Beyond the Wand

The Magic and Mayhem of Growing Up a Wizard

Coming Soon


By Tom Felton

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$25.99 CAD


From the magical moments on set as Draco Malfoy to the challenges of growing up in the spotlight, get a backstage pass into Tom Felton’s life on and off the big screen.

Tom Felton’s adolescence was anything but ordinary. His early rise to fame in beloved films like The Borrowers catapulted him into the limelight, but nothing could prepare him for what was to come after he landed the iconic role of the Draco Malfoy, the bleached blonde villain of the Harry Potter movies. For the next ten years, he was at the center of a huge pop culture phenomenon and yet, in between filming, he would go back to being a normal teenager trying to fit into a normal school. 
Speaking with great candor and his signature humor, Tom shares his experience growing up as part of the wizarding world while also trying to navigate the muggle world. He tells stories from his early days in the business like his first acting gig where he was mistaken for fellow blonde child actor Macaulay Culkin and his Harry Potter audition where, in a very Draco-like move, he fudged how well he knew the books the series was based on (not at all). He reflects on his experiences working with cinematic greats such as Alan Rickman, Sir Michael Gambon, Dame Maggie Smith, and Ralph Fiennes (including that awkward Voldemort hug). And, perhaps most poignantly, he discusses the lasting relationships he made over that decade of filming, including with Emma Watson, who started out as a pesky nine-year-old whom he mocked for not knowing what a boom mic was but who soon grew into one of his dearest friends. Then, of course, there are the highs and lows of fame and navigating life after such a momentous and life-changing experience.
Tom Felton’s Beyond the Wand is an entertaining, funny, and poignant must-read for any Harry Potter fan. Prepare to meet a real-life wizard.



by Emma Watson

You know that person in your life who makes you feel seen? That person who is somehow a witness to all that unfolds? That person who knows—really knows—what is happening to you and what you’re going through, without anything having to be said?

For me, that person is Tom Felton.

As you’ll read in this book, our relationship didn’t start well. When we first met, I was a moony and probably rather annoying nine-year-old girl who followed him round like a puppy, desperate for his attention. But, as he has written so eloquently, beautifully and generously in this book, our friendship didn’t end there. Thank goodness it blossomed and endured.

If you could boil the Harry Potter stories down to a single idea (and there are so many I am really stretching here), it would surely be about the value of friendship and how nothing of true meaning can be achieved without it. Friendships are the lynchpin of human existence, and I am so thankful that at crucial turning points in my life, Tom has been there to reassure and understand me. The friendship we share has allowed me to move through some of the most challenging and soul-searching moments in my life.

But enough about me. This book is about Tom. He has a heart the size of a planet. I’ve never really witnessed anything like it, except perhaps in his mum, Sharon. The Felton factor is real. You’ll read a lot in this book about Tom’s brother Chris, who was a regular face on the Harry Potter set, and who is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. The whole family is special and Tom, the youngest of four brothers, has inherited their kindness and down-to-earth nature.

Which means that if you meet Tom, you meet the real Tom. That’s not the case with all actors. The vast majority put on a persona when they meet the public. It’s like flicking a switch: they’re very professional, they do it extremely well and the person they’re greeting will never know the difference. But it’s not the real them. It’s a routine. Tom doesn’t do that. Tom is always Tom. He doesn’t flick a switch. There is no switch. What you see is what you get. He is incredibly generous with his fans and with the wider Harry Potter community. That special ability he has to make me feel seen extends to everybody. He might have played a bully. He might even have sometimes felt like a bully. But take it from me: he couldn’t be further from one. He is creative, sensitive and whole-hearted. He is a person who wants to love everything and everyone.

Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living. When I look at how honestly Tom has reflected on his life and experiences in this book, I’m reminded that he has an astonishing amount of self-awareness. He has been able to laugh at himself as well as relive moments in his life that have been difficult and painful for him. He is on a journey of self-work, and I’m with Socrates when I say that the people who are on that journey are the only people for me. But Tom has gone one step further than most: he has unpacked that journey for us, his readers. It is such a generous act, especially in this world of social media and instant news, where the polarity of opinions makes it such an intense time to lay yourself bare in the way that he has. You want to live a real, a truthful, an examined life, and Tom clearly does.

