The Battle of the Wizards: Dumbledore vs. Gandalf

Hello dear readers, I have come back with another literary showdown between two old-ass characters. These two gentlemen are some of the best known characters in all of literature in my opinion.

They’re very similar in terms of appearance: wear grayish robes, long beards and long hair. Both of them are also much older than a normal human should be.

Obviously they are both strong in their own worlds, and it is probably impossible to determine just how strong they are, so their “power levels” against each other won’t be considered.

What I will consider are 5 different things:

  • Their importance to their respective stories
  • Their role as a teacher/guide
  • Their legacy after the story
  • Their power within their own stories
  • Their “badassery”

If you have any other ideas for a VS. battle between two authors, two books, two series, two characters, or two anything, let me know!

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Round 1: How important are they to the story?

It’s obvious that both Dumbledore and Gandalf are important to their respective stories. They both serve as a mentor to the main characters, and really help drive the story along. The question is, who is the more important character? Whose story would be so vastly different without them?

Dumbledore is the headmaster of Hogwarts, and arch enemy to Voldemort. He is believed to be the most powerful wizard when he was alive, and was the oldest character we knew of. BUT, if you strip away the layers, Dumbledore isn’t the only one driving the story forward. Sure, he is the main reason Harry is able to defeat Voldemort, but without the rest of the Order of the Phoenix, a lot of the story wouldn’t be possible. The events of the books could have gone on if Dumbledore wasn’t in the picture.

Gandalf is basically a god in Middle Earth. He is of some level of power where he is more powerful than pretty much anything we see in the Lord of the Rings world. He sets Bilbo off on his quest, and then guides Frodo and the rest of the fellowship on their journey to destroy the ring. Though there are plenty of events outside of his control, Gandalf is a key factor in the ring being destroyed.

The winner of this round: Gandalf

Though Dumbledore is crucial to defeating Voldemort, the rest of the Order of the Phoenix could have done some significant damage on their own. Even if they were unable to “kill” Voldemort, they could have at least detained him theoretically.

Gandalf on the other hand is the sole reason that the Lord of the Rings trilogy is able to happen. He puts Bilbo’s quest into action, which puts the Ring and Frodo into their paths. If the Ring hadn’t been found and destroyed, the entire world would have been overtaken by orcs.


Round 2: Who is the better “mentor”?

Obviously Dumbledore and Gandalf are the respective “mentors” in their stories. They influence the main characters and help shape them to be the people they are at the end of their stories.

Dumbledore is literally a teacher, and shows Harry the ways to defeat Voldemort. He teaches him literal magic, and helps not only Harry, but everyone around him as well. Though he is absent at times, and neglectful at others, he ultimately knows how most scenarios will turn out. Whether this could be seen as abuse, or teachable moments, Dumbledore shapes the lives of the trio a lot more than they may realize.

Gandalf, though not technically a “teacher” is similar to Dumbledore in that he shapes those around him. He especially guides Frodo and the other Hobbits, but his teachings don’t stop with them. He influences the other members of the Fellowship as well. He doesn’t have any formal lessons that he teaches, but he does impart his vast knowledge onto those around him.

The winner of this round: Dumbledore

I think Dumbledore takes this round quite easily. He is a literal teacher and his “lessons” are much more obvious than Gandalf’s. Dumbledore literally teaches Harry about the Horcruxes and other magic as well. Not only that, because he knows what is going to happen in most of the books, he helps guide those around him and let them learn from what needs to be done. I think the lessons that Dumbledore teaches are more impactful than Gandalf’s.

Gandalf doesn’t so much as teach as he does provide a sense of security. He is seen as a guiding beacon to the Hobbits, which is what they need on their quest.

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Round 3: Their legacy

The actions that both Dumbledore and Gandalf take have long-lasting effects on the story. Even in death, their legacies can be seen after the stories are done.

Dumbledore dies before the story is over, but because of what he did, the Order of the Phoenix was able to defeat Voldemort and his army. Though he doesn’t do much after his death, Dumbledore inspired hundreds of students and was known to be one of the most powerful wizards. We don’t hear much of his legacy once the story is over, but we can only imagine the long-lasting effects of his actions. Who knows, maybe he will continue to help those at Hogwarts through his picture that is put up on the walls.

Gandalf does make it to the end of the story, after coming back from the dead once. He eventually leaves the realms of men, and takes a ship with Frodo to the west, with the elves and other ring-bearers. We also don’t get much of his legacy after the story, but even through the books we don’t see the long lasting effects of what he does. He has a pivotal role in destroying the ring, so I guess you could say he is much more important than Dumbledore is.

