You might be surprised to see this witch on the top ten list, but however much you dislike her, Bellatrix’s duelling prowess is undeniable. She duelled both Tonks and Sirius at the Ministry of Magic in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and came out unscathed. At the Battle of Hogwarts, we hear that ‘Bellatrix was still fighting too, fifty yards away from Voldemort, and like her master she duelled three at once: Hermione, Ginny and Luna, all battling their hardest, but Bellatrix was equal to them’. Being the equal to three DA trained witches is very impressive, especially in the heat of the battle. In terms of whether we’d want Bellatrix by our side? Well, she was unquestionably loyal to Lord Voldemort so we’re not sure we’d want to take the risk…
We first saw Snape in action at Gilderoy Lockhart’s duelling club. True, Lockhart wasn’t exactly a worthy candidate, but Snape’s Disarming Charm knocked his opponent right off his feet. Outside of the duelling club, we also saw Snape fight his way out of the castle at the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – and we know he invented many a handy spell during his time at Hogwarts. His power as a Legilimens would definitely come in handy in a duel given that he’d be able to see into his opponent’s mind and perhaps determine their next move. We’re not sure he’d be the most comforting of seconds, given his aloof and often cold nature – but he definitely makes it onto this list.
Neville might have had a bit of a slow start when it came to duelling, but by the time he’d finished training with Dumbledore’s Army he could cast ‘Expelliarmus’ as expertly as anyone else – he even managed to disarm Hermione Granger. A true Gryffindor at heart, Neville was as loyal as they come, so we’re certain he’d have our backs in a duel. By Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Neville was heading up the resistance at Hogwarts, and fought valiantly at the Battle of Hogwarts, duelling the likes of Fenrir Greyback and holding his own. And you never know, his Herbology knowledge might come in useful in a duel too! Read more about the bravery of Neville Longbottom here.
Molly Weasley is certainly high on our duelling second wish list. Not only was she one of the fiercest witches we came across in the Harry Potter books – not many people could keep Fred and George (mostly!) in line – but she was also an excellent duellist. Remember that incredible moment when she took on Bellatrix Lestrange? ‘Harry watched with terror and elation as Molly Weasley’s wand slashed and twirled, and Bellatrix Lestrange’s smile faltered, and became a snarl’. Long-time member of the Order of the Phoenix, we reckon Molly Weasley would make a great duelling second, both through her experience and skill – as well as give you a great hug if it all went pear-shaped!
‘I wonder who’ll be teaching us?’ said Hermione, as they edged into the chattering crowd. ‘Someone told me Flitwick was a duelling champion when he was young, maybe it’ll be him.’
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
The Duelling Club ended up being run by Gilderoy Lockhart, but this was interesting piece of information we learned about Professor Flitwick in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Flitwick was the Charms professor rather than Defence Against the Dark Arts, but he had some pretty impressive spells up his sleeve that we got to see in Deathly Hallows when he used incantations to protect Hogwarts.
But he didn’t just stay out of the fray either – at the Battle of Hogwarts Flitwick also duelled renowned Death Eaters like Yaxley and Dolohov and came out unscathed. Duelling champion and brave in battle? We think Flitwick would make an excellent duelling second.
Only known survivor of the Killing Curse, Harry Potter seems like a pretty good option for a duelling second. Not only did he teach Defence Against the Dark Arts to many of his fellow students in Order of the Phoenix as head of the Dumbledore’s Army, but he also faced Lord Voldemort multiple times and lived to tell the tale. Expelliarmus might have been Harry’s go-to spell but he certainly had a lot of other spells up his sleeve when it came to duelling. More than that, proud Gryffindor Harry Potter was as loyal as they come – we reckon he’d always have your back.
Kingsley Shaklebolt was an Auror at the Ministry of Magic when we first met him, and key member of the Order of the Phoenix. As an Auror, Kingsley would already be a good option for a second before we knew anything else about him, but he also showed us his duelling prowess in Order of the Phoenix where he fought two Death Eaters at once at the Ministry. In Deathly Hallows, we hear that ‘a bunch of Death Eaters cornered’ Kingsley ‘but he fought his way out.’ Duelling talent aside, we’d certainly appreciate his low and reassuring voice when it came to the duel itself, and let’s not forget he later became Minister for Magic – can’t help to have a wizarding second in high places, can it?
We reckon that the Dark-wizard-catcher who filled ‘Half the cells in Azkaban’ would be an excellent choice for a wizarding second. Not only was he an Auror, he’d also be likely to make a duelling opponent think twice with his battle-scarred face, wooden leg and magical eye. And that magical eye would certainly come in useful for seeing an opponent’s every move. We’re sure that Moody would be a loyal wizarding second as well. Although he was pretty blunt and – let’s be honest – actually quite terrifying even if he liked you, we reckon he’d stick by you no matter what.
Cool, calm and collected in a crisis, Professor McGonagall is very high up our duelling second wish list. In Order of the Phoenix, she was hit by four Stunning Spells at once, and Madam Pomfrey said, ‘As if one of them could have Stunned Minerva McGonagall face-on by daylight!’ This proved to be very true as we later witnessed her skill in duels and in battle. Remember when she duelled Professor Snape and drove him from the castle?
‘Professor McGonagall moved faster than Harry could have believed: her wand slashed through the air’.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2
Minerva McGonagall might have been severe at times, but there’s no denying that her experience, bravery, loyalty and skill would make her an excellent duelling second. Do you love Minerva as much as we do? Take our the ‘Minerva McGonagall Finish the Quote’ Quiz here.
Albus Dumbledore, ‘Considered by many the greatest wizard of modern times’ as it says on his Chocolate Frog card, is top of our duelling second wish list. Not only did he defeat Gellert Grindelwald in an epic duel when younger, but as Professor McGonagall tells us in the very first chapter of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Dumbledore was the only one that Voldemort was frightened of. In Order of the Phoenix, we saw Dumbledore and Voldemort duel it out, and it was one of the most spectacular displays of magic across the whole of the Harry Potter series:
‘Voldemort raised his wand and another jet of green light streaked at Dumbledore, who turned and was gone in a whirling of his cloak. Next second, he had reappeared behind Voldemort and waved his wand towards the remnants of the fountain. The other statues sprang to life.’
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Wise, astonishingly talented and unafraid to fight for what was right, we’ve chosen Dumbledore as our ideal second in a duel. And you never know, he might just offer you a sherbet lemon for courage if you asked nicely…
Do you agree with our list of ideal duelling second candidates? Would you add anyone else?
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