Albus Dumbledore is one of the most famous, wise, and respected wizards of his time. He almost needs no introduction. After all, he was a talented teacher at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry even before he became Headmaster. He was an incredibly powerful wizard, feared by even the most twisted dark witches and wizards, and a mentor to many, many young Hogwarts student— including Harry Potter himself.
Dumbledore has a complicated past, however. His younger sister Ariana couldn’t completely control her magic and accidentally ended their mother's life while their brother Abeforth was away. After that, he grew very close to Gellert Grinderwald, who eventually went on to become one of the wizarding world’s most wanted criminals. The two of them plotted to take over the Muggle world (and according to J.K. Rowling, became lovers along the way.) However, it all came to an end when Grinderwald cast the Cruciatus curse on Abeforth Dumbledore, and the three of them ended up in a duel. Ariana Dumbledore accidentally lost her life during that duel, and Grinderwald and Dumbledore became sworn enemies.
The new Fantastic Beasts movie gave us a more in-depth look at Albus Dumbledore’s past and had many of us wondering— is he actually stronger than Grinderwald? It’s a good question: which Harry Potter characters are stronger than Dumbledore? He’s presented as an extraordinary wizard, but is he all powerful? Here are 15 wizards who are stronger than Dumbledore— and 15 who aren’t. You might be surprised by some of these!
30 Stronger: Grinderwald
Sure, Grinderwald was ultimately defeated, but if you look at the facts, it’s pretty clear that Dumbledore’s old lover/nemesis is more powerful than him. In fact, Grinderwald is more powerful than most Harry Potter characters, including his fellow dark wizard Voldemort. You might be thinking this doesn’t make sense— after all, Dumbledore defeated Grinderwald. However, the dark wizard’s power also comes from his charisma and his hordes of devoted followers. He was a terrible threat, and Dumbledore knew it— no wonder he enlisted Newt’s help to defeat him.
29 Not Stronger: Harry Potter
Of course, Harry Potter is the Chosen One, the Boy Who Lived, and the one who ultimately defeated Voldemort. It’s his name on the books, after all. But is he stronger than Albus Dumbledore? That’s debatable. He survived the Avada Kedavra curse, but that was thanks to his mother’s love and protection; without Dumbledore’s tutoring, Harry may not have been able to defeat the Dark Lord at all. Yes, Harry Potter was a brilliant wizard and a hero, but he was not stronger than Dumbledore.
28 Stronger: Hermione Granger
Harry may not be stronger than Dumbledore, but Hermione? Hermione could beat Dumbledore any day if she wanted to. She’s one of the most brilliant minds of her generation; like any good Gryffindor, she’s brave, loyal, and strong. She mastered advanced spells at a young age, could make any potion perfectly, and her quick thinking saved her, Ron, and Harry more than once. She grew up to be an incredible witch— in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, she became Minister for Magic.
27 Not Stronger: Voldemort
Voldemort was definitely a threat and a vicious, powerful dark wizard in his own right. And yet he wasn’t stronger than Grinderwald, and he wasn’t more powerful than Dumbledore. He was strong, yes, and he had charisma, but unlike Grinderwald, who had an actual army and terrorized the entire wizarding world, Voldemort failed year after year to take control of a single school. Why? Because Harry Potter— and Dumbledore— were there. There was no way Albus Dumbledore was letting a dark wizard take over his school!
26 Stronger: Merlin
Dumbledore may have been a legendary wizard, but he can’t be compared to, well, Merlin, a wizard so legendary even Muggles know of his exploits. Merlin was the world’s most famous wizard, and, arguably, the world’s most powerful. Fellow Slytherins, you can be proud of our house— the great Merlin himself was one of us! The Prince of Enchanters was also part of King Arthur’s court, and founded the Order of Merlin. As for his story, well, you all know the legends.
25 Not Stronger: Bellatrix Lestrange
Bellatrix Lestrange was arguably one of the coolest— and most stylish— dark witches in the Harry Potter world. Helena Bonham Carter’s portrayal of her in the movies took her character to a whole new level. She was, however, for lack of a better word, Voldemort’s lackey. Voldemort himself wasn’t more powerful than Dumbledore, and his followers, including Bellatrix, definitely weren’t. Don’t get me wrong, she was dangerous, and committed horrible crimes, but she wasn’t as strong as Albus. After all, she was ultimately defeated by Molly Weasley.
