Ollivander's proprietorship of the family business, wizards used a wide variety of wand cores. A customer would often present the wandmaker with a magical substance to which they were attached, or had inherited, or by which their family swore (hinted at by the core of Fleur Delacour's wand). Mr Ollivander, however, was a purist who insisted that the best wands would never be produced merely by encasing the whiskers of a favourite Kneazle (or the stalk of a Dittany plant that once saved a wizard's father from poisoning, or the mane of a kelpie a witch had once met on holiday in Scotland) in the customer's favourite wood.
Instead, Ollivander's thinking became more progressive:
The best wands, he believed, had cores of immensely powerful magical substances, which were expertly enclosed in specially selected and complementary wandwoods, the result to be matched to an owner with whom the wand itself felt the most affinity. While there was initially substantial resistance to this revolutionary way of crafting wands, it swiftly became clear that Ollivander wands were infinitely superior to anything that had come before. His methods of locating wand woods and core substances marrying them together and matching them to ideal owners are all jealously guarded secrets that were coveted by rival wandmakers.
Read more about wands on Pottermore.