Was Harry Potter an innately powerful/skillful Wizard in any way, based on canon?

It seems that whenever Harry Potter performed some unusually potent bit of magic (potent as far as require raw power AND/OR skill), most of the time we find that it wasn’t innately Harry’s skill, but a combination of:

  • some extraneous magic forces/rules/powers

  • circumstance

  • great reaction time (which is obviously extraordinary from his Quidditch playing; and is likely a larger factor in his dueling than the strength of his magic)

  • general smartness

  • or (the part that Harry’s detractors, including Voldemort missed) Harry’s strength of character/personality

The only two counter-examples I can think of which show him as having extraordinary or at least obviously above average magical abilities are:

  • His skill at flying brooms - while a part of it is pure physical skill, at least part is magical.

  • His (corporeal) Patronus charm

As far as examples of his unusual feats being due to reasons listed above:

  • Obviously, surviving Avada Kedavra as an infant - due to Lily’s sacrifice

  • Parselmouth talent - proxied via Voldemort’s piece of soul.

  • Ability to see the Sorcerer’s Stone in the Mirror of Erised - due to purity of his character, nothing magical.

  • Obvious lack of talent at potion making throughout all of the books (sans cheating in HBP)

  • His win over the Basilisk - due to Hermione’s research, character traits, and as a consequence of the last one, getting Fawkes and Gryffindor’s Sword’s help.

    Just to be clear, before someone flames me - what he did was obviously super extraordinary, BUT IMHO he would have achieved the same result if he was turned into a Squib for the duration of Chamber of Secrets fight.

  • TriWizard Tournament entry - wasn’t him, it was Barty Crouch

  • TriWizard Tournament second challenge - a combination of character and outside help (someone told him about Gillyweed)

  • TriWizard Tournament third challenge - Mostly, Barty Crouch’s cheating

    Note that I’m omitting the first challenge, since that one was the aforementioned Broom flying skills.

  • His survival in the cemetery after Voldemort’s return - again, a combination of superior strength of character and super powerful wandlore magic that had nothing to do with his skill as a Wizard.

  • The whole “last Horcrux” thing when surviving the second Avada Kedavra from Voldemort

  • His ownership of the Elder Wand in the very last duel with Voldemort.

So, to paraphrase my original question, was there any canon/JKR evidence that Harry was anything but a completely average/mediocre wizard in any way, shape, or form if you take into account only his own magical abilities and skills?

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    BTW, IMHO Patronus doesn't count since (this is my guess, not canon) its strength comes mostly due to personality factors. Commented Jun 5, 2012 at 23:56
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    @dlanod - not sure if it's a proof. She didn't delve into details of WHY it's a rare feat. Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 0:00
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    "Parselmouth talent - proxied via Vader's piece of soul." -- I'd edit this if it wasn't so funny...
    – TGnat
    Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 13:40
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    Harry also managed to use unspoken spells, including Sectumsempra and Levicorpus, which were invented by an arguably talented wizard. (Considering Snape invented spells as such when he was still in school, perhaps there's no argument Snape was talented). His Expelliarmus was also quite bright, a sign of strength. You could add those two your "counters" list.
    – user31178
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 3:09
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    I’d argue that the strength of one’s magic comes directly from the strength of character. Take Snape, as an example, exceptionally strong character even in school, when he invested effort and observation into the making of Living Death instead of just blindly following the recipe. Or Voldemort, he performed incredible feats of magic and had a very strong character, though some of his character traits were particularly weak traits, they were exceptionally strongly defined and he embraced and nurtured them with extreme dedication.
    – Nomenator
    Commented Aug 2, 2016 at 23:48

15 Answers 15


Long answer warning. :)

Harry was Largely Average

Approaching this subject from a broader angle than just "Was Harry a demonstrably powerful wizard," one of the reasons that Harry Potter was such a successful series is because J. K. Rowling did such an excellent job at making her characters relatable. What you say is true; Harry was not a particularly excellent wizard. He was a totally normal boy, with totally normal boy problems, thrust into a very abnormal set of circumstances.