24 Stronger: Professor McGonagall
Like Albus Dumbledore in his youth, Professor McGonagall was the head of house for Gryffindor student, an honor that was certainly well deserved. It’d be a mistake to underestimate her; though you may not hear about her exploits as much as Dumbledore’s or Harry Potter’s, Minerva McGonagall was a strikingly powerful witch.
After all, she survived the Battle of Hogwarts and became the school’s Headmistress after Albus, a testament to her fame and power. She also was an animagus, on top of being a skilled professor.
23 Not Stronger: Filius Flitwick
Not all of Hogwarts’ teachers were stronger than Dumbledore, however. Filius Flitwick, for instance, the head of Ravenclaw, was a talented wizard, a skilled spellcaster, and an expert duelist. He was an asset to the forces of light during the battle against the Dark Lord, but it’s a stretch to say he’s more powerful than Dumbledore. He was a great professor, and fans were glad to learn more about him in the mobile game Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, but he’s not quite on Dumbledore’s level.
22 Stronger: Godrick Gryffindor
Godrick Gryffindor, one of the four founders of Hogwarts, and the owner of the legendary Sword of Gryffindor, was absolutely more powerful than Dumbledore— and it’s a good thing he was, too, because Dumbledore wasn’t around in Hogwarts’ early days to keep Godrick’s fellow founder Salazar Slytherin in check. The four founders of Hogwarts lived so long ago, it’s hard to truly compare their power to Dumbledore’s, but since they were figures of legend and founded the school, it’s safe to assume they were more powerful.
21 Not Stronger: Lucius Malfoy
If Bellatrix Lestrange isn’t stronger than Voldemort, then notorious Slytherin slimeball Lucius Malfoy certainly isn’t. Despite Draco’s constant cries of “My father will hear about this!”, Lucius doesn’t seem to do much in the series. He’s a loyal(ish) follower of Voldemort, but he’s not even depicted as a great dark wizard. In fact, Lucius’ real power is his money and influence with the Ministry of Magic. Those make him a force to be reckoned with, but in terms of actual magical strength, he can’t even be compared to wizards like Dumbledore.
20 Stronger: Nicholas Flamel
Nicholas Flamel is another wizard of legend. The Alchemist, the Philosopher (or the Sorcerer, if you’re American) has many names, and yet he’s too often forgotten. Wrongly, if you ask me. The man discovered the secret to immortality, after all. Just like Merlin, word of Flamel’s deeds have reached Muggle ears, and that’s hardly surprising. Nicholas Flamel was one of the greats, and even Dumbledore looked up to him. In short, he was more powerful than Voldemort, despite his frail appearance.
19 Not Stronger: Cornelius Fudge
Cornelius Fudge may have been Minister for Magic, but he couldn’t hold a candle to the Hogwarts Headmaster. In fact, rumor has it he only got the job because Dumbledore declined to become Minister to stay at Hogwarts. His refusal to acknowledge the return of the Dark Lord, his penchant for, ahem, “donations” from powerful pure blood families and his general incompetence paved the way for Voldemort’s rise to power. In short, surprisingly, not all Ministers of Magic were great witches and wizards; Fudge really wasn’t.
18 Stronger: Rowena Ravenclaw
Now, of course, being the founder of Ravenclaw house and one of the founders of Hogwarts, Rowena Ravenclaw is another legendary witch. She was one of the most accomplished witches of her time, and, of course, extraordinarily intelligent. Rowena Ravenclaw left the wizarding world an incredible legacy, and members of her house look up to her as one of the best witches of all times. Being wise and knowledgeable, she probably would have gotten along well with Dumbledore— and it’s safe to say that she’s just as powerful— if not more powerful— than he is.
17 Stronger: Helga Hufflepuff
Don’t let Hufflepuff’s reputation fool you; this house of incredibly loyal witches and wizards was home to many incredible people. Like the badger on their emblem, Hufflepuffs aren’t always taken seriously, but they’re fierce when provoked. Plus, they’re really good at finding things. Helga Hufflepuff, as the founder of their House, was an amazing witch in her own right. The books don’t tell you much about her, but as a legendary witch and as one of Hogwarts’ founders, she’s definitely stronger than Dumbledore.
