The wizarding world seen in Harry Potter was home to some of the most powerful wizards in existence. The series showed us that to be powerful in magic, one needed both born-talent as well as vast knowledge. Tom Riddle spent his entire life trying to uncover all the secrets there were to magic. This showed the drawbacks of falling in too deep in wizardry as Riddle was consumed with his quest for absolute power once he saw just how much he could gain if he tapped into the darkest depths of magic.
On the other hand, good wizards like Albus Dumbledore or Hermione Granger have shown that having copious amounts of knowledge shouldn't mean a definite path toward sinister intents, rather it is how one conducts themselves with this knowledge that defines who they are. Regardless of how a witch or wizard turns out, there were a select bunch of people who we witnessed in the main Harry Potter series that can be singled out as the most powerful witches and wizards.
To be included in this list, we’ve chosen those people that have shown the necessary talent and knowledge required, along with how they applied both of them together. You may find a couple of these people surprise additions considering their ages or feats, but they are all deserving of a spot due to several factors. In any case, not everyone can be included here or else the list would have needed to be much larger.
Here are 25 of the most powerful wizards in the main Harry Potter series.
25 Neville Longbottom
When Neville was first introduced in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, he had been far from someone competent. In fact, Neville was barely a wizard. The boy suffered from a case of low self-esteem, but this changed in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix thanks to the Dumbledore’s Army meetings.
After this, Neville shined bright and was the leader of the Hogwarts resistance in the seventh novel. Neville always displayed natural talent in Herbology and was the one who beheaded the final Horcrux, Nagini. He also went undefeated during the Battle of Hogwarts.
24 Fred Weasley
Yes, this is only Fred Weasley because from what we’ve seen of him, he was a touch above George when it came to nastiness and innate talent. Fred was the one who turned Ron’s teddy bear into a spider when he was only five-years-old, Fred also was the one who almost made the Unbreakable Vow with Ron.
In the Seven Potters sequence, Fred went unharmed while George lost his ear; he only perished because he was caught off-guard. His pranks were harsher than George’s too; he was more daring than his brother.
23 Ron Weasley
For all the jokes we like to make at Ron’s expense, he was still more talented and able than almost every student we’d seen. Ron’s feats are generally shared alongside Harry, which is why they tend to be overlooked. However, Ron was a skilled duelist in his own right and showed moments of brilliance. He was resourceful enough to remember Harry’s Parseltongue, something that brought an end to a Horcrux. He personally finished a Horcux himself, too. Ron was among the stars in the Dumbledore’s army too and never backed down from a fight, even against Voldemort.
22 Professor Quirrell
P-p-poor st-st-uttering Pr-professor Quirrel never really was the helpless buffoon he made himself out to be. After entering into an association with Voldemort, Quirrell showed remarkable feats.
He was able to manipulate the entire events of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Quirrel knocked down a mountain troll with ease, ended and drank the life of a unicorn in the middle of the Forbidden Forest, and adopted super feats of Voldemort such as flying. Having been corrupted by Voldemort, Quirrel knew more than most about the darkest kinds of magic.
21 Nymphadora Tonks
What we saw of Tonks was the bumbling, careless young girl who was mostly used for comedic moments, but she was a highly accomplished auror in her own right. Tonks was the youngest inductee in the auror program until Harry took this record years later. She had her place among the Order of the Phoenix, who were all highly accomplished wizards.
Tonks’ greatest asset was her camouflaging ability, something she was born with. She was also useful against the Death Eaters at the Ministry, although Bellatrix eventually defeated her there and at Hogwarts.
20 Lucius Malfoy
We never truly saw what it was about Lucius Malfoy that brought him such power and influence. He was born with a whole lot of inheritance, but it takes a special person to use such money to bring him influence on a political scale. Lucius also just so happened to be Voldemort’s original chosen leader for the Death Eaters.
Not even Bellatrix was chosen to lead the Death Eaters at the Ministry, making Lucius something of a skilled wizard without any known feats. It was his resourcefulness combined with a definite ability that got him so far.
Yes, the cowardly little rat called Peter Pettigrew, but better known as Wormtail, is among the most powerful wizards we’ve seen.
He was a remarkable talent whose cowardice was just too great to enable him to become a good person.
Wormtail concocted ingenious plans to betray James, he struck another on-the-fly plan by framing Sirius; this was done after blowing apart a street with his wand behind his back. He also took out Cedric, saw to Voldemort’s return to a body, and could have beaten both Harry and Ron simultaneously had his own hand not throttled him.
