“Who have we here?” asked the thin voice of Mr Ollivander.
“Tom Riddle sir,” I replied politely, not wanting to start off on the wrong foot with this man. He had millions of magical wands after all.
“Ah, Tom Riddle. First year at Hogwarts?” he asked, his eyes peering at me from behind spectacles.
“Yes sir,” I said, “I’m here to find a wand sir.”
“You don’t have to call me sir in every sentence, Mr Riddle,” he said, chuckling slightly, “A wand you say? Well let’s see which one will choose you.”
“Choose me sir? I thought we’re meant to choose them!” I said in astonishment.
“Then your thinking’s a bit faulty,” he told me, “A wizard or a witch never choose their own wand. The wand will choose them by seeing their potential. You’ve probably seen young Mr McGonagall before you trying out dozens of different wands before the right one flared fireworks.”
“Yes sir. Can we start the choosing now?” I said.
“The young ones are always impatient,” murmured Mr Ollivander to himself before speaking to me, “Yes, we’ll start now. Let me see, perhaps eleven inches, dragon heartstring, elm?”
It was as though he was speaking a different language as he named wand after wand. Pacing up and down the shelves of wand, he would stop occasionally to pull out a dusty box. When his arm was full, he returned to the counter.
“The right one ought to be in this pile somewhere. Let’s start with the dragon heartstring one,” said Mr Ollivander as he unpacked the first box.
I took the wand gingerly in my fingers when Mr Ollivander handed me the eleven inches, dragon heartstring and elm. Mimicking what I saw Achilles McGonagall did before, I grasped the wand between my thumb and forefinger and gave my wrist a little flick. Time seemed to freeze as I waited breathlessly for that little magical spark to exit the end of the wand. Nothing happened.
“Don’t worry boy, there’s plenty more wands in the shop,” said Mr Ollivander as he saw my crestfallen face, “Let’s try twelve and a half inches, unicorn hair, yew.”
As I flicked wand after wand, nothing happened. There was not even the slightest spark, and I began to doubt myself. Perhaps those abilities to torture the little wimps at the orphanage weren’t really magical after all. Perhaps Professor Dumbledore will realise that he had picked the wrong boy from the orphanage. Perhaps I was nothing special, just a little nobody in an orphanage.
“Thirteen and a half inches, phoenix feather, yew,” said Mr Ollivander as he handed me the second last wand in the pile.
I grabbed it in my hand and gave a half-hearted flick, expecting nothing special. An explosion of green light lit up the shop, punctuated with little sparkles of silver. I felt the sheer power of the wand shooting up my arm and into my heart, and I couldn’t contain my laugh of joy. Clenching my fist around the wooden wand, I grinned smugly at my handiwork, enjoying very much the astonishment on Mr Ollivander and Professor Dumbledore’s faces.
“Never in my life,” murmured Mr Ollivander as the green light finally dimmed, “Never have I seen such a powerful choosing.”
“Never sir?” I asked, my heart still elated as I clutched the wand to my chest. Nothing would ever make me part with it now.
“No, never,” said Mr Ollivander, “And I thought I would never live to see the day of such a powerful choosing. This only happen in myths.”
“So sir, how much do you want for this wand?” I asked, eager for the moment when the wand would be mine and mine alone.
“Ah, the wand. That’ll be a sickle,” said Mr Ollivander, still a bit dazed after my explosion of light.
Professor Dumbledore handed the silver coin over the counter as I cradled the wand in my arms. He looked at me with a strange light in his eye, a slightly wary expression. Grinning at the wand in my arms I walked out of Ollivander’s Wand Shop.
“Thirteen and a half inches, phoenix feather, yew,” I whispered to myself.
The measurements slid lovingly down my throat like golden syrup. The wand warmed slightly in my arms, as though it recognise its identification. Running my fingers over the woody surface of the wand, I felt the sheer power this object held. With it, I would be invincible.