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Harry Potter fans are no strangers to phoenixes, the type of bird we know Dumbledore's beloved Fawkes to be. But the symbolism behind the phoenix, particularly as it relates to Voldemort and Harry Potter's wands and their connection to one another, will completely shock you.
Ever heard the phrase "rise like a phoenix"? It's a useful metaphor for describing someone who comes back from a difficulty stronger than before, much like the phoenix in Greek mythology who lived for centuries, consumed itself in fire as it weakened, then was reborn from the ashes.
And as we know, Fawkes himself rises from the ashes and is reborn in the Harry Potter series. Fawkes also gave just two of his valuable feathers to be used as the core of a wizard's wand. One feather went into what would eventually become Harry Potter's holly wand. The other, as renowned wandmaker Ollivander revealed early on, went into Tom Riddle's yew wand, making the two wands "brothers." Curious, as Ollivander would say. This common core is also why the unique "Priori Incantatem" spell occurs when the wands connect during Harry and Voldemort's duel in Goblet of Fire.
However, the intricate connections don't stop there, as a Reddit user recently pointed out. Not only do Harry and Voldemort share wand cores, but they also share something much more significant:
I had been wondering why JKR specifically chose a Phoenix tail feather for Harry's and Voldemort's wands, and then I realised: phoenixes die and are reborn. Harry and Voldemort both, at some point, die and are reborn themselves. These books never stop being astoundingly intricate. from harrypotter
Like phoenixes, both Harry and Voldemort have experienced the highly unusual circumstances of dying and being reborn. Harry "rises from the ashes" when he sacrifices himself — the final unintentional horcrux — in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. He allows Voldemort to perform Avada Kedavra on him and even is offered the choice between returning to finish off the dark wizard or to "move on." (Spoiler: he comes back to finish him off.) It can also even be argued that he "rose from the ashes" like a phoenix when Voldemort first tried (and failed) to kill him as a baby.
Of course, Voldemort dies and is reborn several times in the series, both in the metaphorical and physical sense. Tom Riddle as the world knows him "dies" and is reborn as Lord Voldemort, to start. He then is expelled from his physical body when his attempt to murder Harry Potter fails, and he is "reborn" back into that physical form in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (thanks a lot, Wormtail).
It's hard to believe that this is all a coincidence. Instead, it seems like brilliant thinking on J.K. Rowling's part. She connects the mythological powers of a phoenix who can regenerate with Harry and Voldemort's own remarkable returns to life, while also using the core of their wands to further emphasize the significant ways they are tied together, right from the very start.
Image Source: Warner Bros.