16 Not Stronger: James Potter
Sure, James Potter, like his son, was a good wizard— maybe even a great one. James Potter apparently excelled at the difficult Patronus charm, and he was an Auror, a fierce combatant against the forces of evil. In the end, however, he fell to the hands of He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. He and the rest of the Marauders (except maybe for Wormtail, who can hardly be counted as a powerful wizard) are famous in the wizarding world, but they’re certainly not as powerful as Dumbledore.
15 Stronger: Lily Evans
Lily Potter, née Evans, on the other hand, had real power, that saved Harry Potter and allowed him to become The Boy Who Lived. Her mother’s love was stronger than James’ magic, stronger than the most dangerous unforgivable curse, and stronger than the Dark Lord himself.
In fact, Lily’s magic was so strong that even after she passed, it continued to protect Harry as long as he was with the Dursleys. The fact that Dumbledore thought young Harry was safer with his abusive family under the protection of Lily’s love than at Hogwarts with him shows she was stronger.
14 Not Stronger: Remus Lupin
Like his fellow Marauders, Remus Lupin was a great wizard, and a valued member of the Order of the Phoenix. He was, without a doubt, the best Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher Harry and his peers ever had— but then again, it’s not hard to do better than Dolores Umbridge or Gilderoy Lockhart. Lupin really was a skilled wizard, however, and he was a werewolf, which makes him stronger than many of his peers, but he was definitely not as strong as Dumbledore.
13 Stronger: Salazar Slytherin
Salazar Slytherin was a terrible person, and I’m saying this as a proud Slytherin. He despised Muggles and is responsible for a lot of terrible things, including, you know, putting a giant, monstrous snake under a school. Thankfully, Slytherin has come a long way since then. However, it’s undeniable that Slytherin was a very powerful wizard— more powerful than Dumbledore. He was one of the founders of Hogwarts, and he spoke parseltongue, a talent rare among even the most exceptional of wizards.
12 Not Stronger: The Basilisk
Salazar Slytherin may not be as powerful as Dumbledore, but the Basilisk, the monster he hid deep in the Chamber of Secrets, certainly wasn’t. The Basilisk may not be human, but I’d argue it’s a pretty important character. After all, even before it’s actually revealed, its presence in the halls of Hogwarts is the source of tension for most of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. It’s also essential in the series as a whole— its fangs prove instrumental when Harry and his friends are destroying Horcruxes. Still, it was defeated by Harry when he was barely twelve.
11 Not Stronger: Fenrir Greyback
As a werewolf, Fenrir Greyback may be one of the physically strongest characters in the franchise, but that strength cannot be compared to Dumbledore’s incredible magical ability. He serves as a minor antagonist in the series, and while he is described as vicious and cruel, he’s certainly not capable of measuring up to the likes of Dumbledore. He was ultimately thrown against a cliff by Hermione during the Battle of Hogwarts (although it’s not clear in the books if he survived.)
10 Stronger: Newt Scamander (And His Beasts)
There’s a reason the young Albus Dumbledore asks Newt Scamander to help him find Credence in Fantastic Beasts 2: Crimes of Grinderwald. The young wizard may not be very interested in fighting, but he’s still a very powerful, skilled wizard (the Ministry even tried to enlist him.) His magical ability is impressive, but his talent for communicating with beasts makes him almost unstoppable. He’s arguably one of the strongest characters in the extended Harry Potter universe, and possibly even stronger than Dumbledore himself, thanks to his affinity with magical beasts.
9 Not Stronger: Rufus Scrimgeour
Rufus Scrimgeour was Cornelius Fudge’s replacement at the Ministry of Magic. Fudge was fired after it became undeniable that Voldemort was, indeed, back, and when Scrimgeour succeeded him, many hoped he would do a better job. He was, after all, in charge of the Aurors before he became Minister, meaning he was a talented wizard, used to leadership positions. Unfortunately, he didn’t really do much better than his predecessor. And as for his power, well, he was strong, but not as strong as Dumbledore.
