In the world of Harry Potter, not all wizards (and witches) are created equal. This isn’t justification for Voldemort’s hateful rhetoric of, "might equals right."
There are just some magical users who are more skilled or accomplished than others. This list is all about them-- the cream of the wizarding crop.
The criteria for selecting the most powerful wizards in the Harry Potter universe was simple. It was all about sparsing out the extensive information that is out there to determine which Harry Potter characters have the most impressive feats to their name and how they accomplished them.
Lastly and maybe most importantly, it was about figuring out what their reputation was in the Wizarding World, before, during and after Harry Potter’s time in the spotlight.
This isn’t a list of the best, most useful or even the most popular Harry Potter witches and wizards. Although some of the most well developed and interesting characters do make this list.
Their personalities and individual impact on the story had nothing to do with where they were ranked. This is all about power and raw magical talent.
Here are The 20 Most Powerful Wizards (and Witches) In Harry Potter, Ranked.
20 Newt Scamander
As the star of the most recent Harry Potter series, Newt isn’t the most interesting character.
The hook of the Fantastic Beasts storyline are the people, creatures and situations that surround Newt, not necessarily Newt himself. Even if Newt isn’t a wealth of personality, he’s far from a pushover as a wizard.
Obsessed with magical creatures from a young age, Newt became an expert on the subject very quickly.
Although Newt was expelled from Hogwarts, he managed to join the Ministry of Magic assisting House Elves and joining the Beast division. His book, Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them, became a staple of the Hogwarts curriculum for decades.
In addition, Newt was integral in the fight against Gellert Grindelwald. He even managed to stand his own against the dark wizard in a duel.
19 The Weasley Twins
It might be a bit of cheat to count the Weasley Twins as one entry. However, since both the books and the movies treated Fred and George as a single entity, it’s hard to look them as two separate characters.
The Weasley Twins were two halves of one whole. As a pair they’re some of the most underrated wizards in the series.
Fred and George don't have much dueling or Defense Against the Dark Arts prowess. They were horrible students.
Yet when the two were interested in a subject, there’s almost nothing they couldn’t achieve.
As teenagers, they crafted highly complex and creative charms. The amount of skill and magic that went into Fred and George’s “pranks” was extraordinary.
Fred and George created such a superior product that they shut down a much more established rival, Zonko’s, after creating their own business of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, in less than a year.
18 Garrick Ollivander
In Harry Potter, the wand chooses the wizard but a wizard still has to make the wand. Even the most hardcore Potterheads might forget but Ollivander isn’t the only wandmaker in the world, but he’s the best.
The Ollivander family have reportedly been making wands since 382 B.C. All of that knowledge has been distilled into the Ollivander of Harry’s time, Garrick Ollivander.
Ollivander made some of the most impressive wands for some of the most powerful wizards for generations, including Harry and Voldemort.
Although his rival, Gregorovitch, had the Elder Wand, Ollivander still managed to craft some of the best wands in existence.
It’s true that in terms of dueling and defensive magic, Ollivander wasn’t much to consider. He was easily broken under the yolk of Voldemort’s torture when captured by the dark wizard. Yet Ollivander’s expertise in wand-making is untouchable.
17 Ginny Weasley
Ginny is, sadly, one of the more overlooked character in the Harry Potter canon. This is mainly since her romance with Harry was both rushed together and brushed over. Putting aside that disappointing aspect of her character, Ginny was quite a witch.
At a young age, she survived being possessed by Lord Voldemort. After that traumatic event she quickly began one of the accomplished witches in her year at Hogwarts.
Ginny’s Bat Bogey Hex was so impressive it immediately attracted the attention of talent monger, Horace Slughorn.
In her sixth year, Ginny (along with Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood) spearheaded the effort to resist Voldemort’s occupation at Hogwarts. Almost single-handedly, Ginny stood against much older and darker witches and wizards.
16 Sirius Black
A lot of Sirius’ potential as a wizard was drained away becuase of him spending almost half his life in Azkaban. Sirius never really did fully recover from his time behind bars.
