Gandalf Vs. Dumbledore


Although written during the date provided, this article was republished during 2020 by Nicolas Gorman to put it on the website. The author is unknown.


A long-time debate has recently been rekindled behind the scenes of the Rio Mirada, today… it shall be extinguished.


With the DVD release of “The Hobbit 3: The Battle of the Five Armies” set for March 24 a battle is heating up. No, not the battle between the dwarves and the dragon Smaug. That one is settled, but we won’t say how just in case you somehow missed the movie in the theaters, or didn’t read the book or have been living in a cave in Middle Earth. No this is a wizard of a battle between the two most famous wizards of book and screen: Gandalf of J.R.R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings epic and Dumbledore of the J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. And you mere mortals and muggles get to pick the winner.




Gandalf was the wisest, most powerful of the Maiar (spirits sent to help shape the world). And once he becomes Istari (wizard), he becomes the wisest and most powerful of the wizards. So Dumbledore is the most powerful wizard in the Wizarding World. But did he help shape the world? Uh, no.

In addition to being immortal, Gandalf also fought against the most powerful enemies of Middle Earth. He defeated the Balrog shattering its sword into tiny fragments. These creatures were so terrible, Tolkien described them as “scourges of life,” and “demons of terror.” And Gandalf killed one so…nuff said.

Gandalf also defeated the Nazgul (merciless creatures of evil) twice! Once he created a flood to sweep them away, while also adding some magical flare by manipulating the waves into shapes of “great white horses with shining white riders.” And in yet another instance, he repelled them by generating a beacon of pure white light from his staff.

In addition to dueling several enemies one-on-one, Gandalf also fought in the Battle of Five Armies and the Battle of Pelennor Fields, and also helped defeat Smaug, the last great dragon in Middle Earth. Sure Dumbledore duels other wizards but, come on, is there even a comparison?

Of the many opponents Gandalf faced, one of the most infamous was Saruman. Previously the No.1 wizard, Saruman succombed to the temptations of power and became an agent of the dark lord, Sauron. Gandalf overthrew Saruman, broke his staff, and banished him from the Order of Wizards. Not even Sauron’s minions stand a chance against Gandalf.

In his arsenal, Gandalf has Glamdring (an enchanted sword), his staff which is an extension and amplifier of his powers, and Narya (the ring of fire).

Apparently, Dumbledore flies around on a broom. While that’s interesting and all, Gandalf’s primary mode of transportation as Gandalf the White is Shadowfax, the lord of all horses. Shadowfax can run faster than the wind and he can understand human speech. Now that’s travelling in style. And he has also flown Gwair, the greatest of the Great Eagles, but that’s a whole other story.

Telekinesis, shapeshifting, immunity to heat, vision of both the spiritual and physical worlds, power to influence hearts and minds, ability to communicate with animals–these powers only scratch the surface of Gandalf’s many impressive abilities. Oh, and did I mention he’s a spirit of fire? ‘Cause if that’s not cool, I don’t know what is.

Gandalf was one of the very few who resisted the temptation of the one ring, a ring which succeeded in seducing and destroying countless unsuspecting souls. And Gandalf refused it when it was being offered to him unconditionally! Talk about resisting evil!

He took on elvish forms in order to walk among the Elves and learn from them. Elves are some of the most knowledgeable creatures in Middle Earth, skilled in combat, medicinal knowledge, and magic. In addition to Gandalf’s pre-existing knowledge and experience, this pretty much makes him the ultimate authority in, well, everything.


-Shapeshifting. He could take on elvish forms in order to “walk among them.”

-He killed the Balrog. Need I say more?

-Immortality. Doesn’t get much cooler than that.

-He can see into the future.

-Powers of enchantment even greater than those of the elf lords and ladies.

-Immunity to heat due to the fact that he is a spirit of fire. If that’s not cool, I don’t know what is.

-He can see both the spiritual and physical worlds, giving him the ability to see through illusions that would confound others.


-Power to command other Istari. Even Saruman, a powerful agent of Sauron!

-Power to influence the hearts and minds of elves, men, and dwarves.

-Wielder of Narya, the ring of fire. This gives him the power to “rekindle hearts in a world that grows chill.”

-He has a really cool staff that does really cool things. Nuff said.

-Pyrotechnics.  His fireworks are so spectacularly vivid that “fireworks” is hardly the right word to describe them.

-Knowledge of the spoken and written languages of the numerous regions and races in Middle Earth, and the ability to write in runes and cause others to be able to read and understand them.

-He has an enchanted sword called Glamdring that is so powerful that it shattered the Balrog’s giant sword into tiny fragments. Impressed yet?

-Rode Gwaihir, the greatest of the Great Eagles.

-Gandalf was able to break the spell on Theoden after he was brainwashed by Grima Wormtongue, an agent of Saruman, thus breaking through all the falsities implanted in his mind by Grima.

-He created a flood that swept away the Nazgul.  But not just any flood. “Some of the waves took the form of great white horses with shining white riders.”

