Who Would Win In A Fight: Harry Potter Or Gandalf

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A few months ago someone left a comment asking who I thought would win in a fight between Gandalf and Harry Potter. At the time I said gandalf would obviously win as Gandalf is basically an angel. However the more I looked into it the more I realised that the question was not quite as simple as it appears.

Okay we will start off with Gandalf, in Tolkien lore he is basically some sort of mythological being. Gandalf or as he was originally named Olórin was one of the Maiar. These were spirits that descended to Arda (middle-earth) to help the Valar (it’s a bit complicated but they are basically gods) shape the World. Each of the Maiar was associated with one or more of the Valar. Olórin belonged to Manwë the Wind-King and Varda the Star-Queen.

Around TA 1000, Manwë became aware that, Sauron – the spirit of Morgoth’s dedicated lieutenant – was rising in power. Manwë sent messengers to Middle-earth to protect the free peoples. The wizards of Istari were known by various names, five of those sent to Middle-earth are known, the two Blue wizards, Radagast the Brown, Gandalf the Grey and Saruman the White.

So the Istari were sent to protect and were forbidden to dominate the free peoples of Middle-earth or match Sauron’s power with power. Basically the Wizards were sent as guides and were not allowed to directly intervene in the affairs of Middle-earth. However they were not very good at this. The two Blue Wizards sort of just disappeared into the East, Radagast became distracted by all the animals and Saruman disobeyed his orders and was then banished from Valinor. Gandalf was the only one who stayed true to his quest. Almost, he still interfered a couple of times.

Okay, now lets talk about Harry Potter for a while. In an attempt to circumvent a prophecy which stated that a boy born at the end of July would be able to defeat him, Lord Voldemort killed Harry’s parents, however as a consequence of Lily’s sacrifice, Voldemort was defeated after his curse backfired. Resulting in Voldemort becoming nothing more than a wandering spirit and Harry becoming known as The Boy Who Lived.

Harry was raised by his Muggle family and learned of the Wizarding World on his eleventh birthday. During his time at Hogwarts he got into trouble many times and though he was famous in the Wizarding World, he wasn’t special. In that I mean he didn’t have any extra magical powers from surviving the psychopath who killed his parents.

Apart from being skilled in defense he wasn’t especially good in classes, he admits readily that he gets by mostly on luck. The only tiny advantage Harry has is that he has a piece of Voldemort’s soul in his head. And you can’t really call that an advantage as it gives Voldemort access to Harry’s mind. Harry didn’t even use some fancy magic when he eventually did properly defeat Voldemort. He used a spell every first year at Hogwarts learns. The Boy Who Lived, was just that, a kid. I mean by Deathly Hallows he is 17 but he is pretty much still a kid.

So basically we have an immortal magical being going up against a 17 year old with a wand. And who do I think would win? Neither of them. I can’t imagine there would ever be a situation where Harry and Gandalf would have – or even want to – fight. Harry gets by mostly on luck, he does everything he can to avoid getting into trouble though isn’t very good at it. Gandalf was sent to Middle-earth as a guide. In the books we only see him actually using magic three times. The rest is spent telling the people of Middle-earth what they should be doing. Why would a kid and an angel who will be kicked out of heaven for becoming too powerful fight each other? They wouldn’t. However if it was just a matter of who has the highest power level Gandalf would totally win.

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  • gruundehn

    Never read the Harry Potter series and only saw a couple of clips of the movies so my impression is perhaps not valid but I see him as a typical RPG wizard, spells for everything and spells defining him. I have read The Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings as well as The Silmarillian and have grown to dislike JRR Tolkien but I see Gandalf as the Grand Vizier type, an advisor not a wizard in spite of the title he bears. The most powerful magic he cast was where he turned the Fellowship’s weapons so that the Fellowship could not attack him thinking he was Saruman. Pretty weak stuff and indeed magic throughout Tolkien’s works is weak and stage dressing for the most part. So I agree with you, the two would never fight because the two are in completely different categories of hero – would Paladin the Western wandering knight fight Roland, Charlemagne’s paladin? No.

    • bluchickenninja

      Oh yeah, Gandalf is called a wizard but he really isn’t one. I mean don’t the hobbits know him as that guy with the fireworks. I think in LOTR he only does magic 3 times. And I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that he basically defeats the balrog by naming it.

          • bluchickenninja

            Apparently I got confused after reading something like this:

            Tolkien’s works, power is presented not in actions like the waving of wands or the casting of spells, but in simple (either sung or spoken) statements of fact. Gandalf’s denial of passage (as well as his entire speech to the balrog) is at once both an act of magic and such a statement of simple fact.

          • gruundehn

            Interesting perspective and one I’ve never considered. I stopped reading Tolkien after I discovered much better writers. The stories are good but the writing dulls the stories down for me.

  • achapin3

    excellent post..I love both of those series and it’s hard to imagine one or the other really wanting to fight the other.

  • transforminglifenow

    I love your explanation. I agree that they would never fight. However, you forgot to say that Harry, dear dear Harry, also has courage. It’s what gets him through. Luck is part, but courage, as all Gryffindors know, is a necessity!

  • TheLiteraryCounsellor

    Yeah, they probably wouldn’t fight. It’s more likely that Gandalf would show up at Harry’s house one day and tell him that he had to go on a long journey with a bunch of house elves. Then 1/4 of the way through their trip Gandalf would disappear for some reason, leaving Harry and the elves to finish the quest. Some of the elves would die, Harry would get hurt a lot, and finally Gandalf would show up at the very end with some giant eagles to give them a ride home.

  • Luna Cooler

    You know how Harry wins most of his missions? Hermione. Maybe he could win, but only if Hermione was with him. Also, Harry’s older now. He’s in his thirties, so he’s not exactly seventeen anymore

    • bluchickenninja

      Yes, Harry wins most of his missions but he readily admits that its mostly from luck. I’m comparing book Harry to book Gandalf, at that time Harry is anywhere from 11 to 17. At that time Voldemort is more powerful than him. In fact the only advantage Harry has over Voldemort is his ability to love others.

  • Anonymous

    I love articles like this as they pave the way for a good debate. I think it’s really interesting how you say both of them would not want to fight each other. This is a stand-out, independent article. I enjoyed reading

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