Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Ranking the 11 Best Potterverse Wand Battles


Wands at the ready! In our ever-increasing excitement for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, we decided to take a step back in time and recount some of our favorite epic wand battles from the Potterverse.

You don’t bring a gun to a knife fight, and you don’t come unprepared to a wand battle. With just days to go before we get to go searching for fantastic beasts ourselves, we decided to look at some of the most amazing wand battles brought to the silver screen. And many don’t even feature titular character Harry Potter!

Strap on your nostalgia helmet and settle in on your broomstick as we count down the 11 best Potterverse wand battles.

Harry and Draco are poised for battle. (Warner Bros.)

11. Harry and Draco’s class duel (Chamber of Secrets)

These guys are some of screendom’s best rivals, and they’ve got a lot of anger to work out against each other. What better way to get out some of that aggression than with a good ol’ fashioned duel?

Gilderoy Lockhart originally chose Harry and Ron to battle it out, but Professor Snape stepped in to nominate Draco instead, turning this demonstration into a battle for the ages. While standing on what looks like a fencing strip, Harry and Draco are told to cast charms that’ll disarm, and disarm only. Being an evil Slytherin, Draco breaks rank, and casts Everte Statum, knocking Harry back. But he’s not defeated. He counters with Rictusempra, actually a tickling charm, but in the movie, Draco gets knocked back right on his butt in front of Snape.

And here’s where the battle gets even more interesting. Draco hits Harry with a Serpensortia, summoning what’s more than likely a deadly snake at Harry’s feet! As it slithers around and scares students (probably angry at Lockhart’s Alarte Ascendare charm), we get our first glimpse into just how powerful a wizard Harry Potter is. Using parseltongue without even knowing it, Harry quells the snake’s anger, giving Snape enough time to properly dispel the charm.

It’s a winning sort of battle that opens the door into the deep connection between Harry and the Dark Lord.

Wizards fighting at the Weasley’s home (Warner Bros.)

10. The Death Eaters attack the Burrow (Half-Blood Prince)

It’s time for a frightening battle on Christmas Eve. Harry, his friends, and the Order are enjoying a nice holiday evening when suddenly, the Death Eaters decide to ruin the festivities. Bellatrix LeStrange and Fenrir Greyback arrive at the Burrow to throw a wrench into holiday plans, and remind the good wizards and witches that Voldemort is still very much alive.

It begins with an interrupted moment of tenderness between Harry and Ginny as a massive fire erupts and circles around the Weasley home. There appears Bellatrix among the flames, ready to unleash some dark magic on the good guys. Harry runs right past the ring of fire, chasing down Bellatrix as she mocks him with the familiar phrase, “I killed Sirius Black!”

As the rest of the group gets a hold of the flames, Ginny runs after Harry and encounters Greyback, evilly grinning in the field. After several hold-your-breath moments, the rest of the Order comes plowing into the field, firing off spells at the Death Eaters trying to get the upper hand on Harry. After several counts of Stupefy, Bellatrix and Greyback realize they’re outnumbered and bugger off. But not before setting the Weasley’s house ablaze, as a poor, helpless Molly looks on.

Dumbledore battles the inferi (Warner Bros.)

9. Dumbledore goes apesh*t on some Inferi (Half-Blood Prince)

It’s not actually a wand battle per se, but it does exemplify just how powerful a wizard Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore really is. This is technically Dumbledore’s final wand battle, since he loses ownership of his wand as soon as he apperates back to Hogwarts. But this scene shows just how far he’ll go to keep the Chosen One safe.

Harry has just finished feeding a terrifying potion to Dumbledore in order to retrieve a horcrux at the bottom of a small sink. It exemplifies the sadistic lengths Voldemort goes to in order to keep his precious soul pieces safe. Harry shows off his signature bravery, listening to Dumbledore by continually feeding him the poison, even though the Professor is in immense amounts of pain. (He even screams “KILL ME!” at one point, that’s how serious this.)

When all is said and done, all Dumbledore wants is water. With the aguamenti spell not working, Harry steps closer towards the water surrounding him, unaware of the dangers lurking beneath the surface. As the nefarious inferi grab hold of our hero and pull him into the depths, Dumbledore, who’s basically dead at this point, comes back with this massive spell, flinging all the inferi off Potter, giving them enough time to escape the wretched place.

Harry and Voldemort’s midair battle (Warner Bros.)

8. The Death Eaters’ midair attack (Deathly Hallows Part 1)

The power of love is strong, but in some cases it doesn’t last forever. The protective spell placed on Harry Potter, thanks to his mother Lily’s sacrifice, wore off just as the clock rolled over to midnight on his 17th birthday. So even though the Order had the best intentions to move Harry to a safe location, the Death Eaters still found him.

