Who at some point in their life has not tried to test if they have magical abilities? Whether it's staring at your pet trying to see if you can understand them, trying to make things move with the force or running as fast as you can to see if you can teleport, everyone has tried at least once (even those of you who won't admit it). Harry Potter inspired a generation of kids to wait for their Hogwarts letter and to believe in magic long into adulthood; many of us are concerned about our lost letters - our owls are worse than Errol.
One debate that has been had among Potterheads for many years has been who the most powerful wizards in the Potterverse are. Harry only using expelliarmus in the movies is a classic meme, but is he better than we think? Is Dumbledore more powerful than Merlin? These are the real questions and everyone has an opinion. Many a website have tried to sort the wheat from the chaff, but there is no definitive guide. Now, I'm not saying that my list here is the definitive ranking of the most powerful wizards in Harry Potter; I just want to put my two knuts in. Let's get into it!
24 Harry Potter
Do I even need to write this paragraph? I know that we all joke about movie Harry's dream of being an Auror based on the only spell in his arsenal; Expelliarmus. In the books, Harry is more knowledgeable and utilizes more spells. I mean, if you teach kids Defence Against The Dark Arts in a secret club designed to protect Hogwarts and fight Voldemort then you have to know your stuff. While he is not the most powerful, he has determination and field experience, which earns him this place.
23 Antonin Dolohov
Not a name you hear so much, Dolohov was one of Voldemort's earliest supporters. He often gets overshadowed by the likes of Bellatrix and the Malfoys, but make no mistake, this guy was messed up. He hurt many Muggles and enemies of The Dark Lord without hesitation to prove his devotion. He escaped during the mass-breakout in 1996 but was recaptured during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries. He attacked Harry, Ron, and Hermione on Tottenham Court Road and fought in the Battle of Hogwarts.
22 Filius Flitwick
Known for being the Charms master at Hogwarts, Flitwick is more than the short professor who said 'swish and flick'. As a student, he was one of the best students alongside Dumbledore and holds the title of most knowledgeable Charms master in the world. Not just a smarty, Flitwick was also a dueling champion during his youth, which speaks volumes. I'm sure his skill was on full display during the Battle of the Astronomy Tower and the Battle of Hogwarts.
21 Barty Crouch Sr.
Ruthless and cruel, Barty Crouch Sr. was once poised to become the Minister For Magic, but soon lost it all. Powerfully magical, Barty Crouch Sr. was known for fighting fire with fire and authorized the use of Unforgivable Curses on suspects and known Voldemort supporters. While he never supported The Dark Lord and spoke out against him, many said that Barty Crouch Sr.'s methods were considered comparable to a Death Eater's. He was eliminated by his own son, who also soon perished, ending the Crouch pure-blood line.
20 Olympe Maxime
Headmistress of the Beauxbatons Academy of Magic, Olympe Maxime is a French half-giant who briefly dated Rubeus Hagrid. Now, we don't know much about her magically, but Hagrid described her spellwork during their mission to visit the giants as 'brilliant'. Her half-giant status makes her immune to many spells, which is a great edge to have in battle. All of this mixed with her fiery temper and stature make her a formidable opponent.
19 Hermione Granger
Do I need to write this paragraph as well? Described as the 'brightest witch of her age', Hermione is a powerful and knowledgeable witch. I am putting her here based on her age at the end of her time at Hogwarts; she would be placed much higher if we judge her based on her current age. Seventeen-year-old Hermione was a strong fighter and is the main reason Harry is still alive (besides his mother's love). Hermione was the gem of the Golden Trio and we admire her in this household.
18 Remus Lupin
Also known as Moony, Lupin is a beloved character in the eyes of many in the fandom. This kindhearted, brave and intelligent man was a member of the Marauders crew and eventually became the Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher, so the guy knows what's up. Lupin's status as a werewolf makes him an even more intimidating opponent depending on the time of the month; he is not one to be messed with.