The winner of this round: Gandalf

Gandalf is just on a bigger scale, which gives him an advantage. He literally helps save the entire world, and for that he is definitely more important. His actions leave much longer-lasting results for his story than Dumbledore’s do. Whether he knew it or not, him choosing Bilbo meant that the Ring of Power would be found, and eventually destroyed.


Round 4: Who is the bigger badass?

When you’re an all-powerful wizard, chances are you’re also a bad ass. You’ve got spells to use that would knock the average person’s socks off. You’ve got a cool pet, or you make some pretty sweet fireworks. There are plenty of things that can make you a certified bad ass.

We see Dumbledore show this several times. Going toe to toe with Voldemort in the Ministry of Magic, stopping Grindewald, sacrificing his life to destroy a Horcrux, escaping with the flames of his pet phoenix, living till an ungodly age for a human, and just being Dumbledore. He often knew how things would play out before they came to be, and he did it all with plenty of flair.

Gandalf on the other hand, has some wicked fireworks at his disposal. I mean he made one that turned into a dragon. If that were possible I would definitely go to see that. He is friends with the lord of all horses, and is older than some of the other gods in the world. He goes toe to toe with a Balrog, is best friends with the Lord of all Horses, and saved the Mountain Eagle King a time or two.

The winner of this round: Dumbledore

This was a tough choice, but taking into account the two wizards in their respective worlds, I have to give it to Dumbledore, and only by a hair. It’s his attitude that is putting him over the edge. I’d say they are basically on the same level, but Dumbledore offers just a hint of style that Gandalf doesn’t really show. Plus, Gandalf is most often dealing with mortals, and it doesn’t give him a true chance to shine.


Round 5: How strong are they?

Head to head, Gandalf would win this round no issue. Nothing short of Avada Kadavra could stop him, and we aren’t even sure that would work. So, instead we will compare how strong they are in respect to their own worlds.

Dumbledore is immensely powerful, stopping two dark wizards; Grindewald and Voldemort, and surviving to be around 150 years old. There’s no power scale or anything that we can base him off of, but we don’t get to see any wizards that could stop him in his prime. Plus, he was the wielder of the elder wand, the most powerful wand in all of existence.

Gandalf on the other hand is an immortal spirit, older than almost anything we see in Middle Earth. He could destroy the ring and have defeated Smaug singlehandedly most likely, but knows it is not his job to do it. Instead, he knows he needs to be a guide along the path instead of the one paving the way. He defeats a Balrog and stops Sauruman, and wields one of the rings of power.

The winner of this round: Gandalf

Gandalf is just an anomaly in his story. There are so few that are near him in power that he could kill thousands in an instant.

Dumbledore is a great wizard in his own right, but he does not stand that far above the rest. One or two other wizards could probably take him down, while it would take something of equal power to stop Gandalf.

THE WINNER IS: GANDALF


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I think this was a close matchup overall. It’s tough to compare them considering their different stories, but I think Gandalf is the better wizard comparatively, because he is just so much above the rest of his world.

What do you think? Do you think Dumbledore or Gandalf is the better wizard? Let’s talk about it in the comments, or send me a message on social media.
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TOP TEN TUESDAY: BOOKS I’VE READ THAT I’D LIKE IN MY PERSONAL LIBRARY

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This one took me a long time to figure out, but I think I came up with a pretty good list in my opinion.

The Fellowship of the Ring

I read it on an e-Reader but haven’t purchased a physical copy yet.

Redwall Series

My favourite books growing up. I have kept the main stories, but I’d like to own them all again one day.

One Piece

Seems like a loft goal owning every chapter of One Piece. I’d probably need a room dedicated to it, but I wouldn’t mind that.

Naruto

I think this is a series I could re-read again in a reasonable amount of time, and I’d like to own it in order to do that.

Fullmetal Alchemist

I’ve started the collection, but I hope to own them all one day soon. There’s not too many so it’s not that achievable.

Where the Red Fern Grows

A great book from my childhood that I would love to read again from an adult perspective.

Legend Series

One of my favourite YA series that I’ve read. I always got the books from my school library, so owning them would be nice, especially since there is a new one coming out soon.

Various Shakespeare Works

Something about owning a bunch of Shakespeare stories makes me feel distinguished? Educated? Either way I’d like to own some more.

Sherlock Holmes

I’ve read a few Sherlock Holmes pieces in various books, but I’d like one giant collection of them all.

UnNamed Book from Childhood

I don’t remember the name of it, or who wrote it, but I remember it was about a boy who was kidnapped and dragged to an island in order to figure out a water pumping system his dad built to get at some buried treasure. If that makes any sense to you and you know the name, please let me know!