18 Hermione Granger
Judging by all the feats we’ve seen of Hermione in the series, you’d think she’d be higher up. But Hermione was never the best at dueling. We only ever saw her hold her own in these situations, although she was by far the best when it came to practice environments and classes.
Hermione’s real strength came from her genius mind, something that held both knowledge and tact. Harry and Ron would have perished by starvation or cold in Deathly Hallows had Hermione not brought all the essentials to survive. Her Hogwarts results speak for themselves.
17 Rufus Scrimgeour
Cornelius Fudge’s ineptitude gave Voldemort a whole year’s headstart in enacting his plan for world dominance. Fudge was a coward unfit for the role of Minister of Magic. During war times, there needed to be a strong figure at the helm and this is what brought Rufus Scrimgeour to the forefront.
He was an accomplished auror.
Scrimgeour perished at the beginning of Deathly Hallows, but the man was so tough he never gave into the Cruciatus curse to protect Harry. Being an auror, he was clearly powerful in magic and it took Voldemort himself to take him out.
16 Remus Lupin
The man with the saddest story in the series, Remus Lupin was both a strong wizard and a brutal werewolf. If left alone without the Wolfsbane potion, Lupin was capable of ripping anyone to shreds. Lupin was the greatest Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher Hogwarts had. The man actually taught Harry something in this subject, unlike every other teacher that took the post.
Being one of the Marauders, Lupin knew almost every secret to Hogwarts and was a bright thinker. He was also capable of tact as was shown during his time with the Order of the Phoenix.
15 Sirius Black
The first man to successfully escape Azkaban on his own, Sirius was the best wizard in his group of friends and in his school year. He was able to fool the dementors, be on the run from aurors, and remain in hiding successfully without detection for two years.
His penchant for magic was used in the wrong sense when he was younger, but Sirius’ talent was undeniable. He was one of the only Order members standing in the battle at the Ministry and may have defeated Bellatrix too had it not been for his overconfidence.
14 Amelia Bones
We don’t know anything about Amelia Bones to mention feats, but the witch had such an incredible reputation preceding her that it would be a disservice not to include her in this list. All we ever saw of Madam Bones was in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, where she was the only fair arbitrator at Harry’s hearing.
Her greatness was ironically stamped in her demise.
Voldemort himself personally executed her seemingly due to Amelia’s powerful status as a witch; Voldemort doesn’t step in until someone is absolutely a threat.
13 Antonin Dolohov
This guy always happened to be around when the Death Eaters were at a position of power. Dolohov’s appearance always featured him being a threat. His powers were on display in the Ministry when he struck Hermione with an unnamed spell that took her out; Dolohov had been rendered mute beforehand.
Dolohov is also the one who ended the life of Remus Lupin. He was hardly ever defeated without an all-out effort from the heroes, and was at the top of the Death Eater chain.
12 Harry Potter
You may argue that Harry had a streak of luck in his favor throughout the series, but this also needs to be counted in because this luck brought him victory. He was still the most powerful duellist in school even if you disregard his luck.
Harry was a born leader.
He had a number of talents, and his selflessness was above all. Harry was the youngest inductee in the auror program and was the only one who stood tall among the teenagers at the Ministry against Death Eaters. He defied Voldemort in every meeting and his resourcefulness goes without saying.
11 Barty Crouch Jr.
Not much credit is given to Barty Crouch Jr. as the character only appeared in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Yet, Crouch was responsible for bringing Voldemort’s body back. His plan worked to perfection, with Crouch defeating and keeping Mad-Eye Moody prisoner for a whole year.
Crouch was also part of the Death Eater squad who interrogated the Longbottoms to insanity. He preceded Sirius in escaping Azkaban, although he needed help there. Crouch received Outstanding in all his N.E.W.Ts in school as well. His insanity brought a complete lack of fear.
10 Professor Flitwick
Dueling isn’t always about throwing in a random number of spells. The greatest duellists make use of magic in its most inventive sense. This must be why Filius Flitwick was at the top of the list of duellers.
He avenged Lupin’s fall.
Dolohov was finally defeated by Flitwick in the Battle of Hogwarts, and it is implied he perished. Flitwick was also a dueling champion in his time. Utilizing his Charms skills, Flitwick used innovation in his fighting tactics, something only powerful wizards like Voldemort or Dumbledore could have an answer to.
