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Apparition--wandless? I think so. - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Apparition--wandless? I think so.
Okay--I had never even considered the idea that Apparition required a wand, so in Shades, I have Remus surrender his wand to Tonks while he is away with the other werewolves, and Apparate back and forth to the Burrow. Needless to say, I was a bit confused when two different people took me to task for having Remus Apparate without a wand!

So, I'm going through, looking at the descriptions of Apparition in the books, mostly in HBP, since that's where it's described most often and in the most detailed way, and I'm just not seeing any wand requirement. (Page numbers, U.S. edition.)

We see Narcissa and Bellatrix Apparate into Spinner's End in Chapter Two, but not much can be gleaned from it. Bella clearly has her wand drawn because she immediately kills a fox with it, but nothing is said about Narcissa one way or the other.

HBP, Chapter Four, page 38:

"So you will need to hold onto my arm very tightly. My left, if you don't mind--as you have noticed, my wand arm is a little fragile at the moment."

Harry gripped Dumbledore's proffered forerm.

"Very good," said Dumbledore. "Well, here we go."

Harry felt Dumbledore's arm twist away from him and redoubled his grip; the next thing he knew, everything went black; he was being pressed very hard from ll directions; he could not breathe; there were iron bands tightening around his chest; his eyeballs were being forced back into his head; his eardrums were being pushed eeper into his skull and then--

He gulped great lungfuls of cold night air...

This one isn't clear about whether or not Dumbledore has his wand out, though it's made very clear later that Harry doesn't--he touches his wand in his pocket for reassurance, and Dumbledore has to tell him to get it out when they reach Slughorn's. Dumbledore himself implies that Harry could be holding onto his wand arm if it weren't "fragile," which to me suggests that it's not being used to cast any spell in the course of Apparition, and when they arrive in Budeleigh Babberton, Dumbledore tightens his traveling cloak around his neck, which is generally a two-handed operation, with no mention of putting his wand away. But still... not definitive, as Harry doesn't mention Dumbledore drawing his wand before casting Lumos spell a few pages later, either.

The Side-Along Apparition from Budleigh Babberton to the Burrow isn't described in detail, mainly saying that Harry is expecting it, but it's the same otherwise. No mention of the wand one way or the other.

Next, we see two Apparitions in a row from the outside.

HBP, Chapter 5, pg. 82:

Tonks hurried past Dumbledore into the yard; a few paces beyond the doorstep, she turned on the spot and vanished into thin air....

[Dumbledore] made Mrs. Weasley a bow and followed Tonks, vanishing at precisely the same spot.

No mention of wands, but neither Dumbledore nor Tonks is coming from a scenario in which the wand would naturally be out--Tonks is having tea with Molly and Dumbledore is socializing amiably before he leaves Harry there. There would have been an extra step to draw the wand. Is it possible that this occurred, but Harry just didn't mention it? Sure... but I don't think there's any reason so far to make that assumption. We don't see Arthur Apparate in a few minutes later, but again, no mention is made of his wand being drawn when he comes in.

More telling are the instructions given by Twycross in Chapter 18 (pg 384):

"The important things to remember when Apparating are the Three D's!" said Twycross. "Destination, Determinatoin, Deliberation!

"Step one: Fix your mind firmly upon the desired destination," said Twycross. "In this case, the interior of your hoop. Kindly concentrate on that destination now."...

"Step two," said Twycross, "focus your determination to occupy the visualized space! Let your yearning to enter it flood from your mind to every particle of your body!"...

"Step three," called Twycross, "and only when I give the command... Turn on the spot, feeling your way into nothingness, moving with deliberation! On my command, no... one--"

In no preliminary instruction did Twycross suggest that they hold their wands, or concentrate on their wands. At no point do any of the clumsy students drop wands, sending them clattering to the floor. No one's wand does any of the odd things that we see wands do when wizards are first practicing a new skill with them. Twycross demonstrates a moment after Susan is splinched, and again, there is no mention at all of his wand, though he does have it, as he uses it to Vanish the hoops... the mention of which suggests that Harry would mention the way he uses his wand.

There is again no wand involved when Dumbledore "guides" Harry's Apparition from Hogsmeade to the cave, just the unpleasant sensation of it, as Harry is holding on lightly to Dumbledore's arm. When Harry Apparates away from the cave, pulling Dumbledore along with him, he is frightened and concentrating very hard on the subject. Again, no mention of a wand:

HBP, Chapter 27, pg 579:
Once under the starry sky, Harry heaved Dumbledore onto the top of the nearest boulder and then to his feet. Sodden and shivering, Dumbledore's weight still upon him, Harry concentrated harder than he had ever done upon his destination: Hogsmeade. Closing his eyes, gripping Dumbledore's arm as tightly as he could, he stepped forward into that feeling of horrible compression.