Harry was neither a child prodigy, nor a complete buffoon when it came to academics. His grades were decidedly above average, but he was not without his challenges. Potions were a struggle for him; whether that is contributable to Snape's teaching style is debatable. Despite his academic struggles, his O.W.L. scores were actually fairly impressive:

Astronomy: (A)cceptable
Care of Magical Creatures: (E)xceeds Expectations
Charms: (E)xceeds Expectations
Defense Against the Dark Arts: (O)utstanding
Divination: (P)oor
Herbology: (E)xceeds Expectations
History of Magic: (D)readful
Potions: (E)xceeds Expectations
Transfiguration: (E)xceeds Expectations.

Harry always hated Divination, and he passed out midway through the History of Magic exam. During the practical portion of the Astronomy test, Umbridge was attempting to apprehend Hagrid. Harry was severely distracted by this, and still passed the exam. Even with Potions, which he was constantly challenged in, he still managed to Exceed Expectations.

Harry's Character is What Makes Him a Hero

The strength of Harry Potter lies not in his ability as a wizard, but in his character: his perseverance, his goodness, his unfailing courage, and his strong bond with his friends. These are universal to anyone reading a story; not every reader is a genius or some kind of prodigy. Those characters are there for readers to identify with, but Harry is an everyman.

Harry was Very Good at Certain Things

Aside from these things, Harry did show exceptional strength in the practical application of magic. Harry was capable of post N.E.W.T. level magic in his third year: a corporeal Patronus. He was an extremely accomplished duelist, having faced down Voldemort numerous times, and having defeated Draco Malfoy (who was renowned in their year as a duelist) numerous times. Harry's flying was top notch, as you mentioned, as was his affinity to deal with magical creatures (owls, thestrals, hippogriffs, a giant, centaurs, a half-blinded dragon to name a few). He was shown to be immune to the effects of the Imperius curse, demonstrating his strong will and character. Harry was shown to have aptitude in the Dark Arts as well: he could cast the Imperius Curse effectively, use all manners of jinxes and hexes, and was able to use a Dark Art spell correctly and almost lethally the first time he casted it (Sectumsempra). Harry was complemented by McGonagall in his sixth year on his Transfiguration ability; an impressive feat, considering McGonagall was widely considered to be the most powerful Transfigurer in the Wizarding World. Harry was talented at Charms, possessing a powerful and long ranged Accio. His Patronus charm was well known for its potency, as well. He was also capable of casting the protective charms Hermione used to protect their tent while traveling. Harry could also cast non-verbal spells, and was able to cast Lumos in Order of the Phoenix when his wand was a few yards from his body.

In Summary

While Harry was not a magical genius like Hermione or Dumbledore, he was quite gifted in the practical application of magic. Aside from that, there is nothing terribly remarkable about Harry. He is what J. K. Rowling intended him to be: an everyman foil for the plot of her book series that really anyone would be able to relate to.

Relevant Addendum

In researching another answer, I stumbled upon this quote from J. K. Rowling regarding Neville Longbottom, and his place in the story next to Harry's.

JKR: I love Neville. I love Neville so much. Always loved Neville. And I always had big plans for Neville, you know? And he really was The Boy It Could've Been, because as you know, as I made clear, he was born hours before Harry, he was born on the 30th of July, Voldemort singled him out as the other possibility. But the great thing about Neville's story for me, the over-arching story about Neville, is that he proves himself to be a boy who could've done it too. Yeah, Harry had the scar and arguably, Harry had an edge more talent because Harry-- he has an extraordinary instinct for the right thing to do. He's just got the right instinct, and that's what would make him, in due course, a phenomenal Auror. But Neville was, I think, amazing in the final battle, and proved himself a hundred times over worthy of being a Gryffindor, his parents' son, despite the very difficult childhood he had in the hands of his very pushy grandmother, and I know, she loves him and he loves her, but she's not an easy person to be raised by. So yeah, so that for me, was the big thing about Neville. He's not on the surface-- I suppose he's not as cool when it comes right down to it, although Harry, of course, made himself cool. He was a scrawny little kid in glasses, and he comes through, and he becomes the guy everyone wants to know.

J.K. Rowling's final assessment of Harry is that, yes, he was more talented than someone like Neville Longbottom, but it wasn't his talent that typically won the day for Harry. It was his instinct in combat and skill in practical magic that made Harry such a good wizard.

