Throughout all of the Harry Potter installments, we’ve been introduced to dozens of characters. Because J.K. Rowling is so good at world-building and character development, fans feel like they have a good understanding even of side characters who are only mentioned periodically.
This has led to a lot of lists ranking the witches and wizards that are ostensibly the most powerful in the Potterverse. These lists tend to miss an important detail, though -- not all of the characters are human. So how different would those lists look if we included all magical beings, and not just witches and wizards?
For this list, we’re going by the official Rowling-approved definition of ‘being.’ According to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (the faux-textbook, not the movie), the Ministry of Magic definition of being is “any creature that has sufficient intelligence to understand the laws of the magical community and to bear part of the responsibility in shaping those laws.”
So nothing like dragons or acromantulas here, since they’re classified as beasts. We’re also only including characters that actually appear in the books or movies (sorry, Merlin), and privileged power over skill when deciding rankings.
Here are the 20 Most Powerful Characters In Harry Potter, Ranked.
20 Neville Longbottom
We spent the first few books pitying Neville, but by the conclusion of the series, he’d proven that he had a lot of untapped power just beneath the surface. Neville’s issue was never subpar magical power, but a lack of confidence that translated into a (temporary) lack of skill.
By the time Deathly Hallows comes around, he has proven himself as a leader of the resistance within Hogwarts. His magical power and grit is proven when the Sword of Gryffindor appears to him during the climactic final battle with Voldemort. As we’ve learned, the Sword doesn’t appear to just anyone, so this is a ringing endorsement of Neville.
Another point in his favor is his heritage. His parents were both formidable Aurors who apparently defied Voldemort three times -- which meant Neville could have been the Chosen One instead of Harry.
19 Griphook the Goblin
The first non-human on this list is Griphook, who helps the Trio break into Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault. Before that, though, he was one of the goblins who worked in Gringotts, and was also on the run from Voldemort during his second rise to power.
Although Griphook died in the movie adaptation, in the book he survives. This especially impressive since not only was he ambushed by Snatchers, but he’s never captured by Death Eaters after stealing back the Sword of Gryffindor.
His position within Gringotts and his survival during the Second Wizarding War put him a cut above the other goblins, who are already powerful in their own right.
Goblins have their own type of magic, and can cast spells without wands (though that hasn’t stopped them from being bitter about wizards keeping wands for themselves). Not much is known about goblin magic since they guard their secrets very closely, but it's assumed to be pretty formidable -- just ask Bill Weasley.
18 Hermione Granger
Harry Potter would never have survived his many trials without Hermione. While she’s obviously notable for her skill -- she wasn’t called the cleverest witch of her age for no good reason -- Hermione also had a lot of magical power. This never failed to infuriate blood purists who thought that Muggleborns wouldn’t have as much power as purebloods.
Hermione has already learned how to master a few simple spells by the time she gets on the Hogwarts Express, before ever setting foot in a magical classroom. She constantly outpaced her classmates and quickly mastered nonverbal spells, wandless magic, and even duelling.
Plus, it’s safe to say that without her powerful Shield Charms, the Golden Trio would have been killed at the beginning of the seventh book.
As powerful as she is, though, since so much of her prowess comes from skill, she’s a bit lower on the list.
17 Kingsley Shacklebolt
Before he became Minister of Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt was one of the Ministry’s most talented Aurors, and a key member of the Order of the Phoenix. During his time as a member of the Auror, he crossed wands with Voldemort not once, but twice -- and lived to tell about it.
That alone would be enough to earn him a place on our list, but he demonstrates his magical prowess multiple times throughout the series.
In scenes where the Order is fighting, Kingsley is often described as fighting two Death Eaters at once, proving his immense talent at duelling. He’s always portrayed as being one of the more level-headed adults in the series, but his demeanor masks an incredible reserve of power, which he tends to unleash when especially angry.
16 Amelia Bones
Casual fans probably aren’t very familiar with Amelia Bones, since she only appears once on screen in the movies. (Hint -- she’s one of the witches who asks Harry a question during his Ministry hearing in Order of the Phoenix.) In the books, though, we get a lot more information about just how formidable this witch is.
Amelia Bones was head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, so she was even more powerful than the Auror Kingsley. Her power was famous in Wizarding Britain, where she was considered one of the greatest witches of her time.
In fact, she was so formidable that Voldemort killed her himself for her resistance, and all the evidence led people to believe that she put up a huge fight. It’s a shame that we didn’t get to see more of this character, because she was clearly not someone to be messed with.
15 Harry Potter
Harry wasn’t the best student in school, but he made up for it with impressive magical abilities. By the age of thirteen, he was able to cast a corporeal Patronus, which many adults weren’t able to do.
He was also naturally gifted at Defense Against The Dark Arts and was able to cast extremely powerful spells when emotional. Plus, you know, there was that whole defeating the Dark Lord thing.
However, he’s not higher on this list because so many of his victories throughout the series were due either to dumb luck or the help of either Ron or Hermione.
