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"And at the height of his power, when Dumbledore knew he was the only one who could stop him, he duelled Grindelwald, and beat him, and he took the Elder Wand. "
— Information on the duel[src]

This final duel between Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald took place in 1945, before Dumbledore's ascension to the position of Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and ended the global wizarding war. According to Elphias Doge, people still say that no duel ever matched it.[1]


Background information

A young Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald

Decades before the legendary duel, Gellert Grindelwald had come to Godric's Hollow to stay with his great aunt, Bathilda Bagshot. He became friends with the seventeen year old Albus Dumbledore, and they both became obsessed with the powerful objects known as the Deathly Hallows. This trio comprised the Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone, and the Cloak of Invisibility.[2]

The plans became more and more far-fetched. Albus's younger brother, Aberforth, intervened and pointed out the impossibilities of the scheme. Gellert quickly became enraged and the three began to duel. Ariana Dumbledore was killed in the process.[3] This caused the end of Dumbledore and Grindelwald's friendship, and forced Grindelwald to flee, going on later to raise an Army in an attempt to continue his plan of wizarding domination.[2]

Grindelwald soon tracked down the Elder Wand, stole it from Gregorovitch, and began to amass power.[4] As his machinations played out over the next 45 years, he became one of the most powerful Dark Wizards in history, and a serious threat to the Wizarding World. Meanwhile, Dumbledore had become the Transfiguration Professor and Deputy Headmaster of Hogwarts, and gained a considerable reputation for his wisdom and achievements along the way.[2]

Dumbledore and Grindelwald sealing their blood pact in their youth

As Grindelwald gained power, public opinion grew that Albus Dumbledore would be the only one able to stop him. Dumbledore, still haunted by his history with the dark wizard, procrastinated. Unbenknowst to most, Dumbledore was actually unable to confront Grindelwald directly: in their youth, the two wizards had sworn a blood pact, sealed in magic, not to fight each other. The vial that had sealed the pact was kept by Grindelwald for years until it was stolen in 1927 by Newton Scamander. Dumbledore believed that it might be possible for him to destroy the blood pact when it was given to him by Newt, but seemed unsure on whether he would succeed.[5]

In 1932, Grindelwald tried to kill Credence Barebone at The Walk of the Qilin Ceremony for failing him. Albus and Aberforth Dumbledore intervened, and the blood pact between Grindelwald and Dumbledore was broken. He and Grindelwald immediately started duelling for the second time in another dimension until they reached a stalemate and separated.[6]

The duel

By 1945, outcry against Grindelwald had become too vocal. Grindelwald's actions were far too horrible for Dumbledore to ignore, and he finally confronted his old friend. The duel was one of the most well known duels in the world, and one of Dumbledore's most famous moments, with Dumbledore winning the duel and the Elder Wand's allegiance. According to Elphias Doge, eye-witnesses speak of the terror and awe they felt as they watched the extraordinary Dumbledore and Grindelwald do battle, and proclaimed that no duel ever matched theirs.[1]


Gellert Grindelwald was captured and detained in the top-most cell of Nurmengard, a prison that he himself had constructed to hold his enemies. According to Elphias Doge, Dumbledore's triumph and its consequences for the Wizarding world were considered a turning point in magical history to match the introduction of the International Statute of Secrecy, and the downfall of Lord Voldemort.[1] Grindelwald remained there for the rest of his life until his death at the hands of the only Dark Wizard more powerful and dangerous than himself, Lord Voldemort, after refusing to give him information about the Elder Wand.[7]

Albus Dumbledore returned to his place in Hogwarts, and eventually became Headmaster until his death in 1997. His victory in this battle would be published on his Chocolate Frog Card and award him an Order of Merlin first class.[8]

Behind the scenes

  • 1945 was also the year that Tom Riddle graduated from Hogwarts. If the duel happened in May (coinciding with the fall of the Axis Powers in Europe), Riddle would've been sitting in his Seventh-year N.E.W.T. exams at the time.
  • Rita Skeeter claims that once people have read her book, they may be forced to conclude that there was no spectacular duel of legend, but that Grindelwald simply conjured a white handkerchief from the end of his wand and came quietly. Though given Skeeter's tendency to lie and exaggerate, this is most likely untrue. The Pottermore illustration depicting the showdown supports the latter claim. Along with that, Dumbledore himself admits he had duelled and won over Grindelwald, along with winning the Elder Wand.
  • It is possible that this duel will feature in Fantastic Beasts 5, the final film in the Fantastic Beasts film series.[9][10]


Notes and references