  • 3
    this just remind me how great Harry is in the books.
    – Sufendy
    Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 9:41
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    Do you have a source or quote for Draco Malfoy being renowned as a duelist? Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 10:16
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    @AnthonyGrist Mainly through context. Snape repeatedly offers him up as the best duelist in Slytherin, which was a house known for skill in dueling. Also, he was capable of advanced hexes and jinxes from his second year, as seen in his duel with Harry. He trained under Snape, who was a renowned duelist, and Bellatrix Lestrange, also a feared opponent. In his sixth year, he participated in a largely nonverbal duel with Harry, only defeated when Harry caught him off guard with a spell neither of them really knew (Sectumsempra). Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 15:42
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    @Tacroy That was in Goblet of Fire, twice. Once in DADA, Fake Moody went through the whole class and used Emperio on all of them, under the guise of training them to resist it. Harry was the only one who could, even though it was used on him four times. Later, Voldemort used it on him in the graveyard. Harry resisted it, much to the surprise of Voldemort and the gathered Death Eaters. Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 15:47
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    @Kevin The question as summarized by DVK was : "was there any canon/JKR evidence that Harry was anything but a completely average/mediocre wizard in any way/shape or form if you take into account only his own magical abilities/skills?" I see nothing in there that would discount skill acquired by training. Hermione also had to train to learn her spells, too. Just for a different length of time. Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 17:16

No. You answered your own question with all of your examples. In modern parlance, Harry would have been a jock who happened to have one class he was good at, Defense Against the Dark Arts.

In all other ways, Hermione Granger was a far better student, analyst and practitioner than nearly anyone her age. Harry's saving grace was his fearlessness in the face of adversity, which is really only enhanced by his jock-like traits of endurance under duress.

Despite claims of ability, Harry's true success from his life was a matter of having great friends, supportive mentors, parents who made the ultimate sacrifice, being relatively personable and just a dash of luck.

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    Hmm... I was tempted to use the word "jock" but at the same time he's portrayed as an ultimate nerd/dweeb/freak as well. James, on the other hand... Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 0:28
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    Jock only in the way that his Quidditch skills were a physical activity he excelled in. In all other ways he was a bit of a nebbish who evolved into a character with inner fortitude and conviction; an example of the quintessential hero's journey. Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 0:36
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    It's quite clear that Harry isn't the "jock". His father was supposed to be that. Harry is the standard young wizard, thrown into extraordinary circumstances. He wasn't particularly terrible at any of his classes. Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 2:04
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    No worries. We both arrived at the same conclusion and I bow to his superior scholarship. Commented Jun 9, 2012 at 0:50
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    "Care of Magical Creatures: (E)xceeds Expectations, Charms: (E)xceeds Expectations, Defense Against the Dark Arts: (O)utstanding, Herbology: (E)xceeds Expectations, Potions: (E)xceeds Expectations, Transfiguration: (E)xceeds Expectations." (dropping OWLs where he did poorly due to other than academic reasons). He's above average at every class while spending most of his attention on non-academics like saving the world.
    – Yakk
    Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 20:44

It should be mentioned that in post interviews Rowling reveals that Harry became an Auror for the Ministry. (Though Potter never finished his 7th year). And as we know it's an elite group of highly trained and powerful wizards and witches. He later became the head of that department, and as Rowling has mentioned only top notch wizards would get that job.

I think after he defeated Voldemort and settled down, he probably took time to develop his skill set, especially attacking spells. He was a master at defensive spells.

Blodeuwedd: Hi jk, first of all thank you for all the books I have enjoyed each and every one of them could you tell us what professions harry, hermione, ron, ginny and luna go on to have did the trio do their final year at school and take their newts who became hea

J.K. Rowling: Thank you! I’ve already answered about Hermione. Kingsley became permanent Minister for Magic, and naturally he wanted Harry to head up his new Auror department.