17 Sirius Black
Padfoot is yet another fan favorite; another Marauder, we remember him fondly as Harry's father figure and mentor. The man became an animagus and created the Marauder's Map while he was an underage wizard, marking him, James, and Remus as some of the most brilliant wizards Hogwarts had ever seen. He also performed un-Transfiguration on Peter Pettigrew, infused physical prowess in magical fights and could perform nonverbal magic. There is much more I could discuss here, but Sirius is one tough cookie.
16 Corban Yaxley
One of Voldemort's followers, Yaxley was head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and planted Pius Thicknesse in the Ministry as part of his plan to ruin it. He fought in both Wizarding Wars and was present not only at the Battle of the Astronomy Tower but also during the Battle of Hogwarts. He was a proficient duellist who held his own against Flitwick after Dolohov was defeated. He could also perform nonverbal magic as proven when he jinxed Greyback without uttering a word.
15 Bellatrix Lestrange
Bellatrix Lestrange was Voldemort's most loyal follower. A practitioner of the Dark Arts, Bellatrix was a highly skilled and intelligent witch without a conscience, which made her incredibly dangerous. She was an Occlumens, meaning she was mentally impenetrable and taught Occlumency to Draco Malfoy. She has used nonverbal magic numerous times throughout the series and was the only one besides Voldemort who successfully blocked Dumbledore's attacks. She could also perform the Unbreakable Vow and was skilled at flight and Apparition; Bellatrix is one tough opponent.
14 Nymphadora 'Don't Call Me Nymphadora' Tonks
I love Tonks. A metamorphmagus, Tonks had the natural ability to transform her facial features to entertain and to hide her identity, which was excellent for espionage. She was also young for an Auror which speaks volumes about her magical skill.
Glad she was on our side now, huh?
She survived her first two encounters with Bellatrix Lestrange and could perform magic nonverbally. She was also a natural in defensive magic and received a N.E.W.T. in Potions.
13 Amelia Bones
Celebrated Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, she was also seated on the Wizengamot which is an honor not awarded lightly. Amelia Bones was the one who presided over Harry's trial and kept it fair, much to Fudge's frustration. She had a strong will and may have been immune to the Imperius Curse. She battled against Lord Voldemort himself when he came to murder her; for her to have lasted longer than a minute against him proves her natural dueling and magical abilities.
12 Aberfoth Dumbledore
Known by Muggles as Dumbledore's brother and known in the wizarding world for performing inappropriate charms on a goat, Aberforth is pretty well-known by many. In his youth, he battled both Dumbledore and Grindelwald at the same time and not only held his own but survived dueling two incredibly gifted wizards. He could also conjure a corporeal Patronus like Harry, which is considered advanced magic. He fought alongside our heroes in the Battle of Hogwarts and was one of the survivors, which speaks volumes.
11 Kingsley Shacklebolt
This guy is a behind-the-scenes MVP. Not only was he an Auror and a member of the Order of the Phoenix who worked undercover at the Ministry, but he also protected the Muggle Prime Minister by posing as their secretary.
I think this condensed resume speaks for itself.
When he became Minister for Magic after fighting in the Battle of Hogwarts, he worked with Ron, Harry, and Hermione to improve the Ministry for good.
10 Rufus Scrimgeour
A hardened veteran Auror, Rufus Scrimgeour was the Head of the Auror Department; you have to be a strong person in this kind of position. In the midst of the Second Wizarding War, he was appointed Minister For Magic and provided the illusion of safety; his work getting Harry and Dumbledore's co-operation cost him his life, as he passed at the hands of Voldemort. We do not have much in terms of concrete examples of him using his powers, but to be a hardened veteran leader of Aurors must take some skill, leadership and general awesomeness.
9 Alastor Moody
Responsible for filling half the cells in Azkaban, 'Mad-Eye' Moody was one of the greatest sorcerers of his time. He had fully mastered multiple branches of magic, including Charms, Transfiguration, Defensive Magic, Herbology and Potions, which is incredible considering most wizards choose to specialize in one subject.
How did Barty Crouch Jr. take and trap him?
