In the Harry Potter universe, Albus Dumbledore is widely regarded as the greatest wizard of the modern era – and rightly so. The Hogwarts headmaster was an exceptionally intelligent and extraordinarily talented sorcerer who mastered virtually every field of magic there is.
Dumbledore’s magical skills were so great he was able to defeat legendary Dark Wizard Gellert Grindelwald, despite the latter possessing the supposedly unbeatable Elder Wand. Even Lord Voldemort – history’s all-time greatest Dark Wizard – was rumored to fear going wand-to-wand with Albus, which indicates just how impressive his spellcasting prowess truly was.
But was Dumbledore the most powerful wizard who ever lived? Or were there witches and wizards whose magical abilities eclipsed his own? Certainly, there are a couple of candidates from across the centuries who could have given the old professor a run for his money!
Then there are those who – while not necessarily in Dumbledore’s league overall – far surpass his gifts in a particular magical discipline. After all, just because you’re a generally an expert when it comes to any kind of magic, that doesn’t mean you’re quite as good as an actual specialist.
Read on, as we shine the spotlight on 15 Wizards More Powerful Than Dumbledore.
15 Salazar Slytherin
The four Hogwarts founders were the most accomplished witches and wizards of their time, so it’s likely that Dumbledore would’ve fit in well with them. But as legendary figures whose fame has endured for over a millennia, one could argue that each founder had powers that outdid anything Albus was capable of.
Take Salazar Slytherin. His gift for conversing with snakes notwithstanding – Dumbledore can’t do it, but Parseltongue is hardly an earth-shattering talent – there are other areas of magic where Slytherin would’ve had the edge.
For example: wand-making. Dumbledore knew plenty about wand lore, but there’s nothing to suggest he was any good actually making the things. Not so Slytherin, who had a reputation for fashioning wands of exquisite quality.
Toss in his knack for breeding monstrous magical creatures and (implied) Dark Arts mastery, and that’s at least three schools of magic where Slytherin could’ve… well, schooled Dumbledore!
14 Nicholas Flamel
We’re not proposing that Nicholas Flamel’s magic was mightier than Dumbledore’s in the typical, offensive-strength sense. Rather, he outshone his occasional professional partner in an academic sense. To be more specific, Flamel was a better alchemist than Albus.
Admittedly, Dumbledore was no slouch when it came to alchemy (and by extension, potion-making) – he did discover the 12 uses of dragon’s blood, after all. Even so, his French colleague is even more renowned in this field, and is celebrated as the greatest alchemist of all time.
This is thanks to Flamel single-handedly created the eternal life-granting Philosopher's Stone. That’s right, he made it all on his lonesome, without Dumbledore’s help. If knowledge – even knowledge of an esoteric branch of magical study – is power, then Nicholas Flamel is easily more powerful than Dumbledore!
13 Lord Voldemort
We know what you’re thinking: wasn’t Dumbledore the only wizard that Voldemort ever feared? And didn’t the Hogwarts headmaster overpower the Dark Lord in their only duel – a contest where both parties openly agreed Dumbledore wasn’t even using lethal force?
Let’s consider a few things. Firstly, Voldemort’s reticence to confront an obviously powerful opponent like Dumbledore doesn’t mean he was the weaker of two – it simply means he was opposed to taking needless risks. Secondly, when Dumbledore triumphed over Voldemort, he was wielding the Elder Wand, which greatly amplified his already considerable talents.
Then there’s the fact that Albus himself acknowledged the superiority of Voldemort’s Dark Arts-fuelled skills – and the guy was not into the whole “false modesty” thing. True, this was due to Dumbledore’s refusal to stoop to the Dark Lord’s level, but – coupled with the elderly wizard’s advanced age – it nudges Voldemort just ahead of him.
12 Helga Hufflepuff
Much like the Hogwarts House that bears her name, Helga Hufflepuff is often overlooked in favor of her more obviously noteworthy peers. Nonetheless, this hard-working and fair-minded witch deserves just as much recognition as the other Hogwarts founders – and like them, her powers rivaled those of Dumbledore.
The discipline where Hufflepuff was most likely Dumbledore’s better was the invention of magical devices. Albus was a skilled magical inventor in his own right, and we witness several of his ingenious devices in action over the course of the series.
However, one of the few things we know for certain about Hufflepuff is that she developed items of mythical status (such as Hufflepuff’s Cup), implying this was a forte of hers. This differs from Dumbledore, whose creations – while genius – were never really recognized by the wider Wizarding World.