JKR web interview with Leaky Cauldron

  • I would recommend to add a quote from the interview and a link to improve the answer Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 1:10

The answer to this question basically comes down to the difference between talent and skill. Where skill = talent + hard work. Talent is of course hard to judge, so it's correct that the question focuses on skill. Yet JKR has written her wizards and witches as having:

  1. Nature :: the magical talent they are born with
  2. Nurture :: strength and purity of character (due to the life they've lead and the choices they've made)
  3. Magical Skill :: the combination of magical talent, character and hard work

So, I find it odd that strength of character (or willpower) is dismissed as something non-magical. I suppose it's understandable, because it isn't magical in the real world. But most magic systems assume that magic is a mental ability.


So Harry has faced two tests where purity of character was needed:

  1. Obtaining the Philosopher's Stone from the Mirror of Erised
  2. Receiving the help of Fawkes and getting Gryffindor's Sword

Let's assume that the test is magical but the purity of character is non-magical. That still leaves:

  • The Patronus Charm
  • Resisting Imperius Curse
  • Brother Wand Battle
  • Forcing Voldemort out of his mind at the end of 5th year
  • Sacrificing himself

as tests about his strength of character/willpower. And with each of these there is an obvious magical result connected to his strength of character. (One could even say that some of these, test both strength and purity of character.) In all of these instances, Harry achieved something that few wizards of witches can duplicate. Does that make Harry an innately powerful wizard? That depends on your definition of a powerful wizard.

Ultimately, Harry defeats Voldemort not with skill, but through character. This makes sense when you take Love into account as a magical power. So Voldemort was not only ignorant about Love but also ignorant about Character as a fundamental aspect of magic. To summarise, Harry is a powerful wizard whenever he does magic that depends on Character, yet Harry is only an average wizard in terms of skill. (It doesn't help that Harry is overshadowed by Hermione in terms of skill.)

  • You say a few contradictory things, and use the same terms in the definition of various things to create what appears to be variances. I'd like to see some canon sources for what you claim. The biggest problem though with what you stated is that character in some way equals power?!? VM is one of if not the most powerful wizard in the world, and you point to his lack of character. With the exception of Harry due to circumstances there probably weren't 2 or 3 wizards combined with the exception of DD at the time that could take on VM, as shown in the final battles where he's dueling 3 at a time.
    – JMFB
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 19:12
  • @JMFB Your first 2 sentences are too vague to respond to. Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 21:32
  • @JMFB Yes, in the context of the story and especially in certain magical situations, character equals power. Voldemort is a powerful wizard because of his magical skills. So is Dumbledore. There's no way Harry can match them as he's still a student. But e.g. the wand lore about brother wands takes Voldemort's advantage away and then it's a mental-magical battle. Harry benefits from certain rare magical laws that levels the playing field, but then Harry still has to actually win. Which he does. Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 21:46

How about the fact that he trained the entire student body of the DA, throughout the 6th book? He also scored an outstanding at Defense against the Dark Arts in his O.W.L.S whereas Hermione scored an exceptional. That ought to count for something.

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    That has nothing to do with a power as a wizard, especially #1 which is about personality, leadership abilities, and respect of peers Commented Nov 24, 2014 at 19:22
  • With respect to the DA training, there's an old saying: "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach." Which is just to say that being able to teach others doesn't make you superior to them in talent.
    – RDFozz
    Commented Jan 8, 2019 at 17:56
  • @RDFozz Not the very best theory, as many of the Hogwarts teachers were extremely talented wizards and witches;Dumbledore, Minerva, Slughorn, Snape, Lupin, Flitwick... etc.
    – Sandun
    Commented Apr 12, 2021 at 9:19
  • Well, we have no idea how good a job being a Hogwarts instructor was. Unlike real world middle/high school teachers (US equivalent), the Hogwarts faculty may have received a high level of compensation, or their jobs may have been extremely prestigious, making the best people more likely to teach there than to go into business. In any case, real point was that Harry’s skill in leading DADA classes did not signify that he was innately powerful, as power is not necessarily a prerequisite to instruction.
    – RDFozz
    Commented Apr 12, 2021 at 9:30

Harry was a very powerful wizard, exceptional for his age.

Snape states about Harry's casting a patronus spell to get rid of so many dementors:

Only a really powerful wizard could have conjured it.

So in this sense one of the most powerful wizards of all time, Snape states that Harry is a powerful wizard, regardless of your dismissal of the patronus.

