In Harry Potter, it is said that Lord Voldemort is one of the most powerful wizards of all time. But I am not very convinced about why that is the case. I guess, a more general question is, how can you tell if a wizard is powerful?

In terms of spells, to be specific, the death curse, if two wizards speak this curse to one another at the same time with the equally good wands, then who will die? Does the effect of the spell depend on the way a wizard speaks it? If so, it what way exactly? Can an average wizard cast death spell to Lord Voldemort and kill him?

In terms of wands which is sort of the guns of our world, how do we know if one wand is more powerful than the other. In the movies, I did not see why the elder wand was that special except that it looks better.

  • 4
    if two wizards speak this curse to one another at the same time with the equally good wands, then who will die Both...
    – user16696
    Mar 16 '15 at 6:16
  • @cde So if a wizard speaks death curse to Lord Voldemort, then he will die? (if there is no horcrux).
    – LaTeXFan
    Mar 16 '15 at 7:17
  • @20824, yup, assuming he doesn't block it some way (like Dunbledore does in OoTF)
    – Mac Cooper
    Mar 16 '15 at 8:23
  • Still why is Lord Voldemort is powerful?
    – LaTeXFan
    Mar 16 '15 at 9:23
  • 1
    Voldemorts power shows its self in many ways, first is his ability to use magic without a wand at such a young age, an average wizard will unknowingly and uncontrollably use magic, as a child Voldemort had already made his magic reliably accessible to him, to use on others, before coming to Hogwarts, this ability to use magic without a wand at will is something we see 0 other characters in the book due.
    – Himarm
    Mar 16 '15 at 13:25

Speaking the incantation is not enough for the unforgivable curses. You have to mean it. During the battle at the Ministry in Order of the Phoenix, Harry attempts to use the Cruciatus curse on Bellatrix Lestrange, but only knocks her off her feet. She explains then that you have to actually properly mean it.

As for a wizard's power, I always thought that the power of the spell was considered, but also the ability to use difficult spells with ease. Consider Snape and his creation of spells like Sectumsempra; I think Snape had to be a pretty powerful wizard to be able to create and use his own spells like that. Also, the fact that Voldemort was able to control his magic from a very young age highlights his extraordinary ability also.

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