11 Herpo The Foul
Herpo the Foul was so good at being bad, he practically invented the Dark Arts! Hailing from Ancient Greece, his contribution to this dubious branch of magical theory can still be seen today. Indeed, many of the most heinous curses were dreamed up by Herpo’s warped – yet undeniably brilliant – mind.
Of course, Dumbledore was far from a novice when it came to either spell creation or the Dark Arts – he was highly adept at the former, and had conducted in-depth study into the latter.
Yet at the end of the day, Dumbledore still refused to actually employ Dark Magic in his magical arsenal, and so was technically less powerful than Herpo in this regard. He also lacked the Dark Wizard’s talent for fantastic beast husbandry – or at least, we never saw him engaging in this activity (thankfully) – leaving Dumbledore deficient on the “gigantic killer snake” front, too.
10 Godric Gryffindor
Of all the Hogwarts founders, Dumbledore would have gotten along best with Godric Gryffindor. Not only was Albus himself Sorted into Gryffindor House during his school years – indicating he possessed the immense bravery prized by the legendary wizard – but both were also outspoken champions of Muggle rights.
It’s a good thing that they would have hit it off, as we’re a little worried how Dumbledore would have fared had the pair ever thrown down!
While Albus was a supremely talented duellist – capable of taking down several highly competent foes at once – there were those, like Grindelwald and Voldemort, who were at least at his level.
This wasn’t the case for Gryffindor, who apparently stood head and shoulders above the contemporary competition. This arguably earmarks him as the mightier sorcerer – in terms of raw offensive power, at any rate.
9 Garrick Ollivander
On the face of it, there’s nothing remarkable about Garrick Ollivander’s magical abilities – he merely appears to be a competent (if unremarkable) wizard. The only time we see him cast any spells – when testing the wands of the Triwizard Tournament champions in Goblet of Fire – they are ably performed, but nothing to write home about.
Focusing on solely on Mr. Ollivander’s skills with a wand ignores the area in which he is Dumbledore’s superior – the creation of wands themselves! Admittedly, it’s hard to say who had the stronger grasp of wandlore. Both Dumbledore and Ollivander knew a lot about the mysterious and imprecise magical science that governs wand behavior.
When it comes to who was the finer craftsman, it seems churlish not to acknowledge Ollivander – the undisputed best wand-maker in Britain – as far more talented than Dumbledore in this respect.
8 Rowena Ravenclaw
No one would ever deny Dumbledore had smarts to spare – the guy was a certified genius. All the same, the name Rowena Ravenclaw is effectively synonymous with “intelligence”. The benefits of this mental acumen trickled down into her unheralded magical powers, and she was ranked the most powerful witch of her generation.
Ravenclaw’s gift for working charms was supposedly unsurpassed, allowing her to create the Diadem of Ravenclaw – a tiara that (somewhat needlessly) super-charged her formidable brainpower. The Diadem has since become a near-mythical relic, overshadowing any of Dumbledore’s known inventions by comparison.
Then there was Ravenclaw’s aptitude for magical architecture. According to legend, Rowena was a stellar draftswoman – it’s surmised that she personally sketched the mind-bending blueprints for Hogwarts castle – a trait not shared by Dumbledore.
7 Credence Barebone
Strictly speaking, Credence Barebone has no magical powers at all – at least, not in the traditional sense. After years spent suppressing his nascent wizarding potential, Credence seemingly burnt himself out. The effects were so bad that Grindelwald – a tremendously gifted and knowledgeable sorcerer presumably capable of identifying magical talent – mistook him for a powerless squib.
Unfortunately, the truth was far less simple – and far more terrifying – than that. See, all that repressed magical energy had to go somewhere, and it did – manifesting itself as a parasitic lifeform known as an Obscurus. When he let loose the powers of this dark force within him, Credence was more dangerous than any wizard – and that includes Dumbledore.
Yes, Dumbledore was capable of some pretty explosive magical displays, but compared to the sheer unbridled destructive nature of an Obscurus? It’s no contest as to who is the more powerful - and the least in control!
Perhaps the two will face off (or team up) when they share the screen in Fantastic Beasts 2.
6 Cadmus Peverell
The first of three prodigiously talented brothers on this list, Cadmus Peverell was a magical inventor so gifted that he (along with his siblings) entered into Wizarding folklore. While all three Peverell boys created magical items of jaw-dropping power, Cadmus’ invention is far and away the most unbelievable.
