Do you think it is possible to choose between Dumbledore and Gandalf as the best wizard of all times? Both are from different and magical universes, and are seen maybe as the most powerful in each of them. They dedicated their lives in fighting against the dark side of each reality, and were willing to sacrifice in pursuit of peace and goodness. They are also different in some ways, and to see which one is the best we need to compare things such as their plays in each saga, their abilities, and their strength.
Dumbledore is the only wizard that makes Lord Voldemort feel threatened. He is the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Wizardry, established the Order of the Phoenix during Lord Voldemort’s reign, protects Harry and teaches him how to fight against the Dark Lord and his followers, the Death Eaters. On the other hand, Gandalf the Grey is a wizard that feels the danger that threatens the Middle Earth. In The Hobbit, he helps on the destruction of Smaug, the dragon, and in The Lord of the Rings he has the final word on the Fellowship of the Ring, that wants to defeat the evil Sauron and destroy the One Ring, responsible for all his power.
When it comes to power, both wizards are really impressive. Dumbledore is a master alchemist. He can become invisible without using a cape, he can apparate (which is a magical method of transportation) in a matter of seconds, and he owns a powerful and invincible wand. He is wise, has good advice for any situation and is a really valuable wizard, but can get really angry in certain situations and use this in his favor. Gandalf was already a powerful wizard before the combat against Balrog when he goes to the deepest place in the Middle Earth and returns more powerful than ever as Gandalf the White. He uses a staff and a sword, he can send fire with the power of his mind, he has the wisdom of thousands of years, and we can say that he is practically invincible and immortal. He is kind but really determined, responsible for saying the epic “You Shall Not Pass”.
Besides some similarities between Dumbledore and Gandalf, there are differences worthy of being mentioned. While the estimated age of Dumbledore is a hundred years, Gandalf may be more than eleven thousand years old. Dumbledore died due to a killing curse, and is only seen again in Limbo, a place between life and death, where he talks to Harry. Even so, he never comes back to life, while Gandalf seems to have an immortal soul. After he had died during the fight against Balrog, he comes back stronger than he used to be to finish his mission. This difference in their destiny may be related to the fact that Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings are placed in different universes where one is more “real” than the other, but when you look through a logical point of view, Gandalf probably has more experience and is the only who can escape from death, what makes him stronger.
Dumbledore and Gandalf are probably the most famous and estimated wizards in the fantasy world, and choosing who is the strongest is unfair when you take into account that they are from different novels and universes. The truth is that both have a legion of fans, and is almost impossible to say each one is your favorite after having contact with the books or movies where they came from. Who would win if they had to face each other during a combat? I really think they would probably shake hands, seat to smoke a pipe and have a long, deep and philosophical conversation.