8 Stronger: Abeforth Dumbledore
Abeforth Dumbledore was Albus’s younger brother and a member of the Order of the Phoenix. After a fight with Albus and Gellert Grinderwald that resulted in the young Ariana Dumbledore’s accidental end, Abeforth blamed Albus (and physically attacked him at Ariana’s funeral.) He went on to work as bartender in the Hog’s Head Inn in Hogsmeade. As a Dumbledore, of course, he was an incredibly powerful wizard. He survived the Battle of Hogwarts and the Second Wizarding War, and it’s not a stretch to say he’s more powerful than his brother.
7 Not Stronger: Dolores Umbridge
Dolores Umbridge may have terrorized students during her (short) time as Hogwarts Headmistress, but she wasn’t even a particularly strong witch— just as particularly twisted one. Short, cruel, often described as “toad-like”, and universally hated by Harry Potter characters and fans alike, Dolores Umbridge is a great villain, but a pretty pitiful witch. Her real power comes from her role at the Ministry of Magic, but, thankfully, was swiftly taken care of during the Second Wizarding War. It’s hardly a contest: Albus Dumbledore may not have had her political influence, but he was much stronger than her.
6 Stronger: Hagrid (And His Beasts)
Like Newt, Hagrid’s ability to tame and talk to beasts of all shapes and sizes makes him a force to reckon with. Rubeus Hagrid is barred from using magic, so we seldom see him cast spell or use his wizard powers, but it could be argued he is stronger than Dumbledore. He’s physically stronger, of course, but even if you don’t take that into account, he can do things Dumbledore would almost certainly never be able to do— like become friends with Aragog and his children.
5 Not Stronger: Amelia Bones
Amelia Bones, often simply known as Madam Bones, was an extraordinary witch. She was the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, had a seat on the Wizengamot, and presided over Harry Potter’s disciplinary hearing. Madam Bones was one of the rare level-headed Ministry employees during Fudge’s time as Minister. However, she lost her life in the Second Wizarding War, most likely at the hands of Lord Voldemort himself. While she fought bravely and was one of the Ministry’s most talented witches, she most probably was not as strong as Albus Dumbledore.
4 Not Stronger: Barty Crouch Jr.
Barty Crouch Jr. inarguably was strong. After all, he subdued an Auror (and not any Auror— Mad-Eye Moody himself,) disguised himself as him, and fooled Hogwarts’ best and brightest for almost an entire school year. Also, he turned Draco Malfoy into a ferret, which while it doesn’t show his strength, makes him pretty cool. However, like all of Voldemort’s followers, he never could have vanquished Albus Dumbledore in a fair fight. He was eventually eliminated by means of the Dementor’s Kiss.
3 Stronger: Mad-Eye Moody
The real Mad-Eye Moody, however, would most likely have gotten the upper hand against Dumbledore in a fight. One of the best— and most ruthless— Aurors of his time, Alastor Moody had quite a reputation. According to Ron Weasley, more than half the cells in the wizarding prison Azkaban were filled thanks to him. He was a distinguished member of the Order of the Phoenix, and, while he lost his life in the Second Wizarding War, it’s undeniable that his role in the war was essential.
2 Not Stronger: Sirius Black
The Marauders are beloved by many fans, and Sirius Black, James Potter’s best friend and Harry’s godfather, is many people’s favorite character. However, while he was also a member of the Order of the Phoenix, a skilled wizard, and an asset to Harry Potter and his friends during the Second Wizarding War, he’s not stronger than Dumbledore. He tragically lost his life to the hands of Bellatrix Lestrange, and while he was a great wizard, I’m not sure it’s even fair to compare him to Dumbledore.
1 Stronger: Severus Snape
Sure, not all Hogwarts professors are stronger than Dumbledore, but Severus Snape most likely was. He was not only a skilled wizard, a talented duelist, and a genius potion-maker, but he was also experience in both dark magic and light magic. There’s a reason Harry named his youngest child Albus Severus Potter: Severus Snape was one of the greatest wizards of his generation. I won’t get into the moral aspect of his character, because he’s been both a terrible person and a hero, but he’s undeniably powerful.