The Seven Most Powerful Characters in “Harry Potter” and “Fantastic Beasts” Ranked
The Harry Potter series was lavished with an abundance of characters who were shown to be extraordinarily prodigious in their magical abilities. But which of these characters were the most powerful in J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world? On the basis of magical knowledge and ability, natural skill, ingenuity, and dueling proficiency, I’ve ranked my top seven most powerful wizards and witches from the wizarding world – after all, seven is “the most powerfully magical number” (HBP 23). I’ve also chosen characters based on their appearances on-page or on-screen, in Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts, so candidates such as the Hogwarts founders, the Peverell brothers, and Merlin don’t appear on this list.
1. Albus Dumbledore
The puppet master. He was instrumental in setting up the events that would lead to Voldemort’s downfall. Dumbledore was a brilliant student at Hogwarts, winning “every prize of note that the school offered” (DH 2). Academically inclined, his knowledge of all forms of magic was widespread, and he had papers published in Transfiguration Today, Challenges in Charming, and The Practical Potioneer. He also discovered the 12 uses of dragon’s blood.
Dumbledore was offered the position of Minister of Magic numerous times throughout the years. Most notably, he defeated the Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, who had the Elder Wand, at the height of his power. Even in his later years, during the duel at the Ministry, he held his own against Voldemort while protecting Harry and incapacitating Bellatrix.
2. Gellert Grindelwald
According to Rita Skeeter, “in a list of Most Dangerous Dark Wizards of All Time, he would miss out on the top spot only because You-Know-Who arrived, a generation later, to steal his crown” (DH 18). So why is he second on this list? Unlike Voldemort, Grindelwald’s knowledge of magic was arguably more extensive. Although Voldemort pushed the boundaries “of some kinds of magic” (HBP 20), he remained “woefully ignorant” of others.
Grindelwald was devoted to the Dark Arts, carrying out several “twisted experiments” (DH 18) that got him expelled from Durmstrang. He managed to escape from MACUSA, evade capture for almost two decades, and conquered most of Europe. Grindelwald was described as being “as precociously brilliant as Dumbledore” (DH 18). He was also a Seer and highly skilled in Transfiguration.
3. Lord Voldemort
The main antagonist in Harry Potter. According to Dumbledore, Voldemort was “the most brilliant student Hogwarts has ever seen” (CoS 18). As Tom Riddle, he was a devoted student, learning as much magic as he could, and all the teachers at Hogwarts adored him. Charming and charismatic, Riddle was the model student and was a prefect and Head Boy at the school. As Voldemort, he pushed the boundaries of the Dark Arts probably as far as anyone had ever dared to – his name alone invoked fear.
However, Voldemort greatly weakened himself by creating Horcruxes, which is why he’s third on this list. By splitting himself into eight pieces (including Harry), Voldemort maimed his soul. He also relied on unicorn blood for sustenance, leaving him with a cursed life. Voldemort’s fear of death, or the unknown, along with his Horcruxes, caused him to be narrow-minded. He was ignorant of love as a form of magic and failed to appreciate the subtleties of wandlore. Also, despite his obsession with conquering death, Voldemort died at a relatively young age for a wizard.
4. Severus Snape
From here on, this list gets more subjective. In fourth place, we have Severus Snape, a.k.a. the Half-Blood Prince. Snape’s ability to perform Occlumency against Voldemort and lead a life as a double agent with him being none the wiser was an incredibly impressive feat given his reputation as the most powerful Legilimens (although this may speak to Voldemort’s own weaknesses).
Snape is shown to be critically minded and to have thought outside the box. He developed his own methods of potion-making while he was a student at Hogwarts and was not scared to challenge his teachers or textbooks. He also invented several spells while still a student such as Sectumsempra and the Muffliato Charm.
5. Alastor Moody
He was regarded as one of the greatest Aurors of all time. He was probably responsible for the capture of more Dark wizards than any other Auror and was a highly skilled duelist. It’s also in my headcanon that Moody’s magical eye, which could even see through Harry’s Invisibility Cloak, was an invention of his own. After Dumbledore’s death, Moody became the de facto leader of the Order of the Phoenix.
6. Bellatrix Lestrange
Voldemort’s right-hand woman. Bellatrix was arguably the most powerful Death Eater. Her unstable temperament and sadistic personality meant that there were no limits to her cruelty. Whether or not this was true, Bellatrix told Harry that she learned the Dark Arts from Voldemort himself and knew spells of such power that Harry could never hope to compete with. As a testament to her strength, Voldemort screamed when Bellatrix died. This wasn’t a display of sentimentality, but it did show how powerful Voldemort thinks Bellatrix was. She’s described as his “best lieutenant” (DH 36).
7. Nymphadora Tonks
This is the most contentious entry on my list. I weighed up several different options for this final spot (Minerva McGonagall, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Filius Flitwick, Hermione Granger, etc.). However, I’m going to go with a left-field option here (and I had to get a Hufflepuff on this list somehow). Seventh on this list is Tonks, the rebellious Metamorphmagus Auror. A member of the Order of the Phoenix, Tonks is also one of the only female Aurors mentioned in the Harry Potter series (the other that comes to mind is Alice Longbottom).
Tonks is also one of the youngest Aurors we see in the books, and despite this, Kingsley (a much more experienced wizard) was only “a bit higher up than” (OotP 3) her. According to McGonagall, the Auror office only takes the best and nobody “has been taken on in the last three years” (OotP 29). The fact that she is able to rise up in the ranks of the Auror office at such a young age is a testament to her magical abilities. She is also described as Moody’s “favorite and his protégée at the Ministry of Magic” (DH 5). Furthermore, she is one of the Aurors stationed at Hogsmeade in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and is entrusted with protecting the school.
Since lists like this are, by their nature, highly subjective, you are bound to disagree with some of the choices that I’ve made. In compiling this list, I was faced with many difficult choices, and unfortunately, some characters didn’t make the cut. It’s also interesting to note that none of the seven characters in my list died of natural causes – they all died at the hands of a wand. What this suggests is that power is a curse as well as a blessing and attracts violence and death (look at the trail of the Elder Wand).
Who do you think the most powerful characters in the wizarding world are? Were there any characters that were criminally omitted from this list?