-Mode of transportation as Gandalf the White was Shadowfax, the lord of all horses. Shadowfax was able to understand human speech and could run faster than the wind.

-Skilled in the knowledge of the various flora and fauna of Middle Earth as well as their magical uses.

-Helped defeat Smaug, the last great dragon in Middle Earth

-There are no Charms or Potions in Middle Earth. Instead there are 20 rings of power, and magical spells, all of which Gandalf is exceedingly knowledgeable.

-Overthrew Saruman, previously No.1 in the wizard order.  Gandalf broke his staff and banished him from the Order of Wizards.

-The guy is around 2,000 years old and he fought the Balrog, Saruman, the Necromancer, Thrain, and others one-on-one, as well as fighting in the Battle of Five Armies, and the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.

-Doesn’t have the need for invisibility. Gandalf hides from no one.

-Uses his incomparable knowledge and experience to aid Frodo on a quest to destroy the ring of Sauron, and Bilbo and 13 dwarves on a quest to kill Smaug.

-Creates a beacon of pure white light that repels the Nazgul (powerful, merciless creatures of evil).

-Resisted the temptation of ultimate power when Frodo offered him the one ring–a ring that succeeded in seducing and destroying most of those given the opportunity of possessing it. -Incredible willpower, don’t you think?

-Learned and walked among the elves, one of the wisest, most impressive races known to Middle Earth, skilled in combat, magic, and overall knowledge.



Gandalf may be the most powerful in Middle Earth, but Dumbledore is, no question, the most powerful in the Wizarding World. He used to be a transfiguration professor and taught Professor McGonagall how to be one too. He is also the only wizard to ever strike fear into Voldemort. With all the evil things that Voldemort has done, it has to take one powerful wizard to scare him off. Once Dumbledore died, Voldemort thought he was free and clear to waltz into Hogwarts, where he met his own demise as part of Dumbledore’s master plan that he continued to manipulate in death. He can’t be harmed in his current state in the headmaster’s office. Sure, Gandalf is immortal, but he can still be hurt.

Not only does Dumbledore have prophecies and crystal balls at his disposal, he keeps every memory he’s ever had and vital memories of others all in his Pensieve for future reference.  What’s more? Every wizard in the wizarding world has to have his or her own power come from him or herself, if this doesn’t happen, these kinds of wizards wouldn’t exist, there is no “greater power” that they have to tap into. Dumbledore’s patronus is a phoenix the embodiment of good. Immunity to evil beats an immunity to fire any day.

While it may be against Dumbledore’s morals to use any unforgivable curses, this debate is a comparison of skill, not a brawl, and there is no doubt that Dumbledore has the ability to use them. Every skill that Gandalf has there is a high probability that Dumbledore has a spell that can match it. For example, Telekinesis: The Summoning Charm. Dumbledore also has an uncanny ability to persuade people to do what he wants, like Slughorn taking the position as Potions’ Master.

Dumbledore was also the owner of the Wand of Destiny itself (in was passed around a few people and ended up back with Harry after he died). The Elder Wand is the most powerful wand in the wizarding world. For Dumbledore to wield it, he has to be legit.

He can also speak to snakes, goblins, and mermaids, I feel like that lets him meet some interesting people. And speaking of snakes, the giant one, the Basilisk was killed by Dumbledore’s own weapon.

I hear Gandalf has flown, once, on a giant eagle. Dumbledore flies on brooms strategically for transportation and they can be used in battle.

Also skilled in Legilimency, the power to extract or convey feelings and memories to another person’s mind, whether real or imaginary. It can act as a built in lie-detector. Occlumency, the counter to Legilimency, the ability to prevent one from discovering thoughts or memories that contradict one’s spoken words or actions, he is quite skilled in as well.

As mentioned before, he is an expert at Transfiguration. Conjuring a sofa out of thin air, or something worse, would definitely give him a one-up. The ability to apparate (wizard teleportation), is also very helpful, but instead of making the distinct *pop* that signifies an apparition, Dumbledore can do it silently.

As a skilled Alchemist, most notably discovered the twelve uses of dragon blood, and worked with Nicolas Flamel, the only known maker of the Sorcerer’s Stone. As a student, was exceptional at Charms and Potions, according to his obituary, his papers on the subject were published in very popular wizarding journals.

Highly skilled in wizard dueling, most famous for defeating Grindelwald, number two on the list of Most Dangerous Dark Wizards of All Time, second only to Voldemort. He can become invisible without the use of an invisibility cloak and also has extensive knowledge of the most powerful kind of magic, which he relays to Harry to help him realize his destiny to destroy Voldemort.

Possesses plenty of magical objects including the Deluminator, a device for removing and returning light, that can also be used as a homing device, and was at one time the owner of all three Deathly Hallows but gave them to Harry because it was the only way to defeat Voldemort. Modest isn’t it?

He was a star student at Hogwarts but taught himself about 94% of everything he knew and the knowledge he has today. In other words, G-E-N-I-U-S!



The victor is up to you!

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