Like Tom, I always struggle to explain to people the nature of our connection and relationship. For more than twenty years now we’ve loved each other in a special way, and I’ve lost count of the times that people have said to me, “You must have drunkenly made out, just once!” “You must have kissed!” “There must be something!” But what we have is far deeper than that. It’s one of the purest loves I can think of. We’re soulmates, and we’ve always had each other’s backs. I know we always will. It makes me emotional to think about it. Sometimes it feels hard to live in a world where people are so quick to judge, to doubt, to question intentions. Tom doesn’t do that. I know that, even if I’ve made a mistake, he’ll understand that my intention was good. I know that he’ll always believe me. Even when he doesn’t have the whole picture, he’ll never doubt that I’m coming from a good place and will have done my very best. That’s true friendship, and to be seen and loved like that is one of the great gifts of my life.

We have always shared a love of words, of how they can be used better to express oneself. Tom, you’re a poet. The way your mind works and the way you express things is beautiful, charming, funny and warm. I’m so glad that you have written this book and shared it with us. It’s a delight and a gift. The world is lucky to have you, but I’m even luckier to have you as my friend.

Chapeau, little piece of my soul. And congratulations.

Emma Watson

London, 2022





Cards on the table: this is not going to be my proudest moment. In fact, my mum doesn’t even know this story. So, sorry Mum.

It’s a busy Saturday afternoon in a bustling English town. Punters hurriedly go about their business and clusters of teenagers haunt the shopping centres, doing what teenagers do. They pay no attention to a skinny fourteen-year-old boy with a pale complexion and bleached hair loitering in the vicinity, surrounded by his crew. The boy in question is yours truly and I’m genuinely sorry to report that we had trouble in mind.

You might think—and rightly so—that with my distinctive blond hairdo I’d be well advised to avoid trouble. You might think that trouble would be low on my agenda. But it turns out that regular teenagers don’t always do the right thing—they certainly don’t always do the sensible thing—and I am trying very hard to be just that: a regular teenager.

Which is not always entirely straightforward, when your alter ego is a wizard.

This was early on in my wizarding career, between the first and second Potter films. The object of our attention was the HMV record store in Guildford, Surrey—quite the place to hang out back in the day. It was commonplace for kids to swipe CDs from their cases and walk out with them under their coats, a constant challenge for the poor security guards who paced the aisles looking for scallywags up to no good. On this particular Saturday, though, my crew had a bigger prize in its sights than mere CDs: a DVD of an “adult” nature that none of us were remotely old enough to buy. I wince now to remember it. Truth to tell, I was inwardly wincing then, but I didn’t want to show it because I was trying to fit in with the cool kids. Even the top boys were reluctant to commit a crime of this gravity, with all the potential for extreme embarrassment.

Which was why I volunteered to do the deed.

Reader, the Artful Dodger I was not. Palms sweating, pulse racing, I entered the shop with excruciating casualness. The smart move would have been to identify the prize, swipe it and get out of there as quickly as possible. Maybe if I had a bit more Slytherin cunning about me I’d have done just that. But I didn’t. Rather than execute a swift, subtle theft, I located the DVD and then I stalked it. I must have wandered up and down the aisle fifty times, my skin tingling with apprehension. I even asked a random stranger if they would buy the DVD for me so I could feign success with the cool kids. The stranger rightly refused and I continued my stakeout, up and down the aisle.

Up and down…

Up and down…

An hour must have passed. I honestly doubt that there was a single security guard who hadn’t clocked me by now. Whether they’d recognised the world’s most inept shoplifter as the boy from the Harry Potter films, I couldn’t tell you. What I do know is this: my hairdo was distinctive, if not downright weird. It was a beacon, and it made it impossible for me to melt into the background.