Yet the mere fact that Sirius survived Azkaban at all is impressive, not to mention that he escaped without any outside help.
Without the use of a wand, Sirius was able to transform into his Animagus form. In that way, he was able to trick the dementors and eventually slip out of his cell to (relative) freedom. Once out, Sirius stayed off the radar of the Ministry’s extensive manhunt.
He was only “caught” after he was ended by his cousin, Bellatrix.
Even before his demise and imprisonment, Sirius was an impressive wizard.
He learned to be an Animagus with no formal training, fought Voldemort as a teenager and was recognized as brilliant by almost all teachers.
15 Lily Potter
Lily Potter lived a tragically short life. In her 21 years, she managed to build quite a résumé. The future Mrs. Potter was recognized as one of the brightest and most talented witches of her age at Hogwarts.
She attracted the professional attention of someone like Slughorn and the romantic attractions of James Potter and Severus Snape for her skills.
Yet it’s her time outside Hogwarts fighting Voldemort that really make Lily one of the most powerful witches of all time.
Lily not only joined the war against Voldemort, she managed to defy him no less than three times. All the while giving birth to a son and raising a family.
It’s true that technically Lily’s motherly love is what first defeated Voldemort, not Lily herself. Yet there’s much more to Lily than being the mother of Harry Potter.
14 Harry Potter
Harry surviving his long fight with Voldemort has a lot to do with luck and using the skills and knowledge of his friends. Still, there’s a reason that Harry is face of the franchise. True, he barely survived his many battles with Voldemort but Harry always did survive them.
Harry was a rather unremarkable student except in the realm of Defense Against the Dark Arts.
Harry had an uncanny ability for thinking on his feet and knowing how to defend himself and others. He had his own level of raw magical power.
Even what Harry lacked in that arena he was able to make with improvisation and quick thinking. The task of successfully defeating one of the most powerful wizards of all time is also nothing to ignore.
Furthermore, after the defeat of Voldemort, Harry went to become an accomplished Auror. He completely reconstructed the Ministry of Magic for the better.
13 Molly Weasley
The main matriarch of the Harry Potter saga, Molly is everyone’s ideal mother. She’s also an incredibly capable witch.
Obviously, the biggest feat to Molly’s name is destroying Bellatrix Lestrange, one of the most accomplished dark witches of all time and Voldemort’s right-hand woman. Yet Molly is impressive for much more than taking out Bellatrix in single combat, in a fit of rage.
Molly used magic to raise seven children, eight if Harry is counted. The amount of magic and charms that went into the Weasley house, created by Molly, that kept the family running was staggering.
Molly’s household magic might’ve not been as flashy and aggressive as some other forms but it was just as impressive.
The Weasley Family was poor when Harry was in school, but they never wanted for anything thanks to Molly, keeping the family afloat with magic.
12 Hermione Granger
As the only major female character in the movies, the cinematic Hermione Granger is nearly invincible. Emma Watson’s Hermione is so capable, it’s insulting that Harry is the main character.
Yet even considering her more realistic depiction in the books, Hermione is still very powerful and unquestionably one of the smartest witches ever.
Without Hermione, Harry truly would’ve been lost. Hermione was a walking encyclopedia of wizarding knowledge and even managed to back that knowledge up with some practical skill.
Hermione tended to get easily frazzled, but when she was confident, she was nearly unstoppable.
Outside of the war with Voldemort, Hermione went on to become one of the accomplished witches in the post-war era. She, with Harry’s help, fixed the Ministry and even went on to become the Minster for Magic.
11 Bellatrix Lestrange
Like her cousin (and eventual victim) Sirius Black, Bellatrix severely suffered behind bars in Azkaban.
The extended stay that Bellatrix spent in the wizard prison did fracture her mind. Yet unlike Sirius, that time in Azkaban just turned her into a more of a threat.
Before Azkaban, Bellatrix was fully committed to Voldemort’s mission and quickly rose through his ranks.
She had a tenacity and propensity for evil that was matched by none other than Voldemort. After Azkaban, Bellatrix became a whirling dervish of mayhem and chaos.
