Dragon’s Blood, Wand-Cores, and 3 of the 5 Keys


  1. Quite accidentally, I have found another dragon’s blood reference for you. I was re-reading Order of the Phoenix. Chapter 20, Hagrid’s Tale, where Hagrid recounts his experience with the giants. When the trio first arrive in his cabin, Hagrid is apparently quite injured with cuts and bruising all over his face:

    “He walked to the enormous wooden table that stood in the middle of his cabin and twitched aside a tea towel that had been lying on it. Underneath was a raw, bloody, green-tined steak slightly larger than the average care tire.

    “You’re not going to eat that, are you, Hagrid?” said Ron, leaning in for a closer look. “It looks poisonous.”

    “It’s s’posed ter look like that, it’s dragon meat,” Hagrid said, “An’ I didn’ get it ter eat.”

    He picked up the steak and slapped it over the left side of his face. Greenish blood trickled down into his beard as he gave a soft moan of satisfaction.

    “Tha’s better. It helps with the stingin’, yeh know.”- Scholastic edition page 422.

    Other references in that chapter include:

    “Hagrid choked in his mug and dropped his steak at the same time; a large quantity of spit, tea, and dragon blood was sprayed over the table as Hagrid coughed and spluttered and the steak slid, with a soft splat onto the floor.”
    …. He bent down and tugged the dragon steak out of Fang’s mouth.
    “Oh, Hagrid, don’t, it’s not hygien-“ Hermione began, but Hagrid had already slapped the meat back over his swollen eye.” -Page 424

    … “Oh yeah, it went down like a storm once them understood what it was,” said Hagrid, turning his dragon steak over to press the cooler side to his swollen eye. -Page 429

    … “Nope,” said Hagrid, heaving a deep sigh as he turned over his steak again and applied the cooler side to his face…” –page 433

    ,,, “Hargid hastily removed the dragon steak from his face, which in Harry’s opinion was a mistake, because the black-and-purple bruising all around his eye was now clearly visible, not to mention the large amount of fresh and congealed blood on his face.”
    … “For your health,” repeated Umbridge. Her eyes traveled over Hagrid’s discolored and swollen face; dragon blood dripped gently onto his waistcoat in silence. “I see.” – page 436-37

    I found this passage odd in its description of the dragon’s blood as greenish. Also, the movement of the blood is described as trickling, spraying, and dripping gently. In Half-Blood Prince, the dragon’s blood on the wall was described as darkly red and glutinous. Most glutinous substances don’t trickle, spray, or drip gently. I’m not sure how to reconcile these two descriptions.

    Also, according to Slughorn, it was his last bottle, implying he used to have much more, and prices are “sky high at the moment.” A “great roll o’ dragon skin” was Hagrid’s third gift to the giants, with the Gubraithian fire first and the indestructible goblin helmet second. To be placed along side these other two gifts, a large piece of dragon skin must be of considerable value. A reference or two to the twins wearing dragon skin seems to suggest that it is a display of wealth or success. To my recollection, we haven’t seen any reference to wizards actually eating dragon meat.

    From the OotP passage, it would appear that dragon meat (or perhaps just the blood?) is useful for wound care. One wonders how Hagrid obtained such a large piece of dragon meat, with prices of dragon blood and skin so high surely the meat must also be expensive. Or, were prices perfectly reasonable during OotP and somehow sky-rocketed over the summer before HBP? It would appear that the 12 uses of dragon’s blood are relatively well known, if it is taught in first year. Is one of these uses particularly desirable now that the general wizarding population is aware of Voldemort’s return and that is why prices are suddenly “sky-high at the moment”?

  2. Also, there is this quote from JKR:

    Q: What are the 12 uses for dragon’s blood? — Kelsey Biggar, age 9

    A: I have a very good reason for not telling you — the movie script writer wants me to give him that information for the film. But I can say that the 12th use is oven cleaner.

    From Chonin, Neva. “Harry Potter’s Wizard: Creator of children’s book series tours Bay Area,” The San Francisco Chronicle, October 30, 1999, accessed from AccioQuote

  3. Thank you so much! These references are really very helpful.

    Do you think the Dragon-steak cure for black-eyes is just a throw-away joke about super-sizing the Muggle steak-on-black-eye cure or a reference to the Dragon’s blood in the steak having curative powers a la Unicorn’s blood? Your suggestion that prices “sky rocketed” because of Voldemort’s return is spot-on, I think. Demand went up because one of the 12 uses must be something to do with restoration or death-prevention.

    Really great work, Cory_HP!

  4. I thought it odd, at the time, that it was dragon meat that Hagrid was using–as there aren’t supposed to be that many dragons left in Britain.

    However, the students wear dragon hide gloves in Herbology–so there must be a supply somewhere. I think those gloves were required even in their first year. So if they can make gloves of the hide, there must be meat available. Maybe not that rare after all.

    I was looking for something in my dictionary (no, I don’t just sit and read it)and stumbled on this entry:

    “DRAGON TREE: a takk tree if the lily family, from which a red resinous substance (called dragon’s blood) is obtained: it grows in the Canary Islands”

    and this one, which seems to have nothing to do with anything important–

    “DRAGON’S BLOOD: any of several red, resinous substances obtained from various tropical plants and trees, used for coloring varnishes and in photoengraving”

    Of course, when I looked up dragons and blood and birds and flowers, etc, in my symbolism book (that pre-dates HP, so not influenced by it at all), it went along with the other things you have already mentioned concerning wand cores. There does seem to be some connection between the flowers, birds and wine that Ollivander produces with the three wands in GOF. One other thing–the weighing of the wands–does that relate in any way to the symbolism of weighing of a soul?


  5. korg20000bc says

    I’m wondering what ARE dragons in Rowling’s mythos?
    Are they just dumb and viscious magical menaces like The Lambton Worm? Are they no more than a vighly profitable magical resource? Nearly every part of a dragon seems to be of some monetry value; leather, blood, etc. It appears that they are no better than cattle, a resource to be exploited by wizard-kind.
    Rowling includes asian dragons in her writing like the Chinese Fireball of the first task of the Tri-wizard tournament. From what I understand, dragons in Asian mythologies are receptacles of wisdom.
    Other writers like Tolkien see dragons as extremely intelligent and self-aware like Glaurung or Smaug, masters of evil in a very premeditated manner.

    Are Rowling’s dragons intelligent but reluctantly subject to the wizarding world? None of the Tri-wizard dragons seemed to want to be involved.
    Or are they just dumb animals?


  6. cwestervelt says

    John, shortly before reading your post, I had been browsing the FAQ on Rowlings official site. I don’t know if you check it out much, but she includes comments on wand cores.

    The question concerned the core of Hermione’s wand.

    The answer was dragon heartstring. She went on to comment that Harry, Ron and Hermione’s wands “unite the three Ollivander wand cores” which I found to be a rather interesting phrase. She also comments on how, while other wand makers use different cores, “Ollivander is widely acknowledged to be the best maker.” Not being big on coincidences, I would lean towards his choice of cores being a big reason of why his are the best.

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