File:Dumbledore vs Voldemort.gif
"I'd take you on any time on my own. Tonight, if you want. Wizard's duel. Wands only – no contact. What's the matter? Never heard of a wizard's duel before, I suppose?"
Draco Malfoy challenging Harry Potter to a duel in 1991[src]

A duel is a confrontation between two or more wizards or witches. The combatants face each other, bow, and then attempt to disarm, injure, or kill each other in order to force submission, and thus a winner is decided. Opponents are only permitted to use magical means of combat.



There are rules and customs that define how a proper duel is performed and that are normally known to wizards and witches born to magical families, even at a young age. Ron Weasley, for instance, told Harry Potter some of the rules of duelling as a first year student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry after Harry was challenged to a duel by Draco Malfoy in 1991. In the 1992–1993 school year Gilderoy Lockhart formed the duelling club, in which duelling strips were used in a system similar to that of modern fencing.[1].

The challengeEdit

"You have been taught how to duel Harry Potter? We bow to each other, Harry. Come, the niceties must be observed… Dumbledore would like you to show manners… Bow to death, Harry… I said, bow."
Lord Voldemort to Harry Potter in the graveyard of Little Hangleton[src]

In a formal duel, one wizard or witch challenges another, although it is implied that duels are not commonplace in modern polite society. If the other person accepts, they then arrange a meeting time and place for the duel. Draco challenged Harry this way in their first year, though it was really an attempt to get Harry into trouble for being out of his dormitories after curfew[2]. Opponents bow to one another before beginning to fight, as Lord Voldemort reminded Harry Potter before their duel in the graveyard of Little Hangleton in 1995.[3] Lockhart has gone as far as twirling his hands while bowing, possibly trying to make himself look more gentlemanly. However, duellists who do not respect their opponents do not usually bow correctly, as Snape simply jerked his head, while Harry, Draco Malfoy, and Voldemort barely bent their heads at all.


"Well, a second's there to take over if you die..."
Ron Weasley[src]

Duellists will often have a "second" in a formal duel — a person, usually a trusted ally, who will act as a replacement for one duellist if necessary. Ron Weasley volunteered to be Harry's second in the aforementioned planned duel with Draco, who chose Vincent Crabbe.[1]


Priori Incantatem

Priori Incantatem initiated during the duel between Harry Potter and Voldemort in 1995.

There is a standard rule in duels that only magical means may be used to fight an opponent, and that there is to be no physical contact between the duellists[2]. Millicent Bulstrode broke this rule when she duelled Hermione Granger in 1992 in the Duelling Club; the much larger girl ended up wrestling Hermione to the ground and holding her in a headlock.[4]

The parties of a duel might also agree to other limits, unless planning to duel to the death, which is only common practice in a war. Minerva McGonagall, for example, informed fellow professor Horace Slughorn just before the Battle of Hogwarts that if any Slytherin attempted to sabotage their defence efforts or to fight them, they would "duel to kill", which alarmed him[5]. This may indicate that duellists generally agree not to use particularly dangerous and/or illegal spells, such as the Unforgivable Curses.

Practice duelsEdit

Duels can also be used for training purposes, as was the case in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in 1992, when Defence Against the Dark Arts professor Gilderoy Lockhart founded the short-lived Duelling Club. Its function was to teach students self-defence while "Slytherin's Monster" was on the loose. The club did not last long, as Professor Lockhart was incompetent.[4]

