The "Wand Order Problem"
Sooner or later every fan stumbles across certain mysteries in the
Harry Potter books. Some actually find
them in the books, other stumbled across them in discussions online. Once
discovered, any good fan will then ponder whether this intriguing new
mystery is a clue, foreshadowing, foreboding, a misdirection (red herring),
or a mistake (FLINT).
However, before you let your imagination run wild, you should know that
many of these mysteries have been cleared up.
One such mystery is referred to in fan circles simply as 'The Wand Order',
and I shall clear up this mystery after laying some groundwork.
Throughout the series of Harry Potter books
up until near the end of
Goblet of Fire, it has been
implied or stated that James was killed
before Lily. However, in very early
editions of Goblet of Fire, in
the graveyard scene, James exits the
Dark Lord's wand before
Lily. This now implies that
James was killed after
Lily and creates a substantial mystery.
wands share a common magical core. They
both contain a feather from the same
Wands with common magical cores are
referred to as 'brother wands'.
When two brother wands cast spells
head-to-head against each other, as happens in the graveyard scene where
Voldemort duel, the
wands create the
'Reverse Spell Effect' called
This causes the spells cast by one of the
wands to expel a shadow or echo of each
previous spell cast by that wand,
expelling the most recently cast spell first.
In the graveyard scene in
Goblet of Fire,
Harry forces Voldemort's wand to expel the shadows or echoes of its previous
spells. As I said before, in early editions, James comes out of Voldemort's
wand first. That implies, since the spell come out in reverse order, that
James was killed after Lily, and that is inconsistent with what the previous
books and Voldemort's own words have led us to believe.
This led to many many weeks of wild speculation among online fans. Some
assumed it was a mistake, other believe it was a clue. Those believing it
to be a clue wondered if the earlier references to
James dying first were 'red herrings' meant to mislead us, and that
J.K.Rowling was now revealing some special truth about what happened to
Harry's parents, but was doing so in by hiding the clue in an exciting
emotionally charged scene where we were likely to overlook it.
As weeks went on speculation grew exponentially with each new theory being
more wild and extreme than the one before, with each new speculator being
absolutely sure that they had solved the mystery of "The Wand Order'.
Fortunately, we were saved from many hours of late night speculation and
debate when J.K.Rowling finally confessed that it was nothing more than
a mistake cause by late night writer's fatigue. All newer editions of the
books in all languages (to the best of my knowledge) have corrected this
error, and now show Lily exiting the Dark Lord's wand first, meaning she
was killed last.
It was fun while it lasted, but the mystery of 'The Wand Order' has been
Quote from J.K.Rowling explaining the error-