I wished I hadn’t volunteered. I knew it was stupid. But I couldn’t face tucking my tail between my legs and leaving the shop empty-handed, so eventually I took a deep breath and went in for the dive. Pretending to look at the ceiling, with sweaty, fumbling fingers clumsily ripping off the security sticker, I removed the shiny disc from its plastic box, slipped it into a pocket and speed-walked to the exit.

I’d done the deed! I could see my crew outside and gave them a knowing smirk. I could sense their excitement.

Then… disaster!

I’d barely taken a single step outside the shop when three burly security guys surrounded me. My stomach turned to ice as they escorted me—politely but ever so firmly—back inside. I made the walk of shame through the store, head down, all eyes on me, desperately hoping that I wouldn’t be recognised. The characters were not so iconic then, but there was always a chance. The guards led me into a little booth at the back of the store, where they stood around me, grim-faced, and asked me to turn out my pockets. I sheepishly handed over the disc and asked them—begged them—not to do the one thing that would make this whole sorry escapade ten times worse. “Please,” I said, “please don’t tell my mum!” If she found out, the humiliation would be unbearable.

They didn’t tell my mum. But they did put me against the wall, bring out a Polaroid camera and take an instant snapshot of my face. They put the Polaroid on the wall, part of a rogue’s gallery of hardened criminals who’d tried to rip off the record store, and they told me I was barred for life. I could never set foot in HMV again.

No chance of that, mate. Cheeks burning, I hoofed it as fast as I could and didn’t look back. My friends had scarpered at the first sight of security, so I took the train home alone to lie low.

How long did that picture of blond Tom hang on the wall of HMV? Who knows? Maybe it’s still there. But for weeks after that I was terrified that Warner Brothers, or the newspapers, would find out about my stupid indiscretion. I never told a single soul, but what would happen if someone recognised my mugshot? Would they fire me? Would the next film see Harry, Ron and Hermione terrorised by a different Draco? Would the humiliating nature of my brush with the law become hilarious fodder for public consumption?

Like I said, I tried very hard to be a regular teenager. In most respects, even despite everything that the future held, I think I managed it pretty well. But there’s a fine line, when you grow up in the public eye, between being normal and being reckless. I crossed the line that Saturday afternoon, no doubt. And while the young Tom Felton was no Draco Malfoy, he was no saint either. Maybe that’s what got me the part in the first place. I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Oh, and we never did get to watch that DVD.





Draco Malfoy, the character for whom I would become most famous for portraying, was an only child, born to a cold and brutal family. My own family couldn’t have been more different. Close-knit, loving, chaotic and supportive, they were the very centre of my early life. I’m the youngest of four brothers, and before I introduce you to my mum and dad, I want to tell you about my three siblings. They each influenced me profoundly in different ways, and I would have been a very different character without them.

My bros will gladly tell you that I’m the runt of the pack. At least, that’s what they kindly used to tell me. (I think they were joking, but you know how it is with brothers.) I’m the youngest of the four. Jonathan, Christopher and Ashley came along in a cluster, three boys in the space of four years. Then there were six years of respite for my mum before I arrived on 22 September 1987. So from the moment I entered the world I had three older brothers to keep my butt off the couch and my fingers away from the TV remote. Three older brothers to bully me with love. Three older brothers to joke that I came along so late not because I was an afterthought but because I was in fact the milkman’s son. (They were, and still are, considerably bigger than me, all six-foot-plus and built like brick shithouses.) In short, three older guys to keep me firmly in my place—which I guess is no bad thing for a kid who’s about to embark on a wizarding career.

My brothers didn’t only call me “runt.” If they were feeling generous they might also refer to me as “maggot.” But it wasn’t all bad; they also each had a massive positive influence on me throughout my unusual childhood, although in slightly different ways.