Notable duelsEdit

Duellists Circumstances Outcome
Alberta Toothill vs. Samson Wiblin All-England Wizarding Duelling Competition in 1430 Alberta Toothill won the competition using a Blasting Curse.
Egbert the Egregious vs. Emeric the Evil Battle for the Elder Wand Egbert defeats Emeric and becomes the master of the Elder Wand. It should be noted that he was the only known wizard, apart from Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter, to defeat the owner of the Elder Wand in a duel.
Albus vs Aberforth Dumbledore vs. Gellert Grindelwald Albus and Grindelwald were going to expose the wizarding world and enslave muggles. Aberforth tried to stop them but Gellert was furious with him and tortured Aberforth. Albus protected his brother and a three-way Duel broke out (Duel at Godric's Hollow). By the end of the duel Ariana Dumbledore stepped in and was killed by a rogue spell. Gellert fled and the two brothers were left in ruins.
Albus Dumbledore vs. Gellert Grindelwald Arguably the greatest duel in history. Dumbledore confronted Grindelwald, a powerful Dark Wizard who possessed the Elder Wand and who was gaining power in the wizarding world, in 1945 (Duel between Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald). Dumbledore defeated Grindelwald, who was subsequently imprisoned in Nurmengard, in what witnesses described as the greatest duel ever fought.[1]
Girl who played Amata vs. Girl who played Asha Before a production of The Fountain of Fair Fortune the Boy who played Sir Luckless broke up with "Amata" and fell for "Asha" As the Ashwinder that portrayed the worm exploding in a spray of hot ash, "Amata" and "Asha" turned on each other and began duelling. Who won is unknown, as the hall was vacated. [6]
Gilderoy Lockhart vs. Severus Snape A demonstration for the Duelling Club in 1992. There was also small duels between Harry and Draco, Seamus Finnigan and Ron Weasley, Neville Longbottom and Justin Finch-Fletchley and Hermione Granger with Millicent Bulstrode. The outcomes of these duels were Harry getting knocked down but placing a Tickling Charm on Draco, Ron's broken wand had knocked Seamus over, Neville and Justin were lying on the ground beaten and Millicent had Hermione in a head lock and both there wands on the floor. Snape easily defeated Lockhart, who was made to look even clumsier than usual.[4]
Harry Potter vs. Draco Malfoy Harry communicated with the snake conjured by Draco, therefore learning (along with the rest of the school) that he could speak Parseltongue.[1]
Ministry of Magic Workers vs. Death Eaters Riot at the 1994 Quidditch World Cup Death Eaters were rioting at the World Cup, hanging Muggles upside down in the air and blasting tents away. Ministry of Magic workers fight the Death Eaters, until Barty Crouch Jr. fires the Dark Mark in the sky and the Death Eaters flee.
Harry Potter vs. Draco Malfoy Outside of Potions Class Harry fires a Furnunculus Curse at Malfoy. At the same time, Malfoy fires a Densaugeo Hex. The spells hit each other and richochet everywhere, Harry's hitting Goyle and Malfoy's hitting Hermione.
Harry Potter vs. Lord Voldemort In the graveyard of Little Hangleton in June 1995 after Voldemort's return (Duel in Little Hangleton). Voldemort used Avada Kedavra and Harry used Expelliarmus. Due to the twin cores of the wands, the wand streams locked, and through Harry's willpower, Priori Incantatem was triggered from Voldemort's wand and Harry managed to escape.[3]
Albus Dumbledore vs. Cornelius Fudge, Dolores Umbridge, John Dawlish, Percy Weasley and Kingsley Shacklebolt In 1996 after Dumbledores Army got exposed to Umbridge, Dumbledore blamed himself for the organisation to protect Harry and Fudge ordered Dawlish and Kingsley to arrest Dumbledore. Dumbledore incapacitated Fudge, Umbridge, Dawlish, Percy and Kingsley despite the fact that Kingsley (Who was the only notably powerful one out of them) was a member of the Order of the Phoenix, as it would raise suspicion by Fudge. This allowed Dumbledore to escape from Hogwarts with Fawkes before they could recover.
Rubeus Hagrid, Fang and Minerva McGonagall vs. Dolores Umbridge, John Dawlish and 5 other Aurors Umbridge attempted to sack and arrest Hagrid during the night with some Aurors but McGonagall intervened. Hagrid was resistant to stunning spells because he was half-giant as they bounced off him while McGonagall was badly injured by four stunning spells. Fang was stunned by Umbridge. Hagrid then defeated all the Aurors with his great strength and escaped from Hogwarts before Umbridge could stop him.
Harry Potter and Hermione Granger vs. two Death Eaters Battle of the Department of Mysteries Harry stunned one Death Eater; Hermione stunned the other.[7]
Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Neville Longbottom vs. Antonin Dolohov and Jugson. Harry put Jugson in a Full Body-Bind Curse and Hermione silenced Dolohov. Dolohov hit Hermione with an unknown curse then broke Neville's wand and nose. Harry then struck Dolohov with a Full Body-Bind Curse.[7]
Nymphadora Tonks and Sirius Black vs. Bellatrix Lestrange and Lucius Malfoy Tonks stunned Lucius before he could cast anything (It is unknown if this spell made contact but since Lucius didn't have another duel for a bit and that he didn't draw his wand in time it might have hit him). Tonks started duelling Bellatrix and Bellatrix attempted to kill Sirius, knocked out Tonks and one of Bellatrix's curses knocked Sirius threw the Veil of Death.
Kingsley Shacklebolt vs. two Death Eaters Kingsley defeats the Death Eaters.
Sirius Black vs. Death Eater They dueled so fiercely their wands were blurs. Sirius defeats this Death Eater, as he is unhurt and able to fight Antonin Dolohov later on in the battle.
Antonin Dolohov vs. Alastor Moody Dolohov defeated and injured Moody (who later attempted to bring Tonks back to consciousness).[7]
Remus Lupin vs. Lucius Malfoy Battle of the Department of Mysteries Remus defeated Malfoy as he was uninjured and subsequently able to prevent Harry from running into the Veil of Death.[7]
Sirius Black

