After you've read the Harry Potter series for the seventh time, you start to notice a lot of things you didn't notice during the first read-through. Or the second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth.
Amidst some of the bigger questions of the series (Why didn't Harry have any grandparents to take care of him? What's going on with all of the strange things in the Department of Mysteries? Why didn't other countries send wizard armies to fight Voldemort?), the issue of money in the wizarding world has always nagged at me.
Sure, we know about knuts and sickles, and we know that some old wizarding families (like the Potters) have tons of cash while others don't (like the Weasleys). But the real money quandaries happen when you dig a bit deeper and look at the actual costs of items that Rowling lays out in the books.
In a recent article, Mic attempted to figure out how much it would cost (in American dollar) to attend Hogwarts. The site calculated that if a galleon is roughly equivalent to seven dollars, then the total cost of supplies and tuition at Hogwarts would be roughly $43,000 per year.
After the article went live, Rowling tweeted that tuition at Hogwarts is actually free (So the Ministry of Magic subsidizes education? DO WIZARDS PAY TAXES?).
But let's go back to the Hogwarts supplies list:
A wand, the thing that allows a wizard to FREAKING DO MAGIC, is only $42. It's less expensive than an owl, which only delivers your mail. And it's just slightly more expensive than a telescope, which exists to let you look at the stars. The stars you can already see with your own eyes.
Setting aside the fact that, again, most wizards can't even do magic without a wand, you would think that wands would be much more expensive just based on what they are made out of. Dragon heartstrings, unicorn hair, phoenix feathers, thestral tail hair...this stuff is all pretty rare within the wizarding world.
And there are only two wandmakers mentioned in the novels: Ollivander and Gregorovitch. So wands contain both incredibly rare materials and their supply is limited because making them requires special skills. Soooo...how is it that they only cost $42?!