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The 10 strongest and 10 weakest wizards in Harry Potter

Warning: contains spoilers for Harry Potter books 1-7 and their movie adaptations.

In the world of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books, the relative power of different witches and wizards is sometimes hard to judge. That being said, there are some characters who obviously stand out as the most powerful or as the weakest. We can't include underage or student wizards, because they have not yet reached their full potential. Similarly, non-magical Squibs and magical creatures like house elves don't qualify, either. Instead, we're including only adult witches and wizards—comparing their skills and power when they were at their prime. With that in mind, here's our list (in no particular order) of the 10 strongest and 10 weakest wizards found in the original seven Harry Potter books.

Strong: Albus Dumbledore

Hands-down, Albus Dumbledore was the most powerful wizard of his time. Most regarded him as the strongest wizard in history, and even Lord Voldemort himself feared to face him. Beyond his many impressive titles and positions of power, Dumbledore exhibited absolutely extraordinary abilities on several occasions. He was a master of all major disciplines of magic—even non-verbal and wandless. He improved upon and even invented his own spells and magical devices. He was also a famed alchemist, discovering the twelve uses of dragon's blood.

As a duelist, he was without match; he defeated both Gellert Grindelwald and Voldemort in his lifetime. He became the master of the Elder Wand after successfully defeating Grindelwald, making him the only person besides Harry Potter to possess all three of the Deathly Hallows. While the founders of Hogwarts or Merlin himself may have given him a run for his money, not enough information is available about their skills—making Dumbledore the clear winner.

Strong: Lord Voldemort

As far as Dark wizards go, none can hold a candle to Tom Riddle/Lord Voldemort. While not capable of challenging Albus Dumbledore—especially while Dumbledore possessed the Elder Wand—Voldemort was near-unsurpassed in his magical abilities. A master of all magical disciplines, Voldemort knew more about some realms of magic than even Dumbledore. Voldemort also experimented and created his own spells, which were usually related to the Dark Arts. He was a competent duelist, could cast non-verbal and wandless spells, and could even fly unsupported.

Voldemort was also extremely adept at curses—one he left on Marvolo Gaunt's ring would catch Dumbledore himself in its snare. As the heir of Slytherin, Voldemort was a Parseltongue—he opened the Chamber of Secrets twice, and successfully controlled the basilisk that resided inside. Most impressively, Voldemort was possibly the most accomplished Legilimens in history. He could easily read, control, and break the minds of all but the handful of wizards skilled enough to shield themselves from such attacks.

Strong: Gellert Grindelwald

Before the rise of Lord Voldemort, Gellert Grindelwald was undoubtedly the strongest Dark wizard. Of an age with Dumbledore, the two became fast friends as teenagers when Grindelwald came to Godric's Hollow. Like Voldemort, Grindelwald was extremely charming and manipulative, even winning over Dumbledore to his vision of a wizard-ruled world. When Dumbledore's brother Aberforth confronted them, Grindelwald turned violent, causing Albus to join his brother in a three-way duel with Gellert—a duel that would cause the death of the youngest Dumbledore sibling, Ariana.

Albus and Gellert wouldn't cross paths again until 1945, by which time Gellert had gained immense power and become the master of the Elder Wand. He had evaded capture for years—even defeating an entire force of Aurors—but Dumbledore proved to be the master this time. In a duel described as one of the greatest ever fought, Dumbledore defeated Grindelwald and imprisoned him in Nurmengard. There he would remain, until he was interrogated and killed by Voldemort in 1998.

Strong: Severus Snape

Though very good at hiding it, Severus Snape was an extremely powerful wizard. A student prodigy, he became a dab hand with all manner of magical disciplines. He invented a personal curse, Sectumsempra (and the healing counterspell Vulnera Sanentur), but also a number of other spells later used by many wizards. As a potions master, Snape possessed astounding skills—effortlessly brewing the most difficult potions and even improving upon their recipes. He demonstrated those masterful abilities when he invented a potion and incantation that saved Dumbledore's life after he encountered Voldemort's curse.

Snape's deeply unhappy childhood eventually drove him to become a Death Eater. Notably, he was the only Death Eater capable of forming a Patronus—one that copied that of his lost love, Lily Potter. Snape switched sides just before her death, joining the Order of the Phoenix and becoming an extremely effective double agent. 