He could also cast powerful protective charms over Order of the Phoenix headquarters, charms so powerful even Lord Voldemort could not break through. Moody could perform both nonverbal and Dark magic to great effect.
8 Severus Snape
A controversial figure, indeed. Say what you like about Snape, he was a darn good Potions master who knew his stuff. He was also a skilled Occlumens and managed to teach Harry how to defend himself from Voldemort's mental attacks. He was also especially talented at curses particularly from a young age and even managed to create his own jinxes and hexes. Snape could also perform nonverbal and healing magic. While we don't have many instances of Snape dueling, he did manage to successfully block McGonogall's attacks and no Death Eater ever raised a wand to him, which is very telling.
7 Minerva McGonagall
Minerva was the best teacher at Hogwarts and I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise. Not only did she work for the Ministry and was Deputy Headmistress and Headmistress of Hogwarts concurrently, but she also participated in both Wizarding Wars. She was an utter badass and is one of the few wizards to make the sorting hat take over five minutes to place her into either Ravenclaw or Gryffindor. McGonagall led the students of Hogwarts into the Battle of Hogwarts and emerged unscathed.
6 Nicolas Flamel
The guy who managed to make himself live for hundreds of years must be high up on this list. Nicholas Flamel must have been a powerful sorcerer to see his 690th birthday; imagine the upkeep staying alive that long takes.
Beauty gurus have nothing on him.
He also made the Philosopher’s Stone himself, which is something that no ordinary wizard can accomplish. Voldemort wishes he lived for this long. Nicholas also helped both Dumbledore and Newt Scamander take on Gellert Grindelwald, which is a feat of bravery.
5 The Founders Of Hogwarts
Now, anyone can lay claim to a piece of land and found a school, but the founders of Hogwarts were no ordinary wizards and witches. They were all skilled individuals, but all have their niches; Gryffindor was a master duelist, Ravenclaw was a genius architect, Slytherin was a master Ligilimens and Hufflepuff was skilled in Charms. Taking all of this into account, intelligent wizards such as these are more than capable of teaching students magic.
4 Gellert Grindelwald
Arguably the most powerful wizard of his time, Gellert Grindelwald walked so that Voldemort could run. Grindelwald was skilled in the dark arts in his teens and was expelled from Durmstrang for experimenting and almost ending fellow students. Being kicked out of school led him to meet Albus Dumbledore and form a strong bond. Grindelwald was charismatic and charmed multiple people with his ideas regarding freedom for wizardkind. He managed to survive dueling the Dumbledore brothers and amassed a large following for his cause. He was ultimately defeated by Dumbledore, but not before he had terrorized and thrilled the wizarding community.
If you have a nickname like Prince of Enchanters, you have to know your stuff. A member of King Arthur’s court, Merlin is arguably one of the greatest wizards of all time. His magical mastery was unparalleled by other wizards at the time and he is famous for his proficiency with charms. He is treated with honor and reverence by the modern wizarding community, who often use phrases such as ‘Merlin’s beard!’ and ‘Merlin’s trousers!’
2 Lord Voldemort
We have a more extended article on Voldemort and honestly, you all know the drill with this guy. He was so into using the Dark Arts that he became permanently ugly and is an accomplished Legilimens. Voldemort could fly without a broom, use magic without a wand, and was the first wizard to split his soul into eight pieces to obtain immortality.
What a guy.
Not only this, but he transformed Nagini into Bathilda Bagshot for months on the off chance that Harry would show up; this is from miles away and while he is presumably doing other evil deeds.
1 Albus Dumbledore
We did a longer article on Dumbledore’s many accomplishments, but we’ll give you a quick summary. He is considered the best at Transfiguration, was an accomplished duelist, received an Order of Merlin for defeating Grindelwald and won a Barnabus Finkley Prize for Exceptional Spellcasting. If that’s not enough accomplishment, he was also a youth representative for the Wizengamot and won an award for his alchemy skills, which he learned from Nicolas Flamel.