How many times are wands used in Harry Potter? And who uses theirs the most? We’ve crunched the numbers on this and other key wand-based questions...
Methodology: We tracked every use of a wand in all seven UK editions of the Harry Potter books. Additional wand usage in the films was not included. We only included magical uses, where it was explicitly clear that a wand was used by an identifiable person or group of people. We did not include wand usage in dreams, daydreams, visions, flashbacks or hallucinations or reported incidents of wand usage. When two named characters performed the same spell at the same time we counted it as two separate incidents. Spells performed without a wand are not counted.
‘He’s going to Stonewall High and he’ll be grateful for it. I’ve read those letters and he needs all sorts of rubbish – spell books and wands and –’
First mention of a wand: by Uncle Vernon, chapter four, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Harry gets his wand: Chapter five, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Beechwood and dragon heartstring, nice and flexible – nine inches
Maple and Phoenix feather, quite whippy – seven inches
Ebony and unicorn hair, springy, eight and a half inches
… Before settling on Holly and Phoenix feather, nice and supple, 11 inches
instances of wand use overall
Wand use is successful four out of five times overall
Highest rate of wand failures:
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Useage per book
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, 17
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, 37
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, 57
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, 125
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, 158
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, 122
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, 247
Chapter with the highest wand use per page: Chapter 28 (Flight of the Prince) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, 1.75 uses per page
The Incantation cloud
How it works: We counted the incantations uttered when a wand is used, those with four or more mentions appear below. Totals include part-uttered incantations (Expecto –), stuttered incantations and incantations uttered with impeded speech ('Stubefy!' rather than ‘Stupefy!’).
Fewest to most uses
Impervius, Wingardium Leviosa Imperio, Legilimens, Levicorpus Aguamenti, Alohomora, Diffindo, Reparo Silencio! Avada Kedavra, Crucio Impedimenta, Petrificus Totalus Protego Riddikulus Expecto patronum Accio Lumos Expelliarmus Stupefy
One hit wand-ers
Over 20 named characters only use their wand once. Here are some of our favourites...
A boy called Kevin, who plays with his dad’s wand outside a tent in the mud, making a slug swell slowly to the size of a salami in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Rita Skeeter, who lights a handful of candles and magics them into mid-air when interviewing Harry in a broom cupboard in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Mundungus Fletcher pulls out a grimy black pipe, sticks it in his mouth, ignites the end with his wand and takes a deep pull on it, puffing out billowing clouds of greenish smoke
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Death Eater Yaxley goes out on a search party with Dolohov in the forest near Hagrid’s hut, and lights up his wand to see in the darkness
Weasleys v Malfoys
Total usage: Weasleys 85, Malfoys 13 Average wand usage per family member: 10.6 Weasleys, 4.3 Malfoys Success rate: 69% Weasleys, 85% Malfoys
We worked out the seven witches and wizards who used their wands the most, and tracked each individual wand usage throughout the books. But who was the greatest wand user overall?