Even his final defeat of Voldemort required a lot of skill and planning, not just sheer power. The series’ main character was definitely extraordinary, but not the most powerful person we were introduced to.
14 Ginny Weasley
The film adaptations of the books did Ginny Weasley wrong. The youngest Weasley child and only daughter wasn’t just Harry Potter’s love interest, she was an extremely capable witch who arguably had more power than her famous partner.
The number seven is significant in the Potter world, and Ginny is the seventh child of Arthur and Molly. She’s also the first Weasley daughter in seven generations. Those double sevens might be part of the reasons she’s so naturally powerful.
Her curses were well-known for being extremely dangerous, and similar to Harry, she was able to produce a full Patronus at just fourteen. She even held her own against many talented Death Eaters at just sixteen during the Battle of Hogwarts.
Underestimating Ginny Weasley was the last mistake some characters made before being hit with a curse.
13 Remus Lupin
Lupin’s biggest identifier in the series, of course, was his status as a werewolf. That gave him power in a different way, though it was more often a curse and a detriment to him throughout his life. Aside from being a werewolf, though, Lupin was already a powerful wizard.
As the level-headed Marauder, he didn’t exactly flaunt how talented he was -- but that doesn’t mean he was any less impressive. He contributed to the Marauder’s Map, which required a lot of complicated magic to pull off.
As a member of the Order, he was often sent away on missions, and was one of only three people to leave the Department of Mysteries unscathed. He’s also proven himself to be especially adept at nonverbal magic.
12 Golgomath the Giant
The next character on our list isn’t well-known even to serious fans, but that doesn’t make him any less powerful.
In the movies, the only giants we see are Grawp, Hagrid’s half-brother, and a giant causing destruction during the Battle of Hogwarts. In the books, though, Hagrid and Madame Maxime are sent as an envoy to the giants, because Dumbledore guesses correctly that Voldemort will try to recruit them.
One of those giants is Golgomath, a member of the giant colony Hagrid and Maxime were visiting. The two half-giants were trying to woo Karkus, the leader of the giants, but Golgomath beheaded him just when they were making headway. Golgomath is described as an extremely powerful warrior.
His power is different, but given his size (about twenty-five feet tall), his status as leader, and the fact that he's impervious to many spells, he earned a spot on the list.
11 Sirius Black
It takes an immense amount of magical ability to become an Animagus, so it’s impressive for any witch or wizard to achieve. It’s even more impressive when you become an Animagus before you even take your OWLs. This was just one way that Sirius Black demonstrated his capabilities, and he’d go on to hone his talent even further.
Like Lupin, he contributed to the Marauder’s Map, casting the extremely difficult Homonculous Charm to track the whereabouts of everyone in the castle. He also proved himself to be a proficient dueller while he was in the Order.
Most impressive, though, was his willpower while locked up for twelve years in Azkaban. Most people went insane from the dementors’ effects. While Sirius was forever affected by his imprisonment, he never lost what made him unique. That’s a real testament to who he was as a person.
10 Filius Flitwick
Most people just know Professor Flitwick as the Charms teacher, but his backstory is what makes him a really impressive character. Flitwick is part goblin, which might have contributed to how smart he is (he’s head of Ravenclaw House) and given him some different magical abilities.
He was a duelling champion in his younger days, earning the title of Master Duellist and proving that size isn’t everything. As a professor, he demonstrated his magical ability by casting wandless magic -- something very few characters are able to do -- and casting incredibly complex charms.
He’s also probably the reason that Hogwarts was one of the safest places to be. It’s his protective charms that surround the school during the Second Wizarding War, and had it not been for Voldemort himself, they would have been impenetrable.
9 Mad-Eye Moody
Alastor Moody was widely considered to be one of the best Aurors ever. His magical ability and prowess was famous throughout Magical Britain, which Harry and his friends got to see up close once he joined the Order of the Phoenix.
Before the books started, he was responsible for filling most of the cells in Azkaban as an Auror. He duelled and defeated countless Dark Wizards. Even losing an eye and a leg couldn’t stop him from tracking down Death Eaters. He was only brought down by Lord Voldemort himself.
He wasn’t just skilled in defense, though. Before he died, he was widely considered to be a master of many different types of magic, which further proved his power. Like Dumbledore, he can make himself invisible using the Disillusionment Charm, which almost no one can master.
We’re bending the rules a little bit by including the centaur Firenze. Centaurs technically qualify as ‘beings,’ but are classified as ‘beasts’ by choice. (They didn’t like that hags and vampires were also ‘beings,’ so they renounced their status.) The centaurs’ magic is formidable, though, and Firenze had notable pro-human leanings, so we’re including him here.
When we first meet Firenze, he saves Harry from Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest by charging at him and scaring him away. He later becomes the only non-human professor when he begins teaching Divination in Order of the Phoenix after Trelawney is sacked.
Centaurs are naturally gifted at prophecy and magical healing, the extent of which is unknown since they jealously guard their knowledge. Dumbledore choosing him to teach Divination is a testament to Firenze’s magical ability.
