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The Most Powerful Wands In Harry Potter Ranked

If renowned English wandmaker Garrick Ollivander taught us one thing, it's that the wand chooses the wizard, not the other way around. In the world of Harry Potter, a wand's power is deeply connected to the strength, motive, and personality of its wielder: For instance, a spruce wand is drawn to darkness, whereas a hazel wand needs an emotionally stable handler, lest it become unruly. Furthermore, a wand's wood, length, and core tell us just as much about a person as the sorting hat does. The longer the wand, for instance, the bigger the personality. And while we often think of a wizard or witch's strength as existing independently, the success of their spellwork is in fact the result of how well their identity meshes with their most important tool.

Now, we'd love to have learned more about every Hogwarts student's wand. But given that the series centers around Harry Potter, the most unobservant wizard at Hogwarts, it's not surprising that we don't learn a whole lot about most characters' wands. But actions speak louder than wand cores, anyway, meaning we have plenty of material to examine. Here are the most potent wands we've seen in the Potter universe, as wielded by their formidable masters.

The Elder Wand's trail of bodies

Did the Deathly Hallows actually come from Death itself, or is The Tale of the Three Brothers a made-up fable, meant to explain the existence of three of the wizarding world's most powerful creations? We'll probably never know the answer, but the power of the Elder Wand is irrefutable either way.

Given the wand may have belonged to Death himself, it's likely the oldest wand in history, and certainly the most deadly. All it ever does is lead to death — which is just how Death wants it. Just like power-hungry wizards, though, the Elder Wand is as fickle as they come. If you aren't the most powerful wizard in the world, the wand wants nothing to do with you: It will immediately change allegiance to anyone who disarms (or kills) its current owner. That makes it the most sought-after (and the most unlucky) wand in the world.

Once wielded by Dumbledore and Grindelwald — two of the most powerful wizards of modern times — Harry knows to be wary of the wand. In the books, once Harry uses it to pit Voldemort's own spell against him, he buries it with Dumbledore so that it will cease to have a master when Harry (hopefully) dies of natural causes. Let's just hope no one disarms him (ever), or the power will transfer. Harry snaps it in half in the movies, which may not be enough to break the wand's insidious influence.

Merlin's beard, it's Merlin's wand!

We don't learn much about the esteemed medieval warlock Merlin within the pages of the Potter books. Still, it takes a pretty powerful wizard to become a household name, not only in the wizarding world but in the Muggle world, too. In fact, Merlin has become a figure of such stature among modern wizards and witches that his name is used as a swear word. People like Ron, who grew up in the wizarding community, are particularly inclined to deploy his name in a tight spot.

Not much is known specifically about Merlin's wand, but according to Wizarding World, it was likely hewn from English oak. These wands are said to belong to wizards with "an affinity with the magic of the natural world," and to relate to ancient mythological notions of the Oak King and the Holly King's seasonal battle for supremacy. These royal references make extra sense, given Merlin's standing in the court of King Arthur.

While Merlin might well have been powerful enough to use wandless magic, his wand would have to have been strong enough to harness his might. However, no one has ever found his grave, so we'll never know — maybe he's still alive and kicking somewhere in the woods?

Wands of the Hogwarts founders

We know very little about the Hogwarts founders' wands, but there's no denying that they were four of the most powerful witches and wizards of all time. It takes an unheard-of amount of magic and skill to create a castle as stunning and mysterious as Hogwarts, with all of its hidden charms and secrets. Centuries later, Godric Gryffindor's skills in battle are still regaled to this day, as is his alleged creation of a sentient hat that basically serves as a magical personality quiz.

While Salazar Slytherin's anti-muggle rhetoric caused him to break rank with the other founders, his Legilimency powers were famed, along with his ability to speak to snakes — a power he passed on through his bloodline to Voldemort (and by extension, Harry). Additionally, it's no easy task hiding an entire secret chamber inside a magic castle. According to Wizarding World, the wand that helped him do it was buried on the castle's grounds, where it became a snakewood tree with "restorative powers." So, it's safe to say Slytherin probably had a snakewood wand.

Harry's wand is protective and powerful

Given that Harry Potter is about, well, Harry Potter, we know he owns a holly wand clocking in at precisely 11 inches long. Ollivander notes (as captured on the Wizarding World website) that holly is a rare, protective wood that seeks out masters who "need help overcoming a tendency to anger and impetuosity" and "who are engaged in some dangerous and often spiritual quest." Sounds about right. Ollivander also explains that the wood typically has an adverse reaction to phoenix feathers, but the owner is nearly unstoppable if a match occurs.

It's not just Harry's scar that's tied to Voldemort: His wand is, too. During Harry's trip to Ollivander's, we learn that the wand's feather comes from the same powerful and rare phoenix that supplied Voldemort's wand core. Later, Dumbledore tells a baffled Harry that his phoenix, Fawkes, is the very bird who donated the feathers.