Lupin a professor from one of the highest regarded wizarding schools in the world, Hogwarts, about teenage Harry:

Professor Lupin: You know something, Harry? I think you would have given your father a run for his money, and THAT is saying something

That's probably in-canon enough compared to the mostly opinionated answers given.

Your question is a bit confusing though. What do you mean by "innate?"

Is "innate" defined by genetics and/or DNA? Is it by the ability to do, or learn something quickly or how well you do that thing? Is it the ability to learn quickly or to have the determination to learn something when it doesn't come quickly? Innate to do what exactly?

Michael Jordan may be the best basketball player ever, but if you need a center in the middle to block shots and body up on another center he wouldn't be your first choice. Jack Nicholson may be one of, if not the greatest actor ever. But he would not be your first choice as a leading character in a comedy. Stephen King may be one of the greatest writers ever but your wouldn't have him write a romantic comedy. How did each one get this way? Are they really that much better? How much was circumstantial? Is there a writers gene, an actors gene, a basketball gene? Was it just hard work?

I'm not sure what you mean by innate. There are many times in canon that Harry does great things, both in dueling, potion making, and figuring out solutions to "magical" problems. Many of these things were uniquely exceptional. If you want to dismiss each thing to training, "cheating" by using the HBP manual, situational, or specific areas in which he excelled more than others, then he's average. But...by that standard almost everyone would be average at everything.

Had Steve Jobs not met Steve Wozniak...no Apple computers? Would Jobs have been considered a genius by many? Had Gates not met Steve Paterson who stupidly sold the rights to DOS for less than $100,000 would Gates be considered a genius today? Geniuses at what exactly? So some time circumstances and luck throw a person into a certain circumstance that allows them to excel at something or be considered extraordinary.

Had DD not "discovered" VM and invited him to come to learn at Hogwarts would VM have become a great wizard? Probably not.

Had Ron Weasley not been born into a magic family would he had ever wound up at Hogwarts? Ron didn't really do anything exceptional as a young person. Had Ron not ended up in the same class as Hermione and Harry would he ever have been anything other than just an average to below average student at Hogwarts?

Harry is an exceptional wizard because of his many many exceptional acts in the series. I don't know what Harry would have been like without mastery of the elder wand, the horcrux inside of him, Lily's sacrifice, his lineage, etc. because that was not his path. He did exceptionally with what he was given, and he was given a lot.

If I were to ask would anybody else have been able to handle having a piece of the most evil wizard of all time inside of their soul and not go insane or turn out completely evil, what would you say? Is that exceptional?

I'm not sure exactly what you're asking, but it appears you answered it the way you wanted before finishing your question.

If I asked, besides parting the red sea, being the vehicle for the ten plagues, bringing the ten commandments, speaking to god as a man does to his friend, leading the children of Israel out of Egypt, etc. did Moses do anything exceptional? Would that be a fair question? What if I added had he not been in that situation, rescued by the Pharoh's daughter, God choosing him, etc. etc. again would it be a fair question? We judge based on the circumstances the person was placed. Harry did not have a magical upbringing, was orphaned raised by unloving relatives, etc. etc.

One other thing to consider, Harry did all of the things he did at a very young age. He was battling wizards who had vastly more experience than he did. How powerful was Harry at 15 compared to Voldemort in his 50's or DD in god knows how old...

  • The idea that casting a patronus is an indicator of inherent power seems to be incorrect. Harry teaches all of his friends to do it, including several that don't seem especially puissant otherwise.
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 12, 2021 at 10:01

I see Harry as having loads of power, but not really driven on the theory or the academic side. He excels at practical and instinctive usage of magic, both of which made him stand out when push came to shove (combat). Examples:

