Albus Dumbledore was always one of the most important players in the entire Harry Potter saga. He guided Harry throughout all of his years at Hogwarts, he trained Harry on how to cope with his unavoidable destiny to face off against Lord Voldemort, and he skillfully chose what to reveal to Harry and what to hide in order to get him in exactly the position that he needed to be in so he could save the entire wizarding world from the dark lord.
And it's safe to say that Dumbledore is one of the most brilliant wizards who has ever lived. His genius is nearly unparalleled, and there were no witches or wizards in the entire wizarding world who were his magical equal. But just because he managed to outwit some of the cleverest people in the world, that doesn't mean that there aren't people who are even smarter than he is. So here are 10 characters who are smarter than Albus Dumbledore.
10 Regulus Black
Although Albus Dumbledore was undoubtedly an instrumental part of the ultimate defeat of Lord Voldemort, it seems that the lesser-known Black brother had a significant head start on Dumbledore when it came to actually getting things done.
Dumbledore already had some awareness about what Tom Riddle had planned for his soul, but even though Regulus figured out Voldemort's Horcrux secret long after Albus had an inkling of what he was doing he managed to do more to foil Voldemort's plan for immortality more than Dumbledore ever did. Albus is an expert at playing the long game, but Regulus Black still outplayed him majorly in this instance.
9 Barty Crouch Jr.
Most people wouldn't have ever considered Barty Crouch Jr. to be a literal genius, and many people probably don't see him that way even now, but he nearly succeeded in handing Harry Potter to Lord Voldemort on a silver platter and he did it all right under Dumbledore's nose.
Dumbledore has always had hit or miss taste when it comes to hiring new teachers at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but he presumably was familiar with Mad-Eye Moody before he hired him as Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. And Barty's performance as Mad-Eye was believable enough that even the headmaster didn't question him.
8 Tom Riddle
It's no fault of Dumbledore's that he didn't realize quite what an enormous threat Tom Riddle posed to the entire wizarding world when Tom was still just a child, but it says a lot about Tom's intelligence and Dumbledore's lack thereof that a student managed to pull the wool over his eyes so completely.
Tom was a master manipulator and played pretty much every professor at Hogwarts, but Dumbledore was one of the most brilliant wizards in history and he has had first-hand experience with the previous darkest of dark wizards that came before, Gellert Grindelwald. Tom did raise some suspicion in Albus, but not enough for him to cut Voldemort off at the head before he became Voldemort.
7 Remus Lupin
When it comes to the events that occurred in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, it is safe to say that Remus Lupin had a bit of a tactical advantage since he was so intensely familiar with all of the key players in the story.
However the fact that he managed to figure out that Peter Pettigrew had spent years in hiding in his animagus form, that Sirius Black was actually innocent in Peter, Lily, and James' deaths, and that Peter had defected to the dark side and spilled the beans about the Potters is a pretty astounding level of bigger picture logical thinking.
6 Gellert Grindelwald
As we said before, even prior to Tom Riddle's transformation into Voldemort, Albus Dumbledore had a lot of first-hand experience with the darkest of dark wizards who had ever lived, at least up until that point. Gellert Grindelwald was basically the Adolf Hitler of the wizarding world, but he also happened to be Albus Dumbledore's closest friend.
Dumbledore understood that there was some darkness within Gellert, but he either didn't want to acknowledge how terrible it really was or Grindelwald managed to fool him into believing that he wasn't quite that bad. Regardless of the reason, Dumbledore got played, and he didn't come to his senses until it was nearly too late.
5 Luna Lovegood
Luna Lovegood is an exceptional witch and human being for a lot of different reasons, but what really makes her stand out from the rest is her astounding levels of creativity. Dumbledore is undoubtedly a very creative mind who can think far ahead of nearly anyone and is very comfortable thinking outside of the box, but he still has nothing on Luna's skills.
Luna literally can't stop herself from being creative and seeing things from an entirely new and different perspective, and her singular mind has saved her life as well as the lives of many others, even though she wasn't even 20 by the time the Harry Potter saga concluded.
4 Harry Potter
Although Harry Potter was really only marked as Lord Voldemort's enemy and equal by coincidence, it's incredibly lucky that someone as brilliant as Harry wound up being the number one suspect in Professor Trelawney's prophecy about the boy who would destroy Voldemort once and for all.
Harry can be a downright moron sometimes, but he's actually very instinctively intelligent and can predict what the right move will be and what ideas might work without having to actually run all of the math on the probability of success beforehand. And unlike literally any wizard that came before him, including Dumbledore, he managed to master the Deathly Hallows.
3 Severus Snape
Albus Dumbledore definitely excels when it comes to playing the long game, but in that particular arena he can't even come close to Severus Snape's abilities. Severus ultimately proved himself to be one of the greatest master manipulators of all time. His survival and victory over Voldemort depended entirely on many of the skills that Dumbledore also had to use in order to ensure Voldemort's end, but Severus had to be even better with them.
He had to lie, be secretive, manipulate others, and predict what may or may not happen long before it would actually come to pass. But he had to do that about ten times as much as Dumbledore did, and he succeeded.
2 Minerva McGonagall
There are a lot of different kinds of intelligence, and to be fair to Minerva McGonagall she is absolutely Albus Dumbledore's equal in every manner of intelligence, with the glaring exception of one. Professor McGonagall's instinct to keep Harry out of the clutches of the Dursleys when Dumbledore decided to dump baby Harry on their doorstep was absolutely the right call, even though Albus failed to make it.
Minerva showed that her emotional intelligence and instinct for reading people was obviously better than Dumbledore's, and Albus is lucky that his willingness to risk Harry's development with a pack of abusers didn't completely backfire and turn Harry into a monster himself.
1 Hermione Granger
Forget the world of Harry Potter. Is there literally anyone in the world, period, who is smarter than Hermione Granger? Hermione has all of the intelligence and requisite skills of every other character on this list combined, and although Harry Potter was the boy who lived and who was destined to defeat Voldemort once and for all, we feel confident in saying that if he hadn't had Hermione then he certainly would have failed.
He probably would have been dead in his first year at Hogwarts, to be honest. Hermione was cleverer than Dumbledore when was still just a child, never mind when she was an actual adult and his equal.