Using some polyjuice potion, members of the Order all disguised themselves as Harry so they could move him to the Burrow as soon as possible. Things obviously didn’t go well, because not only did the Death Eaters show up, so did Voldemort. What ensued was a spectacular battle up in the air, as pairs of wizards fought back each Death Eater that pinpointed the group’s location.

It’s another moment to highlight themes of sacrifice throughout the Harry Potter universe. Although George Weasley lost an ear in the fight, and Hedwig and Alastor Moody lost their lives, each and every person there knew the risks in order to keep Mr. Potter safe from harm.

And although the Dark Lord tried to launch another killing curse at our hero, something incredible happened. The Golden Flame incantation poured out of Harry’s wand, completely shattering Voldemort’s wand, which he snatched away from Lucius Malfoy. It was Harry’s way of facing certain death, but also saying, “Not this time, Voldy.”

Draco feeling the effects of Sectumsempra (Warner Bros.)

7. The power of a secret curse (Half-Blood Prince)

It’s no secret that Harry and Draco dislike each other. That much is given. But when Draco puts people’s lives at stake to serve the Dark Lord, that’s where Harry has to step in and fight.

We find that Katie Bell returned from the hospital after Draco used the imperio curse on her, in order to get her to deliver a suspicious package to Dumbledore. Harry realizes Draco hightailed it out of the Great Hall as soon as Ms. Bell walks back in. Draco has been wrestling with his obligations to the Death Eaters, but seeing him wailing wordlessly in the bathroom reminds the audience, he’s still just a kid after all.

Harry doesn’t see it that way, and confronts him. A wand battle erupts in the men’s bathroom, knocking out sinks and other plumbing, making the entire room a sopping mess. When it looks like Draco may have the element of surprise on Harry, he’s hit with a Sectumsempra curse, though Harry is unsure of its effects. What happens is a grotesque display; Draco lying on the floor in pain, blood seeping from his torso as Harry looks on in horror.

And in walks Snape to assist, as he’s been assigned by different people to protect both Draco AND Harry. Though Harry won this time, it came at a frightful cost. Don’t cast spells you read about in margins of books.

Hermione executes a perfect petrified curse (Warner Bros.)

6. Cappuccinos with a side of Petrify (Deathly Hallows Part 1)

The ministry has fallen. Minister Scrimgeour is dead. And no one enjoyed dessert at Bill and Fleur’s wedding. The trio of Harry, Ron, and Hermione had just apperated to Tottenham Court Road in London, in order to get away from the chaos erupting around them. They stop by a little Italian coffee house in order to regroup and collect their thoughts.

But the three cappuccinos they ordered never make it to the table. Instead, two Death Eaters, Antonin Dolohov and Thorfinn Rowle barge into the shop disguised as workmen, and unleash spell after spell at our three heroes.

Although all three are powerful wizards and contribute to the coffee house fight, Miss Hermione Granger outshines her male cohorts. Though Harry was the one to stun Rowle, Hermione gets the final blow on Dolohov, hitting him with a Petrificus Totalus curse, and the battle is over. Knowing they can’t just leave these two servants of Voldemort lying around, Hermione casts yet another Obliviate charm, erasing both their memories and keeping her friends safe just a little longer. Go, girl, go.

And the fact that the coffee shop waitress is completely unaware of what her customers are up to makes this battle that much more great.

Dumbledore and Voldemort have an epic battle (Warner Bros.)

5. Dumbledore isn’t afraid of Mr. Tom Riddle (Order of the Phoenix)

It should surprise no one that Dumbledore is an extremely powerful wizard. He’s the only wizard Voldemort was ever truly afraid of, until Harry Potter stepped onto the scene. So the final blowout battle between good and evil in the fifth film makes for a legendary one.

Voldemort is confronting Harry over his use of the Crucio curse on Bellatrix. Granted, he only did it for a second, and it was enough to really frighten her. Voldemort sees this as a perfect time to get Harry on his side, but Dumbledore appears in the Ministry of Magic to bust down that idea real quick.

What ensues is one of the most visually pleasing wand battles we’ve seen between two very powerful wizards. Whatever spells they’re casting at each other are unknown to the audience, since both men are strong enough to deliver them without shouting the incantation. We get to see a giant fire snake thanks to Voldemort, but Dumbledore counters him with a globe of water. Voldemort unleashes shattered glass at the Professor, who reduces it to ash.

And even though Tom Riddle got into Harry Potter for a second, he gives him insight into the one power he’ll never possess: Friendship.

Molly Weasley gets the upper hand on Bellatrix LeStrange (Warner Bros.)