  1. He focused on survival in his fourth year and learned magic that wouldn’t normally be taught (protego, acccio, etc.)
  2. He mastered the patronus in his third year.
  3. He used the account summoning charm far beyond what is normally possible. Extreme distance, not line of sight, and he summoned a living creature while practicing.
  4. He is able to resist the imperious curse.
  5. When his wand locked with Voldemort's in the cemetery, he showed that he had a stronger force of will and he emerged victorious.
  6. In the final battle, he was invisible and prevented Voldemort from killlng indiscriminately. He was able to cast shield spells capable of stopping curses fired by Voldemort. No easy feat.
  7. He got an exceed expectations in potions even though his training was abysmal. I always saw the half blood prince's book as just having a few better recipes. The real improvement came from having a teacher who didn’t undermine him.
  8. Given how many EE’s he got I’d say he was lousy at theory and writing. Keep in mind that Hermione didn’t even get an O in DADA, and he did. DADA is the most practical class so that’s something.
  9. To teach as well as he did in the DA, he had to really understand how those spells work. He was gifted in wand use, but not so much in theory or spell creation.
  10. From his first year on, he was fighting for his life. That can be a bit distracting. It also explains how he managed to get so good at combat spells.
  11. He was never able to study over the summer. That had to have put him behind his peers each year.
  12. Finally: He is prophesied to be the Dark Lords Equal. That sums it up.

He is still very young (at 17) in his development by magical standards and his connection to magic will increase and grow over time. By his sixth year, he seemed to be the best practical user in the 6th year.


I always wonder why people don't take into account that, besides the fact that Harry had to go through a lot, not only his life at Privet Drive, but that there was not a year when his life was not threatened, that he was a child, and at the final battle a teenager. Of course, Dumbledore at 16 did "things with a wand I had never seen before", as stated by one of the OWL examinators, and that Tom Riddle had his first Horcrux at 16 too, but I do believe that he had an innate and unusual talent for magic. I mean, I know that many think that the patronus was not that big of a deal, but JKR repeated through out the books that it was something extraordinary through various characters for a reason. Harry sometimes lacked motivation, and taking circumstances into account, I don't really blame him, because in the end he only wanted a quiet life.

Also, I always think that being sorrounded by all these extremely powerful characters has made him look paler at the inmmediate comparision, but looking beyond, I think he could do great things, as the Sorting Hat told him(and no, I don't think that it referred to defeating Voldemort only). Remember that even the brightest can crack under pressure, and everyone, when going through difficult and challenging circumstances, fails to perform at the best of their ability. I believe that Harry was not the most powerful wizard at the time, but I do believe that in time and with training, he could become, or at least come close, to what Dumbledore was.

It's true that Dumbledore was undoubtedly way more powerful than Harry, but he was also way older, meaning that he had loads more of experience and knowledge than a seventeen year old boy. So I'm saying this to cut the kid some slack: no excellence can be achieved without practice. So lets not be so hard on him and say he was average, because he really wasn't. Being relatable does not make you average, it only states that Rowling had other priorities. She didn't want to show us just a boy with out-of-nowhere talents and a dark backround.

  • 1
    There is an answer in here, but it's surrounded by quite a lot of less relevant stuff, do you think you can edit your answer to make it less of a ramble and more of a coherent answer?
    – Edlothiad
    Commented May 31, 2017 at 10:57
  • This is a good analysis, but it doesn't immediately answer the question, as it's asking about Harry's innate abilities. Commented May 31, 2017 at 11:16

Yes there are examples of Harry Potter being extraordinary. I will tell you why.

Firstly, the reason why Dumbledore, Grindelwald and Voldemort were exceptional during the age, barring their raw power, it is mainly due to their thirst for knowledge and higher agenda of power and conquest. They were motivated by it. Harry faced the biggest challenge of his life from the earliest of years and by the age of 17 , stood toe to toe with Voldemort on many occasions. He was a lazy, ordinary, fun loving student. He was no craving for power, which is why we as the audience did not see any out of the world magic from him, but this very indifference for power is the reason why he is innately so much more pure than the rest, including love and also the power of will. When Harry conjured Patronus charm when he was 15, it was explicitly said that no living wizard would have been able to ward of 100s of Dementors unless that wizard is a very very powerful wizard, possibily someone like Dumbledore. It was stated on the book. Harry is lazy kid. But Patronus demonstrates the raw potential he has.

Next, would be the acknowledgement throughout the series by his very own peers, that Harry is the more skilled duelist and more knowledgeable on Defence Against the Dark Arts. From the Patronus Charm, we know that Harry has the ingredients of a powerful wizard, and it was due to these ingredients that he was able to master extremely well difficult spells on DADA which he took the initiative to learn, thanks to the Triwizard Tournament. He learned spells that even Hermione never learned in the rudimentary syllabus.

