There’s a lot to unpack in this story of a real-life wand maker invoking the Twitter ire of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. First things first: There’s a man in West Yorkshire, England who believes magic is real and he makes wands to help magical practitioners control it. “You wouldn’t believe how many real witches and wizards there are knocking about. You would be amazed,” wand maker Richard Carter told The Sun in an article about his magic shop Mystical Moments. Carter goes on to explain that real witches and wizards “know they can come here and reveal themselves without people thinking they’re mental.” After these totally sane magical shoppers select a wand, Carter—who makes his wands with a lathe “while controlled by spirits”—will perform a quick ritual to “cleanse it of the wand maker’s energy” and send the happy customer on their way.
The article is mostly a quirky human interest story (Carter says the wands can be used to ward off dark forces, bring luck in money or love, and cure aches, pains, and stress), until Carter brings Harry Potter into the mix. “I don’t have customers who have been Harry Potter-fied,” he boasts, adding, “If I had someone come in wanting a wand just because they liked Harry Potter I would not sell them one, no matter how much they were offering.”
That quote—which got exaggerated into a Harry Potter fan “ban” in the article’s headline—stirred up some controversy in the Harry Potter fandom for its discriminatory air. Then Rowling herself took to Twitter—her own magical wand of sorts—to cast some shade. She shared a story about Carter not believing Harry Potter fans are real wizards and added, “Oh yeah? Well, I don’t think they’re real wands.”
After Rowling added fuel to the fiendfyre, Carter was forced to give a follow-up interview to The Daily Examiner to explain that his comments had been taken out of context. “I said that if Harry Potter fans wanted a wand they should go on eBay because what they’re basically after is a toy,” he clarifies. “But I have not banned them from the shop.” He goes on to add:
I have nothing against Harry Potter and actually liked the films. The wands I make though, whether you believe it or not, are real and spiritual. If a Harry Potter fan came to the shop, whether they would be able to buy a wand would depend on why they want one. If for a toy, then no, but if they had watched Harry Potter and been inspired to start their own spiritual journey, then yes.
Perhaps the biggest bombshell to come out of this whole thing is that a man who sells wands for a living seems unaware that the Harry Potter films are based on books.