Most impressively, he earned the absolute trust of the two most powerful wizards in existence—Dumbledore and Voldemort. Voldemort considered Snape his top servant, and even taught him the secret of unsupported flight. Similarly, Dumbledore trusted Snape with his life, and called on him more than once to handle extremely difficult tasks. Without Snape's secret aid and protection, it's very unlikely that Harry Potter would have even lived long enough to defeat Voldemort.  

Strong: Minerva McGonagall

You'd be making a grave mistake to underestimate Minerva McGonagall. Despite her "stern grandmother" appearance, she was the most powerful witch at Hogwarts after Dumbledore and Snape. Like Dumbledore, McGonagall received "outstanding" marks on all of her exams as a student, demonstrating her proficiency in all manners of magic. A mistress of transfiguration, she even became a rare Animagus—an extremely difficult skill to master. In her cat form, McGonagall spent many dangerous nights spying on Voldemort's followers for the Order of the Phoenix.

As a duelist, she was more than capable, fending off many Dark wizards and even surviving a brief duel with Voldemort himself. When Dolores Umbridge and the Ministry attempted to evict Hagrid from Hogwarts, McGonagall survived being hit with four powerful Stunning spells—an attack that would have killed many other wizards. Following the Battle of Hogwarts, McGonagall received the Order of Merlin, First Class. She later became the school's Headmistress after Voldemort's final defeat.  

Strong: Bellatrix Lestrange

As his most fanatical supporter, Bellatrix Lestrange reigned as Voldemort's most powerful Death Eater. During the First Wizarding War, Bellatrix received training from Voldemort himself and later participated in a number of atrocities. Through Voldemort's tutelage, she became an accomplished Occlumens, later teaching Draco Malfoy the skill as well.

After breaking out of Azkaban, she rejoined Voldemort, making it her personal mission to kill the "blood traitor" members of her extended family. At the Department of Mysteries, she succeeding in killing her cousin Sirius Black, and defeated a number of Aurors before making her escape. At the Battle of Hogwarts—while using a wand that wasn't hers—she killed her niece Nymphadora Tonks, and easily held off the combined efforts of Luna Lovegood, Ginny Weasley, and Hermione Granger. Bellatrix was the last Death Eater left standing aside from Voldemort himself, and was only killed when she arrogantly underestimated Molly Weasley's furious counterattack.

Strong: Mad-Eye Moody

As the most famous Auror of his time, Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody personally captured countless Dark wizards during his career, including Igor Karkaroff. His many encounters with Dark wizards took their toll, however—he lost both an eye and a leg, which caused him to be extremely paranoid in his later years. But even after his retirement from the Ministry, Moody remained an impressive foe.

Years after Moody's retirement, it still took two Death Eaters to overpower and capture him. Later, his strong protection charms prevented the Death Eaters from invading the Order's headquarters, and he fought bravely in the Department of Mysteries. During the Battle of Seven Potters, Voldemort wrongly assumed the real Potter would be with Moody, and killed the former Auror after Mundungus Fletcher panicked and abandoned him.

Strong: Filius Flitwick

Although diminutive in size, Filius Flitwick was a formidable wizard, indeed. Exceptionally bright even in his youth, Flitwick excelled in his studies. He could perform both non-verbal and wandless magic—something only the most powerful wizards were capable of. As the world's most proficient Charms Master, Flitwick returned to Hogwarts to teach the subject, eventually becoming the Head of Ravenclaw House.

During the Battle of Hogwarts, he led the others in placing powerful protective spells around the castle—enchantments that only Voldemort himself was able to break. As a young man, Flitwick became a champion duelist, and he displayed those skills in the battle. He dueled to a stalemate with Yaxley, and killed Antonin Dolohov—a Death Eater and duelist who had previously killed Remus Lupin and defeated Alastor Moody.  

Strong: Kingsley Shacklebolt

Kingsley Shacklebolt was a top Auror, and later joined the Order of the Phoenix after the Ministry was compromised by Voldemort's followers. Throughout this period, Shacklebolt had to live a dangerous double-life much like Snape, protecting the Order and Harry while simultaneously keeping the Death Eaters unaware. At one point, he became the secret bodyguard of the Muggle Prime Minister himself. On several occasions, Shacklebolt single-handedly took on and defeated multiple Death Eaters at once, and even survived two close encounters with Lord Voldemort. Shacklebolt was also a quite capable leader, and became the Minister for Magic following Voldemort's final defeat.  