On his first year, Harry Potter essence of power and his strength of will was again showed when he was able to overpower the Imperius Curse by Barry Crouch impersonating as Mad Eye Moody. Barty Crouch being a skilled wizard himself, his will in conjuring the Imperius Curse was thwarted by Harry's will.

On the chapter of Priori Incantatem, many people said that it was not Harry's skill at all that he managed to come out of the duel alive. It was basically due to the protection of the wand being linked as twins. But one thing everyone fail to realise is that, though the wands were linked, when both the wand connected, only the strength and the will of the conjurer will determine which wand wins. Harry's wand won Voldemort's wand in that duel. It is due to that, Voldemort's wand was forced to regurgitate all the previous spells. Not only that, Harry's wand imbibed some powers from Voldemort's. Same wands, one is more experiencedly used ( Voldemort's) and another belonging to a 15 year old. But, Harry potter won.

And finally, Harry was pure, with unconditional love and no hunger for power. This is a result of great will. Harry most definitely has the strongest will on the series. It is due to that, he is very powerful.


Nobody seems to have mentioned his exceptionally powerful shield charms.

  • Two of the other answers mention his proficiency in charms.
    – phantom42
    Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 13:47
  • @phantom42 - not shields specifically. I'm not upvoting yet - if Danbo adds canon quote I will. But I don't think this is worth a DV Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 15:35
  • @DVK I don't think it does either (I didn't vote either way) - it just leaves a lot of room for improvement.
    – phantom42
    Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 15:40

This has always fascinated me and it is nice to hear what people have to say. Yet I noticed people tend to ignore certain facts which are very relevant.

First off, Harry Potter shows fantastic leadership skills. He does know his limitations, and "delegates" tasks. It is very cleverly shown - ie homework. Ron & Harry knew Hermione made impeccable notes, so though this can be construed as cheating or laziness, but even on other tasks - such as the hunt for the horcruxes, HP delegates on mundane tasks.

It is worth to note that HP avoids limelight whenever possible, and in the later books he avoids any confrontation which has no meaningful outcome. Such as the attack on the ministry. Throughout his only interest is helping his friends to stay alive until his revenge gene hicks in and runs after Bellatrix where he holds his own.

It is true that throughout Hermione is portrayed as a magical prodigy - but even with all her skills, she often looses her head in tight spots - such as when she broke HP wand. Also her logical mind though often is a plus, reliance on logic alone is also a weakness. Something which HP knows and accepts and deals with it like a true leader - ie he does not berate her for breaking his wand, and he never pushes for "I told you so". HP "knew" there was a further Horcrux in Hogwarths; he always knew he had to sacrifice himself - but he didn't know why. He also learns how to read his enemies - which is after all what Dumbledore was teaching HP - know your enemies and your friends - use their weaknesses and their strengths. And this is a skill which is beyond school - because after all it is what makes HP win over LV. He knows when to let emotions win the day, or well when a cool head is better - something which no other wizard besides Dumbledore and Snape had.

It is difficult to quantify what makes a great or an exceptional wizard; yet Dumledore himself says more than once that HP was the better man - even better than himself because when HP had the choice - Horcruxes vs Hollows, HP makes the right choice.

Regarding magical skill and power, HP seems the be more than proficient with defensive and disarming spells, to my knowledge his "Expelliaramus" was lethal to all - twice worked on LV - second time LV knew about it (his signature move) and yet HP still prevailed. Couple this with his "Protego" which saved Molly's life because LV (I assume) realized could not penetrate it and perceives a big threat on his own life!

Finally, a point which nobody seems to care about. Yes HP was emotionally scarred. But HP also had constant pain (from the lightning scar) as well as the various terrible injuries he sustained. And the Horcrux inside him was constantly battling him - a fact which shows that HP is not lucky anymore in the final battle. Cool head + intelligence + perfect skill because finally he had total control of himself.