He knew it had worked before he opened his eyes...

In this, it seems actively likely that Harry his holding on to Dumbledore with both hands, not leaving one free to use his wand in some sort of Apparition spell.

There is no mention of a wand when the twins Apparate around Grimmauld Place, or when Percy Apparates around the Burrow. No mention is made of Bagman's wand when Harry sees him Disapparate in the woods during the Death Eater riot at the Quidditch World Cup. When the theory that Sirius is Apparating into Hogwarts is raised in PoA, the objection is that one can't Apparate or Disapparate onto the Hogwarts grounds, not that an escaped prisoner isn't likely to have a wand and therefore Apparition isn't likely.

And so on.

Yes, it's possible in each instance to say that the person might have a wand (it's logically impossible to prove the negative, that a wand isn't present, unless the lack is specifically mentioned), or that having a wand on one's person makes it easier, but there's nothing in the books that suggests it--no mention of Apparition anywhere suggests that a wand is used for it, and the descriptions of how it's accomplished don't seem to leave a lot of room for a wand motion. My conclusion: Apparition is always wandless magic.

Is there counter-evidence that I'm missing?
33 comments or Leave a comment
chicleeblair From: chicleeblair Date: September 11th, 2005 04:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've always assumed it was wandless.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 11th, 2005 04:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Me, too--I was completely blindsided by the notion that a wand was required!
chicleeblair From: chicleeblair Date: September 11th, 2005 04:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think some people forget that the magic is within the wizard, and the wand just channels it. something as big as moving yourself phsyically must be done from within.
undeadgoat From: undeadgoat Date: September 12th, 2005 01:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Or if not "as big" then "as specific"? Like, the focus that the wand provides would be awkward and unhelpful, or that pointing your wand at yourself is less helpful, or that people have been transporting themselves magically since before they had really good wands, or . . . something.

(Here from the snitch.)
moonlitwoods From: moonlitwoods Date: September 11th, 2005 04:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well considering transforming into an Animagus does not require a wand, I should think Apparation could be managed sans wand as well. I've never been under the impression that a wand is necessary for Apparation.
frit From: frit Date: September 11th, 2005 04:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've never thought a wand was needed for apparition. I always thought it was wandless.
sreya From: sreya Date: September 11th, 2005 06:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
There's also the connection that early in HBP, pre-Apparition lessons, the children start learning about wandless magic in general, making it seem like a bit of a pre-requisite for learning to Apparate. The descriptions of how to concentrate on wandless magic and Apparition also line up pretty tightly.

To be honest, before HBP, I generally imagined apparition with a wand, but like many other spells figured it could be done wandlessly if the person doing the spellwork was talented enough and familiar enough with the spell. So wandless apparition has never thrown me in fics, but I could understand why someone who hasn't thought much about it may be confused.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 11th, 2005 06:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Where did the idea that it takes a wand come from? I hadn't seen a wand before HBP, so I assumed it was wandless... is there something that suggests otherwise?

:am curious about this, because it honest-to-goodness never occurred to me!:
sreya From: sreya Date: September 11th, 2005 06:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's probably just because most spellwork we'd seen was with wands, and wandless magic was rare enough I connected it more with special talent than the nature of the spell itself. More than that... I don't know. That's just the image I had in my head.
dalf From: dalf Date: September 12th, 2005 06:46 am (UTC) (Link)
For me at least it came form the fact that in cannon the animagus transormation is the ONLY magic that is specifically called out as wandless, unless it is in inborn ability like metamrphamagus.

Though I think if you read the bit with Quirrel and Harry at the end of SS/PS Quirrel does do some wandless magic there.
vytresna From: vytresna Date: September 11th, 2005 09:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
They start learning about nonverbal magic, not wandless magic.
snorkackcatcher From: snorkackcatcher Date: September 11th, 2005 06:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'd never thought it did either and have always been baffled by the suggestion. Other examples that spring to mind where the person Apparating or Disapparating clearly doesn't seem to have had their wand out: Mundungus escaping from Harry in HBP, Ludo Bagman vanishing after being told about the campsite riot in GoF, Fred and George popping up all over the place at 12GP in OotP, Dumbledore appearing and disappearing in Privet Drive in PS/SS (in fact there the motion is described as "with a swish of his cloak he was gone").