9 Mad-Eye Moody
Unfortunately, we only saw the older, slower Mad-Eye Moody in the novels as opposed to the strong, powerful Alastor Moody who was once the greatest auror that ever lived. Moody was stowed away in Crouch’s trunk in Goblet of Fire, after which his only fight was in Order of the Phoenix, where he was defeated.
But in his heyday, Moody was responsible for locking away all the Death Eaters that were tried in court. He was feared by just about anyone that had heard about his reputation. Even in older age, it took Crouch and Wormtail combined to incapacitate him.
8 Kingsley Shacklebolt
Kingsley was never defeated during his appearance in the Harry Potter novels. The guy was an amazing auror who had a number of strategic skills. He was able to blend in with Muggles – something no other wizard had done – he was also in the Ministry battle and the Battle of Hogwarts.
His Patronus traveled a great distance to warn everyone at the Weasley wedding about the oncoming Death Eater attack, too. After the war, Kingsley was voted in as Monster of Magic, a position he held for two whole decades.
7 Professor McGonagall
McGonagall was easily the third-strongest professor at Hogwarts during Harry’s time. Other than Dumbledore, no one came close to her in Transfiguration skills. She was adept at dueling as well and held her own around a number of Death Eaters and Ministry officials.
McGonagall’s only drawback was her age.
Other than that, there was nothing to suggest she could be defeated in a fight. Although Snape held back, McGonagall still seemed to par his skill in combat. She was an Animagus who could hide in plain sight and was only defeated by Voldemort during the Battle of Hogwarts.
6 Horace Slughorn
By reputation, it appears as if only Dumbledore surpassed Horace Slughorn in magical skill during the time they were teachers at Hogwarts. Slughorn was a skilled duellist, as seen when he battled Voldemort in Deathly Hallows, but it was his resourcefulness that was his greatest asset.
Slughorn knew how to make powerful friends, from whom he had access to great favors and perks. His Potions abilities were surpassed by no one, making him the greatest in that department. His knowledge of lore in magic was easily the farthest as Voldemort needed this insight to further his own goals.
5 Bellatrix Lestrange
In every battle Bellatrix was a part of, someone would perish at her hands. She was personally trained by Voldemort, making her the second-most dangerous Death Eater (first if you discount Snape). Bellatrix was responsible for causing the ends of Sirius, Dobby, and Tonks.
Her insanity and fierce devotion to Voldemort knew no bounds.
She Cruciated Neville’s parents to madness; something she was very proud of. She single-handedly defeated both Ginny and Hermione. Her only loss was to Molly Weasley, which showed how love would always defeat sinister intent.
4 Severus Snape
Without a doubt, Snape was the most powerful Death Eater and Order of the Phoenix member. His talents were diverse; Potions, Charms, Transfiguration, and Dark Art all came naturally to him. As the Half-Blood Prince, we saw how talented he was in creating his own spells and brewing his own Potions.
Ironically, for a guy who hated everyone, his greatest asset was his love for Lily.
Snape could also fly, something only Voldemort also displayed, his Occlumency and Legilimency were perhaps the best of anyone we ever saw. He only lost to James because it used to be 4 against 1.
3 Gellert Grindelwald
Unlike Voldemort, Grindelwald had been able to gain a grip of the entire world during his peak as the greatest Dark wizard ever. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them showed how Grindelwald was able to blend in plain sight in a different identity. As the owner of the Elder Wand, Grindelwald went undefeated in battle until Dumbledore miraculously beat him.
He only lost because of the greatness of his opponent; other than that, no one could come close to Grindelwald’s powers. His name remained feared decades after fall, too. Grindelwald perished by Voldemort, someone he showed no fear towards.
He may have been sinister to the core, but Voldemort was destined for greatness. No one could come close to his knowledge of the Dark Arts. There was nobody more twisted and demented than him. He became a man whose very name struck fear in the hearts of anyone who heard it.
As a young man, he was malicious with a sinister charm. As the Dark Lord, his greatness in magic meant he could do whatever he pleased; he could even live forever. Harry only beat Voldemort because of luck.
1 Professor Dumbledore
We all know this man will always be at the top of the most powerful wizard lists. There was nothing Dumbledore couldn’t do. His powers exceeded anyone ever born and he could have been even more so had he not held back.
During his younger years, he displayed such talent that it was still spoken of a century later. He almost beat Voldemort at the Ministry until the latter used underhanded tactics. Dumbledore defeated Grindelwald despite Grindelwald having possession of the Elder Wand. He was outnumbered numerous times, only to be the victor on every single occasion.