Strong: Sirius Black

Although the other "Marauders"—Remus Lupin, James Potter, and Peter Pettigrew—were all talented wizards, Sirius Black stood slightly above them. He and his friends created the complicated Marauders Map while still students, and Black became an Animagus at the astoundingly young age of 15. He joined the Order during the First Wizarding War, fighting Voldemort's forces until he was framed by Peter Pettigrew for the deaths of several Muggles.

In Azkaban, he managed to withstand the Dementors for 12 years, and escaped by transforming into his dog form—an extremely difficult feat given his weakened state. In dueling, Sirius defeated several Dark wizards, including Lucius Malfoy, Antonin Dolohov, and his cousin Bellatrix Lestrange. Lestrange only managed to kill him when she caught him unaware with a surprise attack in the Department of Mysteries.

Weak: Mundungus Fletcher

Although he was an original member of the Order of the Phoenix, petty criminal Mundungus Fletcher was not particularly noted for his wizardry—or his courage. That being said, his illicit connections helped provide valuable information to the Order. His cowardice got him in trouble more than once, however—when he abandoned his post guarding the Dursley's home, it earned him quite an upbraiding from Arabella Figg. Later, Fletcher agreed to pose as one of the Harry body-doubles during the Battle of Seven Potters; but when he and Alastor Moody were attacked by Voldemort, Fletcher immediately fled—leading to the death of Moody at Voldemort's hands.  

Weak: Mafalda Hopkirk

Mafalda Hopkirk played an integral role in Harry's infiltration of the Ministry, but not because of her magical abilities. As an assistant in the Improper Use of Magic office, she was known for her talking, self-destructing letters that chewed out rule-breakers—but not much else. Even the Death Eaters viewed Hopkirk as inconsequential; after Voldemort's followers took over the Ministry, she was largely left alone.

While other non-Dark witches and wizards were killed, imprisoned, or forced to flee, Hopkirk was kept on by the new management and used as an errand-girl and stenographer for Dolores Umbridge. Hermione would later stun Hopkirk easily, using a bit of her hair to brew a Polyjuice potion and impersonate Mafalda in order to steal Salazar Slytherin's locket from Umbridge.

Weak: Gilderoy Lockhart

Although he could definitely talk a big game, Gilderoy Lockhart's empty boasts brought about his eventual downfall. Lockhart was an intelligent and promising student, enough so that the Sorting Hat placed him into Ravenclaw. 

Unfortunately, he was impossibly vain from a young age. Filled with ambition, Lockhart lacked drive or tolerance for personal failure. Memory Charms became his sole focus after graduation—a spell he became quite adept at. This allowed him to wipe the memories of talented witches and wizards around the world, taking credit for their exploits in the many books he authored. Dumbledore brought Lockhart back as a professor in hopes of stopping him—a plan that came to fruition when the Chamber of Secrets was opened, and Lockhart ended up accidentally obliterating his own memory.

Weak: Stanley Shunpike

You might not remember Stanley Shunpike, which is understandable. Shunpike was an unremarkable wizard of little talent, which is how he eventually ended up in the job of conductor for the Knight Bus. He wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, which was evident when Harry fooled him by pretending to be Neville Longbottom. 

Like Gilderoy Lockhart, Shunpike had a troublesome streak of self-aggrandizing vanity; he later falsely bragged to friends that he had information about the Death Eater's plans. He got more than he bargained for when his lies landed him in Azkaban. During the 1997 breakout, Shunpike was forced to actually join the Death Eaters when they placed him under an Imperius Curse. Harry Potter later easily disarmed him during the Battle of Seven Potters. His fate after the demise of Voldemort remains unknown.

Weak: Scabior

Scabior was another wizard of ill-repute, even serving some time in Azkaban for unknown crimes. After his release and the compromised Ministry began its violent campaign against Muggle-born and others, Scabior joined their efforts as a Snatcher. 