My guess is that some early/well-known fics had the assumption that a wand was needed (I vaguely recall maybe After the End or Paradigm of Uncertainty did?) and that some people seem to have drawn the idea from those that it was?
snorkackcatcher From: snorkackcatcher Date: September 11th, 2005 06:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oops, sorry, I should have read more carefully - you'd already mentioned a couple of those.
affabletoaster From: affabletoaster Date: September 11th, 2005 07:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Never occurred to me that a wand would be used. It's just One of Those Things.
lannamichaels From: lannamichaels Date: September 11th, 2005 07:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
I always assumed it was wandless. Curious, but who's saying that you need a wand for it?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 11th, 2005 09:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Just a couple of people who commented on Shades, who seemed to think it was obvious that it needed a wand, and I needed to add an explanation of how Remus could Apparate without one.
erised1810 From: erised1810 Date: September 11th, 2005 08:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
if anyoen finds coutner-evidencei 'l problab ystartto cry.
kerryblaze From: kerryblaze Date: September 11th, 2005 09:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've written it both ways. Prior to HBP with a wand and since HBP I am sure there is no wand needed.
(Deleted comment)
From: sleepingfingers Date: September 11th, 2005 11:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm one of those people who had always thought that Apparition requires a wand until just recently. Because we've never been explicitly told that a wand is not required, I assumed, in some parts, that a wand is needed, just as with the majority of other spells - Harry just didn't deem it out of ordinary enough to mention it. And I was under the impression that, if it has been one of those spells that does not require a wand, it is more likely than not that Harry would comment on it. However, your explanation makes a whole lot of sense. :)
(Deleted comment)
emmyaward From: emmyaward Date: September 11th, 2005 11:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Here from <lj user="daily_snitch". I've always wondered why people depict Apparition with wands. I've never seen any canon basis for it; rather, the omission of any mention of wands is evidence for the contrary. That was pretty much what you were talking about, and I liked that you did a nice detailed post, for if it were me making a post on the same subject, I would have said something like, 'They don't use their wands to Apparate. Nope. Not even a little. Go read the book, dudes.' Yours was much more convincing. And missing counter-evidence? No. :-) (Also, if this comment stuffs up, like posts more than once or something, I don't know what I did and I am also sorry. LJ is being mean to me.)
emmyaward From: emmyaward Date: September 11th, 2005 11:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Apologies for that comment. That was actually a nice long comment. LJ is being incredibly mean to me.

Anyhow. Am here from the daily_snitch.

I've always wondered why people depict Apparition with wands. I've never seen any canon basis for it; rather, the omission of any mention of wands is evidence for the contrary. That was pretty much what you were talking about, and I liked that you did a nice detailed post, for if it were me making a post on the same subject, I would have said something like, 'They don't use their wands to Apparate. Nope. Not even a little. Go read the book, dudes.' Yours was much more convincing. And missing counter evidence? No. :-)
kokopelli20878 From: kokopelli20878 Date: September 11th, 2005 11:56 pm (UTC) (Link)

Apparation is indeed wandless in canon

It was one of my beefs with After the End, which always had it as magic requiring a wand.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 12th, 2005 01:31 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Apparation is indeed wandless in canon

Oops... I guess this is where I reveal that I'm a bad Quiller who hasn't read AtE. I've read most of Arabella's other stuff and a goodish handful of Zsenya's and I like it quite a lot, but I just never sat down and read AtE, so I didn't know that's where the idea came from. Well, that was certainly written before we knew much about Apparition, so it was still a reasonable guess (if not one supported by active evidence).
kokopelli20878 From: kokopelli20878 Date: September 12th, 2005 02:09 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Apparation is indeed wandless in canon

Not as bad a quiller as I was - I got into deep, deep doodoo for posting a story with implied H-Hr comment (my story, Making Change, was yanked after 5 days).

Bad Kokopelli, bad, bad!
dalf From: dalf Date: September 12th, 2005 06:42 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Apparation is indeed wandless in canon

AtE is still in my opnion the best HP fandom Fan fiction on the net (and this is with two cannon books comming after it). I am currently re-reading it (again) and its still good (though Mundungus Fletcher running the MILES makes my brain do funny things evenry 5 or 6 chapters when it gets mentioned.