 and Harry Potter vs. Antonin Dolohov

Sirius rams Dolohov with his shoulder, and they start to duel. Dolohov attempts to use his curse on Sirius but Harry hits him with a Full Body-Bind Curse.
Kingsley Shacklebolt vs. Augustus Rookwood Kingsley presumably defeats Rookwood because he is able to fight Bellatrix Lestrange later on in the battle.
Bellatrix Lestrange vs. Kingsley Shacklebolt Bellatrix defeated Kingsley.[7]
Harry Potter vs. Bellatrix Lestrange Harry, filled with rage over his godfather's death chases Bellatrix into the Ministry Atrium. Harry hits Bellatrix with the Cruciatus Curse but doesn't cast it properly.
Albus Dumbledore and Fawkes vs. Voldemort. In the Atrium of the Ministry of Magic at the end of the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, between the two most powerful wizards alive (Duel in the Ministry Atrium). Dumbledore managed to protect Harry Potter from Voldemort, who was forced to flee when Ministry officials arrived and saw him.[7]Fawkes swallows a Klling Curse sent at Dumbledore.
Harry Potter vs. Draco Malfoy Harry followed Malfoy into a bathroom in an attempt to find out what he was planning. When Malfoy discovered that Harry was there, they began to duel. Malfoy attempted to use the Cruciatus Curse on Harry, but Harry countered with the spell Sectumsempra, severely injuring Malfoy. Severus Snape entered the room and healed Malfoy, then sent him to the hospital wing.[8]
Harry Potter vs. Severus Snape After Snape killed Albus Dumbledore in 1997, Harry pursued and tried to curse him several times. Snape easliy defeated Harry and Disapparated.[8]
Bill Weasley vs. Fenrir Greyback Battle of the Astronomy Tower Greyback brutalized Bill, who survived, but retained scars and mild lycanthropic symptoms.[8]
Ginny Weasley and Harry Potter vs. Amycus Carrow Amycus was firing Cruciatus Curses at Ginny while she dodged them. Later on in the duel Harry hits Amycus with an Impediment Jinx.
Minerva McGonagall vs. Alecto Carrow Harry Potter sees McGonagall, Ron, Lupin, and Tonks each battling a seperate Death Eater. Harry glimpses Alecto running away while McGonagall screams "Take that!".
Ronald Weasley vs. Death Eater Harry glimpses Ron battling this Death Eater. Ron defeats this Death Eater, as he is unhurt after the battle.
Remus Lupin vs. Death Eater Remus defeats the Death Eater, as he is unhurt after the battle.
Nymphadora Tonks