Jonathan—we call him Jink—is the eldest and, back in the day, it was he who first showed me by example that it was cool to have a passion for the arts. Jink was the one with the Oasis poster on his wall and the black Stratocaster—or at least a knock-off version of a Strat—in his bedroom. He was into music, singing and performing—pursuits that plenty of kids don’t always get encouraged to do. That might have happened to me had it not been for Jink. When I was very young, he went to acting classes and I would go with my family to see him on stage. The actors were only kids, none of them older than their early teens, and let’s be frank: these were not slick, professional shows. Jink is a chiropractor now—a talent wasted, as he reminds me frequently—but he is also a deeply creative guy. I remember watching him in musicals like South Pacific, West Side Story, Guys and Dolls and, most memorably, Little Shop of Horrors. It was while sitting in those audiences, wide-eyed, that I learned an important and formative lesson: it wasn’t weird to do this stuff and it looked like fun. Seeing my big brother up there taught me that it’s okay to want to perform, no matter what other people think.

So, nice one, Jink. Which brings us to brother number two.

Chris? Total opposite. “Acting’s lame, bruv! Dancing? Fuck off!”

Chris is the second oldest of the Felton foursome and would no more put on a pink leotard and pretend to be the Fairy Godmother than he would fly. Which I have to tell you is a shame, because he would look tip-top in a tutu. Whereas Jink is slightly more sensitive to the emotional shifts of those around him, with Chris, what you see is what you get. So perhaps it’s unexpected that Chris should be the brother I was closest to during the Potter years, the brother who looked after me, kept me grounded and was the biggest influence on the teenage Tom. Chris chaperoned me for two-and-a-half Potter films. I say chaperoned, but what I really mean is that he slept in the trailer and made full use of the free on-set catering—more of which later. For now, suffice to say that Chris didn’t always take his chaperoning duties entirely seriously. On a fairly regular basis, we used to leave set at 8 p.m. and drive over an hour from the studios, straight down to our local fishery. We’d set up our tent, cast our rods and enjoy a night’s fishing. Then, at six in the morning we’d reel in, pack up our gear, head back (slightly muddy) to set and pretend to the nice people at Warner Brothers that I’d been at home sleeping soundly all night. So if you think that Draco occasionally looked a little pale, it wasn’t just down to the make-up department.

There was a time at which in my eyes—in most people’s eyes, I suppose—there seemed no doubt that Chris would become the most famous Felton. His claim to fame? He was one of England’s most up-and-coming carp anglers. There is a tight-knit community of these carp anglers, and among them Chris was very much one to watch. He made the cover of Carp Talk and Big Carp magazines several times for catching famous fish in famous lakes, which worked in my favour among my contemporaries who were into angling. They massively looked up to him and I was definitely considered cooler because of my association with him. And since I looked up to him too, we used to go fishing together pretty much any time that we had off. It must have been tough for him when Potter changed all our lives: one minute he’s known for being one of Britain’s best fishermen, the next minute everyone’s calling him Draco Malfoy’s brother and shouting “On yer broomstick, mate!” Chris took it in his stride, though, and despite everything that came my way he was truly my hero as I was growing up. He introduced me to lots of music—Bob Marley, the Prodigy, Marvin Gaye and 2Pac—which would become one of my lifelong passions. He introduced me to other less innocent pastimes, too. We’ll get to that. Fishing, though, was our obsession.

Thanks to Chris I was a regular fixture at Bury Hill Fisheries in Surrey, and I even had a weekend job there in the very early days of Potter, which I took for a little extra pocket money and the promise of free fishing. My main gig was to help with the parking, so every Saturday and Sunday I’d be there at six in the morning guiding eager fishermen into the tiny car park, hiding my bleached-blond Malfoy hair under a fishing beanie. Afterwards, I’d snag myself a bacon sandwich before doing the rounds of the lake with a brown leather satchel full of coins, selling tickets to the anglers.

I was not, I should say, the most conscientious worker. On one occasion I went back to Chris’s flat to watch a big boxing match that was being shown in the UK at four in the morning. I was so excited, and managed to stay up right to the moment that the boxing match started, at which point little tiny twelve-year-old Tom conked out. My brother woke me two hours later to go to work. I made it in, but I got woken up for a second time when the owner found me snoozing under a tree. Meantime, the clients had helped themselves to the car park and the whole place was a complete mess. Sorry, boss.

