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Thread: Pencils

  1. #1

    Pencils - Mods please lock

    Do wizards have pencils? Or know what they are? I've been wracking my brain and can't remember even one instance of a witch or wizard using a pencil in the books. Even Rita Skeeter who wrote on the fly used a quill.

    It's for one of the drabble challenges, and I realized after I wrote it that I wasn't sure if a wizard would be baffled by a pencil or not.

  2. #2
    I can't remember them using pencils either, but perhaps they did- for such things as Arithmancy (which I've always thought of as Mathematics)?

    They might be a bit baffled by one if they have never taken such a class....

  3. #3
    I think that they might use it for Muggle Studies, but Arithmancy's a good idea too. I think that they wouldn't really be baffled, I mean, it's just a pencil. I'm not baffled by quills, and my friends aren't when I use one to write.

  4. #4
    Maybe "baffled" wasn't the right word. More surprised in a "weird lookin' thing, isn't it?" sort of way. I'm more using it in a way that Remus is in a Muggle Studies class, so he's used them and thinks they're a lot more convenient than quills. Peter needs to write something down real quick, so he hands it to him and explains what it is. Having to explain what a pencil is real fast doesn't seem odd, does it? {The exact quote of explanation is: Its a pencil, Remus said. A Muggle invention. Its a lot faster and cleaner than quill and ink.}

  5. #5
    I'm not so sure about if they would use them or not. The magical community doesn't really know a whole lot about Muggle objects (remember Mr. Weasley is always asking Harry random questions about Muggle inventions).

    Even in Muggle studies...they may have covered pencils in the class, but I don't think they would use them.

    It's basically like us being in an Art class and using a paint brush to write all our notes as well as paint our pictures, or being in a Wood Technology and using a hammer to write everything down with...

    If you reference to a pencil in a story I would recommend saying 'Muggle pencil' and then having a few characters completely confused about what they are.


  6. #6


    You know, I've always wondered about this. Why don't wizards use pencils? Too 'high-tech' for them to have/make? I mean, they could at least upgrade to fountain pens. But, I suppose they're too far rooted in their antiquated ways to want to change. Quills work.

    Where did Remus get the pencil? Were they handed out in class?

    Would teachers accept work written in pencil?

  7. #7
    I distinctly remember that JKR made a reference to two girls (Lavender and Parvati?) racing pencil cases in Transfiguration. I don't have the books with me right now, so I can't give you a page reference. The reason I remember is because it sparked a whole discussion between me and a friend about quills vs. pencils in the magical world. I thought JKR must have made a mistake, since quills seemed the universal writing implement.

    I think you are free to have a pure-blood wizard wonder what a pencil is.

    Hope that helps!

  8. #8
    I thought that was in Charlie Bone, but that might be my memory faltering.

  9. #9

    Pencil Case Races

    Nah, you're right. It was in OOTP when everyone was preparing for their OWLs.

    Maybe the pencil case was something that got changed by the American editors?

  10. #10
    The pencil case thing sounds vaguely familiar to me, and I have UK edition books...

    It's interesting that this has just come up, because GoF was on TV last night here and I noticed that in the study hall scene (with Snape, where they're all whispering about the ball), some students seem to be using pencils. I only glimpsed it and I couldn't be sure, though, but I'm quite certain they weren't quills.

    In the absence of any canon confirmation, though, I think it would be reasonable to assume that wizards only use quills and would be unfamiliar with pencils.

    Oh, but another thing is - they seem to be familiar with erasers: Hermione had an eraser-like 'Revealer' in CoS which was supposed to make invisible ink visible. Presumably this would have been developed based on erasers, which suggests that wizards have them and therefore pencils.

    Hope this helps!
    ~ Chelsea

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