Bellatrix fully mastered the Dark Arts and used her hate and anger to enhance her strength.
However, this made her very vulnerable to surprise attacks.
Bellatrix didn’t havethe keenest mind, after her imprisonment, which eventually led to her demised.
10 Filius Flitwick
It’s easy to underestimate Hogwarts’ Charms professor. Flitwick got the shortest stick in the movie franchise (pun very much intended) and rarely showed off any skill in the books themselves.
However, there’s a whole fascinating backstory to Flitwick that makes it clear he was one of the most powerful wizards of Harry’s lifetime.
Flitwick was a model student at Hogwarts, scoring incredibly high grades. It’s after his own Hogwarts education where things really started kicking into high gear.
Flitwick continued to study magic, of all sorts, and eventually earned the title of Dueling Champion.Flitwick was a Master Duelists and earned shelves and shelves of trophies as proof.
As a descendant of goblins, Flitwick was the smallest of the Hogwarts professors but also one of the most formidable.
9 Kingsley Shacklebolt
Kingsley didn’t just look so impressive that he was the one wizard that Vernon Dursley didn’t out rightly hate. Shacklebolt was a tremendously talented wizard, even if he didn’t get much screen time in the books or movies.
Kingsley was one the most high-ranking Aurors of his time. Though he never led the department, he was respected enough to be given the duty of hunting Sirius Black, protecting the Prime Minister and be taken with Cornelius Fudge to apprehend Dumbledore.
After Dumbledore’s demise, Kingsley becane one of, if not the leader, of the Order of the Phoenix. He also dueled Voldemort, personally, during the Battle of Hogwarts.
After Voldemort’s demise, Kinglsey went onto become Minister of Magic. Kingsley took all the corruption and mistrust that previous political regimes fostered and gave hope to all wizards and witches again.
8 Amelia Bones
Madam Bones isn’t even a secondary or tertiary character in the Harry Potter serues. Having only one appearance, during Harry’s trial where his expulsion from Hogwarts was reversed, Amelia Bones is essentially a featured extra.
Yet even if Amelia is way in the background, she was one of the commanding witches Harry ever encountered.
Amelia wasn’t just celebrated enough to earn a spot on the esteemed Wizengamot. She was also the Head of Magical Law Enforcement being in charge, among others, of the Auror Division.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Amelia involves her tragic end. Voldemort personally showed up to take the life of Amelia before Half-Blood Prince began.
This suggested that Amelia couldn’t have been destroyed by anyone but the Dark Lord. Amelia did lose the fight against Voldemort but reportedly put up a “valiant effort.”
7 Minerva McGonagall
McGongall is arguably the best professor at Hogwarts, at least when Harry Potter attended the school. Yet, Minerva is much more than the perfect mix of tough, fair and nurturing.
McGongall went through the very difficult process of becoming an Animagus. She was also an expert in several different forms of magic.
The top was Transfiguration, her own subject, but she was also accomplished in Charms and Defense Against the Dark Arts.
She fought in both wars against Voldemort, even standing up to him in a duel during the Battle of Hogwarts. Before the battle began, Minerva nearly defeated Snape in single combat, forcing him to flee, even though he didn’t want to hurt her.
The witch who succeed Dumbledore as Headmistress of Hogwarts also survived four stunning spells to chest and went on to live for several more decades.
6 Mad-Eye Moody
Harry Potter and his fans barely got to know the real Mad-Eye Moody. The most time spent with the legendary Auror was when he was being impersonated by Barty Crouch Jr. This doesn’t change the fact that Moody was every bit deserving of his legendary status.
Mad-Eye survived grievous injuries in his work as Auror but he still put away a shocking number of dark wizards, in one of the most tumultuous times in Wizarding history.
Mad-Eye captured Igor Karkaroff, took the life of Evan Rosier and helped to apprehend Bellatrix, Barty Crouch Jr. and Rodolphus Lestrange.
Moody was such a threat that after Dumbeldore’s end, Voldemort saw him as the next most powerful wizard alive.