7 Severus Snape
It takes an incredible amount of magical power to be able to block the Dark Lord from your mind so well that you fool him into believing that you’re on his side. Severus Snape, whatever your opinions are on him, was an incredibly talented and gifted wizard.
He was both an accomplished Occlumens and Legilimens, which he used to his advantage working as a double agent during both Wizarding Wars. We see in Half-Blood Prince that not only are his potion-making abilities unmatched, but he was also able to create several spells of his own while still a student.
His proficiency for the Dark Arts got him in trouble, but was also nothing to be laughed at. Snape was one of the most powerful wizards in the Order by far.
6 Dobby the house-elf
Don’t write off Harry’s biggest fan -- house-elves have more powerful magic than wizards do, they just choose not to use it against humans.
Dobby is capable of sealing the entrance to Platform 9 and 3/4, which we can safely assume is protected by a ton of different spells to keep the wizarding children safe.
Later in Chamber of Secrets, Dobby blasts Lucius Malfoy down the stairs when he tries to hurt Harry. And that doesn’t even come close to everything he did to save Harry and his friends in Deathly Hallows.
House-elves are able to Apparate in and out of places regardless of the spells placed on the area by wizards. This lets them move quickly about Hogwarts, but it also meant Dobby was uniquely able to Apparate into Malfoy Manor, a place that terrified him, to save Harry. RIP, Dobby.
5 Bellatrix Lestrange
You’d have to be both twisted and powerful to kill Dobby, and Bellatrix Lestrange was both. Love her or hate her, there’s no denying that Bellatrix was probably Voldemort’s most dominant supporters. She was deadly with a wand and unhinged -- a terrifying combo.
She was already powerful before she met the Dark Lord, but after she became a Death Eater, he taught her even more of the Dark Arts himself. She was so dangerous she was locked up in a high-security cell in Azkaban.
Although she spent more than a decade guarded by dementors, that doesn’t seem to have had any effect on her magical ability. Bellatrix was still a skilled Occlumens and a powerful dueller, who was able to take on multiple adversaries at once without breaking a sweat. Until she made the mistake of trying to kill Molly Weasley’s daughter.
4 Minerva McGonagall
Professor McGonagall was not to be messed with. She wasn’t just the Transfiguration teacher, she was a witch so powerful and talented that she became Professor Dumbledore’s right-hand woman. (She also seemed to be in amazing health -- let’s not forget about the time in Order of the Phoenix when she took multiple Stunning Spells to the chest and survived.)
Behind-the-scenes writing on Pottermore revealed that she showed immense magical ability from a young age, and by the time we meet her as an adult, she’s only grown stronger.
She is one of the few people capable of transforming into an Animagus and was arguably second only to Dumbledore in her mastery of Transfiguration. She held her own in duels even against Lord Voldemort, and Rowling has said that she would have beaten Snape in their duel if he hadn’t escaped.
You knew he had to be on this list somewhere. Tom Riddle became one of the most feared wizards of all time and would have succeeded in taking over Britain. In the end, he was really only defeated by his own hubris -- if he had let one of his Death Eaters kill Harry instead of insisting on doing the ‘honors’ himself, the series would probably look very different.
His magical power and abilities are demonstrated time and time again in the books. He was capable of performing wandless magic as a child and had far more control over his abilities than most other children. He can fly without a broom, speak Parseltongue, and cast spells so powerful even Dumbledore was unable to lift them. (Sorry, DADA professors.)
As formidable as he was, splitting his soul so many times weakened him. That’s why the number two spot on our list goes to...
2 Gellert Grindelwald
Grindelwald and Voldemort are neck and neck when it comes to pure power. Grindelwald gets the edge here solely because he didn’t choose to split his soul into so many pieces.
Even before he stole the Elder Wand from Gregorovitch, Grindelwald proved that he was scarily talented when it came to the Dark Arts. He created new spells, which he tested out on his fellow students. Those experiments got him expelled from Durmstrang, but it didn’t stop him from becoming a formidable Dark Wizard.
Before his defeat in 1945, he had conquered most of continental Europe. His real-world parallel is clearly supposed to be Hitler. The prison he created is even called Nurmengard, which mirrors the German Nuremberg.
His reign was ended by the number one person on our list.
1 Albus Dumbledore
Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore easily occupies the number one spot on this list. His magical power was unmatched by any of the other characters in the series.
While a student at Hogwarts, he was considered the most gifted student the school had ever seen. In his later years, he performed complex magic seemingly effortlessly, discovered and invented new uses of magic, and was unrivaled when it came to duelling.
He wasn’t just famous within Britain, his magical abilities were recognized internationally. He was named the Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards, which is basically the wizard equivalent of the U.N.,
Of course, he also was key in the defeat of the two most dangerous Dark Wizards the world had ever seen: Voldemort and Grindelwald.
Do you agree with our ranking? Are there any other Harry Potter characters you think we forgot? Let us know in the comments!