You might think the punters at the fishery would have found it odd to have Draco Malfoy telling them where to put their 4x4s and collecting their money, but I managed to remain fairly anonymous. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times I was recognised. The clientele at the fishery was a very particular type of grumpy old man, or so it seemed to me at the time. None of them would have recognised me and, let me tell you, the number of teenage girls rocking up to catch carp at dawn on a Saturday morning was limited. Occasionally a journalist would turn up and write something about my Muggle gig, and from time to time the owner of the fishery wasn’t beyond drumming up a little publicity of his own. But on the whole I was left to enjoy the job. And I did enjoy it, not because of the twenty pounds cash-in-hand that I’d receive at the end of each working day, but because of the free fishing. That was the main draw for Chris and me. We were obsessed with the fish, of course, but we were even more obsessed with everything that went with them: the moon and the stars, the proximity of nature, the rods, the reels, the bivvies and, of course, the boilies. Boilies are a type of fish bait the size of a large marble that you cook up in the kitchen with all kinds of disgusting, foul-smelling flavours like squid liver and double monster crab—items that wouldn’t be out of place in a Potions lesson. We used to cook up the boilies at home to Mum’s complete exasperation at the mess and the stench, swearing blind that we really would clear it all up, before heading out to our beloved fishery.

My third brother, closest to me in age and so in some ways the brother with whom I shared most of my early life, is Ash. Unlike my older brothers, we were close enough in age to be at the same school at the same time. (And put it this way: it’s useful having an older brother on site, especially if they’re built like Ash was then.) Ash and I share a very particular sense of humour; we were forever watching The Simpsons or Beavis and Butt-Head together. Even now I speak to him more in the voice of Beavis than in my own voice. We sometimes have to rein it back when we’re in public. We played sports together—after watching Space Jam we pestered my dad to make a basketball hoop in the garden, and after watching The Mighty Ducks we had a phase of wanting to be ice hockey players.

Ash has a huge heart, my favourite sense of humour and is one of the nicest guys in the world, but he suffered massively from big swings of emotion in his early teens, to the extent that as he hit adolescence he stopped wanting to go to school or even leave the house. His constant feeling of not being quite happy with who he was meant he ended up spending long periods of time on closed hospital wards. I remember frequently visiting him after school at a hospital in Guildford. I’d like to say that I approached those visits with sensitivity and patience, but I was young and I don’t suppose I fully understood what was going on, so really I just remember asking my mum when we could leave.

By the time Ash was feeling better and able to come home, we thankfully got back to having a laugh together. But his teenage difficulties foreshadowed the mental health struggles of the remaining Felton brothers—myself included. More on that later, but for now let’s remember that such a predisposition exists among us, and some problems are too difficult to outrun. They always catch up with you in the end.

So there you have it: three older brothers, each of them close to me in their different ways. I’m acutely aware that my involvement with Potter has affected their lives irreversibly: they’ll forever, at some level, be known as Draco Malfoy’s brothers. But I’m equally aware that each of them exerted a distinct influence over the young Tom. Jink: the creativity and love of performance. Chris: a passion for the outdoors and a down-to-earth nature. Ash: a sense of humour and an early inkling that there is no light without shade. All important life lessons. And while I might well be the maggot—the runt of the pack—I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them.

Like lots of kids, I pinged from one enthusiasm to another. And one of my greatest advantages in life was that I had a mum who encouraged me, but put no undue pressure on me to stick with any one thing.

We had a comfortable upbringing in a pleasant house called Redleaf, opposite a farm in Surrey. It was a happy, buzzy, homely place. We never had loads of money. Our weekly treat was a trip to Dorking car boot sale where twenty pence could get you pretty far and if you had fifty pence in your pocket you were laughing. I’m sure my dad—a hardworking civil engineer—will forgive me for saying that he’s famously careful with his money. I’ve seen him haggle in charity shops! It’s the reason I never spent a day hungry, of course, but I think it became a tension between my parents in the later years of their marriage. My mum would be the one saying, “I really think we need to get Tom a violin, he says he wants to learn.” To which Dad would reply, not unreasonably, “We only just bought him a hockey stick! Is he done with the hockey now?”