Anyway as to apparation. In AtE someone apparating is frequently described as "giving their wand a twist" and vanshing. Though again the actual process is not mentioned in many cases and its simply put that they "vanished" or "dissapeared with a pop".
sidial From: sidial Date: September 12th, 2005 12:05 am (UTC) (Link)
I've never seen a reason for it to require a wand. In those fics where the author specifically mentions that a wand is being used, it actually throws me out of the "flow" of the story, because it doesn't seem like something that would be needed, no matter whether the story specifically makes way for wandless magic or not. In fact, most magic likely doesn't require a wand -- it is just easier. Remember, Harry had plenty of incidents of magic before he knew a thing about magic being real -- including what seems likely as an Appartation (when he ends up on the school roof).

Not only that -- but both becoming Animagi and Appartation requires a license (in that to do it legally, a license is required, sort of like driving), and I would hazard to say it is because those are the two most notorious wandless magical abilities, ones that can't be taken from a person when their wand is taken, because they're ... instinctive and intrinsic, yet something you have to learn. (Is it like learning to ride a bike? Once you do it, you never forget?)
dalf From: dalf Date: September 12th, 2005 06:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Well first off I must say that after our original conversation you convinced me of this point. However, there is a lot of magic done in the books which we KNOW is done with a wand that is frequently mentioned without calling out the wand specifically. So and so conjured X or vanished Y, is frequently described without mentioning the wand. The wand is frequently implied in the magic.

Also your last example of Harry side-along apparating DD back to Hogsmead. When harry summons the brooms from the three broomsticks the way it is written implies he already had his wand out. It simply sayd "he raised his wand", not that he got it out then raised it, so I think its safe to assume that if he did hold on to DD with both hands one of them also had his wand in it.

The question is, are there any cases that we know of someone apparating where they did not at the minimum have a wand in their possession at the time. I have looked and not found it. From the descritions and class instructions we know it is the turning motion itself that is involved in casting the spell (though I suspect that you don't actually have to turn but only intend to and that you will dissapear rather than turn, otherwise no anti apparation wards would have been needed at the ministry for the tied up DE's, and Montequ woudl never have escaped the vanishing cabanet). We know at times wizards do actually turn when doing it though. Dumbledore does at the ministry and Tonks does in yoru quote above.

So, to sum up. You did convince me that it is probbly wandless magic but I still think there is an argument to be made the other direction. Its pretty clear that we have no examples of anyone apparating in cannon unless they at least had a wand in their pocket.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 12th, 2005 12:47 pm (UTC) (Link)

Wandless Apparition

Of my reasonings for Apparating needing a wand is the use of "Expelliarmus" on an opponent.

What prevents people from apparating out of danger once their wand is taken away? I know Expelliarmurs is to disarm, but that was my biggest clue that you must need it to Apparate. I don't think anti-apparition wards are always cast whenever someone fights to prevent the fleeing of opponents. Although I do believe that someone good enough can Apparate without it. Just my thoughts.

By the way, I love your fics!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 12th, 2005 01:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Wandless Apparition


From what we've seen, Apparition takes a great deal of concentration, which is difficult in the midst of a dangerous situation. And so far, the only thing we've seen prevent it are anti-Apparition wards.
cosmob From: cosmob Date: September 12th, 2005 01:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've always thought Apparition was wandless, since even Hagrid Apparated (or so it seems) in Book 1. Yes, he still has the pieces of his wand, and he uses them, but it seems like it would be too complex a spell for his broken wand to accomplish.

In the books, Apparition seems much more dependent on the turning bit than a wand (well, that and the three D's).
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 13th, 2005 02:27 am (UTC) (Link)
I never thought about it before HBP, but I think it must be wandless magic because in HBP, JKR describes the apparition lessons in detail and would probably have mentioned the wand movements if they were necessary. Several times in the books spells are described as needing both the incantation coupled with a specific wand motion (swish and flick for Wingarium Leviosa SS chapter 10, pg171 American ed. hardback)(Tonks's comment that her mother managed to get socks to fold themselves by doing a "kind of flick" which she never mastered- OOP, chapter 3, pg 53, American-hardback). Maybe it's necessary to have a wand in your pocket but there is no canon evidence for that.

Since I mentioned that Tonks hadn't mastered her mom's knack for magical suitcase packing, I'll also point out, in defence of her magical talent, that like Dumbledore, she disapparates silently which is probably an advanced skill. Most of the other times that apparation and disapparation is mentioned, it is with a pop or bang or crack.

33 comments or Leave a comment