It’s for this reason that Voldemort viciously attacked and ended Moody as Harry was being transported from Privet Drive.
5 Gellert Grindelwald
Grindelwald isn’t pure evil in the same way that his “successor” Voldemort ended up becoming. Grindelwald did have some measure of conscience and even tried to redeem himself at the very end of his life.
However, this doesn’t change the fact that before Voldemort, Grindelwald was the greatest dark wizard the world had ever seen.
Sadly, inspired by his teenage friend (and possible lover) Albus Dumbledore, Grindelwald believed that the strongest wizards should rule, not only over Muggles, but everyone.
At the time of World War II, Grindelwald built an army for himself, around the world. All of which had the goal of amassing as much power as possible under his control.
Grindelwald grew so strong that it was impossible for all but one to beat him. Albus Dumbledore had to step up and defeat Grindelwald, once and for all, in 1945. Although Dumbledore spared Grindelwald’s life.
Voldemort is the personification of all evil in Harry Potter. Tom Riddle was a twisted sociopath, incapable of understanding and feeling love (perhaps because he was conceived under influence of a love potion).
From a very early age, Voldemort wanted to do nothing but lord over others and cause them pain. All of which he achieved in his unnaturally long life.
Voldemort is the closest that any wizard has ever come to achieving immortality. He created not one but seven horcruxes.
While that corrupted his soul, it made him almost invincible. Voldemort was so clever and devious that there were nearly two versions of himself running around at the same time.
Furthermore, Voldemort was an expert in the Dark Arts.
Hardly anyone was his dueling equal. He faced off against McGongall, Slughorn and Kingsley (single-handedly) during the Battle of Hogwarts.
The only thing that took him down was not paying enough attention to wand lore.
J.K. Rowling obviously didn’t invent the mythical wizard, Merlin. However, King Arthur’s magical adviser is firmly a part of the Harry Potter lore.
Merlin is younger than the Hogwarts Founders and attended the school, but he eclipsed those four wizards in terms of popularity and renown.
Reportedly a member of Slytherin house, Merlin joined the court of King Arthur and was a huge guiding force in the king’s life.
He opposed Arthur’s half-sister, Morgana, a dark witch and preached that wizards should help Muggles. In this vein, he established the Order of Merlin, an organization that was meant to promote humanitary missions for Muggles.
Eventually the Order of Merlin, became a pure Wizarding organization, awarding the “best and brightest” witches and wizards for their humanitarian duties to the community.
2 Severus Snape
Harry might’ve forgiven Snape enough to name his second son after him. Snape, however, is hard character to like an even rougher one to root for and appreciate.
Yet there’s no denying that Snape was a terrifically accomplished wizard.
Snape managed to create his own spells as teenager. He found a way to improve upon and craft alternative methods of potion-making while being a potions student. Snape was genius.
He just happened to also be a nasty, bigoted, and deeply selfish person.
Of course, Snape’s biggest feat is being able to completely convince Voldemort that he was his loyal servant. Snape fooled one of the world’s greatest Legilimens and managed to master magical techniques that Voldemort himself created with ease, such as flying without a broom.
Snape is a purposely controversial character, but his magical prowess can’t be undermined.
1 Albus Dumbeldore
Of course, there really should’ve been no doubt about who was going to top this list. Dumbledore is the obvious choice for the most powerful wizard in Harry Potter. He’s also the only right choice.
Dumbledore has a complicated history. He dabbled in the Dark Arts as a youth and struggled with power throughout his long life.
Yet he was also one of the most brilliant minds of the Wizarding World. Dumbeldore took down Grindelwald, at great personal cost.
He was so formidable that he scared Voldemort and, of course, he invented seven uses for dragon’s blood. At least those are the stats from his chocolate frog card.
A whole list could be made of just Dumbledore’s achievements and awards, because they are about as voluminous as his full name. Dumbledore does hit on the trope of the old wise wizard but he’s one-of-a-kind in Harry Potter.
Who do you feel is the greatest Harry Potter wizard or witch? Who would you consider the most powerful character in the Harry Potter universe? Sound off in the comments!