And the answer was, yes, I probably was done with the hockey. I’d moved on, seen something else that caught my eye, like a magpie distracted by a new shiny object. It drove my dad to distraction but my mum was excited by each new passion, however fleeting, and determined not to let my enthusiasm diminish. I never had a moment’s hassle or judgement from her when the latest attraction inevitably waned; no raised eyebrow when, three months after taking receipt of my violin, I started skipping violin lessons by hiding in the boys’ toilets and instead became obsessed with my cool new yoyo. I wouldn’t have blamed my dad for wanting to clobber that violin over the back of my head. Mum, though, was happy encouraging me to be the kind of boy who had passions without forcing me to stick to them once something new came along.

That’s not to say Dad didn’t take an interest. He absolutely did. He was great at building things and if we wanted something, he’d try to make it. He built us an elaborate basketball hoop, a hockey net and even installed a skateboard ramp in the garden after consulting with us to find out exactly what we wanted. He was often to be found in the shed at midnight, sawing away, making us these amazing things, often out of materials “borrowed” from the local dump.

There were some items, though, that he couldn’t make, and even if he could we didn’t want his homemade effort. We wanted the shiny one with the label that all our friends had. It was up to Mum to fund these objects of desire, so, on top of looking after four boys (five, including my dad), she found the time to work multiple jobs to earn the extra cash. She worked for the local estate agent, but she also stacked shelves and cleaned offices at night with her friend Sally—we call her Auntie Sally—who’s always been a part of my life and even chaperoned me on set for a while. All this just because I wanted a new yoyo or Ash wanted a basketball with the Air Jordan logo on it rather than the one that sold for a fifth of the price in Woolworths. Whatever it was that caught our eye, Mum did what she could to make it a reality.

Bottom line: my mum is a huge reason I am where I am, even though she never pushed me in the direction of being an actor. I could have set my eyes on being a professional violinist, or ice hockey goalkeeper, or an extreme yoyoist. It wouldn’t have mattered to her which activity I ended up pursuing, but one thing’s for certain: whatever it was, Mum would have helped me achieve it.



    “[The] hook of Felton’s memoir is his perspective on living a one-in-a-billion experience. Yet “Beyond the Wand” is most insightful when Felton translates his tale into something more universal. Sure, the “boy who lived” was never Draco’s moniker — but considering his eventful existence, it suits Felton just fine.”—The Washington Post
  • "A surprisingly deep memoir from the actor who brought a memorable villain to the big screen."—Kirkus Reviews
  • "Missing Hogwarts? Tom Felton, who played white-haired villain Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter franchise, bas written about the magical moments on set and an adolescence within the pop culture phenomenon."—Parade
  • "Tom Felton has penned a brilliant memoir about growing up playing an iconic role in the series. . . [W]ith the type of honesty that comes with time and self-reflection, Felton also writes about his past struggles with alcohol and his time in rehab. It’s a beautiful memoir — with a forward by Emma Watson herself — that captures the heart, charm, and wittiness of the man beyond the wand."—Buzzfeed
  • "An honest, at times humorous, and entertaining memoir that movie buffs, especially Harry Potter fans, will enjoy."—Library Journal
  • "Beyond the Wand is so much more than fan service. With introspection and charm, Felton’s narrative captures the growing pains of adolescence."—BookPage
  • "Actor Felton, best known for his portrayal of bleached-blond antagonist Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, recounts his career in his charming debut memoir. . . Felton weaves a seamless, sensitive narrative that will enchant Potterheads and fans of celebrity memoirs alike."—Publishers Weekly
  • "[Beyond the Wand] is full of colorful Wizarding World lingo, referring to “aparrating” objects and his “muggle family,” making it fun for die-hard “Harry Potter” fans. . . It’s basically a wizarding world gold mine."—Deseret News

On Sale
Oct 17, 2023
Page Count
304 pages

Tom Felton

About the Author

Tom Felton is an English actor, best known for playing Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films. He has also appeared in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Belle, The Flash, A United Kingdom, The Forgotten Battle and 2.22 A Ghost Story in London's West End. He lives in London with his dog Willow.

Learn more about this author