 and Harry Potter vs. Thorfinn Rowle

Rowle fires curses in all directions, making them richochet at all angles. Harry Potter hits Rowle with a Hex and Rowle runs away.
Rubeus Hagrid vs. Thorfinn Rowle Rowle hits Hagrid with curses but Hagrid is half-giant so these don't affect him. Rowle lights Hagrid's Hut on fire.
Kingsley Shacklebolt and Hermione Granger vs. five Death Eaters Battle of the Seven Potters Kingsley and Hermione injured two Death Eaters, including Travers, and may have killed one, and escaped.[5]
Nymphadora Tonks and Ron Weasley vs. several Death Eaters, including Bellatrix and Rodolphus Lestrange Ron stunned one Death Eater; Tonks injured Rodolphus; they both evaded capture and injury.[5]
Alastor Moody and Mundungus Fletcher vs. Lord Voldemort Fletcher immediately Disapparated in terror and Moody was killed by Voldemort's Killing Curse.[5]
Remus Lupin, George Weasley, and Severus Snape (secretly) vs. several Death Eaters Snape's Sectumsempra, intended for a Death Eater who was trying to kill Remus, permanently cut off George's ear, but he and Remus escaped.[5]
Harry Potter and Rubeus Hagrid vs. three Death Eaters and Stanley Shunpike Harry and Hagrid hold off their attackers until they get to the safehouse.
Harry Potter vs. Lord Voldemort Harry's wand recognised Voldemort as an enemy and fired golden fire at him, allowing Harry and Rubeus Hagrid to escape. Hedwig is killed by a stray Killing Curse.[5]
Wedding Guests vs. Death Eaters Attack at the Burrow After the Fall of the Ministry of Magic, Death Eaters manage to penetrate the enchantments around The Burrow and interrogate the guests for information about Harry Potter.
Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger vs. Antonin Dolohov and Thorfinn Rowle The two Death Eaters attacked the trio on Tottenham Court Road in August 1997. Harry stunned Rowle, Dolohov bound Ron with conjured ropes, stunned Harry and Hermione then placed him in a Full Body-Bind Curse. Hermione then performed a Memory Charm on both Death Eaters.[5]
Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley vs. Xenophilius Lovegood In early 1998, the trio visited the Lovegood House, where Xenophilius attempted to ambush them to try to save his daughter. An Erumpent horn in the living room exploded, and the trio hid as Death Eaters Selwyn and Travers arrived, and then escaped.[5]
Bellatrix Lestrange vs. Four Snatchers In Malfoy Manor in Easter of 1998 when they defied her. Bellatrix swiftly incapacitated the four Snatchers.[5]
Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Dobby vs. Bellatrix Lestrange, Fenrir Greyback, and Lucius, Narcissa and Draco Malfoy Harry and Ron were freed from the dungeons by Dobby and raced to rescue Hermione Granger, who had been tortured into unconsciousness with the Cruciatus Curse. Ron disarmed Bellatrix. Harry Stunned Lucius Malfoy. Bellatrix threatened to kill Hermione with her knife and stole Harry and Ron's wand from them but Dobby dropped the shandeleir on Bellatrix and Hermione and it narrowly missed. Harry stole back his and Ron's wands and he took Draco's too. Harry stunned Greyback with the 3 wands and the spell was so powerful it lifted Greyback off his feet and he flew to the roof and back down again. Harry, Ron, Hermione and Dobby escape with the wands of Bellatrix and Draco, but Bellatrix threw her knife that killed Dobby as he Disapparated.[5]
Minerva McGonagall and Filius Flitwick vs. Severus Snape Shortly prior to the Battle of Hogwarts McGonagall was duelling Snape alone until Flitwick enchanted the suit of armour that Snape was hiding behind. Pomona Sprout and Horace Slughorn were behind Flitwick but didn't cast any spells. Snape ran away when Flitwick came.