At first glance, Harry doesn't seem like the most capable wizard. But when you look closer at his incredible (and showy) displays of wand work, he more than proves his dominance. In addition to mastering the Patronus charm at a remarkably young age and displaying wandless magic, Harry uses a simple disarming charm to combat Voldemort's killing curse — the most potent attack in the Potter canon. Harry ultimately uses the Elder Wand to fix his broken wand in the books, but fails to do so in the movies.

Voldemort's wand gives him power over life and death

When Ollivander dramatically regales Harry with the history of his wand, he goes into detail about its sister wand: Specifically, how its owner "gave [Harry] that scar." Here, we discover that Voldemort's yew wand is a whopping 13-and-a-half inches. According to Ollivander's musings on Wizarding World, yew wands gravitate toward wizards who become "notorious," and the wands are "reputed to endow its possessor with the power of life and death." He does, however, debunk the myth that yew wands only vibe with Dark Arts-inclined wizards, as powerful heroes often wield them, too.

Voldemort has performed feats of magic that few, if any, have ever achieved. Not only does the sinister wizard accomplish the darkest of all magic in his creation of multiple horcruxes, he has mastered wandless magic, unassisted flight, and Legilimency.

But when you thrive on power and death as much as Voldemort does, that power needs a source. As Voldemort continues to rip his soul apart, it seems that he makes his wand as fractured as he is. It's still powerful as all get out, but he and his wand are ultimately no match for a young boy with an equally powerful wand and a pure heart to boot. This twisted villain's thirst for endless power and outright immortality undoes him in the end.

Lily Potter's undying magic

Harry Potter taught generations of kids (and adults) that there's no greater power than love, and Lily Potter is a prime example of that raw energy. People often tell Harry that he has his mother's eyes, but more importantly, he has her heart — and it ultimately saves the world.

Potter fans are lucky that Ollivander has a steel trap memory (and a flair for the dramatic), because most of what we know about specific characters' wands comes from the monologue he delivers when Harry buys his wand. Ollivander recalls Lily's wand purchase as if it had happened only moments prior, saying, "Ten and a quarter inches long, swishy, made of willow. Nice wand for charm work." On Wizarding World, Ollivander notes that willow wands have healing powers and tend to find masters with the "greatest potential." Lily lived up to that potential: She is often remembered as one of the best witches of her generation.

Not every witch can employ magic so powerful and pure that it lives beyond her own death. On the fateful Halloween night Voldemort killed Lily and James, she was without a wand. Yet, she managed to conjure the most powerful magic there is: Love that leaves a protective blueprint, long after she's gone. Just imagine what she could do with her wand.

Nicolas Flamel's quest for immortality

Nicolas Flamel didn't just create the Philosopher's stone out of thin air: It took an endless amount of power and magic to accomplish what so many had tried. Like Merlin, Flamel has attained as much fame in the Muggle world as the wizarding world, which is a feat in itself. Now, Muggles don't necessarily know that he was magical. The idea of turning metals into gold and finding the elixir of life were once considered matters of chemistry and science, not magic. If only they knew.

We briefly see Flamel use his wand in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. It seems he might have used alchemy on the wand itself, as it has a gold band on the hilt, connecting it to some kind of bone. While its exact size, core, and wood are unknown, we don't need those details to comprehend that it's one of the most incredible wands in Potter lore.

Not only does it help Flamel perform unheard-of feats of alchemy, it proudly and loyally accompanies him over the duration of several lifetimes — over 600 years, to be exact. But beyond Flamel's power is his compassion. He's the only immortality seeker to put someone else's needs above his own, destroying his immortality along with his wife Perenelle's to save Harry in the first book. That's strength in its own right.

Snape's wand pulls double duty

People tend to glorify Severus Snape's righteousness, but his sheer might deserves mention as well. It takes a great deal of skill, ability, and wandsmanship to deceive a being as powerful as Voldemort. Yet Snape manages  to shroud his loyalty to Dumbledore from the Dark Lord until the very end. Given that Harry would have no reason to know Snape's wand's details, we don't know much about it either, other than its powerful-as-heck status.

Even as a student, Snape demonstrates incredible know-how regarding spellwork, even inventing his own spells as the Half-Blood Prince. Granted, his DIY spells are pretty dark — remember that time Harry finds out that Snape's Sectumsempra spell brutally slices its victim's flesh? Snape's specialties also include dueling, and, of course, mastery of potions.

While Snape doesn't fulfill his dream of taking up the Defense Against the Dark Arts post until the end of his life, he's proven to be more than capable of holding his own in battle. While Snape keeps Voldemort busy, thinking he's the Elder Wand's true wielder, Harry and co. have time to suss out the final horcruxes. Snape's distraction ensures that the dictator only has one life left when the Boy Who Lived meets the wizard who just won't die for the very last time.

