The Most Powerful Wizard

Let’s examine the question of which fantasy figure has the most effective magic.

It is definitely a subjective discussion, but along with personal opinion, these spell slingers can be analyzed in their cannons.  This installment explains my choice, but did I get it right?

The Most Powerful Wizard

The first question in fantasy debates?

Who is the most powerful wizard?

Any true fantasy fan has thought about it at some point, and real nerds have fought about it in their nerd groups!

You can compare world-building, character development, plot devices, and a hundred other things about literature or the genre in specific, but at the core of fantasy novels is usually a magic system.  Sometimes the system is well defined and other times it is maddeningly vague.  Regardless of those details, we can rank order magical power in our own qualified estimation!

Great books with magic systems, and powerful wizards.

Who is in the running for Most Powerful Wizard?

Younger generations mainly consider Dumbledore versus Gandalf.  You could easily include dozens of wizards from Harry Potter canon, as well as the human and elf spell casters from the Lord of the Rings who might be more powerful than Gandalf (scoff).  

Personally, I am an advocate for Marvel’s Dr. Strange, who I started following in elementary school.  There are many fans of the Arthurian legends who would vote for Merlin.

There are thousands of other science fantasy novels with magic systems, but none as well known now as Dumbledore, Gandalf, Merlin, or Dr. Strange.

Personally, I would also consider Camber of Culdi from Katherine Kurtz’ books about Deryni, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel from Susanna Clarke’s huge novel of the same name, Kvothe from The Name of the Wind, and Adolar from Lyndon Hardy’s Master of the Five Magics.   They all had great power.
Three of the our great wizards: Gandalf, Dumbledore, and Dr Strange.

Are some magic users objectively better?

My argument for Dr. Strange has to do with his area of responsibility.  He patrols the multiverse, which used to just be called our dimension and alternate dimensions.  Other superheroes like Spider Man (who fights with Dr. Strange for my top hero spot), are really local; “Your friendly neighborhood Spider Man”.  Many of the big comic heroes concern themselves with all of humanity, or planetary safety.  In my opinion, Earth threats are small potatoes compared to dimensional aggression!

There have been so many versions of Arthurian legends, but in all of them Merlin is super powerful, although you don’t always know exactly what he can do.  The British t.v. show Merlin gave him telekinesis along with a lot of ritual spell casting for example.  I think Merlin would stand up well to Gandalf or Dumbledore, but Strange would put him down!  Also, he is mainly responsible for Arthur, Camelot, and maybe England; not even all of Earth or Middle Earth, like Gandalf.

Returning to the currently more well-known Harry Potter Universe, you could say that Voldemort, Hermione, Harry’s Dad, Snape, or Sirius were more powerful than Dumbledore and I probably wouldn’t argue (well, I would argue out of habit).  However, only Voldemort tried to affect the whole world and he didn’t succeed.  Which brings me back to Dr. Stephen Strange, who is the best pick for top wizard in the genre!

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

  1. Who tops your list of best casters ever?
  2. Why do you think your pick is the best?

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1 thought on “The Most Powerful Wizard”

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