  • While this is a nice write-up, the question was very explicitly about being and innately powerful wizard - not about "exceptional" one which may involve things other than power; and most certainly not about leadership qualities or other mental abilities. Commented Jun 13, 2015 at 12:36
  • Got carried away! Commented Jun 14, 2015 at 17:32

I was carried away before.

But there is a simple answer. Harry was the only wizard able to fix his own wand - the wand which Ollivander stated was unfixable. This when Harry was just himself - no extra powers from LV.

  • 3
    IMHO, that wasn't Harry though, most likely - that was Elder Wand. He couldn't fix his wand when he used any other wand. OTOH, we don't know if anyone else would have been able to fix his wand using EW. Commented Jun 14, 2015 at 18:05

Watching the miracles of magic, what Riddle and Dumbledore show us, we expect Harry to do the same as the main character, but those two are regarded as the most terrible Dark Lord and the second coming of Merlin, and then watching Harry perform is underwhelming, but many people seem to forget, what Harry is just a child with self-esteem issues, the Sorting Hat said he had a good mind and lots of talent, but it doesn't mean he had to use it, I'm saying Harry could've been a much more powerfull wizard by the time he's 17, but choose not to. Not to mention the age problem, when he turns 60, maybe he would be on par with Riddle in terms of skill, and on par with Dumbledor when he's 100, but as a 17 year old, surviving through all the crap life piled on him, while doens't make him one of the most powerful wizards in history, it sure as hell makes him much more than average.

  • 2
    This seems correct. Could you break it up a little, though, and maybe add some references?
    – Adamant
    Commented Nov 7, 2016 at 20:56

in the deathly hallows in the princes tale in the part when Snape and Dumbledore are discussing Harry after his first day. snape says that harry is mediocre but dumbledore says the teachers say he is likable modest and a reasonably talented boy and that was only in his first year also in the goblet of fire when voldemort tried to put the imperious curse on him and he fought it off and since voldemorts supposed to be the darkest wizard and harry could still throw off his curse this shows he is pretty powerful even though fake moody does say this feat takes character rather than magical skill. but he trained the whole D.A that has to count for something especially when fred and george and lee were in there seventh year and he made neville improve in this class which none of the other last 4 grown teachers were able to do beside lupin.also he trained hermione and she supposed way more advanced in magic than he ever was in school. yea most of his victories were won with luck and good timing but no one can deny that if it was ron with the same luck in the same situation that he could have survived like Harry im not naming leadership,or closing his mind and all that because thats not magical skill but i will also say that hermione is based on jkr so that would explain why she is more talented than harry also in the O.O.T.P. in the end hermione tells harry that Harry knew thing that even krum didnt know and he was in his seventh year you have to give harry credit he might not be on dumbledores level (but if you let harry grow to dumbledores age he probably would be good enough) but he is more than average and in the cursed child which is cannon because jkr was taking part in writing it he becomes head of the department of magical law enforcement so ye thats it tell me what you think


Harry was not the most powerfull wizard but a great wizard still, he masterd a phoenix wand that and it is said that that is takes a lot of power and charachter, he was indeed powerful in charachter and that helped a lot through the series. But charachter is a important bit of being good at magic mcgonnacal said it to neville: you can do it but you just lack confidence Also a lot of people wouldn't cross him and that says something. And he new a lot of spells that even victor krum didn't new even when he was in his last year at dumstrang. And than even not speeking of duelling voldemort wich only a few people could do. So i think that he wasn't the most powerful wizard but still above average and even very powerfull in certain kinds of magic

  • 2
    You should add a few links or quotes to back up your answer.
    – Moogle
    Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 15:56
  • Agree with @Moogle. With no references to canon material, this sounds more like an opinion than an answer. Perhaps more suitable as a comment ?
    – Stan
    Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 15:58
  • i dont rem reading anywhere that mastering a phoenix wand is difficult.
    – Sp0T
    Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 12:38
  • Interesting about the doubt some of the comments show. I'll probably post something up sometime in the future. His point about Krum for instance can be easily backed up, "you can do all sorts of stuff that full-grown wizards can't, Viktor always said - He said Harry knew how to do stuff he didn't, and he was in the final year at Durmstrang." [OotP] This is an assessment by Hermione & Krum.
    – Belegorn
    Commented Dec 12, 2015 at 4:42

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