Nymphadora Tonks vs. Bellatrix Lestrange Battle of Hogwarts, first part Bellatrix killed Tonks.[5]
Remus Lupin vs. Antonin Dolohov Dolohov killed Remus.[5]
Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley, and Hermione Granger vs. Draco Malfoy, Gregory Goyle, and Vincent Crabbe Harry, Ron, and Hermione travel to the Room of Requirement to get Rowena Ravenclaw's Diadem; Draco, Crabbe, and Goyle follow them and they engage in a duel. Harry, Ron, and Hermione defeat Draco, Crabbe and Goyle, resulting in Crabbe's death.
Percy Weasley vs. Pius Thicknesse Percy defeated Thicknesse, hitting him with a jinx that seemed to turn him into a kind of sea urchin..[5]
Fred Weasley vs. Death Eater Death Eater fell under three spells cast by Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger, who arrived to help. Fred was killed by an explosion almost immediately afterwards.
Dean Thomas and Parvati Patil vs. Antonin Dolohov, Travers and a masked Death Eater Dean and Parvati were duelling individually (Dean with Dolohov and Parvati with Travers) until a masked Death Eater was distracted by Ron Weasley and Dean stunned him. Dolohov tried to curse him until Parvati cast Petrificus Totalus on him. It is unknown what happened to Travers, but since he was out numbered Dean and Parvati probably won.
Percy Weasley and two wizards vs. Augustus Rookwood Rookwood was pursuing the two wizards until Percy came and attacked Rookwood. It is unknown who won this duel because both wizards had another duel against another wizard.
Filius Flitwick vs. Yaxley It is unknown who won this duel, but it is most likely that Yaxley retreated after Voldemort called a one hour ceasefire to the battle.
Kingsley Shacklebolt vs. Death Eater It is unknown who won this duel, but it is most likely the Death Eater retreated after Voldemort called a one hour ceasefire to the battle.
George Weasley and Lee Jordan vs. Yaxley Battle of Hogwarts, second part George and Lee defeated Yaxley.
Aberforth Dumbledore vs. Augustus Rookwood Aberforth defeated Rookwood.[5]
Rubeus Hagrid vs. Walden Macnair Hagrid defeated Macnair, hurling him across the Great Hall.[5]
Ronald Weasley and Neville Longbottom vs. Fenrir Greyback Ron and Neville defeated Greyback.[5]
Filius Flitwick vs. Antonin Dolohov Flitwick defeated Dolohov, who fell with a scream; it is unknown if he survived.[5]
Arthur Weasley and Percy Weasley vs. Pius Thicknesse Arthur and Percy defeated Thicknesse (see above).[5]
Hermione Granger, Ginny Weasley, and Luna Lovegood vs. Bellatrix Lestrange After Bellatrix's Killing Curse nearly struck Ginny, Molly Weasley took over the fight. Molly refused to let any students help her as they duelled.[5]
Molly Weasley vs. Bellatrix Lestrange Molly struck Bellatrix in the chest with a curse while she laughed, killing her.[5]
Kingsley Shacklebolt, Minerva McGonagall, and Horace Slughorn vs. Lord Voldemort Voldemort knocked the three backwards when he saw that Bellatrix Lestrange had been killed; the three of them survived.[5]
Harry Potter vs. Lord Voldemort Battle of Hogwarts (Duel in the Great Hall) Voldemort used Avada Kedavra and Harry used Expelliarmus. Because Voldemort was using the Elder Wand, which owed its allegiance to Harry, not only was Voldemort disarmed, but his own curse rebounded, killing him.[5]

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

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