Seriously: he fashioned a stone that can recall the dead to life! Sure, the end result was less than satisfactory; the shades summoned back to the realm of the living were less than thrilled to be summoned back.
They weren’t alone either: Cadmus was so unhappy with the depressed state of those he revived, he took his own life to be reunited with them (which seems a tad… extreme). Yet all the same, the Resurrection Stone is still an absurdly clever bit of business, and certainly well beyond Dumbledore’s ability to create.
5 Harry Potter
We know, we know: Harry Potter is clearly less intelligent, less powerful, and less talented than Dumbledore in pretty much every way that matters. But don’t count out the Boy Who Lived entirely – he really is capable of outshining his mentor, in some respects.
Even Dumbledore freely admitted that it was Harry (and not himself) who was the true “master of death” – someone capable of confronting and accepting mortality in a mature way. As the venerable wizard made clear, there’s a certain kind of power that comes with this, and Potter has it in spades.
Because of this, Harry is also the only wizard to truly unite the Deathly Hallows, having effectively utilized the Elder Wand, Resurrection Stone, and Cloak of Invisibility. Again, Dumbledore openly tipped his hat to Harry for this, claiming he himself was only a worthy custodian of the crudest of these relics, the Elder Wand.
4 Antioch Peverell
For as long as their have been wands, their have been wizards trying to claim that theirs was the most powerful ever made – and they were almost always lying. This doesn’t apply to Antioch Peverell, who really did craft the most extraordinary magical tool of all time – outdoing Dumbledore’s inventive skill in the process.
It’s not just Antioch’s status as the creator of the Elder Wand that appears to put Dumbledore to shame. No, it seems highly likely that this belligerent warlock – known for his love of duelling – would have been more than a match for Dumbledore in combat, too.
Need proof? Well, with the Elder Wand in hand, Antioch was regarded as unstoppable, a description that doesn’t quite apply to the Hogwarts headmaster. Indeed, the oldest of the Peverell siblings was such a force to be reckoned with, his murderer ultimately resorted to ending him in his sleep!
That noise you can hear right now is fans who hated The Cursed Child grinding their teeth – but we’re sorry, guys: the controversial play is canon!
For those unfamiliar with the character, Delphini is the offspring of Lord Voldemort and his most loyal Death Eater, Bellatrix Lestrange.
A child born from such a powerful union seems destined to possess a prodigious degree of magical talent, not to mention a certain degree of mental instability – and Delphi certainly displays both. In fact, we’d go so far as to suggest her abilities rival those of Dumbledore!
As well as being a superb duelist – she once single-handedly held the adult Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, and Draco Malfoy at bay, which is nothing to be sniffed at – Delphi has also showcased powers (most notably, flight) that Albus never did.
2 Ignotus Peverell
The youngest of the three Peverell brothers, Ignotus was no less talented than his older siblings. Like them, he was an exceedingly brilliant magical inventor – and also like them, his skills in this regard trumped those of Dumbledore.
Consider the Cloak of Invisibility; the Deathly Hallow crafted by Ignotus. This fabled relic is the finest and most foolproof example of its kind – so much so that, had Dumbledore been capable of replicating its design, he surely would have. After all, while Albus didn’t need to rely on any enchanted clothing to conceal himself, his supporters in the Order of the Phoenix certainly did!
For what it’s worth, Ignotus was also the wisest of the Peverells, to the point that he could be classed a “master of death." This made him someone able to deal with human mortality in a grown-up manner – something a clever fellow like Dumbledore struggled with.
Admittedly, Merlin is largely shrouded in mystery – even in the Harry Potter universe, he’s as much a myth as he is a historical figure. All the same, it's clear that Merlin is hands-down one of the most powerful and influential wizards of all time – and we’re betting he was at least a little bit more talented than Dumbledore.
Yes, this is largely based on supposition – and it’s equally likely that Merlin was simply a highly-gifted wizard of Albus’ calibre, magnified in stature by time and legend. But even way back in Merlin’s era, wizards were still a known quantity, so it’s not like people had nothing to compare him to.
As such, we’re confident that Merlin’s magical skills probably were greater than Dumbledore’s own – although just how much greater is open for debate!
Who are some other wizards more powerful than Dumbledore in Harry Potter? Let us know in the comments!