While he was responsible for catching many wizards and witches on the run, it should be noted that he didn't do it single-handedly—Scabior's group of Snatchers was led by the werewolf Fenrir Greyback. At Malfoy Manor, he was easily stunned by Bellatrix Lestrange before he could even draw his wand. He later met his end at the hands of Neville Longbottom, who dueled with him briefly at the Battle of Hogwarts. Longbottom led Scabior and other Snatchers onto the covered bridge, sending them to their death when Seamus Finnegan's charges caused the bridge to collapse.

Weak: Crabbe the Elder

The father of Draco Malfoy's lackey, Vincent Crabbe, Mr. Crabbe was a Death Eater for Voldemort. Like Lucius Malfoy, Crabbe managed to escape punishment for his role as a Death Eater during the First Wizarding War, likely by claiming he'd been Imperiused. He joined Voldemort again after his return and was later sent to battle members of Dumbledore's Army at the Department of Mysteries. In the Time Chamber, Harry Potter easily incapacitated Crabbe with a stunning spell. He was sent to Azkaban afterwards, but was later broken out and participated in the Battle of Hogwarts—but it is unknown if he survived.

Weak: Rastaban Lestrange

He may have the Lestrange name, but Rastaban has nowhere near the skill of his brother, Rodolphus, or his famous sister-in-law, Bellatrix. Like them, Rastaban was a devoted follower of Voldemort, and was later imprisoned in Azkaban along with them. After they broke out of Azkaban, he returned to his position as a Death Eater, and was present at the skirmish at the Department of Mysteries. Along with Mr. Crabbe, he pursued Harry and the others into the Time Chamber. Like Crabbe, he didn't last long—Neville Longbottom disarmed him, and Hermione stunned him before he could recover his wand. After a second break-out, Lestrange was at the Battle of Hogwarts, but his final fate remains unknown.

Weak: Travers

Along with many other witches and wizards who believed in Voldemort's pure-blood ideology, Travers became one of his Death Eaters during the First Wizarding War. It is said that he personally murdered the entire family of Order of the Phoenix member Marlene McKinnon. He was broken out of Azkaban along with Bellatrix Lestrange, and soon rejoined Voldemort. At the Department of Mysteries, he held Ginny Weasley hostage for a short time, but was quickly incapacitated by a member of the Order and sent back to Azkaban. Unfortunately, the Ministry was taken by the Death Eaters only a few days later, and Travers was "cleared" of his crimes.

He was later seen at the Battle of Seven Potters, where Kingsley Shacklebolt defeated him with a curse. Later, Harry and his friends easily escaped Travers and another Death Eater when they arrived at Xenophilius Lovegood's house. When they carried out their break-in at Gringotts Bank, Harry was able to use the Imperius Curse on Travers to help their disguise. Travers later fought at the Battle of Hogwarts, but was presumably defeated by Dean Thomas and Parvati Patil.

Weak: Xenophilius Lovegood

A notorious eccentric, Xenophilius Lovegood was the publisher and editor of The Quibbler magazine and father to Luna Lovegood. He was seemingly an expert on all sorts of esoteric and obscure facts, but he was never shown performing any powerful magic. 

While many of his beliefs were fairly ridiculous, Lovegood's encyclopedic knowledge proved valuable when he informed Harry, Ron, and Hermione about the nature of the Deathly Hallows. His support for Potter in The Quibbler caused the Death Eaters to kidnap his daughter, and Lovegood was driven to betray Harry. He summoned the Death Eaters and attempted to stun Harry, but missed and struck an Erumpent Horn, which blew up his house. He survived, but was sent to Azkaban by the Death Eaters for his failure to capture Harry, where he stayed until the end of the war.

Weak: Quirinus Quirrell

Although he was intelligent and bookish, Quirinus Quirrell was the weakest of the Hogwarts professors—mostly due to his extremely timid nature. He taught the Muggle Studies course for several years before going in search of the vanquished Voldemort. No doubt he thought that finding the Dark Lord's remains might gain him some respect in the wizarding world, but he got much more than he bargained for. Quirrell actually succeeded in finding Voldemort, who promptly took possession of his body, taking up residence on the back of Quirrell's head. The professor would later attempt (and fail) to steal the Philosopher's Stone, but even with Voldemort's strength aiding him, he was killed.