McGongall's wand is a stalwart survivor

When Hogwarts is under attack, there's no one you want manning the defense more than Professor McGonagall. McGonagall isn't really about flash, but she doesn't need to be — her incredible feats of magic speak for themselves. The Transfiguration professor's fir wood wand sits at a respectable nine-and-a-half inches, and its strength should come as no surprise given that a dragon heartstring powers it up.

Never one to shy away from a story, Ollivander's Wizarding World piece notes that his "august grandfather" referred to the fir wand as a "survivor's wand," which makes sense given all of McGonagall's hardships. He adds that these "resilient" trees make "wands that demand staying power and strength of purpose in their true owners ... they are poor tools in the hands of the changeable and indecisive." They're also suited to Transfiguration, and wielders who are "strong-minded" and "intimidating" — now, if that isn't our girl to a T.

When McGonagall isn't performing incredible feats of Hogwarts warding and protection magic, she's stunning her students with impressive displays of Transfiguration. Moreover, she's an Animagus, a distinction that requires rare magical skill. McGonagall has taken on the likes of Bellatrix and Snape (who had to keep up his cover) and come out the other side — a survivor indeed.

Sirius' wand endures alongside its master

It takes a strong person to survive 12 years of torture after being framed for a terrible crime — especially when the crime in question is selling out your best friends (and killing 13 muggles in the process). Yet Sirius Black overcomes all of that with his wand in tow, eventually escaping prison so he can save his godson Harry in Prisoner of Azkaban.

We don't know much about Sirius' wand beyond it being arguably the coolest looking wand in the franchise's history: It's adorned with a slew of powerful-looking runes that match his tattoos. Not only does Sirius stand up to his Dark Arts-obsessed family, he frequently partakes in incredible battles against Death Eaters. Like the rest of the Marauders, Sirius even manages to become an Animagus as a teenager. Moreover, he and James become known for their innovative wand work and neat inventions, like their two-way mirror.

Few could endure what Sirius does and still manage to keep fighting with so much heart. But then, Sirius is no ordinary wizard. One of his most remarkable accomplishments is overcoming the loneliness and depression spawned from his isolation. He knows he has a world to save, and he damned well isn't going to let Pettigrew's actions prevent him from doing it. While he isn't there in corporeal form during Voldemort's defeat, he's there in spirit, cheering on his godson.

Hermione wields a wand of "greater purpose"

In Philosopher's Stone, we learn that Hermione Granger wields a 10-and-three-quarters inch vine wand with a dragon heartstring. Only a powerful wand will do for the cleverest witch of her age: On vine wands, Ollivander notes that they connect with "witches or wizards who seek a greater purpose, who have a vision beyond the ordinary and who frequently astound those who think they know them best." Hermione has indeed proven more than a few times that she possesses an incredible amount of emotional depth beneath her analytical exterior, making her vine wand a perfect match.

While Harry is all about drama and martial skill, Hermione shows, without fail, that she can succeed in any battle through bookishness, precision, and an incredible amount of heart. Unlike Ron, her unwavering loyalty and strength accompany Harry in every battle she can tag along for — she ends up saving him more times than he can count.

Like McGonagall, Hermione's Sorting ceremony results in a "hatstall" between Ravenclaw and Gryffindor. However, her bravery and desire to do the right thing no matter the cost firmly plants her with the rest of the recklessly fierce Gryffindors — and she wouldn't have it any other way.

Bellatrix Lestrange's wand bends to her brilliant, sadistic mind

Bellatrix Lestrange may need an intense trip to St. Mungos, but the sadistic witch sure knows how to make the most of her wand's immense power. Now, what she does with her 12-and-a-quarter inch walnut wand is absolutely horrifying, but no one can deny its potency. Certainly one of the longest wands we've seen in the series, this length indicates her larger-than-life personality — if you want to call her wildness and cruelty a personality, anyway.

Ollivander makes some chilling notes about walnut wands: The wand will entirely bend to the will of a brilliant master, which "makes for a truly lethal weapon in the hands of a witch or wizard of no conscience, for the wand and the wizard may feed from each other in a particularly unhealthy manner." Mission accomplished.

While Bellatrix is always ready to get in the fiercest of duels, her grisly specialty is using the Cruciatus Curse to permanently addle the memories of her victims. This sets her apart from even her Death Eater cohorts: She wants to leave a mark, and people like Neville's parents are left paying the price. Bellatrix may use Unforgivable Curses like candy, but dueling her cousin Sirius into the Department of Mysteries' doorway to death is one of her cruellest acts. Her immense power can only come from a mighty wand and a broken spirit — and it's the very thing that leads to her downfall.