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A wand is a thin, light-weight rod that is held with one hand, and is traditionally made of wood, but may also be made of other materials, such as metal or plastic. Long versions of wands are often styled in forms of staves or sceptres, which could have large ornamentation on the top.
In modern times, wands are usually associated with stage magic or supernatural magic, but there have been other uses, all stemming from the original meaning as a synonym of rod and virge. A stick that is used for reaching, pointing, drawing in the dirt, and directing other people, is one of the earliest and simplest of tools.
In the 18th-century ballads "Allison Gross" and "The Laily Worm and the Machrel of the Sea", the villainesses use silver wands to transform their victims into animals, in emulation of the Odyssey that preceded them. In C. S. Lewis's 1950 novel The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the White Witch's most feared weapon is her wand, whose magic is capable of turning people into stone. This, again, employs the Odysseyan motif of an evil female witch who uses a magic wand to maliciously transform her victims.
In the mid-20th century, the MGM and Disney media companies popularized magic wands via four films in which wands were wielded by benevolent female fairy characters. Those films were The Wizard of Oz (1939; MGM; a wand-staff was wielded by Glinda the Good Witch of the North), Pinocchio (1940; Disney; a wand was wielded by "the blue fairy"), Cinderella (1950; Disney; a wand was wielded by a "fairy godmother"), and Sleeping Beauty (1959; Disney; a wand was wielded by each of three fairies). In The Wizard of Oz and Pinocchio, the fairies' wands are embellished with a star-shaped ornament on the end, whereas in Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, the fairies have wands with traditional plain tips.
Magic wands commonly feature in works of fantasy fiction as spell-casting tools. Few other common denominators exist, so the capabilities of wands vary wildly. In J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, the first book of which was published in 1997, personal wands are common, as necessary tools to channel out each character's magic, and they are used as weapons in magical duels, and it is the wand that chooses its owner. A wand is also present in the Children of the Red King series in the possession of Charlie Bone as well as the popular MMORPG World of Warcraft where caster classes such as the mage and warlock use wands offensively.
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