4. Don’t mess with Molly Weasley (Deathly Hallows Part 2)

Molly Weasley goes full mama bear in the battle for Hogwarts. It’s the final epic battle between good and evil, erupting within the halls of the great school. The all out war comes to a head as killing curses are flung around willy-nilly, and at one point, Death Eater Bellatrix LeStrange decides to take on Ginny Weasley.

Though Ginny blocks Bellatrix’s attack, the mere thought of someone harming her baby is enough to set Molly Weasley off. (“Not my daughter, you b*tch” anyone?) Both women are powerful witches, and their curses are flying back and forth at one another. At one point, Bellatrix nearly catches Molly off guard, but that could have been nothing more than a front.

At that moment, Molly gets the upper hand, binding Bellatrix in what looks like a painful and flesh-crumbling spell. The Death Eater stands there, gasping for air, stunned by the power she just witnessed. And with one final spell, Molly sends Bellatrix back to the hell from whence she came. She explodes into pieces of dark magic, shattered beyond repair and sent into a void far away, where she can never Avada Kedavra anyone ever again. We’ll say it again: Don’t mess with Molly Weasley.

Harry fights Voldemort in the Graveyard (Warner Bros.)

3. Ghouls (and Voldemort) in the graveyard (Goblet of Fire)

The Tri-Wizard cup proved to be nothing more than another attempt to resurrect Voldemort, but unfortunately, this time was a success. With the bone of the father, the flesh of the servant, and the blood of the enemy all in place, Voldemort can finally touch Harry. But that doesn’t mean he can kill him.

With no other Death Eater allowed to battle Mr. Potter, Voldemort, newly reborn and wand in hand, tries yet another Avada Kedavra spell on Harry, who counters with an equally powerful Expelliarmus. Voldemort was far too cocky before this duel began, and didn’t expect the rare effect of Priori Incantatem to happen. All those lives taken by Voldemort’s wand come back in full force, including Cedric Diggory, the old Muggle farmer, and Lily and James Potter.

Those spirits assure Harry he will be fine and distract the Dark Lord long enough so our hero can get back to Hogwarts via portkey. The duel ends, leaving Voldemort alone in the graveyard with his loyal, but evil servants.

We all know Voldemort is among the most feared wizards in centuries, but he shows time after time that power without love or friendship is meaningless. It will ultimately crumble and fall and be generally terrible (like his hug with Draco in Deathly Hallows Part 2).

The Order fights the Death Eaters (Warner Bros.)

2. A side order of the Order of the Phoenix (Order of the Phoenix)

“We all have light and dark within us,” said Sirius Black to his increasingly angry godson, “What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.” Those words ring true as we see a veritable battle between light and dark inside the Ministry of Magic.

Harry just grabbed his prophecy out of the Hall of Prophecy, which allows the Death Eaters to swarm upon what’s left of Dumbledore’s Army (made up of Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Neville, and Luna). What follows is another stunning duel between a bunch of students and powerful Death Eaters. Yet the teens still get the upper hand and defeat them all.

Unfortunately they fall face-first into the Death Chamber, an ominous room inside the Department of Mysteries. Just as we think the prophecy is about to fall into the wrong hands, the Order of the Phoenix shows up for another glorious battle. We see spells launched between the good guys and the bad guys, culminating in a fierce fight. Even as all the other students stay away from the action, Harry can’t help but join the fray.

He and his godfather battle it out, and we get to see Sirius finally using some strong spells. All that comes crashing down thanks to Bellatrix LeStrange, who shoots a killing curse at her own cousin, leaving Sirius’ Freudian Slip “Nice one, James!” to sadly ring in our ears.

The Final Battle (Warner Bros.)

1. We saw this coming, and couldn’t be happier (Deathly Hallows Part 2)

This is it. The final battle. The gauntlet has been thrown and the wands are out. Harry versus Voldemort, the final chapter. Good versus Evil. Order of the Phoenix versus the Death Eater. This is gonna be good.

Just moments before the battle, Harry proved himself to be the Master of Death, letting Voldemort literally kill him, essentially killing the horcrux within him. Voldemort is more and more vulnerable, and it’s unclear how much he believes that himself. As Harry stands up in front of the entirety of the Hogwarts students and staff, the final battle can commence.

Unfortunately for Voldemort, he wasn’t keeping a close enough eye on his giant snake Nagini, who is killed by Neville, allowing the final horcrux protection spell to fade away. Voldemort’s killing curse is fired back at him by Harry’s more powerful spell, and the battle, finally, is over.

Next: Creature Feature: The Many Beasts of the Potterverse

Though a lot of bloodshed and tears had let to this moment, it was necessary for the greater good, and for the evil to finally vanquish. After all, the last few lines of the Harry Potter series are as follows: “The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well.”