The Wand (or Other Magical Tool) Chooses the Wizard

Most of us are used to being able to pick up many everyday tools and use them, regardless of their provenance. If I need a knife to cut up a potato, I just get one out of the drawer. If I need a pen, I grab the pen at hand. It doesn’t really matter if the knife or pen is one I’ve had ashort while, one I inherited, or even one that belongs to someone else, as long as I can cut up the potato or write down the item on the grocery list. However, like most people, I find that it really does matter. I have a favorite paring knife; I have pens I like or don’t like. Sometimes, it is because of the intrinsic quality of the item. Maybe that particular knife just holds the edge well or does a particularly nice job on potatoes. Maybe that pen writes well. Sometimes, though, it’s more about personal preference. The size of that knife or pen might just be a great fit for my hand, which is smaller than that of most adults. Or, I might prefer a particular color of ink for the task at hand (I have never graded in red, always green, purple, or, occasionally, blue).  Even more subtly, though, that tool choice may be linked to something deeper. Perhaps I use that knife because my granny always used one like that to cut potatoes, or perhaps I choose a pen, even for a menial task, because it reminds me of someone special. Humans are used to choosing our tools for reasons that are both practical and sentimental. Yet, there is also the sense, especially in literature, that tools choose us, and that is a theme we can see not only in the Wizarding World, but also in a wide variety of other texts and popular media.

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